2013 Sharon MugC

Sharon Stone

 Today’s cost for a Michigan resident to attend Michigan State University is $28,478 annually. This amount includes tuition, books and supplies, room and board and other miscellaneous expenses. This cost increases to $53,424 for out-of-state students.

 Based on attending four years to earn a bachelor’s degree, I would be paying the university $113,912. I am glad I graduated in 1983 when it was much more affordable, and with much help from my parents.

 In 1983, one credit hour cost $41. In the fall of 2018, that same credit hour cost $482. According to CollegeCalc, the average pre-med program in the 2016-2017 school year was approximately $41,770 (out-of-state) per year. Add four years of undergraduate school to four years of medical school, and you come to a total of over $300,000 to earn your medical degree at a public college, out-of-state, on average.

 When high school students and their parents are researching high education options, scholarships, grants, loans and financial aid, they need to take a hard look at the end goal. Some careers require a bachelor’s degree or higher. This won’t change. Some careers, however, require hands-on training, apprenticeships and even training from experienced family members if the college-bound teen is headed to the family business.

 Not everyone is cut out for a four-year degree at a university, nor is it necessary. Did you know that in 2019, the average salary of a plumber is $50,104, the average salary of an electrician is $47,723, the average salary of an auto mechanic is $40,509 and the average salary of an HVAC mechanic III is $61,060. These figures come from salary.com and ziprecruiter.com. These skilled trades, as well as many other career options, do not require a four-year college degree.

 Over the next few weeks, the Tri-County Times will explore various skilled trade schools, apprenticeships and other programs that can lead to a well-paying job, many of which might include health benefits, 401k plans and life insurance. Whichever route you take, learning a skilled trade in a short program or working toward a bachelor, master or doctorate degree over many years can lead toward a successful career.

 Remember, when your furnace quits working, your car’s engine light comes on or your home’s water pipes burst, it will most likely be a skilled trades worker that you call for help.

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