Why You Should Seriously Consider an Apprenticeship In the Skilled Trades
Apprenticeship programs are a way for motivated people to obtain the training for a well paying job while getting paid. Learn while you earn. Plus, skilled trades often pay as well or more than jobs that require a college degree. Apprenticeships are a great way to get an advanced education without incurring debt from a student loan to pay tuition.
Apprenticeship programs combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction and generally require two to four years of training. Individual employers, partnerships between business and technical schools, and labor unions are the primary sponsors of these types of programs. Unions by themselves train more than 450,000 workers each year.
Because of the rapid advancement of manufacturing technology, there is now an even stronger incentive for businesses to develop apprenticeship programs that ensure they have the quality work force that is essential for them to compete in the global economy. For this reason, apprenticeship programs teaching how to use advanced technology in manufacturing are expected to expand in the future.
There are also many careers in traditional skilled trades that offer apprenticeship programs like plumbers, electricians and carpenters as well as some often overlooked trades like heating and air conditioning. There are also emerging jobs in green energy like solar panel installation and service as well as wind turbine installation and maintenance that are starting to offer apprenticeship programs. Besides paying well, all these skilled trades offer the additional benefit of not being able to be outsourced to another country. Apprenticeship programs for these trades are run by unions, local businesses and tech schools.
European style apprenticeships, which begin in high school, are also being instituted by foreign companies with production in theUnited States who cannot find the skilled workers they need. For example, Siemens in Charlotte North Carolina trains people how work with formless metal beginning as juniors in high school. Wacker Chemical is building a working model of its polysilicon plant at Chattanooga State Community College to train potential employees. These programs start training people as young as sixteen. But the majority of the more traditional programs require you to be eighteen and a high school graduate.
Getting into the apprenticeship programs is competitive just like getting into college. The sponsors consider your grades, aptitude tests and there are interviews where they can assess your attitude and motivation.
To help you research possible careers that offer apprenticeships, we have assembled a number of articles from mentors who will share their personal experiences in specific careers where apprenticeships are available so you can see which ones might interest you. You can also access information regarding apprenticeship programs, their sponsors and how to apply.
There is a new renaissance in the skilled trades because of advances in technology that requires a well trained workforce. These are good paying jobs with better security than many jobs requiring a college degree. Some have comparable or even better compensation. Give a good look at careers that you can build though an apprenticeship program. The skilled trades are one of the backbones of the economy and are on a resurgence.