Trade School Education for the Quick Transition

The tough economy is making it difficult for many recently unemployed workers to get work. Recent statistics show that more job-hunters are taking six months or more to find a new employment. Now, many job seekers are making career switches into more stable industries to avoid the long wait.

In many cases, switching to a new career means going back to school. For some people who need to find work immediately, taking traditional degree programs could be a problem.


Fortunately, there are ways to learn new skills without taking too much time off. The quickest option is “trade school education” — vocational or technical training programs focused on specific skills.


Quality issue


Although success is relative to the field of expertise, one of the leading vocational and technical institutions is Kaplan University, which boasts an 82% workforce placement rate when their students finish the program. If quality is the concern, vocational and technical institutions are able to provide quality education.


Money concerns


Trade education is also available in most community colleges. Community colleges have the resources to create specific training programs that will answer growing demands in the workplace, as they are usually the first institutions that receive government stimulus funding.

People who have a tight budget should never underestimate the value of vocational or technical training programs in community colleges.


Alternative option


Of course, some fields really require at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify. The good news is that more colleges and universities are providing a three-year option to earn your bachelor’s degree. This option will help you save time and tuition money.


Infrastructure Job Openings Growing


Recession lay-offs may be the common story these days, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t thriving industries out there. In fact, there are many new infrastructure job openings. Aside from the increasing demand in the industry, infrastructure jobs cannot be outsourced, thus providing added job security. Here are some of the top infrastructure job openings for anyone who’s interested:


  1. Reliability Engineer – Reliability or maintenance engineers are sought by municipalities and companies that need experts to maintain and troubleshoot problems in their infrastructure. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in civil engineering or other related courses, to break into this field. For an average reliability engineer, the salary is estimated at $86,800 annually.
  2. Telecommunications Field Engineer – These experts are responsible for installing broadband connections, telephone lines and wireless networks for clients. One distinct advantage of this position is that, unlike other engineering jobs, getting a certification program from a major provider like Cisco rather than a traditional four-year degree usually yields better success for applicants. In telecommunications, a field engineer’s salary is estimated at $75,500 per year.
  3. Security Consultant – These professionals ensure the safety of important data stored by companies or government institutions. For the average security consultant, the salary is estimated to be at $85,200 annually.
  4. Construction Project Manager – Stimulus-funded construction projects need someone to oversee development and make sure that they’re within the budget and on time. Workers with extensive experience in construction may qualify for this position by undergoing additional training programs. For the average construction project manager, the salary is estimated at $69,500 annually.
  5. Land Surveyor/Geomatic Technician – These people study proposed development sites and create digital maps that engineers use in construction projects. This infrastructure job opening is one of the highest-paying entry-level jobs. In fact, some people get into this line of work while still in college. The average annual salary in this field is estimated at $55,000.
  6. Computer Aided Designer – Experts in this field create and draw engineering plans using computer software. Many community colleges offer short courses specifically for this line of work. The average annual salary for computer-aided designers is $51,300.
  7. Water Treatment Operator – These professionals keep the city’s’ water supply clean. A four-year certification course is often enough to qualify for this infrastructure job opening. The average annual salary for water treatment operators is $41,100.

Job Perks May Include Education Assistance

These days, continuing one’s education is very important, as expanding skills keeps career options open. This promotes career growth and protects job security.


Of course, continuing your education will cost money. But don’t let the cost of education deter you from reaping the rewards of career growth. You may not have to spend much to get the education you need.


Education Assistance is a Job Perk


Although salary freezes are becoming more common, many companies use job perks for employee motivation. Education assistance is one of the more common job perks available, especially in the fields of business, telecommunications, IT, education and nursing. In fact, a research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 63% of surveyed employers offered undergraduate educational assistance, while 59% offered graduate educational assistance.


Why Education Assistance is a Hit


Employees who are willing to learn new skills are the workers who will likely accept and adapt to change better. And during trying economic times, flexible workers who embrace change become needed assets for any company.


Workers are encouraged to check with their HR department to see if the company offers job perks like education assistance. If they do, workers must also check which programs are covered.


The same principle holds true for those who are job hunting. It would be good to ask about job perks like education assistance or other training programs. Doing so could convince potential employers that you have long-term goals with the company. That sort of thinking could make you stand out among other applicants.


Worker Shortage Areas


With the unemployment rate nearing 10%, it’s easy to think that all job openings are already filled. However, even with 15 million job applicants looking for work, there are available job openings.


Positions for a number of healthcare job openings, “green” engineering job openings and even other science job openings for green energy-related fields are experiencing “worker shortage” despite offering hefty salaries and benefits.


Where more workers are needed


Career fields experiencing worker shortage require specific training. Labor analysts suggest that many industries and firms are in dire need of the following workers:


  • Health care workers (nurses, pharmacists, MRI technicians, health care administrators)
  • Botanical scientists
  • Geotechnical engineers
  • Physical therapists
  • Software sales representatives
  • Actuaries
  • Data analysts
  • Electrical engineers


Job Hunt Dilemma


Not everyone can instantly qualify for a job. Job-hunting these days doesn’t only mean applying at another company. Sometimes, it can also mean shifting to a totally new industry. If so, workers must find ways to learn new skills to meet qualification standards.


Fortunately, learning new skills is possible, as there are enough resources available for career training. Online degree programs, for instance, provide enough flexibility that adult students can finish requirements without compromising their other obligations. Community colleges also provide low-cost training programs for in-demand positions, particularly those funded by the government. With enough effort, you can beef up your skills and credentials to qualify for lucrative in-demand openings.

Career Change Tips

A career change may be necessary to find employment, especially when the job market is stagnant. In other cases, a career change is necessary for growth.


However, some people find it unthinkable to make a career change after many years of specialization. But there are options that can help you make the transition. A career change doesn’t necessarily mean pursuing work that’s very different from your field. Here are some career change suggestions:


  1. Pursue entrepreneurship – Entrepreneurship is a way of changing careers without changing your line of work. Assess your skills carefully and determine if you can service a particular need. A person working in the tax department of a company, for instance, may set up a tax service business for individuals or other small businesses.
  2. Pursue a different line of work within your company – A career change may not necessarily mean leaving your current place of work. You can ask your employer to reassign you to a new position that you feel could provide you more growth. This option is known as internal job hunting.
  3. Your knowledge and experience can be great for teaching – Many colleges and universities offer part-time teaching jobs to experienced professionals for specific fields.
  4. You can pursue a blogging job – These days, blogging is no longer just a hobby. Many companies pay experienced professionals to blog about their specialized knowledge.


Important Reminders When Pursuing a Career Change


When the job market is stagnant and job security is low, some people may feel that a career change is the best option for growth. However, a career change isn’t an immediate process. Here are some excellent reminders if you are thinking about a career change:


  1. Have a savings cushion – Setting aside extra savings is always important when making a career change. Pursuing a new line of work can mean additional training, entering education programs or earning professional certification for new skills and expanded credentials. If you’re pursuing entrepreneurship opportunities, you will need start-up capital. Having a savings cushion can help you with these expenses.
  2. Gain experience – If you have earned credentials to qualify for a new line of work, you may want to increase your chances of finding employment. You can do this by adding work experience to your resume. Gaining experience may mean taking an internship, pursuing part-time work or working with a mentor.
  3. Work your network – A recent placement study shows that networking is the best way to find new job openings. If you want to make your career change as convenient as possible, be sure to tap your network for referrals and important industry advice.