How to Get an Apprenticeship and Avoid Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt in the United States has been a growing problem for a very long time. Today’s total student debt is more than $1.7 trillion, with the average college graduate owing $20,000 to $25,000. If you’re thinking about your educational journey or counseling someone who is, it’s important 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 do apprentice programs offer a viable path to a rewarding career, but they also relieve the financial burden commonly linked with higher education.

The Apprenticeship Advantage: Hands-On Learning

Apprenticeships blend hands-on experience with a theoretical foundation. In contrast to traditional higher education that may leave you buried in student loan debt, apprenticeships enable you to “earn while you learn.” These programs haven’t been used as much as they could have in the past but are gaining renewed attention from employers and academic institutions as they realize the value of practical experience in career development.

Why the Focus on Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship programs are not only about debt avoidance; they’re also about employability and skill mastery. Traditional degree programs often target on theoretical knowledge, which is definitely important but lacks the real-world application that employers covet. Apprenticeships bridge this gap by preparing you to be job-ready and equipping you with the tools needed to excel in your preferred field right off the hop.

Apprenticeship Paths: Trade and Academic

Understanding the styles of apprenticeships available will help you make a more informed decision. Here’s an explanation of the two main options.

Trade Apprenticeships

These programs prepare you for professions where a college degree is typically not needed. While society’s concentration on higher education has resulted in a decline in these sort of apprenticeships, the lack of skilled tradespeople has produced a surge in demand and, therefore, higher salaries.

The Department of Labor reports that apprentices in trade fields earn around $15 per hour during training, or $31,200 annually if training full time. As soon as the program is over, 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 frequently incorporating apprenticeships in their degree programs, especially for professions such as engineering, health care and information technology (IT). The pros are two-fold: students get real-world experience while fulfilling academic requirements, and they earn a wage, reducing the need for loans.

How to Apply For an Apprenticeship

A few good resources are available to assist you in securing an apprenticeship. Here’s where to look:

    • Trade organizations and unions: Start by calling specific institutions related to your field of interest to see if they have any offerings.
    • US Department of Labor: The DOL website has a searchable database of apprenticeship opportunities that you can narrow down by geographic region, which is an excellent resource for career seekers nationwide.
    • Educational institutions: If you’d like to work while pursuing a degree, colleges and universities are the first point of contact. The programs most likely to offer apprenticeships as part of the degree program 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: Sometimes, the conventional way is the best way. Talking to people in the field can offer you insider information on possible opportunities.

Choosing the Right Apprenticeship for You

When you go the traditional higher education route, you choose a major based on your interests. Then, you look for job opportunities aligned with that major. However, choosing an apprenticeship will require you to think in reverse.

Begin by identifying 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, accommodates your skill set or offers the best income, depending on your priorities. This method helps you align your educational pathway with real-world opportunities, which makes for a smoother transition into the job market and a satisfying career for years to come.

Learn About Service Experts Career Academy

Are you looking to avoid getting buried in student loans while pursuing a gratifying career? Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers a standout apprenticeship program called Service Experts Career Academy (SECA). SECA offers cutting-edge HVAC training and on-the-job learning facilitated by Expert industry professionals. The curriculum is created to equip you with vital skills and make you a master in your field—all while preventing your own student debt crisis.

The path to a fulfilling, debt-free profession begins with making informed choices. If you’re prepared 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