Where the jobs are: For the class of 2014, choosing a trade school over college could pay off

CINCINNATI - The expectation for most graduating seniors is to attend the college of their choice, get their bachelor’s degree, then work in their field of study.

While tradition dictates the most successful path to gainful employment is a four-year degree, some students are choosing two-year degrees or certificates in technical disciplines as less expensive and more efficient means of employment.

So how do technical and trade schools compare to four year institutions when it comes to actually finding a job?

In a 2013 Forbes Magazine article, ManpowerGroup (a global staffing company) identified looming shortages in skilled trade labor--including welders, electricians, machinists, plumbers and woodworkers.

Today, Tri-State businesses are feeling the crunch. At HGC Construction director of human resources Deborah Pickering explained in the past several years, she's seen fewer and fewer graduating seniors applying for jobs.

“What we’re finding is that high schools are encouraging kids to go to college to get a bachelor’s degree,” she said. “So somehow we’re falling a little bit behind in getting young adults excited about working in the construction industry.”

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center study the act of not pursuing some type of secondary education will cost job-seekers in the long run. College graduates or those with some type of secondary education earn approximately $17,500 more annually than those holding only a high school diploma, with an estimated annual income of $45,500.

However, the rising cost of education can act as a deterrent for many. In addition, a 2013 graduate owes an average of $35,200 in college related debt. 

The College Board data from 2014 shows how average yearly tuition and fees stack up:

Public Two-Year College (in-state student) $3,131

Public Four-Year College (in-state student) $8,655

Public Four-Year College (out of state student) $21,706

Private Four-Year College $29,056

Become a WCPO Insider to meet a local man who found that choosing a trade over a college degree was a cost-effective path to a career and homeownership. And learn about local resources for training in the trades, as well as a Cincinnati company that makes the investment to educate its employees.

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