Video of this Episode
On the Road?
Listen to AUDIO ONLY
version of the Podcast
Follow the Process Chiller Pro podcast on these platforms.
Listening on your phone or mobile device? These great podcast platforms may require apps to be installed to access the podcast on your mobile devices.
Get an email alert when new episodes are posted.
College vs Skilled Trades, THINGS TO KNOW before making the career decision of a lifetime.
In this episode, I will share some information about the college and skilled trade career paths available to you today in a way that you may not have been exposed to before.
I hope to give you some clarity and some things to think about as you look ahead at one of the most important decisions in your life.
To check out this episode in both video and audio-only formats visit our sites:
Make sure to sign up for our “JOIN THE MOVEMENT” email list to get notifications on new podcast episodes and access free workshops coming soon.
Episode(s) That Support This Topic.
Today, let’s talk about career options. And before we get going, I’m going to spill out a couple of scenarios, a couple things that may resonate with you. And I hope it’ll get your, your mind stimulated a bit. So we can proceed to this episode. I think there’s some great content in here for you today. So the first scenario is maybe you’ve graduated from high school a while back, and you decided proactively to take some junior college classes locally, you’re starting to work towards your A, and you’ve proceeded through well, you’re doing good. But the further you progress, you’re starting to get this uncomfortable feeling that maybe college is not really your thing.
I tell you that my son’s going to Stanford, no, that’s great, great, great for us and great for him, congregate.
Or let’s say that you recently graduated again, and you’re bumped around from hourly jobs, doing sales or doing customer service, different companies, you’ve met some really cool people. Yes, this is not the best breakfast that ever ate. I’d like my money back. But again, you’re kind of feeling like you know, these jobs, they’re just not going anywhere. If I’m going to get out, be able to buy my own assets, a car, a house someday, this job is not going to lead me to that type of a conclusion. And then the last scenario is, let’s say you’re getting ready to graduate high school, and your family and friends and college counselors and people that are close to you, that you trust, are suggesting to you that the only option there is these days is to go out and get a college degree. That’s the way you’re going to get ahead in your career life. So if any of those resonate with you, this episode is gonna possibly Expand your horizon a little bit. Now full disclosure, I am a 30 year veteran in skilled trades.
However, I did things backwards, I went through skilled trades in HVAC refrigeration, and then I jumped over into college later. So I did things in reverse. So I’ve been blessed to know some amazing people on the college. In other words, people that have gotten degrees, and then I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing people on the skilled trade side. And my goal today is not to put you into either side. And I’m just going to tell you right up front that skilled trades is not for everybody. Neither is college. But I’m going to share some information today that you may not have seen before. And what I’m hoping is to enlighten you a little bit. So you can see some of the amazing opportunities that are out there in America for anybody who really wants to get ahead in their career. So let’s take a dive in and let’s explore the different career options to particular we’re going to be covering today’s skilled trades as well as a four year college degree. And let’s begin Hey guys quick announcement, if you have not stopped into our website, at skill, trade rescue comm please do that. On the homepage. Here, you will see that we have the Join the movement email list. If you haven’t signed up, please consider doing that we have some amazing guests lined up for the podcast, I’m going to be getting the stories out of successful technicians and business owners in skilled trades. These are not just HVAC people there’s going to people be from across the skilled trade spectrum. And my hope is that I’m going to be able to draw out of these people the things that have worked in their careers amazingly well. And the things that if they had a chance to talk to their younger self, what they would tell them not to do. So I want to share all that stuff with you. And if you sign up, you’re going to be the first to know when we drop those new podcast episodes. Also coming soon we have the BST workshop, it’s a five day automated email workshop. However, you’re going to give content to us through that workshop, you’re going to get one on one feedback from our instructors, instructors, and we’re looking to better your career. I’ve been teaching the BST process for many, many years, about two decades one on one, and I’m going to be trying to do that to the masses through this workshop. It’s totally free. All you have to do sign up. As soon as you do that, you’ll get alerts on your email as soon as these new podcasts come in, as well as the BST workshop. So if you check it out, I will put a link to the website on the show notes for this episode today. So check it out. So now that I have your mind around work environment, let’s take the next major criteria that will trip people up when they’re trying to make decisions about what they’re going to do. This is going to be two subjects that have to do with money. The first is debt, and the other one is urgency in making money. So let’s look at debt first. Now if you’ve struggled with credit card debt as you’ve gotten older, maybe you’re having some challenges, you’ve gotten tripped up