Salary growth higher than average for tech college graduates

Dollar signs of various sizes all in a row representing salary increases.A lot of people are talking about wages in the skilled labor market these days. Some say low wages are the reason for the lack of qualified applicants for skilled jobs in Wisconsin. However, looking at starting salaries without accounting for potential growth in earnings can be shortsighted.

Salary growth for technical manufacturing jobs is expected to increase more dramatically than wages for less skilled positions.

In most career fields new employees go through a probationary period. An employer wants to see that a new hire can be productive before rewarding him or her with a higher wage.  Think about anyone at the top of his or her profession. They did not get there overnight. Even CEOs didn’t make their top salary in the first year.

In 2012, beginning median salaries for associate degree technical college graduates in the industrial division were $17.21 per hour or $40,037 per year.  Graduates with short-term technical diplomas earned a median salary of $36,397 per year and those with one-year technical diplomas earned a median salary of $15.00 per hour or $32,757 annually.

Given historical increases, graduates with two-year industrial diplomas could earn 36 percent more after five years. Even short-term certificate holders are likely to experience a 32 percent salary increase after five years. That’s 6.4 percent per year. Meanwhile, experts predict only a 3 percent overall salary increase for 2013.

Tech college graduates may start out with modest salaries, but most everyone does. However, tech college graduates will be making quite a bit more after just a few years in the workforce. For example, a CNC technician with a two-year diploma might start out making $33,600 and in five years bring home $41,328. Welders who start out making $15.00 per hour can be earning $45,166 annually after five years on the job.

When looking at career and educational choices starting salaries can be misleading. Instead, think about future earnings. In some cases people with technical or community college degrees earn more than those with four-year college degrees. Regardless, workers in every career field have to prove themselves, gain experience and increase their skills in order to be promoted and earn higher salaries. A technical college education is a good start on the path to those higher paychecks.