College Degree Or Skilled Trade Certificate?

Discussion in 'Education & Learning' started by Hal Pollner, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    Those who pay tuition for a 4 or 5-year College Degree may have Student Loan payments for up to 10 years after they get their degrees. Only after settling their loan can they enjoy the income they studied for.

    A Skilled Trade Apprentice may also have to spend 4 or 5 years before he earns his Certificate for Journeyman Status, but from the very first day of his training, he is being PAID, and has no Student Loans.

    The incomes of some Skilled Trades rival College-trained positions, depending on the demand for their trades.

    Go to an affluent community...who lives there?

    Doctors, Attorneys, Computer Programmers...and Plumbers!
    Hal
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    After several years in college, only a couple of semesters full-time, I wasn't following any particular degree plan so I have no degrees. After completing an EMT, EMT-Special Skills (Intermediate), and EMT-Paramedic program, I was certified as an EMT. EMT-SS, and then EMT-Paramedic, later getting licensure as a Paramedic. I helped to develop the first EMS-Instructor and EMS-Coordinator course in Texas, and so was grandfathered as an EMS Instructor and EMS Coordinator. Not having a degree did not prevent me from being the program chairman for the Emergency Medical Technology program at a state college, over two campuses. I became a Paramedic before there was any such thing as a degree program for it, but my students were able to earn degrees.
     
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  3. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    For me, becoming knowledgeable and proficient in the commoner skilled trades, plumbing, electrical, welding, machining, carpentry was necessary if I was going to be able to complete my chosen project. Those typically were automobile related, as a teen, but career-related when I used those abilities to design and build manufacturing plant automated equipment. My last two big assignments were for Penn Athletic Div., General Tire and Rubber Co., maker of tennis and racquet balls. Unfortunately, "Paranoid-Penn" allowed no photos to be taken, and required blueprints we were working on while designing be locked up when we went home. Thus, I can only briefly describe: The "Buff and Spray" which loaded tennis ball halves from vibratory feeders into 6-cavity holders mounted on an 8-foot turntable with fixed grinding stations. Cycle time was 4 seconds, 3 to perform the operation, 1 sec. to index the table. Each machine replaced at least 20 on the payroll.

    The other, the infamous "Felt Stripper" had been attempted by several machine-building firms without guarantee-of-performance clauses, and failed, costing Penn several hundred-thousand dollars. Via the Rubber Manufacturer's Association of which both Penn and my previous company, Dana Corporation, were members, Penn learned of our having built an automated oil seal molding machine in Churubusco, IN. The Director of R&D flew to Ft. Wayne, interviewed first my co-worker, Bruce, hired him, then less than 6 months later, interviewed me, both of us securing Project Engineer positions with Penn in Phoenix. Our moving expenses were, of course, fully-paid. I took their offer in 1978; I was 36 years old, making my highest salary yet.

    The big machine which prompted Penn to believe we could design and build what they needed was this:

    [​IMG]
    During construction. Girl my wife's sister, then 15. Big silver box is the oven, containing a giant turntable holding 60 mold carriers, which are indexed by the turntable outside the oven having oil seal channels, and uncured rubber placed in their molds, then loaded by the hydraulic press, which we custom-designed (it's parts were machined by Danly Machine Specialties, Cicero, IL), to 30,000 lb., locked closed, and moved into the oven for curing.


    Below, the press & index table, with several mold carriers shown.
    [​IMG]


    Below, the press close-up. Curved traversing beams picked up carriers in the oven, bringing them out into the press, where they were unlocked, next held in open position, then moved to outside index table. There the finished oil seal was blown off, new parts added, then into press again to be locked, then into the oven. Operating continuously, the machine produced 22,000 oil seals per day.
    [​IMG]

    I drove the forklift when we assembled the press, Bruce guiding the lower and upper platens into place. Forget now exactly, but each platen weighed about 3000 lbs. The mold carriers weighed 70 lbs. each. There were 72 in the system for a combined weight of 5000 lbs. Obviously everything was built enormously strong.

