There are so many options available for further studies both through university and trade schools. The range of apprenticeships and degrees is bigger than you could imagine! With this in mind, are degrees better than apprenticeships?
Apprenticeships are gradually becoming a better option over university degrees because of the many benefits offered alongside them. There’s paid training/work experience, less student debt, immediate starts in a workforce and more job security. Also, there’s more opportunity for faster career growth.
Both degrees and apprenticeships are worthwhile, but the best fit for you depends on your goals. To help you with your considerations, we’re going to talk about the benefits of both!
Is an apprenticeship better than a degree?
More recently, apprenticeships have started to be considered better than degrees! This is because an apprenticeship provides real-world experience and hands-on training that isn’t matched by most degree programs. You constantly practice what you’re learning in real-time with apprenticeships.
Alongside the hands-on training, apprenticeships include paid work. So, your current occupation can count towards your apprenticeship, and you can be paid while completing it. As an apprentice, you receive industry-standard wages for your work, plus on-the-job training. Also, while you’re earning money in your apprenticeship, you can also be saving more money than others who are studying degrees. Apprenticeship fees aren’t as high as degree fees. You can have your apprenticeship paid off by the time you finish it and already be building up your savings!
Another thing that can make apprenticeships better than degrees is that they allow you to build a network in your industry from your first day. Because your apprenticeship will involve work, you will already have your foot in the door and potentially a job waiting for you at the end. Meanwhile, most degree students might do some placement, but then will need to find work at the end of their studies.
There are apprenticeships for all kinds of industries now. You can do creative apprenticeships in design, music, beauty and more. You can do business, administration, or accounting apprenticeships. Of course, there are trade apprenticeships involving carpentry, bricklaying and more. Also, healthcare, hospitality, sport, and education apprenticeships are available.
Apprenticeships are widely recognised as one of the most effective ways to learn. They give students practical experience while still being able to gain academic credit for their work. So, if you’re thinking of working as a bricklayer, a salesperson, or a health care worker, consider an apprenticeship!
What can I learn at university vs through an apprenticeship?
When deciding whether to go to university or do an apprenticeship, it’s important to consider the differences between theory and practical experience. The type of learning you want will depend on what you intend to do in the future and your own personal preferences.
University degrees tend to really delve into histories and theories of industries, whereas apprenticeships are more technical with hands-on training. University will offer more theoretical studies than an apprenticeship will. There are still university degrees that are considered hands-on, especially with sciences and practical experiments. However, they focus a lot on written work and research.
At university, you tend to learn about skills and then apply them in work experience. In an apprenticeship, you mostly learn skills on the job. If you’re wanting to learn the complete history and every aspect of a career or industry, theoretical studies at university are the way to go. But if you are a more visual learner who prefers hands-on approaches, apprenticeships can often teach you more.
Going to university can still be well worth your time, especially if you’re wanting to have more theoretical knowledge of your industry. Degrees can often give you access to higher salaries because of the theoretical knowledge you possess. For medical and other science fields, degrees are highly valued and important for getting a good job. If this is your goal, then a degree will be better than an apprenticeship for you. You will learn much more at university than in any apprenticeship if you want an advanced medical or scientific career.
But, as we’ve mentioned, there’s also a huge variety of things to learn in apprenticeships these days! If you’re looking at a trade, the good news is there’s a high demand for trades! And you can likely get trade support for your financials.
Do employers prefer degrees or apprenticeships?
Employers can favour either a degree or apprenticeship over the other, depending on the job and industry. For instance, if you’re applying for a doctor job, a degree is going to be much more valuable than an apprenticeship. On the other hand, if you’re looking to work as a carpenter, apprenticeships are highly valued for the experiences that you get with them.
In general, employers do value both degrees and apprenticeships. There will always be one that is slightly more preferable to an employer. But there are many positions that are open to people with either a degree or apprenticeship. Then the employer will consider your experience, previous employment and how you sell yourself as a worker.
What are the career outcomes of degrees vs apprenticeships?
When it comes to career outcomes, many degrees and apprenticeships can get you to the same place. There can also be little difference in salary because you can end up in the same job with either qualification. But, of course, this does depend on what industry and career you want. As we’ve mentioned, there are careers such as medical careers that often will require a degree to succeed. But there are also many other careers such as teaching or sales that can offer you the same position with either a degree or apprenticeship.
In terms of employment after graduating, here’s what we found:
- Of 2014’s apprentice and trainee graduates, 84.1% were employed after completion.
- The percentage of 2014 university graduates who found full-time jobs within four months of graduation was 68.8%.
- Apprenticeships have higher employment rates immediately following graduation.
Let’s talk about income for apprentices vs university graduates.
- First-year apprentice bricklayers earn $12.78 an hour.
- Fourth-year apprentice bricklayers earn $20.07 an hour.
- An apprentice will typically earn $150,000 over the course of their training.
- A fresh bachelor’s degree graduate can earn at least $54,000 a year.
- Vocational education and training (VET) graduates can earn $56,000 a year.
- Apprentice graduate electricians can earn $56,000 a year.
- Many apprenticeship graduates can earn $80,000 a year.
There’s a lot to consider when deciding between an apprenticeship and a degree. Both have their benefits. But, for most fields of work, a degree isn’t necessarily better than an apprenticeship. So, think about your career goals and learning style and decide what you think will be best for you!