Most of us grew up with the idea that success meant getting good grades so you could earn a college degree and get a professional career. Unfortunately, a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job. According to the University of Washington, approximately 53% of college graduates are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. And that statistic is from 2019, which means it doesn’t reflect the impact COVID-19 has had on the job market.
But there’s another reason a college degree doesn’t automatically equal success. For some people, a desk job isn’t part of their American dream. Instead, they are more drawn to trade jobs, which focus on skilled manual labor to do important work.
If you’re considering entering the trade job market, here are five reasons it could be your American dream.
1. Trade Jobs are More Active
One reason people take up a trade is to avoid being stuck at a desk in an office all day. With growing evidence that sitting all day is bad for your health, trade jobs that involve keeping busy and moving your body look more appealing.
2. You Don’t Need to Pay a Fortune – Or Take on a Lifetime of Debt – For a Degree
Most trade jobs are learned through a combination of apprenticeships and certification – both of which take less time and money to complete than a budget-busting, four-year degree.
3. You Can Earn While You Learn
Going to school full time requires having money saved to cover your living expenses. With a trade job, you’re working (and learning) right away at the same time you earn an income, thus keeping your savings intact.
4. There’s No Shortage of Work
According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 70% of U.S. construction companies are having trouble finding qualified workers. You’ll find similar numbers in other trades, where employers are losing an aging workforce. With the trades desperately short on new workers, if you work in a trade and are good at what you do, there are plenty of money-making opportunities.
5. The Working Hours Can be More Flexible
Due to the nature of the work involved, many trades have different shifts that can be more attractive than the 9-to-5, Monday-Friday grind of a typical office job. Trade jobs can provide a better work-life balance and give you time to take a class or pursue your passion.