with overcharging your credit cards and making minimum payments and that type of thing, you’re challenged with it or maybe not, maybe you’re really good at managing your debt load. That’s the first thing. The second thing you have to consider is your money. Criteria, like what’s the urgency of making money, you may be in a situation where you’re blessed, and your parents can support you for a while, while you’re going to college. That’s awesome. If you can do that, or you may be in a situation where you’re a parent, and you need to start making real money real soon. So those two things, the issue with debt and debt is going to come into play when we get into the college discussion, because that’s a big deal on that side. And I want to, I want to cover that in depth a little bit. But your work environment, your ability to handle it, handle debt, as well as manage your money are really, really important in the urgency of making money. When you’re taking your your travel down the career choice pathways. Now keep in mind, there’s no right or wrong answers here. That’s just the fact. It’s just what I’m trying to do is get you to consider the things that are that are impactful. least the top two, there’s many things but these are the top two things that can trip people up if they’re if it’s not considered when they decide their career path, while you ponder the subject that just brought up your work environment, and debt and money. Let’s take a close look at college versus skilled trades. Now I want to share with you right up for it. There’s a lot of metrics out there on both subjects. Surprisingly, there’s a lot more out there sometimes very conflicting on colleges, and college solutions as far as which direction to go. And on the skilled trade side not so much, we had to dig a lot harder to find what we felt to be reasonable data on the skilled trade career path. So let’s jump in here a little bit. And again, a lot of this is going to be graphics based. But I’m going to try to do my best if you’re out driving around out there to create a word picture for you. So you can get some type of an idea what I’m talking about. But I would encourage you if you want to get the full benefit of this episode, check it out on video on YouTube, or the skilled trade rescue website or process chores gadget. Let’s have a look at the costs. First college, we’re going to examine college first and then we’ll flip over into skilled trades. So this particular graphic that I’m putting up on the screen here shows the average cost of college over years to kind of give you a little bit of history. So what I’m looking at here, this is put out by value Penguin, which is kind of a weird sounding website. But it’s seems pretty accurate. We did a lot of vetting on this. So it starts off on the bottom row as from 1977 through 1978. And they gave both values in here of public and private. So the lighter shade is going to be public schools. And the darker shade of green is going to be the private schools, obviously private schools are more expensive. So you can see that from 1977 78 year, when they looked at this, the public option was $8,180. And the private option was 17,010. And then they in this graphic, they go up every 10 years. So they go from 7778. And then they go 8788. So between that 10 year period, the 8788 to the public school went up to 9030 and private one to 22,004 90. So you can see it’s trending, obviously, everybody knows that these numbers are going up. So look at 2017 18. Comparatively here, the public option is 20,007 70 per year, and the private option is 46,009 50. So those two numbers went up significantly. So for example, in 1977, the public option was 8001 80, as I mentioned a few minutes ago, and then in 2017, it was 20,007 70. Private went up even more obviously 1978 7778 year, private school was 17,010. And in 2018, it’s 46,009 50. Now what’s really interesting about this, what doesn’t get a lot of press is the trajectory of an increase in tuitions, for both private and public schools has always pretty consistently gone up much faster than the cost of living rate and the wage rate. So in other words, the cost of gaining a college education has gone up much faster than the labor market to pay these individuals. So it’s not it’s not increasing at the same rate. So that’s kind of interesting. The next graphic is also very interesting. This particular One, this is a different input, this will be a different source of data, I believe that this is a little more recent. And this breaks down the college experience into different categories. So you have your tuition, you have room and board books and supplies, transportation, other expenses, I have no idea what the other expenses is. And then it breaks it down by public two year ins in school or in state industry, they call it and then you have a public four year in state. So in district in state, public four year out of state, and then a private four year, right, so that’s the four different columns that they have here. So the least expensive is public two year in district. And I don’t know what the difference between in district in state is, maybe it’s your region or your county or something like that. Not sure. But as of this report, and I believe this was accurate as of 2019. Your public two year in District total cost per year 17,005, at public four year in state like a state college 25,002 90. And then your public four years out of state goes to 40,009 40. And then private school, obviously, it’s going to be the most expensive the four year. And this includes your tuition, room and board books and supplies, transportation, other expenses 50,900. So that’s just another another data point that this particular table is showing a little more than the last graphic, but you kind of get the idea. That’s what the current costs are.
