Author Topic: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?  (Read 3392 times)

Honda873

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Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« on: February 22, 2017, 02:36:11 PM »
Hi all.
I am a 29 year old Montessori teacher with a Montessori teacher wife. We love our jobs. Though to be honest I've never been a real passionate employee. I like not working more. So when I think about teaching for years or decades to come, I could take it or leave it.

The problem is I don't have a teaching degree, just a four year degree and 8 years experience now teaching.  I think I was in the last few years of the youngsters who were told "a college degree is all you will need to succeed," so I didn't choose a major very wisely (history) We each make about $35k a year and there is little to no room for raises in private school teaching. There are also zero traditional benefits like health insurance. The main benefit is a kind and suspportive community of bosses and coworkers and time off in summer and winter.

We have a toddler and a second on the way. My wife will likely not work next year with the baby arriving. Then we will be down to my single $35k salary (pretax) and no health insurance now that Obamacare is gone.

All of this has me wondering if even though I like my job if I should consider changing careers. Especially after starting to read MMM. I enjoy working with my hands but don't have a ton of experience. I could see myself enjoying carpentry or hoax or electrician or a trade of some sort. Is it possible to get into that as a 30 year old and make more than 35k with benefits?

TLDR- any advice for a college grad interested in making more money by switching to a trade?

charis

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Re: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 03:10:24 PM »
Is there a reason that you cannot get a teaching degree and apply to some higher paying schools?  I mean, you have 8 years of experience already.  Is the ACA gone already?  I don't think that is the case.  I feel like I'm hearing something new every day about what they are going to do.

LAJPP

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Re: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2017, 05:29:06 AM »
I don't work in a trade, but I have words of encouragement. I also studied history due to the same advice. A few years ago, I realized that, for me, I wouldn't be able to make enough and returned to school for engineering. Not only did I find a job, but I found that a number of people in my engineering office of ~50 (at a large company) followed a similar path. We've got a biologist, a geologist, an interior designer, a business school grad, and myself. Not only is it possible to switch, it's not even rare. I had a similar experience in school (state school) where 5-10% of my classmates were second-degree seekers. In any case, it is possible to switch after you have experience doing something else.

nouveauRiche

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inline five

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Re: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2017, 11:34:39 AM »
Often times in trades it takes many years of experience and work at the bottom rungs of the ladder to work yourself up into a respectable decent paying position/working environment. This is fine when you are just starting out. You live with roommates, have no one to take care of, etc. But in your late 20's moving forward most people want to live their own life.

The tradesmen who have "made it" often times own their own companies and have their own employees. They aren't out in the field wrenching or installing HVAC equipment any more. That is not a life I would wish on anyone - it's truly hard and fatiguing work. I remember asking an aircraft mechanic one day why he quit his A&P job to come do his current job even though he took a pay cut. He just couldn't imagine himself being on the ramp in 20*F weather working on airplanes while snow blew all around him. It was a sobering conversation.

Working a trade will put wear and tear on your body and make your 50's feel like your 70's. It's a hard life.

To be frank with a wife who won't work and two kids you simply need to make more money. A lack of health insurance is also an issue. I worked at UPS in high school and there were many, many adults (moms mostly) there who worked the four hour 7-11 pm shift strictly for the provided health insurance for their family - so this current excuse of no health insurance doesn't really resonate with me. That has always been the case but the go-getters made it happen to get their family covered (ok sorry, rant over).

Personally, if you aren't happy with your line of work consider changing fields but I would go with a career that has potential for high earnings. I'm not sure if most realize this or not but the MMM concept was born from two people who had extremely high paying IT jobs who lived like hermits to buy their freedom. It's tough to do that on even a $70k/yr salary with a family of four and two working parents. In order to save money you need to make it first.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 11:36:21 AM by inline five »

Neustache

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Re: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2017, 11:39:09 AM »
Check your state's certification routes.  I have a bachelors in psychology and I am getting certified to teach in my state.  There's also Teach for America. 

Honda873

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Re: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2017, 12:10:21 PM »
Thanks for the responses. To shed some more light- my wife will want to work just not during the immediate first months after. Roth of second child- this is probably more of a luxury than most have but I think it's important and worth almost anything. In a couple of years she will have a masters in counseling and be able to bring in 40-50k with Ralph insurance.

Does engineering require a bachelors or masters or specific associates in a specific field?

retired?

