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Survey: More Students Plan to Attend Trade Schools

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Feb. 25, 2020—A recent survey found that the majority of students don't plan to attend a 4-year college.

In a survey of 275 high school, college, and technical school students between the ages of 15-45 who attended a CREF career fair during the 2018-2019 school year, the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) Talent Pool Committee (TPC) gathered insight into students' reasons for choosing to study collision repair and expectations as they enter the workforce.

"Of the high school students who responded, we saw a trend that goes against the industry narrative that students are going to four-year colleges instead of a technical or community college. Collectively, more students were going to attend a technical or community college or enter the workforce upon graduation," Kyle Medeiros, account supervisor at Entegral powered by Enterprise, said in the press release.

Just over half of the survey respondents have spoken to a counselor about securing a job in the industry upon graduation. In contrast to the current industry narrative that a student would expect to earn at least six-figures annually in an entry-level position, 65 percent of respondents said they would expect to earn $50,000 or less upon entering the workforce. 

The survey found that the top reason for choosing their current school program was a love of working on cars, followed by "opportunities for career advancement after employment". However, "the number of job openings" and both entry-level and top technician pay were toward the bottom of the list, with 10 or fewer students selecting these reasons.

The respondents' top factors in considering future employers were as follows:

  • Wages,
  • Work-life balance,
  • Potential for advancement,
  • Insurance benefits,
  • A retirement savings plan, and
  • Tuition reimbursement.

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