This article has been contributed by Sophia Smith. Sophia is a graphic & UX designer and content creator. She is also an aesthete and photography lover by heart who loves everything that includes visual communication. Follow her on Twitter for more tips.

Firstly, let’s see what is an apprenticeship? Apprenticeship is a type of job that combines work with learning. During your apprenticeship, you can earn skills, qualifications and many other things for your CV while gating paid for your effort.

Are you preparing for working life? Are you looking for a new career challenge or want to gain new skills? Here are all the benefits of becoming an apprentice:

You Will Get Paid

Today, many people need to get paid while getting their education, and that’s exactly what apprenticeship entails. Unlike interns, apprentices earn a paycheck that includes between 50 and 60% of their future full wages. As you work, you get training and acquire new skills, so you don’t have to take a break from earning while you pursue training. If you opt for an apprenticeship, you can enjoy immediate pay, a happy working environment, expect rising wages and many opportunities in the future for long-term employment.

You Will Get Paid More in The Future

People who completed an apprenticeship program can usually expect higher wages in the future. Apprentices can expect to see a starting salary of about $50,000, which is higher than most starting salaries. In one lifetime, workers who went through an apprenticeship earn almost $250,000 more than other job seekers, even more if you include nonwage benefits. If you’re a young worker worried about your low pay, an apprenticeship might be the right thing for you.

You Will Gain Debt-Free Education

Education debt is a huge problem for many young people today. Many people need to drag their debt and pay it off slowly over the course of many years, not allowing them to live a debt-free life. Luckily, in many programs for apprentices, it’s possible to gain college credit that can later lead to an associate’s degree and even contribute to a bachelor’s or master’s degree. In some colleges, there are programs that allow trade apprentices to obtain an associate’s degree or useful certificate for their time spent working. For instance, if you choose to partake in a landscaping apprenticeship, you can expect to get your Diploma of Landscape Design and become a Landscape Contractor. During your 4 years of apprenticeship, you’ll gain all the necessary skills and experience to become a respected landscaper without any debt.

It Will Give You a Competitive Advantage

Today, smart employers only care about technical skills, practical knowledge of the industry and candidates that possess drive, loyalty, dedication and work ethic. If you sign up for an apprenticeship program and successfully finish it, employers will recognize your dedication to your future career and success. With an apprenticeship under your belt, companies can be sure that you are familiar with the challenges of the industry, can work and receive extra education at the same time and follow instructions necessary for your chosen career. Employing apprentices ensures that a business will gain skilled workers, boost loyalty, reduce turnover and improve productivity.

It Will Open Many Doors for You

Before apprenticeship programs, middle-class jobs were reserved only for owners of a four-year degree. However, apprenticeships allow high school graduates to penetrate this middle-class job market as well. Instead of taking on record-high college costs and impossible amounts of student debt (for a very mediocre college education that might not even result in any valuable career), many students are opting for an apprenticeship. Since apprentices can often receive great education followed by a long-term career and valuable salary premiums, apprenticeship is a great alternative to college. As you can see, a four-year degree is not the only path towards economic stability, yet still many young people think that they have to earn a bachelor’s degree.

With apprenticeship programs, workers (and employers) can reap many benefits. Apprentices are trained to become skilled, fast and smart workers, and as the older talent retires, take over their roles and become a valuable part of every company.