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Re: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2017, 01:09:36 PM »
RE engineering roles, the training is often quite specific.  I think advising a switch to engineering (in your case, i.e. with two kids and a wife whose income will drop soon) isn't reasonable.  Also, most MS programs require an undergrad in engineering or math/science.  If you could take off full-time, then go for it....engineering has lots of opportunities.

You can likely do an alt-certification program while still working.  Where we live, if you show evidence that you have enrolled in one, you can get a provisional certification that is good for one year and schools can hire you.  You get the certification at the end of that first year.  Cost about $4k.  If through a higher ed place, you can qualify for the lifetime learning credit and save a little.

Last suggestion, if you could get a certification or some other evidence that you can program, then you might be able to get a job as a programmer.  You can learn programming on your own, but you need to convince prospective employers that you can program.

Physicsteacher

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Re: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2017, 01:32:25 PM »
There's also Teach for America.

I'm a TFA alumna, and I'm hesitant to reccomend the program for someone who is just seeking an alternative licensure pathway. Acceptance is competitive. You have to be prepared to go work in some of the most challenging schools in the country. While you get to list preferences for placement, there's no guarantee you'll be offered a position anywhere close to where you currently live. Your family might be asked to move anywhere from NYC or Chicago to the Mississippi Delta or South Dakota.

I'm married to a commercial/industrial electrician, and he says thirty isn't too old to gets started. In Arkansas, becoming a journeyman involves four years of apprenticeship, with full time employment and classes one evening a week. My DH makes $20/hr as a journeyman, but first year apprentices make significantly less. If you do opt for switching to a construction trade, please be aware that it's something of a boom/bust field, and that in times of economic downturn you must be prepared to weather layoffs and possibly long periods when no one is hiring in your area.

sparkytheop

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Re: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2017, 03:50:26 AM »
I went to the local community college while working part-time for my employer in order to get set up with my trade (I was a maintenance electrician, which also included some programming, etc).  The route I took was 2 years of the college/work program which got me an associates in engineering technology, and entrance into my employer's apprenticeship program.  After I graduated I started working full-time, and spent three years in the apprenticeship program before becoming a journeyman.  One issue with the way I did it was that we are not licensed electricians.  However, I can still work at many locations throughout the country just fine.

My group was the first to go through this program on a decent scale (previous, it was a trial run of only three people).  The oldest person(s?) in my group to make it through to graduation and into the training program was in his/her 40s at the time.  The next year had someone who was already in his 50s.

So, yes, it can be done.  I've since moved to a new position (still a trade, but no longer maintenance).  I have to work a rotating shift now, but honestly it was the best move I could have made.  The shift work can be hard for some, but the physical, having to crawl around and get banged up, back breaking work is now much reduced.  The most physical job I do now is when I have to turn a valve, and we have nice big equipment for when it is too difficult!

You have to weigh short term sacrifices (always being tired, going to school, studying and working all the time) against the long term benefits (better pay, a job you enjoy, etc).

My job thankfully does not fall into the feast or famine aspects of construction and will hopefully stay secure until I retire at 57.  Some people look down on those who work trades, but many of us "worker bees" are still pulling in over $100k/year, have good health benefits, a pension, some sort of match on retirement, etc.  A few of the guys I went to school with who went for the "big paying job" (one I don't want, I'm more than happy where I am) are making $55/hour doing a mostly desk job that is still considered a trade (the desk job is the main reason I don't want it--they are stuck in one room their full shift, where as I can go inside, outside, walk around, etc as I please if I'm not actively working a job).  And, like me, they only have to work 7 days every two weeks, where anything over that is overtime.

Fishindude

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Re: Any advice on career change to a trade from education?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2017, 08:30:42 AM »
All of this has me wondering if even though I like my job if I should consider changing careers. Especially after starting to read MMM. I enjoy working with my hands but don't have a ton of experience. I could see myself enjoying carpentry or hoax or electrician or a trade of some sort. Is it possible to get into that as a 30 year old and make more than 35k with benefits?

TLDR- any advice for a college grad interested in making more money by switching to a trade?

I think this is a smart move, and there has never been a better time to get into the building trades, companies are starving for good employees.   
You can easily double your income in the right circumstances and good employers will provide full benefit packages with insurance, vacations, 401K, etc.

I would steer clear of residential and light commercial construction.  These areas are low pay, unsafe, full of illegals, most don't offer good benefits, etc.
Set your sights towards industrial of municipal type work.  If you are reliable, present yourself well and have some basic math, reading and writing skills, many contractors will provide all of the necessary training.   Don't believe all the BS about getting beat up physically or injured.  The work has never been safer, and modern tools and equipment have taken a ton of the physical effort out of it.