Why Craft Education Is A Good Deal
July 28, 2020
Author: Deanna Quintana, NCCER Guest Contributor
Whether it be a sale item at a shopping mall or a promo code for discounted online purchase, it can probably be said that you like a good deal.
So how does this relate to the construction industry?
For younger generations, pursuing a career in construction is like hitting the gold mine. The crafts offer high salaries, high demand and high potential – the perfect trio for those looking for the best value from their career education.
College Degree? Not Required
We have always been told that it goes like this: elementary school, middle school, high school and then off to college. But, what if somewhere in that pattern of schooling, you realize that earning a four-year degree at a university is not for you?
Whether you are looking to earn a diploma or not, there is a place for you in construction.
In this industry, there are other forms of higher education. From CTE programs to certification courses and classes at technical or community colleges, students can gain the skills and competencies needed for any craft profession in a variety of ways.
Plus, a benefit to a career in construction is that you don’t have to take on a pile of debt. Student loan debt was $1.47 trillion at the end of 2018. Standard payment plans expect borrowers to take 10 years or longer to pay off their debt – that’s an entire decade!
No matter what path you take, there are ways to advance in your career without a degree. Utilize the Career Path and see which route fits you best.
Earn While You Learn
Interested in making money while you learn? The deal may sound too good to be true, but this type of program is called an apprenticeship.
An apprenticeship is different than an internship. In fact, this position is intended for students who have a set career path in mind. According to the U.S Department of Labor, there are five components to an apprenticeship: business involvement, structured on-the-job training, related instruction, rewards for skill gains and nationally recognized credentials.
This model prepares students for the workforce by providing in-depth training with its 80/20 principle. Students will be getting paid and earning hands-on experience from a professional in the field 80% of the time, and the other 20% is dedicated to classroom learning.
Apprenticeships take time, but one of the most unique identifiers is that you are a full-time, paid employee who is advancing their skills on the job.
High Demand = High Salaries
For quite some time, Baby Boomers have dominated the field of construction. But, as this generation begins to retire, it leaves the construction industry with a massive skills gap. Nearly 29 percent of the current workforce will retire by 2026 and that number will climb higher by 2031.
For current construction companies and employees, this is an alarming number.
However, for students, it’s safe to say that those entering the industry are not just needed, but can most likely anticipate job security for many years. Young professionals who begin training now will be able to reach the level of a seasoned professional just when the industry needs them most.
With the construction industry eager to find reliable, skilled craft professionals, it is no surprise that new entrants will reap major benefits.
With competition between companies to get the skills they need salaries and benefits are at an all-time high. For example, one of the top five highest-paying jobs in construction is an instrumentation technician, with an average base salary of $70,080 per year. Many craft professions earn an average of $65,000 per year and there is opportunity to make over six figures with travel and additional incentives.
If job security and a high-paying salary is an employment concern for you, the construction industry offers more stability than most industries.
Interested to see how many craft professionals are in demand in your state? Check out BYF’s Craft Labor Map to see where your skills are needed.
Opportunity is Endless
As a young adult, it is good to have options. Younger generations want to be able to decide what to do, where to go and how to get there all on their own time.
Luckily, the construction industry is flexible and offers plenty of mobility and variety.
With so many specialties, there is a craft career out there for everyone. Do you have more of a creative side or are you a natural at problem solving? Explore our trading cards or take the Craft Pro Quiz to see which craft fits your personality.
Construction can also offer career freedom and opportunity, and one of the most overlooked aspects of this industry, it its value for professional growth and development. In fact, career stagnation is a fear among young professionals but fortunately for those in construction, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck.
As you gain experience, craft professionals can move into prestigious roles. Making your way up the ladder of leadership, a student can go from a construction worker to CEO.
From the career opportunities to the financials, it’s clear that pursuing craft education toward a career in construction is a great deal!