College and the lack of tradesmen

This is an interesting time. There seems to be a push from all directions to get a college degree. This isn’t a bad thing by any means. But there is a curious situation developing because of this college craze. The United States seems to be lacking tradesmen. A tradesman is an individual who works in manual or skilled labor. These are your electricians, carpenters, plumbers, welders, etc. These are the jobs you typically wouldn’t go to college to get a degree for.

As of August of 2019, the Department of Labor reports the U.S. as having 7.1 million job openings. With so many job openings, why aren’t there more tradesmen? America has become convinced that sending our children to college is a good thing. It certainly can be, but let’s look at some numbers, shall we?

According to, the average pay for a carpenter is $28.60 per hour. Assuming you or someone you know works a full 40 hours a week, you could stand to make roughly $55K a year. Perhaps you’re good and on the higher end of the salary line. At $49 per hour, a journeyman can make around $94K per year. And, if you’re union, you get medical benefits and a retirement fund. If this is your route, private employers can pay for additional education.

It has been said before that college is expensive. That’s because it is. College Data reports the university has an annual cost of about $34,700. A bachelor’s degree takes about four years. Do the math. That’s $138,800. Yes, there is financial aid that can help cover costs, but that’s still a hefty amount of money. Why dig yourself into a possible hole getting an education in something you might not work in?

Tradesmen are sorely needed right now, however. The American labor force has dwindled significantly. Fortunately, this leaves a nice opportunity open for people who want to work. If you think college isn’t for you or a loved one, do some research about skilled labor. There is plenty of work, and it’s a lot cheaper to get trained in than a college education.

Derek San Filippo

Derek San Filippo

Derek is a freelance writer who spends his off time either working with his rescue animals or writing children’s books. He lives in San Diego with his beautiful wife ... Web: Details