Now we’re going to take a look at the debt load. And this is significant because most students not all, but many students are going to be required to take out debt in order to finance their college experience. So let’s look at the see what the statistics are. This, I believe, again, is as of 2019. And this is just a quick reference of the quick student loan debt statistics. So the average student loan debt per borrower stands at 32 sat 32,007 31. And the total student loan debt is 1.5 2 trillion. That’s where the tea just here in the United States, of course, number of student loan borrowers. So individuals out there that have some type of a college balance is 44 point 7 million people. Connecticut, interestingly enough, has the highest student loan debt for for the class of 2017. And that is 38,005 10. And the student loan debt for borrowers 16 over has increased 12 156% from 2004. That’s a significant number, what that indicates. And I think I have another graph on this in a minute. That’s a significant number. Because what that means is people have went through college, and they probably went in when they were in their 20s, maybe 30s. And they have been unable to pay off their loan debt based on the wages that they made from their degree. That’s that’s the, the indication here. That’s not for sure. But we got some data that indicates that that’s probably what’s happening here.
The last graph we’ll put up that has to do with college finances and debt has to do with the distribution of student loan borrowers by balance. And I thought this was really interesting. So basically, the bottom of the graph shows the different balances that students have. So the lowest one is less than 5000. Then you have 5000 to 10,000. This is 10,000 to 25,000. It goes all the way up to over 200,000 Ouch, that’s probably a doctor, my guess. Anyway. So it shows in these graphs, the number of loans, people that fit within these loan balances. Now, it doesn’t really talk about their age that much. But we talked about that earlier, just a couple slides earlier than this. So the the biggest percentage of the largest community, if you will, of loan balances is going to be the individuals that have a 10,000 to $25,000 balance on their student loans and that represents 12,277,200 individuals. The second highest is going to be 25,000 to 50,000 and that is 8,000,609 700 individually rules. So that kind of gives you an idea that most individuals are going to have a range of debt anywhere between 10,050 $1,000 Is that That’s the top two loan balances based on this data. So that’s pretty much it for the college experience, guys, it kind of gives you an idea that on the differences, I’m going to have another graphic that I’m going to put up towards the end of this episode, that’s going to kind of sum everything up on the differences between the college pathway and the steel trade. Digging in a bit to the skilled trade area, we’re going to first look at the costs to get into skilled trades. Now, one of the things that’s a little bit different about skilled trades is you have the cost of the actual education itself. And then you have the certifications. Because one of the things that you have, specifically in HVAC, you have certifications, section 608, and different things like that, that we’ll get into. But a lot of skilled trades will have certifications. In some cases, your employers will pay for that. In some cases, the technician has to pay for that, it just depends on the situation.
