Four-year college may no longer be the only option for a successful career according to Forbes magazine. Based on findings from a new study by Third Way, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, not all four-year college students will earn a higher salary than the average high school graduate. According to the study, students from half of U.S. colleges and universities who graduated in 2018 are making less than $28,000 per year. This finding directly contradicts the widely accepted opinion that attending four-year college guarantees a higher salary and increased job satisfaction.
The reality is that higher education isn’t the only path to success — skilled labor is an alternative to four-year college that could be the path for you.
What is skilled labor?
Skilled labor requires specialized knowledge and experience to carry out complex physical or mental tasks that lie outside a routine office job. In the past, skilled labor was most commonly associated with the manufacturing and trades industries, but now, the term has expanded to include the healthcare and technology sectors as well.
This means that you can pursue meaningful career education related to your craft or passion without attending traditional college. With on-the-job training and certifications — enabling you to earn money while you learn and train —skilled labor careers are becoming an attractive alternative to the four-year degree.
Choosing not to pursue traditional schooling can be a difficult decision, which is why we launched STL.works: to help St. Louisans learn how skilled labor can take their interests to the next level. If you’re not sure skilled labor is the right fit for you, read our What is STL.works? blog to learn more about the benefits of pursuing a skilled trade.
What are skilled labor jobs in St. Louis?
Now that you know what skilled labor means in today’s economy, here’s a quick rundown of careers in technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and the trades in St. Louis:
- In manufacturing, you combine a passion for engineering and modern technology to solve complex problems in positions like machinists and quality control inspectors.
- If you enjoy creating with your hands and understanding the building blocks of our society, explore opportunities in carpentry or as an automotive mechanic.
- For those looking to improve the health of others, positions in healthcare like medical assistants and pharmacy technicians could be for you.
- If you would like to investigate the inner workings of technical systems and gadgets, a career as a technical support specialist or web developer could be just what you’re searching for.
For a complete list of what professional opportunities await you as a skilled worker, check out our blog, Which industries need skilled labor?.
How do I get started?
If you’re ready to pursue your career in the manufacturing, tech, healthcare, or trades industries, STL.works can get you where you want to go. Take our quick career assessment quiz to help you find jobs aligned with your interests and connect with companies in St. Louis looking to hire dedicated candidates like you. Find out what you need to get started today at our STL.works resources page, including training, apprenticeships, and job opportunities.
With STL.works, investing in your future career in skilled labor can pay off.