A young person choosing to go or not go to college is pondering an immensely important decision. Regardless of which way that decision goes, it should be made as intelligently as possible. For maximum benefit, the potential student should have a high level of informed consent concerning all the consequences.

Depending on the potential student’s career goals and salary desires, college is not always the best option. Bloomberg Businessweek makes a simple observation about the financial consequences of replacing the college path with a skilled trade path (“Rubio Makes a Good Point About Welders” 11/23/15–11/29/15, p. 14):

An 18-year-old who spends four years as an apprentice plumber might earn a total of $100,000 or more during that span and avoid paying the same amount of money in tuition for college. After the apprenticeship, that young plumber can make $50,000 a year, with the prospect of steady income growth over the span of a career: Master plumbers can earn $100,000 to $200,000 annually.

Similar observations have been made by many about various skilled trades and technical occupations. The takeaways for potential students?

  • Do your homework.
  • Think carefully about what you want in your career.
  • Choose wisely.
  • Never be afraid to try something new.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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