    The machine, which we named "Quanta", received a United States Patent, under Dana's name, of course!
    Thanks for enduring my drivel! Frank

    Edit: I intended to mention why Dana was so anxious to build this machine. The then cost to produce an average part was over thirteen cents each. Quanta was projected to make them for 1.6 cents each. Given that Management was faced with difficult times then, our abilities were in high demand, though old hard-liners claimed it couldn't work. They did less than we to salvage the company's oil seal division, however.
     
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  4. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Well-Known Member
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    Very interesting post, Frank. Unbelievable what it takes to produce those beloved felt balls. As a tennis player I was using Penn balls very often in the 90s and thought they were good value. Don't know if they are still being used. I was pleased to have those and took it for granted that they were doing their job but it didn't occur to me to think longer about the effort it takes to make them. So thanks a lot for having contributed to uncountable fine hours I spent on the tennis court.
     
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  5. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    Frank, you have written an impressive photo-essay, which unfortunately has nothing to do with my thread which is meant to discuss College vs Trade School or Apprenticeship.

    Hal
     
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  6. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Hal Pollner
    Maybe so, especially if you interpret it that way. My point was that having had no formal skilled-trades schooling, no apprenticeship, no old-timer guiding me, I was able to do many skilled-trade jobs having self-taught those skills by reading (a lot), asking many questions, and working with my hands as well as my head.

    I attended no Trade School, took College Courses at night, and finally received my Bachelor of Science in Engineering at age 34. I had learned the skilled trades before I turned 20. Those skills enabled me to design and build, and I posted to prove it can be done without skilled trades formal education.
    Frank
     
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  7. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Veteran Member
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    I went through a 4 year apprenticeship to become a tool and die maker. This included classes at our local college as well as on the job training. I not only made good pay but the skills I learned have been helpful at home too.

    I think a college degree is way over-rated. Especially a degree which doesn't lead to a high paying job.
     
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  8. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    College has been made that way by government in the U.S. at least. The schools now all are geared to get people into college, but not necessarily graduate from such. Many of the professors who teach the teachers in the public schools are not themselves allowed to teach in those schools. A physics professor at Harvard is not qualified in most stated to teach high school physics. How stupid is that? I don't believe many people want a surgeon who has not had college anatomy, a lawyer who cannot been trained in reading law, or an engineer with no formal college-level math skills, but that does not mean that one cannot have a productive life at good wages without going to college. I have 6 children, of which 5 went to college, and one went to a trade/tech school. 4 of the five worked in the fields they went to college for, but only 3 are now doing so. The trade school attendee had almost no student loan debt, and is making as much as most of his siblings. However, the engineer and the business manager have POTENTIAL to earn more over their lifetimes, while the trade school graduate has a much slower rate of climb and nowhere to go without a lot of additional education.

    There are benefits to both paths, but the individual should choose the path that will give them the most satisfaction.
     
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  9. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Well-Known Member
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    Our educational system both secondary and tertiary (and perhaps primary as well) is out of joint. And that is chiefly because parents have too much of a say, i.e., they put pressure on the decision makers including taking legal action to ensure that their kids can go to senior high school although they are not fit to pass exams. The result is that both standards are lowered and social grades, i.e. not based on actual achievement, are given to make them pass.

    The same happens at college or university level. A lot of students currently enrolled are not capable of meeting academic standards. So all sorts of extra-curricular prep courses (especially maths and native language) need to be offered to raise them to the required level. Once they are accepted, though, social grades are given again just to make sure they get the (usually) first degree. This pressure on professors to give social grades goes right up to awarding doctoral degrees. For years there has been a trend that any doctoral student gets at least the second best grade possible for his work. The whole range of grades does not seem to exist any longer.

