Home Career Services An Alternative to the College Degree: Apprenticeships
An Alternative to the College Degree: Apprenticeships

An Alternative to the College Degree: Apprenticeships

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By Ann Eastham
Contributor, Career Services

retail-managerCollege is an opportunity to learn and grow; advancing yourself as a professional. The reality is, a traditional academic setting of college isn’t for everyone. However, many high school students will enter college because they’ve been taught that without a college education, you cannot secure employment. This can lead to earning a degree the student isn’t actually passionate about, while simultaneously being strapped with considerable debt. The truth is, there is another way to employment; by securing an apprenticeship.

An apprenticeship is paid, on-the-job training. Consider it an “earn while you learn” opportunity. Apprenticeships are available in more than 1,000 career areas, from traditional skilled workforces like electrical, plumbing, and carpentry, and are expanding to growing fields like healthcare, information technology, and even homeland security. If you decide to go with an apprenticeship, be prepared to be dedicated. Many require working along side an established professional with traditional full time hours, while simultaneously taking additional courses for the apprenticeship.

What’s the best part of an apprenticeship in my opinion? You can immediately start getting paid an average of $15 an hour and the pay increases over the course of the apprenticeship. By the time the apprenticeship is completed, and the apprentice is awarded with an industry certification, they are typically making an average of $50,000 a year. There are even some opportunities for certain apprenticeships to have college credit awarded should you decide to continue your education.

One way to explore apprenticeships is through The Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Registered Apprenticeship Program. This program coordinates with State Apprenticeship Agencies to offer apprenticeship training programs throughout the country. With over 150,000 employers and labor management organizations participating in the program, it can open the doors to careers that may otherwise seem impossible.

While a college degree is still a highly desirable and valuable asset, it’s important to know that there is another way. Although not all occupations will offer apprenticeships, and some may not be the right fit, finding one that does may just what you are looking for and you may just be the person for the opportunity.

About the Author: Ann started her education at the University of Findlay and completed and Associates degree in Equestrian Studies in 2005. After working for a few years in a wide variety of farm/ranch jobs, she completed her Bachelors in Health Care Administration at Ashford University. Ann served as a clinical technician in an ICU/Telemetry unit before working as a Clinical Research Coordinator for Cardiac, Vascular, and Thoracic surgery.

In 2011, Ann transitioned from working in the healthcare field into higher education and started as an Academic Advisor. While working as an advisor Ann developed a passion for assisting students in converting their education into careers and became a career coach in 2014. Ann will be working with students in the health, nursing, and Intelligence/National Security, and Military industries.

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