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Apprenticeships Can Be Lucrative, But Not Everyone's Winning

The state of the U.S. job market has left many, including college graduates, unemployed or underemployed. This has led more and more people to pursue apprenticeships. The Education Insider reviews how these programs can be more lucrative than university training.

by Erin Tigro

apprenticeship trade skilled labor

Benefits of Skilled Trade Work

Many of us tend to think that the pursuit of a college degree is typically the next step after high school. Trades are often sought by those who may not have fared well in school or those who just prefer to work with their hands. However, in today's workforce even college graduates are deciding to forego white collar job hunts and sign up for apprenticeships. These 4-5 year programs usually don't cost money and, in fact, typically pay participants to learn on the job. Education, experience, no student loan debt and an income - things don't get much better. Once apprentices complete their programs, they become journey workers and are able to earn more money.

Blue Collar Gender Gaps

According to a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Labor, in general men earn more than women. And in the world of apprenticeships, men seem to come out ahead too. Incidentally, the number of women apprentices has decreased from 1999-2009, indicated in a 2010 report by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce. Similarly, a study completed by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research in Australia showed that among high school graduates who continued on to apprenticeship programs, 25-year-old males earned more than their female counterparts.

Intervention Designed to Bring More Women Into Trades

In mid-2010, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship and Women's Bureau granted nearly two million dollars to organizations focused on the recruitment and retainment of women laborers. Each of six groups in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio was awarded $300,000 to increase it efforts. Women who participate in one of the organization's sponsored programs will be able to elect trades in carpentry, welding, construction or plumbing, to name a few. Opportunities will also be available for networking and obtaining specialty certifications.

Read on to see what a college degree is getting graduates these days.

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