Have you heard the phrase, “getting an education is the key to success”? And have you ever tried to decipher what this means? When I hear the word “education,” the first thing that comes to mind is someone who chooses to go to college and pursue a degree. However, getting an education can also include going through a certification program and following a tradesman’s path. Today’s norm is to attend college, but have you considered taking an alternative path? If so, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of every educational path you are considering and use labor market information to influence your decision.
College: College may be the safest option, but is it the best option for you? Remember that choosing to attend college is a long-term and expensive commitment. You should attend college if you have a specific career path in mind. However, college is rigorous, and you should be prepared to adjust your plans periodically. College is a great place to take advantage of all it has to offer, including a rigorous academic education, access to the college’s career and development office, and a network of the college’s alumni.
Trade: Another career path you can choose is to pursue a trade. There are many options to choose from, such as becoming a plumber, electrician, welder, or HVAC technician. These are alternative career options with many job opportunities that offer above-average wages for the Gulf Coast Region. Programs for these trades range from six months to four years to become certified. However, many of these trades allow you to take a hands-on approach while in a program. If you prefer a hands-on, trial-and-error way of learning, pursuing a trade might be the right educational path for you. Additionally, there is currently a shortage of individuals seeking trade programs, giving you more opportunities right off the bat.
Ultimately, it comes down to various factors: time, money, preferences, and interests. With the cost of education rising year after year, it is critical to evaluate the potential debt you will incur based on the educational path you select.
Whichever educational path you choose, a great place to start looking for labor market information is on our website by taking a closer look at the High-skill, High-growth Occupations. Here, we highlight careers in the areas projected to have ongoing employment opportunities within the next ten years.
Jason Rodriguez is a Career Navigator for a Workforce Solutions. He is a graduate from the College of the Holy Cross where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chinese and a Minor in Anthropology. Jason is a native Houstonian with a passion for helping others to find a job, keep a job, or get a better job.