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ON: If you choose a trades career- and want a general education

Posted 04-01-2021 at 09:43 AM by Blondebaerde

Originally Posted by jtab4994 View Post
I only lasted one year in college yet I am smarter and better informed (I dare say) than most people who have a 4 year college degree or better.

If you work as a welder (for example) you'll make more money than most mere college graduates.
If you work as a welder you can still read newspapers and books to educate yourself.
If you work as a welder but you still need or want that piece of paper saying you're educated then go for it, but realize that an AA degree from a county college may still get the stink eye from the waiter who went to Columbia.
Blogging, as my reply is a bit caustic:

The level of questionable counsel in comments like this makes my skin crawl.

As a professional in STEM and manager for 31 years, I've worked with more than a few who somehow seem to believe themselves "smarter and better informed" than those with four year, Master's, and Ph.D. in relevant/non-fluffy subjects. They're the smartest (wo)men in the room: just ask them, they'll tell you. Decades on, I'm curious why most dropouts are still toiling yet those with four year and graduate degrees are senior to executive management? (Looks around): Odd, per C-D's own data for neighborhoods like Medina, Bellevue, and Kirkland WA w/median home value +$1M the median income is (about) $110K, yet 40% of the major jobs are in business, management, and tech. 3% in trades.

Theory: trades are great for a solid middle-class life. Live the American dream, may want to choose again. That's the reality of 21st Century America which mostly favors work that is "applied knowledge." Applied skills...less so.

As suspected, welding has one of the higher death and injury rates in construction. Hard, hot, heavy work on long shifts. The information is right out there, starting with USBLS: Exposure to heat and toxic gases. Awkward physical positions. Occasional hazardous environments. Combine with diving or in space, the dangers compound.

That's all fine and good, many trades involve environmental hazards and physical hardship, but as others point out given sufficient time the body wears out. I'm reminded of pipe fitters and other physical laborers I worked with in my teens and early 20s in construction: not many last beyond their 30s, somewhat arbitrarily. They go indoors at that point, if possible. I'm 53 with no time for heavy and hard labor, and haven't gone near it in 10-15 years as it tears a body up.

While not suggesting there is anything wrong per se with welding, this is telling:

"The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a group within the Department of Labor, classifies welders along with similar occupations like cutters and brazers, into a single job category. The BLS reports this category earns a median salary (the middle point of all salaries) of $42,490 a year, which equates to a bit more than $20 per hour."
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