Trade Schools

Should I Go to Trade School or College?

Modern-day Education: Trade School vs. College Degree

Are you a high school student asking yourself, “should I go to trade school or college?” Don’t worry, you’re not the only student trying to decide between trade school or college.

Check out this article to learn the facts about going to a trade school vs. traditional college, so you can decide which option is right for you.

Trade School or College – What’s Best for Me?

Many believe that attending a four-year college is a necessary step for career success. But the reality is that many students are entering college after high school completely unprepared – academically, emotionally, and financially.

Tens of thousands of dollars are spent on four year universities by students who are not 100% sure why they are going, what they want to major in, or what direction they want their future to head.

As a result, students who attend a traditional university instead of asking themselves the question “should I go to trade school?” often struggle to pay back increasing amounts of loans with no job lined up to support them.

The irony is that there are many job options more readily available to high school graduates that include work in skilled trades. Many of these jobs may be obtained faster and easier than jobs from a four-year college, if you get the right credentials.

Going to Trade School vs. Going to College

A common argument for getting a college education in the battle of trade school vs.  college degree is higher lifetime earnings over someone who only has a high school degree. Statistics on the future of our workforce challenge this argument.

For many people, college is simply not the best place to learn how to earn a living, and that’s okay! When it is time for you to juggle the decision of attending trade school or college, there are many factors to consider such as your budget, career field and more.

Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities in vocational fields designed for hands-on learners, such as:

  • Automotive technology
  • Construction
  • Heavy equipment operation
  • HVAC technology
  • CNC machine operation
  • Welding

If you’re deciding between college or a trade school and choose the latter, you’re giving yourself the chance to learn in small, interactive classes where the instructors know you personally and can help you thrive. In some universities, professors may never know the names of their students because of their growing class sizes.

The Hidden Costs of Attending a Four-year College

Even once a four-year degree has been earned, eligible career paths and your starting yearly salary is contingent on the major chosen. However, a substantial, hands-on two-year degree or diploma can result in a pay increase compared to many four-year degrees.

Some things to consider:

  • Both private and public colleges have many expenses. When considering trade school vs. a college degree, keep in mind the idea that students who attend college give up four years of full-time earnings while their student loan debt piles up.
  • Not only is the time commitment for a trade school education typically shorter than that of a university, but students can start earning a return on investment in a quicker amount of time.
  • Within a university, students are also not guaranteed to graduate in only four years, since six-year graduations are becoming increasingly common among both non-competitive and highly-competitive schools.

Due to these reasons, enrollment in a trade school can be a more practical option for many students than going straight to college after high school.

Top 5 Reasons for Going to Trade School:

Obviously, the decision of choosing trade school or college is one that should not be taken lightly. Both educational routes have proven benefits for students; however, there are reasons why trade school is becoming more popular:

  1. You’ll Learn Only About Your Specific Career Path
    Typically, private and public universities will make students take classes that do not relate to their major in an effort to make their college careers well-rounded. Trade schools are an ideal option for students who know what industry they’d like to learn about and want to focus their efforts on that only.
  2. Smaller Classrooms for Teacher-Student Interaction
    As mentioned previously, students who go the vocational route in the trade school vs. college degree debate will typically receive their education in smaller classes. This allows for precise interaction and hands-on courses compared to large lecture courses at a university.
  3. Professional Hands-on Training
    For those who are interested in learning about their field with the proper tools and equipment, trade schools can provide that advantage for its students. Our instructors are experienced in their fields and can teach students how to use the required equipment for their future industry.
  4. A Quicker and Cheaper Alternative
    When choosing between a college or trade school, it is common for finances to be one of the biggest driving factors in your choice. With the possibility of trade school taking half the time it would take to complete college, attending trade school also allows for a cheaper investment. Between tuition, books and room and board, the expenses for a university can continue to stack up over the four years.
  5. Employers Know the Value of Trade School Graduates
    When applying for a job in your designated field, employers will immediately see your trade school education on your resume. Applicants with a trade school diploma already have both the know-how and hands-on experience that it takes to get hired, a notable advantage compared to a college education.