When we think of someone working in the trades, we often picture a blue-collar worker with a lower pay grade. The entertainment industry and media always seem to portray it this way. Those with college degrees live in a nice big house with a manicured lawn. They go on fancy trips and dine at the finest restaurants. A tradesperson is often portrayed as having a large family with a tiny house, living paycheck to paycheck. It’s no wonder why we fear our kid’s future if they don’t go into college. In society, college equals success and working a trade equals a life of barely getting by. 

This portrayal is a huge misconception. Trade and certifications can indeed lead to a more stable and lucrative career.

Research shows that you will be three times more successful if your job contains at least 75% of what you naturally like to do.

Think about it. We readily pay for services when our plumbing doesn’t work, our air conditioning breaks down, our car needs repairs, or we want a new hairstyle. We seek out workers who love their jobs and get great reviews from their clients.

It’s important to know that trade jobs are not just mechanics, construction workers, plumbers, and hairdressers. There are other careers, such as:

  • Computer Programmer
  • Civil Engineer Technologist
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Computer Network Specialist
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Criminal Investigator

How do you decide if your teen should consider a trade or certification versus a college degree? Here are some considerations:

  • Is your teen up for the rigor of college? 
  • Does their career of interest require a college degree? 

In the IT industry, many employers require certifications because colleges cannot keep up with the latest technology. By the time you get a computer science degree, technology has changed.

A high school junior I worked with, Donovan, wanted to go to college because that’s what society expects after graduation. His parents knew college wasn’t a good fit for him, but they were unsure how to guide him to a career that would excite him. In working with Donovan, we found that a career in cybersecurity would be a great fit for him. Then we researched cybersecurity certifications. Donovan was highly motivated to pursue this career when he saw he could get a basic cybersecurity certification in less than a year and a job with a starting annual salary of $60,000. Plus, the job growth is 30% in cybersecurity. The options for Donvan’s future were so bright just by getting a certification.

Is trade school or a certification the right choice for every teen? Of course not. Our goal as parents should be to help our teens identify the careers that will bring them success. Schedule a complimentary College Assessment Plan call for help with determining the best future path for your teen.