Survey: Majority of Students Underestimate Trade School

A survey of 3,000 young Americans (ages 18 – 24) shows that, despite messaging from within industry and STEM to the contrary, a majority do not see trade school as a path to a high-paying job.

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A survey of 3,000 young Americans (ages 18 – 24) shows that, despite messaging from within industry and STEM to the contrary, a majority do not see trade school as a path to a high-paying job. The survey, conducted by Big Rentz equipment rental, found that 90 percent do not associate high pay and job security with trade schools.

Of those, 11 percent do associate trade school with a high-paying career for its graduates. A further 54 percent think that the trade school pay gap (the difference between the cost of education and income after graduation) is higher than it really is. The pay gap between trade school entry-level jobs and bachelor’s degree holders is $12,000. Most (54 percent) of respondents thought that it was more than $18,000.

According to the survey, the average annual starting pay of bachelor’s degree holders is $47,000, compared to $35,000 for starting pay at technical and trade school jobs.

Getting further into this data, 27 percent of respondents believed that trade schools leave students with less debt, 24 percent that they provide specialized learning college can’t provide, and 21 percent that it leaves to a job sooner. Additional choices, such as job security and access to high pay, received less than 20 percent of votes. The writers of the survey speculate that the remaining 47 percent who selected “none of the above” as an advantage might mean that people see a different advantage for trade schools, it’s also more likely that they still see college as the most financially secure path.

More information on the survey can be found here.

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