While four-year institutions present an excellent option for many students, trade schools are a viable alternative that can sometimes be overlooked.
Unfortunately, many students don’t even consider trade schools as an option after high school. Parents may simply be unaware of trade school programs, or have hesitations because of stereotypes about who goes to trade schools and misconceptions about the work graduates are able to do. The truth is that every situation is different. Trade schools may be ideal for some students while a traditional bachelor’s degree program is the best route for others. Get informed about what trade schools have to offer so that you can help your students or teens make an educated decision about their education. Below are a few of the benefits of a trade school education:
The programs offered at trade schools are often shorter and tailored to teach students practical skills with the goal of direct employment. Many employers will even pay for students to continue their trade school education once they join the company. A student who enrolls in trade school will typically finish their education more quickly, allowing them to join the workforce and begin building a career earlier.
Less Expensive Tuition
With an average total cost of $33,000, tuition for trade schools tends to be far lower than what students pay for a bachelor’s degree. Class times are also more flexible, allowing students to earn a part-time income while they pursue their education.
A lower price tag doesn’t mean that graduates of trade schools always earn less than their peers who attend four-year institutions. Entry-level salaries may also be higher for in-demand fields that require vocational training. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians made a median salary of $66,180 in 2015, for instance, and it’s a job that can be obtained with training from a vocational-technical school. According to the Association for Career and Technical Education, graduates with technical or applied science associate degrees out-earn bachelor’s degree holders by an average of $2,000 to $11,000.
A Wide Array of Options
Trade schools cater to a broader array of potential subjects than many students, parents, and teachers might imagine as well. The National Center For Education Statistics lists some common post-secondary trade school options as:
- Business and office
- Marketing and distribution
- Culinary arts
- Technical education (including protective services, computers and data processing, engineering and science technologies, and communication technologies)
- Trade and industry
Trade schools train students for industry jobs that are fairly stable and difficult to export. If graduates decide to return to college later and pursue a full bachelor’s degree, they may be able to build on the credits they received in trade school.
A Path to Self-Sufficiency
Trade schools tend to be thought of as a place for students who already know exactly what they want, but it can also be a good place for learners who are less sure of their career path. Although many students pursuing trade school training are very young, having skills specific to a single trade doesn’t have to keep them in a box. For students who are unsure of what they want to pursue past high school, trade schools enable them to find early employment and pursue their passions at their own pace.
Want more information to share with your students or children about the different paths available after graduation? Take a look at the pros and cons of some other college options here.