How to Get an Apprenticeship and Avoid Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt in the USA has been a growing issue for 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 contemplating your educational journey or giving advice to someone who is, it’s important to weigh the alternatives to traditional college that could considerably lower your financial burden.

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

The Apprenticeship Advantage: Real-World Learning

Apprenticeships blend hands-on activities with a theoretical foundation. Unlike traditional higher education that could leave you buried in student loan debt, apprenticeships allow you to “earn while you learn.” These programs haven’t been used as much as they could have in the past but are getting renewed interest from employers and academic institutions as they realize the value of practical experience in career development.

Why the Resurgence in Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship programs aren’t only about debt avoidance; they’re also about employability and skill mastery. Traditional degree programs often target on theoretical knowledge, which is certainly important but lacks the real-world application that employers want. Apprenticeships bridge this gap by making you job-ready and equipping you with the tools needed to shine in your chosen field right away.

Apprenticeship Paths: 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 frequently not needed. While society’s concentration on higher education has led to a decline in these kinds of apprenticeships, the lack of skilled tradespeople has produced a surge in demand and, therefore, higher salaries.

The Department of Labor states that apprentices in trade fields earn around $15 per hour during training, or $31,200 annually if training full time. Once the program is completed, 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 more and more are incorporating apprenticeships in their degree programs, especially for career paths in engineering, health care and information technology (IT). The pros are two-fold: students obtain real-world experience while fulfilling academic requirements, and they earn a wage, decreasing the need for loans.

How to Get an Apprenticeship

A couple of different resources are available to help you get an apprenticeship. Here’s organizations and individuals who may have more information:

  • Trade organizations and unions: Start by calling specific institutions related to your field of interest to see if they have any contacts.
  • US Department of Labor: The DOL website has a searchable database of apprenticeship programs that you can narrow down by geographic region, which is an outstanding resource for career seekers nationwide.
  • 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 incorporate apprenticeships as part of the degree program include computer and IT, engineering, nursing, business management or consumer science.
  • Trade company websites: Many companies list apprenticeship opportunities on their career pages.
  • Networking: Sometimes, the old-school way is the best way. Talking to people in the business can offer you insider information on future opportunities.

Choosing the Perfect Apprenticeship for You

When you go the traditional higher education route, you pick a major based on your passion. After that, you look for job opportunities affiliated with that major. But, seeking an apprenticeship will require you to think in reverse.

Start by pinpointing the majors and career paths that incorporate or require apprenticeships. Then, pick one of the available apprenticeships from your narrowed-down list that sparks your interest, meets your skill set or offers the best income, depending on your priorities. This strategy 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.

Choose Service Experts Career Academy

Are you looking to avoid getting buried in student loans while building a fulfilling 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 knowledgeable industry professionals. The curriculum is designed to equip you with essential skills and make you a master in your field—all while averting your own student debt crisis.

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

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