Exploring Alternative Career Pathways: Registered Apprenticeship Versus College Degree

Registered Apprenticeship Versus a College Degree


When discussing Registered Apprenticeship vs. The College Degree, we often hear:

  • It’s a viable alternative to a four-year degree…
  • You don’t need to go to college to have a successful career…
  • The Journey Worker credential is its own gold star…

It’s all true!

Here’s What Else We Know


  • There are individuals who want degrees, even with a Journey Worker credential…
  • Registered Apprenticeship can help them get there.

The assistance of the State University of New York’s New York College Apprenticeship Network (SUNY NYCAN) is the key. A Registered Apprentice can utilize up to $5,000 in funding toward the related technical instruction requirement for Journey Worker certification at their local community college. SUNY stands ready to guide individuals aiming simultaneously for their associate degrees and Journey Worker certifications. To state the obvious, that’s money that neither comes out of pocket nor from loans taken to pay for classes.

It gets even more interesting for a Journey Worker who wishes to go further with college. If there’s a “next” trade, something offering further specialization, there’s another $5,000 available for SUNY classes. What a way to leverage funding!

We’re working with three people who fit the above descriptions at different points in their Registered Apprenticeships. They’re either working toward their Journey Worker certifications and associate degrees or have already attained them and have plans to get their bachelor’s degrees.

Cody Margetin is a MACNY CNC Machinist apprentice at Allen Tool Phoenix in East Syracuse, NY, who attained his Journey Worker card in 2021. Now in Quality Assurance at Allen Tool, Cody is working towards his bachelor’s degree. Cody now has the opportunity to enroll in the newly introduced Quality Engineer Technician trade, a specialized sub-concentration under the four-year Manufacturing Engineering Technician (MET) apprenticeship program now offered by his managers. When he finishes this apprenticeship, Cody will have several credentials: two Journey Worker certifications, an associate and a bachelor’s degree. Even more exciting is that he will have utilized SUNY NYCAN funding for some of the classes needed for his trades and his degrees.

Landon Malanoski recently completed his CNC Machinist apprenticeship at Custom Tool and Die in Frankfort, NY, and will attain his associate degree from Mohawk Valley Community College by the end of this year. His employer has also registered the MET trade for employees like Landon, who desire more skills and higher degrees. We’re working with our SUNY partners to ensure that Landon utilizes SUNY funding to cover some of his trade and degree-related classes. Landon will join Cody with two Journey Worker certifications, an associate’s degree, and a bachelor’s degree down the road.

We recently started working with Tim LoTemple, an Electro-Mechanical Technician apprentice at Bausch + Lomb in Rochester, NY. Tim has earned a Mechatronics certification at Monroe Community College and still has SUNY NYCAN funding left to apply to further classes. Working with SUNY and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Tim is choosing with intention classes that satisfy his trade requirements and may also transfer to RIT when the time comes.

These are just three examples of how motivated employees, resolute employers, and stakeholders like SUNY and MACNY work together. Results like these take time, energy, and a bit of forethought. We have no doubt that these three individuals will one day be running companies, if not their current employers, who have facilitated their career pathways to advanced degrees.

Are you ready to advance your career by participating in a registered apprenticeship? Contact our team