How to Get an Apprenticeship and Avoid Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt in the USA has been a growing issue for years. Today’s total student debt has reached some $1.7 trillion, with the average college graduate owing $20,000 to $25,000. If you’re contemplating your educational journey or advising someone who is, it’s important to weigh the alternatives to traditional college that could significantly lower your financial burden.

One of the easiest ways to go about this is registering in an apprenticeship program. Not only do these programs offer a viable path to a satisfying career, but they also alleviate the financial burden commonly associated with higher education.

The Apprenticeship Advantage: Learning by Doing

Apprenticeships combine hands-on activities with a theoretical foundation. Unlike traditional higher education that might leave you buried in student loan debt, apprenticeships enable you to “earn while you learn.” These programs have been underutilized in the past but are gaining renewed interest from employers and academic institutions as they understand the value of practical experience in career development.

Why the Resurgence in Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship programs aren’t just about debt avoidance; they’re also about employability and skill mastery. Traditional degree programs often target on theoretical knowledge, which is undoubtedly important but lacks the real-world application that employers desire. Apprenticeships bridge this gap by preparing you to be job-ready and equipping you with the tools needed to excel in your chosen field right from the get-go.

Apprenticeship Paths: Trade and Academic

Understanding the types of apprenticeships available can help you make a more informed decision. Here’s a breakdown of the two major options.

Trade Apprenticeships

These programs prepare you for fields where a college degree is often unnecessary. While society’s focus on higher education has led to a decline in these kinds of apprenticeships, the lack of skilled tradespeople has created a surge in demand and, as a result, higher salaries.

The Department of Labor estimates that apprentices in trade fields earn around $15 per hour during training, or $31,200 yearly if training full time. Once the program is done, the average apprentice could earn the following salaries upon joining the workforce:

  • Electrician: $49,840
  • Plumber and pipe-fitter: $49,140
  • HVAC technician: $43,640
  • Solar panel installer: $37,900
  • Auto mechanic: $36,610
  • Construction worker: $30,000 to $45,000

Academic Apprenticeships

Academic institutions are increasingly incorporating apprenticeships in their degree programs, particularly for fields like engineering, health care and information technology (IT). The advantages are two-fold: students get real-world experience while fulfilling academic requirements, and they earn a wage, reducing the need for loans.

How to Apply For an Apprenticeship

A few good resources are at your disposal to help you get an apprenticeship. Here’s where to look:

  • Trade organizations and unions: Start by contacting specific institutions relevant to your field of interest to see if they have any available apprenticeships.
  • US Department of Labor: The DOL website has a searchable database of apprenticeship opportunities that you can narrow down by geographic region, which is an outstanding resource for career seekers nationwide.
  • Educational institutions: If you want to work while seeking a degree, colleges and universities are the first point of contact. The programs most likely to integrate apprenticeships as part of the degree program are in computer and IT, engineering, nursing, business management or consumer science.
  • Trade company websites: Lots of companies post apprenticeship opportunities on their career pages.
  • Networking: Occasionally, the old-fashioned way is the best way. Talking to people in the industry can provide you with insider information on upcoming opportunities.

Finding the Right Apprenticeship for You

When you go the traditional academic route, you select a major based on your interests. Then, you explore job opportunities affiliated with that major. But, pursuing an apprenticeship will require you to think in reverse.

Begin by identifying the majors and career paths that utilize or require apprenticeships. Then, pick one of the available apprenticeships from your narrowed-down list that sparks your interest, matches your skill set or offers the most lucrative income, depending on your priorities. This approach helps you coordinate your educational pathway with real-world opportunities, ensuring a smoother transition into the job market and a satisfying career for years to come.

Choose Service Experts Career Academy

Are you looking to avoid getting buried in student loans while building a fulfilling career? Midway Services offers a top-of-the-line apprenticeship program called Service Experts Career Academy (SECA). SECA offers modern HVAC training and on-the-job learning facilitated by Expert industry professionals. The curriculum is designed to equip you with vital skills and make you a master in your field—all while averting your own student debt crisis.

The path to a fulfilling, debt-free profession starts with making informed choices. If you’re prepared to take control of your future with help from Midway Services, please contact us to learn more about Service Experts Career Academy. Contact us at 727-219-2471 today to learn more!

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