How to Get an Apprenticeship and Avoid Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt in the United States has been a growing concern for a very long time. Today’s total student debt soars over $1.7 trillion, with the average college graduate owing $20,000 to $25,000. If you’re contemplating your higher education journey or giving advice to someone who is, it’s crucial to weigh the alternatives to traditional college that could significantly lower your financial burden.

One of the most popular ways to do this is participating in an apprenticeship program. Not only does this offer a practical path to a satisfying career, but they also alleviate the financial burden commonly connected with higher education.

The Apprenticeship Advantage: Real-World Learning

Apprenticeships merge hands-on activities with a theoretical foundation. In contrast to traditional higher education that might leave you smothered in student loan debt, apprenticeships enable you to “earn while you learn.” These programs haven’t been fully utilized in the past but are gaining renewed focus from employers and academic institutions as they understand the value of practical experience in career development.

Why the Resurgence in Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship programs aren’t just about debt avoidance; they’re also about employability and skill mastery. Traditional degree programs commonly focus on theoretical knowledge, which is definitely important but lacks the real-world application that employers want. Apprenticeships bridge this gap by making you job-ready and outfitting you with the tools needed to excel in your desired field right away.

Apprenticeship Paths: Trade and Academic

Learning the types of apprenticeships available can help you make a more informed decision. Here’s a breakdown of the two main options.

Trade Apprenticeships

These programs prepare you for careers where a college degree is typically not needed. While society’s emphasis on higher education has caused a decline in these types of apprenticeships, the lack of skilled tradespeople has created a surge in demand and, as a result, higher salaries.

The Department of Labor reports that apprentices in trade fields earn around $15 per hour throughout training, or $31,200 yearly if training full time. When the program is completed, the average apprentice may earn the following salaries upon joining the workforce:

    • Electrician: $49,840
    • Plumber and pipe-fitter: $49,140
    • HVAC technician: $43,640
    • Solar panel installer: $37,900
    • Auto mechanic: $36,610
    • Construction worker: $30,000 to $45,000

Academic Apprenticeships

Academic institutions are increasingly integrating apprenticeships in their degree programs, particularly for fields like engineering, health care and information technology (IT). The pros are two-fold: students obtain real-world experience while fulfilling academic requirements, and they earn a wage, reducing the need for loans.

How to Find an Apprenticeship

A couple of different resources are at your disposal to help you get an apprenticeship. Here’s organizations and individuals who may have more information:

    • Trade organizations and unions: Start by reaching out to specific institutions relevant to your field of interest to see if they have any contacts.
    • US Department of Labor: The DOL website has a searchable database of apprenticeship programs that you can search by geographic region, which is an outstanding resource for career seekers all over the country.
    • Educational institutions: If you’d like to work while seeking a degree, colleges and universities are a good point of contact. The programs most likely to integrate apprenticeships as part of the degree program most often are in computer and IT, engineering, nursing, business management or consumer science.
    • Trade company websites: Lots of companies post apprenticeship opportunities on their help wanted pages.
    • Networking: In some cases, the old-fashioned way is the best strategy. Talking to people in the industry can supply you with insider information on upcoming opportunities.

Choosing the Perfect Apprenticeship for You

When you go the traditional higher education route, you choose a major based on your interests. Then, you explore job opportunities connected with that major. However, pursuing an apprenticeship requires you to think in reverse.

Start by pinpointing the majors and career paths that incorporate or require apprenticeships. Next, pick one of the available apprenticeships from your narrowed-down list that sparks your interest, meets your skill set or offers the best income, depending on your priorities. This method helps you match your educational pathway with real-world opportunities, providing a smoother transition into the job market and a satisfying career for years to come.

Earn While You Learn at Service Experts Career Academy

Are you looking to avoid the student loan trap while building a rewarding career? Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a standout apprenticeship program called Service Experts Career Academy (SECA). SECA offers advanced HVAC training and on-the-job learning facilitated by experienced industry professionals. The curriculum is created to equip you with vital skills and make you a master in your field—all while averting your own student debt crisis.

The path to a fulfilling, debt-free occupation starts with making informed choices. If you’re eager to take control of your future with help from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, please contact us to learn more about Service Experts Career Academy. Call us at 866-397-3787 today to learn more!

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >


  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!


  • Upgrade to Worry-Free Comfort with the Advantage Program and make NO payments for 30 days!

© 2024 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.

Chat with a Service Experts Professional