Now the graphic I’m putting up here is by Midwest Technical Institute, we went through and research this pretty heavily. And there’s a lot of different I mean, there’s so many different things out there. Off options when it comes to skilled trade training. Now I picked HVAC because I have the most connections in that. So if you want to be you know, a pipe fitter, or welder or something like that, you’ll probably have to do your own research. But there’s, there’s a lot of data out there if you dig for it. And this talks about the cost to just learn the trade. And what’s interesting is this particular one has so this is the trade school costs. And the range get this the range is between $1,200.15 1000. I know that’s crazy, right? It just depends on the the school, I guess. So I’m like, that kind of blew me away. But we saw a lot of data like that, between 12 115 $100. Now one of the things that you have in the trades that is not part of this statistic that I just gave you, is apprenticeship programs. So if you go union, a lot of times unions will have apprenticeship programs, a lot of the cost of that skilled trade educational process is paid for by the employers. Sometimes it’s reimbursed by the technicians through trade, union dues, things like that. So that can be significantly less expensive. And it just depends, it depends on what trade you’re going into how organized it is. And what it is you want to learn. Right. Now, the timeline is between six and 12 months, that I would assume that six to 12 months has to do with full time. There’s a lot of trades out there. And this is one of the unique things about trades is you have the ability to work while you’re making money. So a lot of times that span is a little bit longer. For example, a union apprenticeship will take about three and a half to four years. So it just depends. So I think this is a good we wanted to pick data that was realistic, that kind of gave give you an idea and what the cost of entry as far as getting your education goes. So that is the the initial cost. That’s to go to a trade school. The next category on this table, his community college, not all community colleges offer trades. But if they do, you can get in state students, you can get a technical degree for a lot of different trades. They’re projecting 4868 For in state students and 8006 14. Four out of state. I think that’s reasonable. And they’re projecting between six months and two years. And I believe what that is that means that these are individuals that are working while they’re going to school. So that’s night school, things like that. And then I mentioned this earlier, then the last one is apprenticeships apprenticeships are going to really be the best deal as far as cost, that’s going to take 500 to $2,000. That would be the student’s contribution to that. And as I mentioned earlier, that’s going to be three years to five years depending on the apprenticeship program. And that’s on the job training that by far I believe is the best value if you can find a particular trade that you’re interested in. And that trade will give you an apprenticeship program and you can work you’ll find that the better you do in that apprenticeship program as you test as you go from apprentice to you know, journeymen level, they’re gonna move you up relatively quickly because of the labor shortages which I’ll get into a little bit here in a minute. Now I talked about certifications. So what I’m putting up on the screen Hear. And again, this is specific to HVAC. So but a lot of the trades will have the same stuff, type of stuff. So I mentioned earlier EPA section, section 608, that is your certification to handle refrigerants. They have two different types, they have type one, type two and type one, two, and three, and then they have one that’s called universal. That’ll cost you 25 bucks, 220. That’s kind of a rounding error, considering how much money you’ll be making. And then you have Nat, North America, technical excellence, that’s Nate. That’s a great program, especially if your employer does that. A lot of times, if you’re working for a shop, when you’re interviewing, see if they’re NATE certified, if they’re Nate shop, because there’s a good chance that they’ll probably once you’ve been there for a while, and they want to invest in you, they’re going to put you through Nate, highly recommend that. And then you have refrigeration service engineer society, our SES Farzi, no, not a lot of people do that, the exams have cost you 25 to 30 bucks, and then your membership is going to be 108 228. I believe that’s an annual cost, right? That is not typically mandatory unless your shop wants it. So that is your cost of entry. So it is significantly less and you have unlike college, you have a ton of different ways to go. And it can range a lot.
So a minute ago, I teased the labor shortage. And guys, this is real, this is a real deal. The labor shortage is coming our way it has been coming our way. And if those of you that are considering you’ve went once you do all your research, and you decide that you may or may not, you want to go into skilled trades, you’re going to see there’s going to be some significant opportunities, it’s going to get better as time goes on. This graphic actually shows in a lot simpler forms what the challenges are. So BLS that stands for Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that an additional 200,000 construction trade job openings each year through 2026, due to labor force exits or retirements. And the reason why that is, is according to this graphic here 40 A see 39% of the people that are in the skilled trades and construction trades are 45 years and older. Now, I think that’s significant. Because, you know, if you’re driving around in your car, and you happen to notice, you know, one of the box trucks with a ladder sitting on top, you know, plumbing company, electrical company, whatever that is, you’re going to notice that in most cases, or I’d say 60% of the time, you’re going to see somebody who’s a little bit older sitting in that seat, it’s it’s, you’re not seeing enough young blood coming in. So what that’s going to do is that’s going to have a tendency to create shortages in the labor force, which is good for workers, if you decide to educate yourself and pick up a skilled trade certificate of some type, there’s a good chance that if you work hard and you get your skills developed enough, you’re going to do very well and have very limited, less less chances of your job being outsourced or let go because there’s just not enough work, I think, not enough work is going to be a problem that’s going to be non existent for some time in the future. This graphic I’m putting up here now I’m going to qualify this this particular source for this data. I believe that it is slanted towards skilled trades. So I just want to say that, that’s sort of the producer notes that I’ve got. But I think that it shows some really interesting trends. And I believe these numbers are fairly accurate. So this little graph is pretty simple here, you know, it shows two chess pieces here, that one direction can go skill trades, one can go college. And I like this because it really kind of boldly puts out the differences between the two. So I’ll kind of go through each one here. The first one is the the time it takes to get immersed in the trade right into your job. So the average for skilled trade is two years. And the average for a degree is going to be four years plus depending on what you’re you know, you’re going to college for the average cost is for skilled trade is 33,000. And again, that can that can vary quite a bit, but 30,000 is the costs to get your certificate or go through apprenticeship program the entire program over a period of years, two years and your average cost for college is 127,000. Which is a little higher I think then the the numbers we’ve looked at before, but it’s you know it is it is what it is just another data point. Now here’s what’s really interesting, the average dropout rate in this is out We check this out, the average dropout rate to trade school attendees is very, very low, it’s less than 2%. So 98.4, according to this study, percent of the people that go into a trade school will actually complete it. You go over here on the college side, this is fascinating to me. On national average, her dropout rate in college is 40%. So only 60% of the the people going to a college degree pathway actually graduate in four years. So it’s not that they don’t graduate, it’s just they decided to take a gap year or travel or whatever, maybe they’re having trouble getting funding as 1,000,001 things why. But that’s very interesting to me. So your your delay to get into the market can make a big difference right on your lifetime earnings. So this also puts out another piece of information here a comparative job security.
