Apprentice Programs vs. College: What's the Cost?

Posted by Heather Smith on Nov 14, 2016 2:00:00 PM


When asked the age-old question, “Is college worth it," many high school students and young people out of high school are beginning to think “no, it’s not.”

Perhaps it may have seemed enticing back in 1980 when the average college tuition was just $2,100 a year and, heck, it probably was worth it then. But today, the cost of a four-year degree is $96,244 in tuition alone. Add in the cost of books, living expenses, and all associated costs, and the final price of a Bachelor’s degree runs from $125,000 - $150,000! And student loan debt can be with you for years — sometimes even decades — after graduation.

So what’s the alternative?  Well, there are trade schools and associate degree programs that don’t require as long an investment of time, but also still come with a price tag. But, if you’re a self-starter who enjoys working in a hands-on environment, apprenticeship programs could be the ideal situation for you. Not only will you be learning a skill while gaining valuable knowledge, but you’ll also be earning an hourly wage – something than cannot be said for most people who attend a university. Trade apprenticeships also offer in-school training sessions that provide you with helpful information in a classroom environment.

One week every November is National Apprenticeship Week. This might be just the right time to finally commit to a new future — and becoming a part of the Registered Apprenticeship program from the Department of Labor can get you started on your way to a great education.

So, why apprenticeships?

Facts about Apprenticeships

  • Apprenticeships, on average, take two years to complete
  • Salaries for apprenticeship graduates are comparable to those offered to individuals with a four-year degree
  • Apprenticeships offer a lower cost path to a career that is high in demand and pays well
  • Almost 90% of employers surveyed say that having apprentices added value to their business
  • Your hourly wage will increase each year that you’re in the apprenticeship program
  • Having an apprenticeship can increase your future job security

Costs of Bachelor’s degree VS Apprenticeship

  • Average cost of a Bachelor’s degree is over $127,000
  • Over 20% of Bachelor’s degree students owe more than $50,000 —and 6% owe more than $100,000!
  • An average trade school degree only costs $33,000 – plus you get paid while you learn!
  • The average 20-year net income for apprenticeship students is $441,330 more than the 20-year average
          for Bachelor’s degree recipients
  • On average, a trade school degree saves you $94,000 compared to a Bachelor’s Degree 

 Training OpportunitiesGet Involved

Topics: National Apprenticeship Week

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