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Missing opportunities?

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Simple question before I decide to jump in this career field. Does going to trade school offer job opportunities that you can’t get going straight into an apprenticeship?
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· Hackenschmidt
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Simple question before I decide to jump in this career field. Does going to trade school offer job opportunities that you can’t get going straight into an apprenticeship?
Unfortunately it's not a simple question at all, because so much depends on your specific situation and opportunities. You have to look at your education as an investment of your time and money and decide if it really pays. As an adult responsible for your own life, you will want to do this research before you invest years of your time and borrow thousands of dollars.

Short answer, IMO and based on what I see locally, trade school seldom your best investment of time and money, and some of them are terrible.

For example, consider if you can get into an IBEW apprenticeship now or in the next year or two, you can be making so so wages with great benefits soon, and top wages and great benefits for thirty years after that, with a highly regarded classroom program included. If that's the case then it's very unlikely that trade school will improve your opportunities enough to justify the investment in time and money.

Every pizza place in town uses the same boxes that say "BEST PIZZA IN TOWN." But in reality, most of them actually suck. If a trade school can open doors to better jobs that you can't get otherwise, there's a good chance it could pay for itself. But they ALL say they can open doors for you that way, and can be very convincing prospects about it - it's in every school's sales pitch. Don't go by what it says on pizza boxes, or what the admissions / salesperson tells you. Don't go by online reviews either, which are very easy to work. You have to talk to prospective employers that will give you an honest answer about what jobs the trade school completion will open up to you.

Also, very often a community college will have a program that opens the exact same doors, but costs much less. In fact an associate's degree from an accredited college will usually open up more opportunities than a certificate or diploma from a trade school will. The local community colleges have programs in industrial automation that cost about $10,000.00 for two years and land graduates great jobs. That's an excellent investment of their time and money.
 

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IBEW Local 659
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Simple question before I decide to jump in this career field. Does going to trade school offer job opportunities that you can’t get going straight into an apprenticeship?
I'll second Splatz' position, I've never met any contractor that valued an education over hands on experience in the trades.

I'm currently 3rd year in the IBEW apprenticeship and of the 100ish guys in here I don't know any that got in with any kind of trade school background.

I was working non union when I interviewed. I didn't get ranked, they called me with a job offer on my way home from the interview. The other top candidates that ranked highly or bypassed the ranking entirely were guys working construction when they applied.

A lot of what we do day to day as electricians are things that other trades do as well (measuring, drilling, cutting, hand and power tool use etc). Not only that but the working environments have a lot of overlap. Demonstrating that you can tolerate the working conditions and read a tape measure is a lot of what they're after when deciding who to invest in for an apprenticeship.

They can teach the fundamentals of DC theory in a few classroom sessions. What they're not interested in doing is trying to start from scratch when it comes to your work ethic and attitude. Show them you've got what it takes by going out there and getting your hands dirty.
 

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Retired EC and Fuel distribution contractor
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I dropped out of college after 3 semesters, I wish I had not.

I didn't go to any trade school, I wish I had.

Training/schooling allows you to advance faster than those that don't have it, but good work attitude, working with alacrity, just a PMA (positive mental attitude) gets you the farthest.
 
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Our local technical college offers job placement for graduates. BMW the largest employer in our area does hire out of tech/community college. But these jobs are robotics and other highly technical fields. I can see where hands on field experience would make for the very best candidiates.
BMW pays the best money in the area as well.
 

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Our local technical college offers job placement for graduates. BMW the largest employer in our area does hire out of tech/community college. But these jobs are robotics and other highly technical fields. I can see where hands on field experience would make for the very best candidiates.
BMW pays the best money in the area as well.
I just saw that a car plant helped sponsored a tech school to be built next to the plant and hire right out of school. Let’s hope this trend keeps on.
 

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I just went to work straight out of high school. I don't see the benefit of a trade school unless you are also working in the field. If you are a good student and you have a good boss, you will learn a lot.

I did do one year of IBEW apprenticeship schooling that was very helpful because it was taught by journeymen.
 
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