Now, this does not get reported guys, it just does not you don’t hear about it very much. The thing about skilled trades that’s unique, I think, is that especially if you’re working on machinery that’s stationary, it’s connected to a building. Or it’s you know, it’s hard to move, put it that way, it can’t be transported to another country, your job security, or the possibility of getting outsourced is really limited. Now on the other side of it, if you happen to get a four year degree, common would be like computer science, a coder, if you will, marketing, graphics, you name it, and animation, game development, things like that, you’re going to find some real challenges sometimes in those industries, because there’s people in other countries, China, India, Pakistan is another one, where their educational system is totally different. It’s not a capitalist type system. So a lot of these students are going to these schools and they’re in their completely state paid, right. So that’s a problem because you got a big school on you have to pay off. And there’s a possibility that you can get outsourced, right, because if you’ve got somebody who’s willing to work for 50%, of what you know, you’re what you need to work for, there’s possibility you could get outsourced. So when you pick your college degree, you didn’t be very, very careful about looking at the statistics of outsourcing or the risk of outsourcing when with your particular degree, your particular area of study. So that’s something that’s really interesting, the average salary is going to be a little bit higher for college. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna shoot a hole in that here in a little bit. When I wrap up this episode, the average wage, this is after you’ve completed your apprenticeship program, there they’re saying is about $36,000 $36,000 a year where your average salary for the same person on a college degrees can be $47,000 a year. Again, I Yes, most cases, college is going to pay a little bit more. But I’m going to make an argument here in a minute that I think will blow your mind a little bit. So we’ll take a look at that. This next section I hope resonates with all of you out there, I have been working on this for some time trying to dig into the statistics of wages, specifically in the skilled trades area. Now, what I have up on the screen now is the US Department of Labor Statistics. And this is the bls.gov site. And again, I’m focusing on on HVAC refrigeration. However, I’ve noticed similarities in this data on a lot of different trades. And one of the things that I’ve just kind of been blown away at is how far off this data actually is. So I’m going to give you an example here. So this is the 2020 May 2020 survey. So what the government does is they go through and they create these massive data dumps. It’s massive amounts of data, each trade each labor category has a code and that code will be researched by probably an army of people, they do their best they try to collect all the data and I’m going to go over some of that criteria in a minute and kind of blow your mind I think I know it did mine the so this this category is category number 49 dash nine zero to one. This is for heating, air conditioning, refrigeration mechanics and installers. So the first challenge that I have for this data is that the pay scales for mechanics service technicians installers is significantly different. So if you’re if you’re in the trade right now, you’ll probably know that you’ll have an installer versus a technician, they’re usually quite a bit different as far as their pay scale goes. So the amount of employment in this category is 344,020. People. Okay, find the median wage, this is nationally, this is all the all the particular businesses that they surveyed, the average wage in the United States for this category is $25.68 per hour, or 53,004 10. So that is that and then the table down below that is the break it down a little bit more. So they say the give you the sort of a metric on the lower 10% of the range. 25% of mean 50% of median, which is the median 75 or 95%. So the hourly wage
