How to Get an Apprenticeship and Avoid Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt across the nation has been a growing problem for many years. Today’s total student debt has reached some $1.7 trillion, with the average college graduate owing $20,000 to $25,000. If you’re thinking about your educational journey or giving advice to someone who is, it’s essential to weigh the alternatives to traditional college that could considerably lower your financial burden.

One of the most popular ways to do this is enrolling in an apprenticeship program. Not only does this offer a practical path to a fulfilling career, but they also relieve the financial burden commonly associated with higher education.

The Apprenticeship Advantage: Learning by Doing

Apprenticeships combine hands-on experience with a theoretical foundation. In contrast to traditional higher education that might leave you buried in student loan debt, apprenticeships enable you to “earn while you learn.” These programs haven’t been used as much as they could have in the past but are gaining renewed attention from employers and academic institutions as they understand the value of practical experience in career development.

Why the Resurgence in Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship programs are not only about debt avoidance; they’re also about employability and skill mastery. Traditional degree programs commonly concentrate on theoretical knowledge, which is unquestionably important but lacks the real-world application that employers want. Apprenticeships bridge this gap by preparing you to be job-ready and outfitting you with the tools needed to succeed in your preferred field right away.

Apprenticeship Pathways: Trade and Academic

Understanding the kinds of apprenticeships available can help you make a more informed decision. Here’s some of the key details of the two major options.

Trade Apprenticeships

These programs prepare you for professions where a college degree is often not needed. While society’s focus on higher education has led to a decline in these types of apprenticeships, the lack of skilled tradespeople has produced a surge in demand and, as a result, higher salaries.

The Department of Labor states that apprentices in trade fields earn around $15 per hour throughout training, or $31,200 yearly if training full time. Once the program is over, the average apprentice may earn the following salaries upon joining the workforce:

  • Electrician: $49,840
  • Plumber and pipe-fitter: $49,140
  • HVAC technician: $43,640
  • Solar panel installer: $37,900
  • Auto mechanic: $36,610
  • Construction worker: $30,000 to $45,000

Academic Apprenticeships

Academic institutions are increasingly incorporating apprenticeships in their degree programs, in particular for fields like engineering, health care and information technology (IT). The benefits are two-fold: students receive real-world experience while fulfilling academic requirements, and they earn a wage, decreasing the need for loans.

How to Find an Apprenticeship

A few good resources are at your disposal to assist you in securing an apprenticeship. Here’s organizations and individuals who may have more information:

  • Trade organizations and unions: Get started by contacting specific institutions associated with your field of interest to see if they have any available apprenticeships.
  • US Department of Labor: The DOL website has a searchable database of apprenticeship programs that you can filter by geographic region, which is an excellent resource for career seekers across the country.
  • Educational institutions: If you’re looking to work while obtaining a degree, colleges and universities are a helpful initial point of contact. The programs most likely to offer apprenticeships as part of the degree program most often are in computer and IT, engineering, nursing, business management or consumer science.
  • Trade company websites: Many companies post apprenticeship opportunities on their job pages.
  • Networking: In some cases, the conventional way is the best strategy. Talking to people in the industry can offer you insider information on future opportunities.

Finding the Perfect Apprenticeship for You

When you take the traditional college route, you pick a major based on your personal strengths. Next, you discover job opportunities aligned with that major. But, choosing an apprenticeship will require you to think in reverse.

Start by identifying the majors and career paths that incorporate or require apprenticeships. After that, pick one of the available apprenticeships from your narrowed-down list that sparks your interest, meets your skill set or offers the most lucrative income, depending on your priorities. This method helps you align your educational pathway with real-world opportunities, which makes for a smoother transition into the job market and a satisfying career for years to come.

Learn About Service Experts Career Academy

Are you looking to avoid the student loan trap while building a rewarding career? Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers an excellent apprenticeship program called Service Experts Career Academy (SECA). SECA offers cutting-edge HVAC training and on-the-job learning facilitated by Expert industry professionals. The curriculum is designed to equip you with vital skills and make you a master in your field—all while avoiding your own student debt crisis.

The path to a worthwhile, debt-free career should begin with making informed choices. If you’re prepared to take control of your future with help from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, please get a hold of us to learn more about Service Experts Career Academy. Contact us at 866-397-3787 today to learn more!

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