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3 Career Options for Trade School Graduates

3 min read

With the rising cost of education and the soaring student loan debt crisis, many people are opting for trade school educations over traditional college degrees. For one thing, trade schools typically cost a lot less than universities. Not only are the tuition rates cheaper, but they also take a lot less time to complete. But aside from the actual cost of the education, the shorter path of trade school also allows people to join the workforce sooner and start making respectable incomes. This is especially appealing to single moms or others with families who can’t afford to spend four or more years scraping by to get an education. But what are some of the best career options for trade school graduates? Let’s take a look.


A machinist is someone who works in places like machine shops, automobile part manufacturing plants, and other types of industrial companies. For example, they may be hired to produce industrial tungsten carbide wear parts in Saginaw, MI. Machinists also have many responsibilities in addition to producing parts, including operating computers and other machines, and maintaining strict safety and compliance guidelines. Many are skilled in electronics, computer engineering, and design.

Machining is one of the trades that is rapidly growing in the US because of the retiring baby boomers. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts about a 10% increase in the number of machinist jobs needed. Machinists can actually start working right out of high school with an apprenticeship if they can find someone willing to train them. But most find it more helpful to first attend a trade school or job corps training. The average national wage for a machinist is about $43,000 a year, but this does fluctuate a great deal, depending on location and experience.


Nursing could possibly be one of the most rewarding career fields anyone can pursue. Nurses are compassionate and dedicated professionals who care for the needs of patients in all kinds of health care settings. They might work in nursing homes, attending to the medical care of elderly patients. Or they might work in a medical flight facility, treating patients in emergency situations. Among other places they might work are schools, hospitals, doctor’s offices, or even insurance companies. Nurses often assist physicians in assessing symptoms, diagnosing conditions, and implementing plans for recovery.

To become a nurse, you can take several different paths. You can become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) by attending a one-year program at a community college or other training facility. Or you can become an registered nurse (RN) by completing either a two-year vocational program or a traditional four-year program to receive a bachelor’s degree. An RN usually makes around $70,000 per year, but this salary can be much higher, depending on factors like location, specialties, and experience.

Construction worker

Construction is a growing industry that has a fairly low barrier of entry. If you’re willing to start at the bottom with general labor, you may even be able to snag a job with only a high school diploma. However, for higher-paying positions, you’ll need to have an associate’s degree or certificate in a field such as construction or engineering. In these positions, you’ll likely be put in charge of ordering supplies and getting estimates such as perforated steel tubing quotes. You’ll also probably be helping with the actual construction processes of design and building.

All of these professions have opportunities for advancement through either training or education. For example, in construction, you can receive OSHA, Certified Safety Professional, or HAZMAT certificates. These will boost your resume credentials as well as possibly get you better pay.

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