Blue collar stigma in a white collar society

Carpentry career offers many benefits


Peyton Sims

A student in wood shop works on a project in class. Students in courses that prepare them for a trade are given many opportunities that can benefit them in the job field.

Story by Bailey Hawkins, staff writer

Some students confide in their teachers that the easiest way for them to learn is through hands-on activities; whether that be working on a car engine, electrical circuits, hairstyling or even building architectural models, some students excel in these activities. I bet that many of these teens also confided that there is no way they could tell their parents that they’d rather pursue one of these occupations than go to college. 

For a lot of people, attending a four year university seems like an automatic choice when they graduate from high school. But college education poses many problems that most students are not prepared for. As of May 2018, about 44 million college graduates owed over $1.5 trillion in student debt. The average student borrower owes around $37,000 in debt

Also, many college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. The false assumption that having a college degree guarantees a high paying job has been drilled into our heads since childhood. But the reality is that in 2014, only 47% of college graduates had a full or part-time job. The remaining 53% were unemployed or working in a field that did not require a college degree.

Many college graduates are employed in jobs that do not require degrees. Some of these jobs include dental hygienists, power plant operators, commercial pilots, air traffic controllers and criminal investigators. Each of these jobs offers a salary over $70,000 a year. Since these jobs only require a high school degree and a short training period, a person could begin working soon after graduating high school. With no need for a college education, the stress of thousands of dollars of student debt is taken off their shoulders. 

One specific college free career that offers a good salary and even better benefits is a carpenter. Carpenters make an average of $45,170 annually. With the lowest paid carpenters making an annual salary of $34,740 and the top 10% of carpenters making a whopping $60,180 a year. Since most carpenters work out of home or at family owned businesses, it is easy to arrange your work days and hours to best fit your schedule.

There are currently over 978,000 carpenters in the United States and no shortage of job opportunities in sight. By 2026, the number of carpenters in the United States is expected to grow to over 1.1 million. These numbers are so high because carpenters are responsible for building everything you see. From placing framework for a house to installing windows and drywall, carpenters do it all. Bowie county alone has 150 carpenters, which goes to show that a carpentry career in this area is promising.

When making the decision on what you’d like to do after high school, take into account a career in carpentry. Research carpenters to see if this profession is right for you. There is no reason to turn down a good salary and flexible schedule with employee benefits. Begin researching careers to see if they are degree free. It might just save you several thousand dollars.