July 3, 2022

Attending college for 2 or more years may have you thinking otherwise about using your GI Bill. The traditional degree program may not capture your interest, but a vocational or trade school may be exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to enter into a blue-collar occupation, you may first want to know what these occupations consist of and how to gain employment.

Although technology has made huge advancements in recent years replacing humans at certain occupations, the Blue-Collar worker still exists and will still be needed for years to come. The New York City skyline would not exist if it wasn’t for the iron workers and other construction workers who risk their lives everyday manually putting the puzzles together to build the next generation of skyscrapers.

Let’s take a look at a breakdown between Blue and White collar occupational classifications to get a better look at how they differ:

Blue-Collar Occupations

– Mostly trade occupations consisting of manual labor mostly working outdoors.

– Education from a vocational or trade school, earning a certification may be required to attain employment

– Examples: Construction workers, Electricians, Law Enforcement, Commercial Divers, Welders, Boilermakers, Maintenance workers, Telecommunications, Truck drivers…..

White-Collar Occupations

Mostly professional occupations consisting of working in an office environment.

– Education from a traditional 2yr or 4yr college earning a degree is required to attain employment

-Examples: Receptionist, Human Resource, Doctor, Attorney, Contracting, Criminal Investigator, Financial Advisor, Teacher, Information Technology, Scientist…….

If you posses these type of characteristics, then a blue-collar job may be for you.

– Love working with your hands building stuff
– Can see yourself working outdoors for the most part, instead of an office setting
– Enjoy learning but may not have the patience to sit in class for 2 or more years
– If you don’t mind what can be hard manual labor, to include working around hazards
– Willing to start from the bottom and work your way up

Being a blue-collar worker may not need a 2 or 4 yr college degree, however letting your GI Bill go to waste will never be a good choice. Not only can a vocational or trade school be a good place to start looking to train into a blue-collar occupation, Community Colleges have also built themselves up with programs for those looking to learn a trade. As always, before you choose a school to learn a trade, be sure to check out the list of VA approved schools at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/school_locator.asp

Make no mistake, working as a Blue-Collar worker will have its pros and cons just like any other job, but if learning a trade is right for you, the GI Bill can help cover it and also put you on a path of many opportunities. Hard work and dedication can bring a good pay check in a career you enjoy, and a field that could use veterans with your type of skills you already have acquired from the military.

Stay Tuned!

In my next article we will learn about Apprenticeships, and how this could be the perfect way to get your foot in the door in a Blue-Collar job.