More students turning to technical colleges for ‘affordability’ and ‘prevalent experience’

Enrollment at four-year universities has been steadily declining in recent years and it seems technical colleges are reaping the benefits. Over the past decade, apprenticeships registered with the Department of Labor have risen by 64%.

Technical colleges are not a new concept or even a new college alternative. In fact, institutions like Bates Technical College in Tacoma have taught trade programs for the past 80 years. It’s also one of five technical colleges funded by the state of Washington.

“We as an institution have to “have our acts together”. We need to have our curriculum solid in line with the industry standards,” said Steve MacKay, longtime instructor for Sheet Metal Technology at Bates Technical College.

Career paths offered at institutes like this offer many benefits compared to traditional four-year Universities. Programs are much shorter, experience is more prevalent, and the cost is more affordable.

For reference, Bates Technical College gave KIRO 7 a breakdown of what it would cost to go to a public four-year University in Washington versus how much money an apprentice could make in their first year of Sheet Metal.

The breakdown notes that the final cost of attending a four-year University and receiving a degree with little to no real-world experience will cost about $57,385.00.

In their first year as sheet metal apprentices, workers will make about $75,215.00 with over $100,000 earned by their fourth year.

You can explore the breakdown, here.

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