for this is somebody who’s probably not that good, not highly rated, for whatever reason, is 1534. And the highest paid hourly wage that fits in this category is 38, a six. So that ranges an annual income of 31,009 10, all the way up to 80,008 20. Now, the reason why I’m kind of picking on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s guys is that all the colleges use this data. So if you if you look, anytime you see anything about the labor projections for different trades, versus labor projections for a four year college degree, you look at the bottom of that graph, and this usually commonly, they’ll be a little reference to the BLS website or Bureau of Labor Statistics, sometimes they’ll spell it out. So I think, especially if you’re an employer out there, I think you’re gonna, you’re gonna find that we’re fighting an uphill battle of attracting new people into this industry. Based on the fact we’re competing with a large consortium of people that are basically saying, you know, if nothing else works out, you can always be a HVAC technician or a plumber, or whatever. And I think that the understanding or the the thought process of a skilled trade kind of being the consolation prize, if nothing else works out, that’s one of the biggest headwinds that we have. All right. So I know I’m kind of going off on a tangent here. But it’s, it’s, it’s the real deal. So the next thing we’re going to look at here, guys, is in you know, what, if you want to dig into this, I’m not, I’m not going to waste too much more of your time on this. But I’m going to tell you that on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, they have a frequently asked questions. And what they do is they get into here, how they collect their data. And it’s kind of goofy, the way they do this, what they do is they send out written notices to businesses, and they say, Hey, report on this. That’s what they do. And what they’ll do is they’ll mail it out. And in my opinion, the ones that they’re that are going to, you know, contractors and people in business that are looking at reporting, if they’re busy, they’re not going to be sending data back to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they’re just not going to do it. And they also try and follow up by phone. Right. So I think I think the BLS is doing the best they can considering the massive piece of information they have to gather. But I don’t think that they’re doing a good service to the industries that in matters, putting the real wage data out there. So before we wrap up, I want to share a quick survey. As of now I’m running the survey on LinkedIn. And I’m gonna go and put that up on the screen here. I think you’re gonna find this a little bit interesting. So about a week ago, I
launched a poll on LinkedIn. Now, this is not scientific. It’s not so I’m not claiming it to be but I found it quite interesting at the data that I got back, because this one out to my LinkedIn community, and this goes right to the frontlines, the grassroots, if you will. And what I asked was, I said USA responses only please, what hourly rate range excluding benefits for journeymen HVAC refrigeration is competitive in your market? Question mark. And I got so far there was there was 6134 views, and we got 222 votes. And what’s really interesting is I the only allow you for different criteria on a on a poll, so I had to kind of just go with what they what I could. So the first range I gave was 20 to 25% 20. sent is what the response was to that so far 2501 to $30 per hour 5% 3001 to $35 an hour 12% and 3501 per hour and over 81%. So I thought this was quite interesting. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to let this poll run, I think it’s got two or three more days. And once it’s done, I’m going to put the data out on it. But this is very interesting. So what I’m going to probably do in the next, I don’t know, a couple of weeks, I’m gonna probably put out another poll, and I’m going to increase the scale rain. So I’m going to start out at probably $30 per hour, and I’m going to go all the way up to 50, or something like that. And it’s going to be really interesting to see what actually people are saying, again, it’s not scientific. But this is really interesting. Now, I mentioned earlier, and I did a little teaser for signing up for the joining the movement on skilled trade rescue calm. I hope you do that. Because I’ve got some amazing guests lined up. I’ve been doing a lot of discussions with people in the trades and people that have been successful. And I want to get some stories out there as to what’s really going on. And my hope is that I’m going to provide some material for contractors, maybe parents that they know their kids are not college bound. And maybe they’re you know, they’re college educated, but they’re starting to open their eyes a little bit that the college education process is a much different experience now than it was before besides a lot more expensive. And what I want to do is at least get some more conversations going out there. So that is it. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I very much look forward to continuing to connect with you. Please don’t hesitate to send me messages on LinkedIn. I’m on there all the time. Or you can reach out to me on my email. I’m at M King at process Tiller Academy calm and until next week. When I give you the next installment I wish you a great week, and I will connect up with you again soon. Take care now.