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Blue-Collar Jobs Like Plumbing Pay $90,000 Without a College Degree, and It's Driving More Workers to Trade School

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Trade schools are now touting how blue-collar professionals such as plumbers, electricians, and mechanics make more money than workers whose roles require bachelor’s degrees, Bloomberg reported. While the average pay of some of these occupations totals $52,000, specialized jobs, including aircraft mechanics and heavy-equipment technicians, can surpass $100,000. Bloomberg reported plumbers in Atlanta earn $90,000 in wages and commissions — a salary that’s 70% higher than the region’s average income.
Though college grads still earn more than their non-graduate peers, avoiding student debt could make trade schools more appealing. Many trade programs are covered in part by employers, and state-sponsored programs in Michigan and Georgia offer trade degrees tuition-free.
In addition to local governments and trade schools, businesses are also acknowledging that four-year degrees may not be necessary to get a high-paying job. Prominent business leaders such as Siemens USA CEO Barbara Humpton and Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly dismissed the idea that four-year degrees guarantee career-readiness. Cook even said half of Apple’s new hires in 2018 did not hold a four-year degree.

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