As the "Gateway to the West," St. Louis, Missouri has always enjoyed a unique position on the national scene, serving as a major hub for transportation, manufacturing, heavy industry, agriculture, health care, and defense. During its earlier days, the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers made the city an attractive depot for trade and commerce, and this role only expanded as the country began erecting railroads and major highway systems in the decades to follow.
With a population of 2.8 million people in the Greater St. Louis area, a robust network of technical and trade schools has emerged in order to service several industries in America's heartland. The health care industry is particularly active, with numerous trade schools competing to place qualified practitioners and support staff into hospital positions, both within and outside of the greater St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the following employment numbers for St. Louis:
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities. 250,000
- Manufacturing. 118,000
- Education and Health Services. 214,000
- Leisure and Hospitality. 141,000
Trade Schools and the St. Louis Economy
Some industries within St. Louis, like health care, are expected to remain somewhat immune to temporary downturns in the economy. The median household income for St. Louis was $52,465 in 2008, and the following median hourly wages were also reported:
- Registered Nurses at $27.23
- Physical Therapists Assistants. $20.83
- Chefs and Head Cooks. $17.59
- Electricians. $31.99
Those who master their skills in accredited vocational schools and earn a degree, certificate, or diploma often have an advantage over those who learn their trade entirely on the job.