    Students, on the other hand, find studying attractive and associate it with having a lot of fun, partying, not having to get up early in the morning, being able to dress casually all day long, long semester breaks, leading an independent and more worry-free life than having to clock in early in the morning every day. This attitude is reflected by the courses of studies way too many of them choose: gender studies, sociology, political science, cultural studies and a lot of other soft options. Most of them will have to be retrained in order to learn something proper and marketable after graduation. The root of the problem is that, due to parental pressure and as a result of political decisions, more than 50% of a generation are nowadays allowed to attend senior high school. It is, however, a myth that more than 50 % of a population are eligible to tertiary education nor is that necessary for a lot of trades to be learned provided junior high school education is well-organised and effective.
    Parents still argue that without completing senior high school their kids wouldn't earn enough money later on. By telling their kids that it was necessary to go to university, parents are effectively discouraging too many young people from doing an apprenticeship and from learning a trade, thus very often demanding and expecting too much of them. What is also true is that for quite a number of jobs you need to be formally qualified limiting the choice for those who are not.

    There are poor academics as there are poor skilled workers. Yet it is not true that all skilled workers and craftsmen don't earn enough. Yes, they may have a harder time in times of crisis and not all of them were well-paid. This has been changing now and quite often it's the same over here as Hal wrote above: in decent areas you find as many doctors, lawyers, IT-specialist as you find craftsmen living in their own house.
    This whole trend of academization can only be changed if skilled workers are generally paid more and if their image is improved by a variety of measures.
     
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  10. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Veteran Member
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    Very true (in red), as well as those that do get a major degree than decide not to use it. A young people I have talked to had done just that, or they tried the career that they got the major degree for, didn't like it, and quit the job to look for something totally different than their degree was.
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Parents are involved, to an extent, I am sure, but I think it's more than that. The entire American educational system has been focused on degree programs. Beyond that even, American industry has been encouraged to require degrees even for positions that wouldn't otherwise require a degree.

    As American manufacturing declined, degrees became important, not for the purpose of earning higher wages, but being able to find a job at all. If it continues, we will eventually find ourselves in the position that India is in, where college degrees are required for minimum-wage jobs.

    In or parent's generation and, to a slightly lesser extent, our generation, someone could earn a decent living, owning their own home, raising a family, and having money left over to save for retirement, all with a high school diploma, or not even that. Now we have illegal immigrants taking those jobs, which no longer pay as well as they once did.

    Also contributing to the problem are government programs that force the taxpayers to pay kids to attend college, and many of them do that in lieu of a job. When I was the program chairman of the emergency medical technology program for Texas State Technical College, nearly half of every incoming class was made up of people who didn't want to be EMTs or paramedics. They were there because they were being paid to attend school, and they thought the EMT program would be easy.

    Through Pell Grants, not only was their tuition paid by the taxpayers, but they were given student housing, and they actually collected a paycheck for attending school. After a couple of difficult quarters, I began giving one of my most difficult tests within two weeks of the start of the class, while they still had time to transfer to another program, and was able to pass on much of the sludge to someone else that way.

    Still, only about half of my students passed, which was a record that was always counted against me by the beancounters in the college administration, but every single person who passed my class was able to pass the state certification or national licensure exam. I didn't have a single failure in the six years that I ran the program. There were a few who failed it the first time, but they were able to pass it on a re-test. Unfortunately, since they had already completed my program by the time they sat for the state or national test, that wasn't a statistic that meant anything to the beancounters.

    I was in line behind the college president during a graduation ceremony one time, and overheard him talking about what a great job the nursing assistant program chair was doing, because every one of her students was on the Dean's List. Well, she took in no more than twelve students a quarter and had a full-time instructor besides herself. At the time, I had two campuses, each of which took in about a hundred students a quarter, and I had only a part-time teaching staff, other than myself. Still, the Dean's List was a statistic they could understand, and it was one that counted. Had I given everyone an A, they would have probably been happy, and maybe no one would have noticed that most of them were never certified or licensed as EMTs or paramedics.

    More than the parents, I think the problem with our educational system - at every level - is the educational system itself. As they are allowed to regulate themselves, and to set the priorities, their main goal is to become larger and more powerful.
     
