Invest in as much of yourself as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far.

An education is the biggest investment you could make in yourself. You’ll carry the skills you learn with you for the rest of your life. No one can take them away. You can’t default on them.

But you can fall behind on student loans. That’s why it’s important to consider the returns on your training investment. How does the cost of trade school stack up against other educational options, the job prospects after graduation and the satisfaction you could find in your career choice?

Cost vs. Career Potential

  • 82% of construction companies are having a hard time filling salaried and hourly skilled trades positions.xix.
  • Vocational training can prepare you for them at a fraction of the cost of college.

Average Training Cost Comparison

Bachelor’s Degree from a University 4 Years


Associate Degree from a Community College 2 Years


Certificate from a Trade School 1 Year


Earning Potential

  • 4 years of college is not the only route to a good paying job. In the U.S., there are 30 million jobs with a median yearly salary of $55,000 that don’t require a bachelor’s degreev.
  • Supply and Demand: The skilled trade shortage is forcing more companies to raise wages for workers with the right skillsvi.

Earnings Comparison

Bachelor’s Degree from a 4-year College

$64,896 in 2017xx

Associate Degree from a Community College

$46,124 in 2017xx

Diploma/Degree from a Trade School


High School Diploma

$38,792 in 2017xx

Career Satisfaction

  1. "Engaging work" was the top reason American workers cited for staying at their job in 2020.xxii.
  2. Skilled trades jobs aren’t boring. Welders, electricians and HVAC/R technicians put their skills to work to rebuild and repair America’s infrastructurex.
    • Building and fixing thingsxi.
    • Active workxii.
    • Working with your handsxi.
    • Travel opportunities for weldersxiii.
    • 80% or more of TWS welding graduates were employed in their field of studyxiv, xv, xvi.
    • More than 40 percent of college graduates worked jobs that didn’t require a degree in 2020.xxiii.

Skilled Trades Training: A Smart Investment

A post-secondary education could be the first major investment you make after high school. It’s a big decision because it could impact how soon you can hit other major milestones in your life:

  • Supporting yourself
  • Getting Married
  • Buying A Home
  • Starting a Family

With lower training costs compared to college, healthy job prospects and the potential for career satisfaction, skilled trades training can be the first smart investment of many you makexviii.

Fund Your Investment in Your Future

See if you qualify and map out a plan to fund your investment in your future with the resources and tools below.

Sign Up Today for Skilled Trades Training

Ready to get started with skilled trades training? We can answer any questions you may have and walk you through the admissions, enrollment, and financial aid process. Call us today!

Additional Sources

Accredited School, ACCSC. TWS-Jacksonville located at 1750 Southside Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32216 is recognized by ACCSC as a satellite location of TWS-Jacksonville located at 3500 Southside Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32216. Tulsa Welding School & Technology Center (TWSTC) in Houston and TWS-Jacksonville are branch campuses of Tulsa Welding School, located at 2545 E. 11th St., Tulsa, OK 74104. Tulsa, OK campus is licensed by OBPVS and ASBPCE. Jacksonville, FL campus is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 2331. TWSTC and TWS in Tulsa, OK are approved by TWC. TWS in Jacksonville is licensed by the Mississippi Commission on Proprietary School and College Registration, License No. C-668. Licensure indicates only that minimum standards have been met; it is not an endorsement or guarantee of quality. Licensure is not equivalent to or synonymous with accreditation by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. TWS in Jacksonville is also regulated by: Office for Career and Technical Schools, 10 N. Senate Ave, Suite SE 308, Indianapolis, IN 46204; [email protected]; GI Bill® Eligible (check with local campus for specific eligibility). The AOSWT program is an Associate of Occupational Studies degree program and is not an academic degree. The AOSWT program is not approved for the following states: CO, GA, LA, MN, and TX. For more information about our programs, please visit our website at:

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

Scholarships available to those who qualify. Candidates need to refer to the scholarship information page to determine topic of essay (where applicable) and must meet all regular admissions requirements and be scheduled to start training prior to applying for a scholarship. If a student changes his/her re-enter date, the scholarship award may be forfeited. Scholarships are not transferable and most scholarships cannot be used in conjunction with any other scholarship TWS offers. In most cases, only one award will be given per student. If a student is eligible for multiple scholarships, the scholarship that is most beneficial to the student will be awarded. Scholarships will be distributed incrementally over the entire duration of the program. Scholarship eligibility requires continuous enrollment. Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress may result in the probation and possible loss of scholarship. Termination from training may also result in the loss of a scholarship, which may increase your tuition obligation to TWS. Tuition charges will be based on the amount reflected on your Enrollment Agreement. See the reverse side of your Enrollment Agreement or the School Catalog for the school’s refund policy.

* According to 2019 IPEDS data TWS has the largest total combined enrollment of students for all post-secondary schools in the U.S. with the designated largest program of CIP Code Welding Technology/Welder.


1 Total number of estimated graduates for TWS calculated based on historic data available as of 12/31/2020.

2 Tulsa area annual mean wage is $46,390, Jacksonville area annual mean wage is $42,910 and Houston area annual mean wage is $51,260 for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers (514121) reported by BLS as of May 2019 Average starting salary for Professional Welder is $35,863 for TWS Tulsa, $35,157 for Jacksonville, and TWSTC is $39,216 for graduates employed during the 12 month period of 7/1/19-6/30/20.

3 According to BLS data Oklahoma employed 10,420, Florida employed 13,510 and Texas employed 48,940 welders, cutters, solderers (514121) as of May 2020.

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