How to Get an Apprenticeship and Avoid Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt in the United States has been a growing concern for a long time. 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 considering your educational journey or counseling someone who is, it’s essential to weigh the alternatives to traditional college that could greatly lower your financial burden.

One of the easiest ways to go about this is enrolling in an apprenticeship program. Not only do these programs offer a viable path to a rewarding career, but they also relieve the financial burden commonly associated with higher education.

The Apprenticeship Advantage: Real-World Learning

Apprenticeships blend hands-on activities with a theoretical foundation. In contrast to traditional higher education that may leave you smothered 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 recognize the value of practical experience in career development.

Why the Renewed Interest in Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship programs aren’t only about debt avoidance; they’re also about employability and skill mastery. Traditional degree programs usually target on theoretical knowledge, which is undoubtedly important but lacks the real-world application that employers desire. Apprenticeships bridge this gap by making you job-ready and outfitting you with the tools needed to succeed in your desired field right off the hop.

Apprenticeship Styles: Trade and Academic

Knowing the styles of apprenticeships available can help you make a more informed decision. Here’s an explanation of the two main options.

Trade Apprenticeships

These programs prepare you for fields where a college degree is often unnecessary. While society’s concentration 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, therefore, higher salaries.

The Department of Labor reports that apprentices in trade fields earn around $15 per hour while training, or $31,200 per year if training full time. As soon as the program is done, the average apprentice can 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 frequently including apprenticeships in their degree programs, especially for career paths in engineering, health care and information technology (IT). The benefits are two-fold: students get real-world experience while fulfilling academic requirements, and they earn a wage, limiting the need for loans.

How to Get an Apprenticeship

A few good resources are able to help you get an apprenticeship. Here’s organizations and individuals who may have more information:

  • Trade organizations and unions: Get started by calling 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 opportunities that you can narrow down by geographic region, which is a very good resource for career seekers all over the country.
  • Educational institutions: If you’d like to work while seeking a degree, colleges and universities are a good point of contact. The programs most likely to offer apprenticeships as part of the degree program are in computer and IT, engineering, nursing, business management or consumer science.
  • Trade company websites: Many companies identify apprenticeship opportunities on their help wanted pages.
  • Networking: Sometimes, the old-school way is the best way. Talking to people in the industry can supply you with insider information on upcoming opportunities.

Choosing the Appropriate Apprenticeship for You

When you go the traditional academic route, you pick a major based on your interests. Then, you discover job opportunities aligned with that major. But, seeking an apprenticeship requires you to think in reverse.

Start off by choosing the majors and career paths that feature or require apprenticeships. And then, 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 approach helps you match your educational pathway with real-world opportunities, ensuring 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 building a satisfying career? Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers an excellent 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 critical skills and make you a master in your field—all while averting your own student debt crisis.

The path to a worthwhile, 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. Reach out at 866-397-3787 today to learn more!

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