5 Reasons Parents Should Support Teens Interested in Skilled Trades vs. College

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The skilled trades include a more diverse slate of job opportunities, as our new e-book explains in detail. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Parents know that talking about the future can be tricky.

But if your teen has just revealed a desire to go into the skilled trades, the future looks bright.

There are so many reasons parents should support their teen's interest in the trades. Let's start with these five:

1. Only 33.3% of students who attend public universities graduate in four years. We applaud anyone who earns a bachelor’s degree, but this statistic proves it’s not easy to complete a degree on time. 

2. There are about 2.6 million job openings in the skilled trades every year. That’s an opportunity for young people interested in a faster, more affordable pathway to a rewarding, good-paying career — no bachelor’s degree (or associated debt) required. 

3. The skilled trades are lucrative. About 30 million jobs in the United States don’t require a bachelor’s degree yet pay median earnings of $55,000 or more, according to Emsi data. Plus, skilled trade workers don’t take on as much debt and start earning a paycheck faster.

4. The skilled trades are diverse. Employers in so many industries are looking for talented people. That’s true in traditional trades like construction, and it’s also true in high-tech options like manufacturing or information technology as well as careers in healthcare and public service.   

5. The skilled trades offer rewarding careers. Just ask Olivia McCleery, who signed up for a six-week welding class and is now a welding instructor at Lincoln Electric. “It was the job I never knew I wanted,” she says. But she loves it. 

Learn more about the benefits in our free guide to skilled trade careers, which spells out the facts, shares success stories and helps students find their best path to a rewarding career.

Feeling overwhelmed with options?

Take the SkillPointe Quiz

It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do. This short visual quiz will help you identify skills-based careers that best match your personality.

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