Go for an apprenticeship and get paid to learn a new trade

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Are you afraid to make the leap into the middle-skills market because you don’t have the funds to cover your education? Consider taking an apprenticeship, where you can earn a living while you learn skills to apply to your trade of choice.

Think about it, the U.S. needs more workers to replace a retiring generation of plumbers, electricians, welders and other middle-skilled jobs that are in high demand. Beyond blue collar jobs, there are also apprenticeships available in growth industries like clean energy and healthcare.

RELATED: Here’s why you should become an apprentice.

Apprenticeships usually take between one and four years to complete, depending on the trade. They offer classroom instruction and practical on-the-job training which makes for a powerful one-two punch of skills-based learning. And they come with a steady paycheck, unlike accruing college debt for a college degree, which can take decades to pay off.

Though apprenticeships are usually associated with blue collar work (10 of the top apprenticeships are connected to construction) WorkingNation wants you to consider these career pathways which are also accessed by the apprenticeship model:

  • Clean energy jobs are spreading quickly and there is a shortage of workers in this sector. For example, wind turbine technicians ($51,000 median salary) are the fastest-growing occupation with a projected 108% increase over the next seven years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • You can also train to become a solar panel technician and make about $39,000 a year.
  • Many apprenticeships in the healthcare industry can be completed in about a year, which means making the transition to a new career won’t be as time-consuming as a four-year college degree.

Finding apprenticeships takes some research and the application process can be time-consuming, but the effort you put into it will pay off in the long run. According to the BLS, people who complete apprenticeships report higher lifetime career earnings.

Apprenticeships offer a winning solution to uplifting a generation of workers because guaranteed career placement, steady wages and zero student debt is a secure pathway to the middle class and a comfortable retirement.

Here’s how to get started:

MORE from WorkingNation: The Apprentice: The White House Edition

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