How to Get an Apprenticeship and Avoid Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt across the nation has been a growing issue for a very long time. Today’s total student debt is more than $1.7 trillion, with the average college graduate owing $20,000 to $25,000. If you’re considering your higher education journey or advising someone who is, it’s important to weigh the alternatives to traditional college that could significantly lower your financial burden.

One of the easiest ways to go about this is enrolling in an apprenticeship program. Not only does this offer a viable path to a satisfying career, but they also reduce the financial burden commonly connected with higher education.

The Apprenticeship Advantage: Hands-On Learning

Apprenticeships combine hands-on learning with a theoretical foundation. Unlike traditional higher education that could leave you mired in student loan debt, apprenticeships allow you to “earn while you learn.” These programs haven’t been fully utilized in the past but are gaining renewed focus from employers and academic institutions as they realize the value of practical experience in career development.

Why the Focus on Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship programs are not only about debt avoidance; they’re also about employability and skill mastery. Traditional degree programs often target on theoretical knowledge, which is definitely important but lacks the real-world application that employers covet. Apprenticeships bridge this gap by making you job-ready and supplying you with the tools needed to excel in your desired field right from the start.

Apprenticeship Pathways: Trade and Academic

Learning the styles of apprenticeships available is a good first step and will help you make a more informed decision. Here’s a breakdown of the two major options.

Trade Apprenticeships

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

The Department of Labor states that apprentices in trade fields earn around $15 per hour throughout training, or $31,200 per year if training full time. Once the program is completed, the average apprentice could 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 more and more are integrating apprenticeships in their degree programs, particularly 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 available to assist you in securing an apprenticeship. Here’s places that may have more details:

  • Trade organizations and unions: Begin by contacting specific institutions related to your field of interest to see if they have any offerings.
  • US Department of Labor: The DOL website has a searchable database of apprenticeship positions that you can narrow down by geographic region, which is an outstanding resource for career seekers across the country.
  • Educational institutions: If you’re looking to work while seeking a degree, colleges and universities are a good point of contact. The programs most likely to integrate 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: Sometimes, the old-school way is the best approach. Talking to people in the industry can provide you with insider information on upcoming opportunities.

Choosing the Right Apprenticeship for You

When you go the traditional academic route, you select a major based on your personal strengths. Then, you discover job opportunities aligned with that major. However, pursuing an apprenticeship demands you to think in reverse.

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

Earn While You Learn at Service Experts Career Academy

Are you looking to avoid getting buried in student loans while developing a rewarding career? Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a top-of-the-line apprenticeship program called Service Experts Career Academy (SECA). SECA offers advanced HVAC training and on-the-job learning facilitated by experienced industry professionals. The curriculum is tailored to equip you with valuable skills and make you a master in your field—all while averting your own student debt crisis.

The path to a fulfilling, debt-free occupation begins with making informed choices. If you’re eager 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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