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  12. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Veteran Member
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    After my wife got her two AA Degrees, she found out just how much more salary she'd get, working in Accounting, if she got her Bachelor's Degree in it, so she went for that. She graduated from a State University with a Bachelors at age 47 and obtained herself a nice paying job working as an Accountant. She was still paying off her Student Loans after we met in 2000. All paid off now.

    She has worked in Accounting for companies where a Bachelors Degree was required by the company and management. She's been a Financial Analyst, Senior Accountant, worked in QA and is now back working in Accounting. She's worked in manufacturing, banking and now in insurance. Her resume' is really, really impressive.

    For me, only a high school degree and a few online courses in Purchasing and Inventory Management. Highest salary I ever made, which is a little embarrassing to mention, was $14.75 per hour in 2007. Spent numerous years working in warehouse/shipping/receiving/stockroom and was totally ready to go into Purchasing and Inventory with my own office, phone and computer as a Materials Coordinator.
     
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  13. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Thomas Stearn
    Great post! It drove me to look at your profile for the first time; admittedly, I am lax in doing that usually, and if the new member has taken time (or wants) to make a tiny "self-declaration", it eases and improves others' ability to communicate with them.

    But, I wondered as I read your post, whether you were speaking of the U.S., or U.K., (having thought erroneously that was your location, by your profile), so am curious, which country's educational system were you speaking of?
    Frank
     
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  14. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    Very informative, both from a content standpoint, and a personal philosophy based on your interaction with students. Your name might be considered synonymous with that of Henry Bowman.....;)
    Frank
     
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  15. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I'm not familiar with the reference.
     
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  16. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    I thought you might not be, but on the chance you were, you would instantly understand the reference. Fictitious character in an historical novel which details the life's encounters of the son of a WW-II Vet, the brother of whom was involved in the Hooverville debacle.

    Henry Bowman's father was a Flight Instructor in Florida whose record of turning out pilots of excellency was higher than any other. He achieved that fact by circumventing bureaucratic intereference largely, was not well-liked by other instructors, had far fewer pilots he had trained become lost in action statistics. He instilled his general life philosophy in his son Henry.

    Henry taught a class on personal self-defense as an elective while in college. The class consisted mainly of young women. A few took the class because they had been personally assaulted. Henry revealed amazing facts and thoughts which leapt out at me as absolutely true, once you considered them, but they had never dawned on me before.

    I think you would find the book to be most satisfying reading. "Unintended Consequences", by John Ross. Accurate Press, St. Louis, 1996.
    Frank
     
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  17. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Well-Known Member
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    @Frank Sanoica
    Thanks for reading. :) I'm sorry, Frank, I didn't want to cause confusion. I was under the illusion that almost everyone writing here knew by now that I am from Germany/Europe. I'd mentioned that in my introduction to the forum and one click on my profile as well as the language reveal that on the spot. I often write "over here" so as to remind readers. But you're right, I should have mentioned at the beginning of my post that I was talking about the German educational system. Will do so in the future.
    I wrote that post since it seems that the question raised in this thread is a relevant one in all western countries and I wanted to explain what the reasons for the respective choice are in my country hoping that it would help readers to compare and that it would show some similarities and possibly some differences to those writing here about the US system. I find such a comparison interesting.
     
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  18. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I am guessing that the educational problems in Germany aren't that much different than in the United States.
     
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  19. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Well-Known Member
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    That's my impression as well and why I wrote this post.
     
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  20. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    I would personally take Apprenticeship and getting paid for learning a trade over going to College only to use the degree I earned to pay off Student loans for basically the rest of my life.
     
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  21. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    You've got something there, Barbara! (Babs)

    Harold (Hal)
     
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  22. Neville Telen

    Neville Telen Well-Known Member
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    After reading all the whining of college grads on reddit concerning lack of jobs for their degrees, combined with the outrageous cost of them, I'd say trade schools are the best choice, followed maybe by community (free) colleges. The brand name universities are an expensive crapshoot.
     
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