Trade School or College?

Pros and Cons: Trade School vs. College

The importance of going to college has been widely pushed on students for years now, and we’ve left trade schools out of the conversation until recently. There are great trade school programs out there that give people the tools necessary to find their dream jobs. Some people love working with their hands, and others enjoy the analytical side of work. Both are excellent professions and we need both. Before you jump on the college bandwagon, give trade schools a fair look. Here are some pros and cons about going to a trade school vs college:

Trade School Pros

  1. Shorter time in school: Trade school programs typically last around 9 months to 1 year to complete. You are in school to learn a specific expertise, and once you have mastered it, you’re given some opportunities to get some practical experience. Once you have a little experience, you graduate, and set off to become part of the working world. The less time you’re in school means that you’ll spend more time making money.
  2. High demand for jobs: Once you graduate, you won’t be out of work for long depending on your specialty. Almost every trade job in the USA is currently in high demand. You can find an entry level position for whatever skill you have become certified in, and start working as soon as you’re able. You’re spending less on your education and making money faster than your college-going counterparts.
  3. Make good money starting out: You’ll find a job quickly, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the good salary that you’re able to make with a trade job. Welding, mechanics, and other occupations that work with their hands can pull in a respectable salary even at entry level positions.

Trade School Cons

  1. Not as much room for advancement: After you have been in your job for several years, you won’t have as many opportunities for upward mobility. Odds are you won’t be selected for management positions due to your lack of a college degree. If you want to move high up the food chain, then you’ll ultimately need to go back to school.

College Pros

  1. Wide range of knowledge in many different areas: You’ll learn from all areas of practices in college.  You’ll be well versed in classical and modern literature, have a background in the arts, and take history and science classes on top of your specific major. You’ll pull from a broad spectrum of information, and you’ll get a taste of all of the disciplines to see where you best fit.
  2. Upward mobility in careers: Once you land a career, you’ll be able to move up the corporate food chain because of your degree. You’ll have opportunities to become a manager, director, and leader of the industry that you are in.

College Cons

  1. College student loan debt: The typical college student graduates with thousands upon thousands of dollars in student loan debt. The job pool is teeming with recent graduates, and it’s often difficult to find a job in your specific area of expertise. It’s more about who you know rather than what you know. Paying back those hefty loans can be tough without a stable job after graduation.
  2. Don’t gain as much practical experience: As you move through classes, then emphasis is on the academic side of learning rather than the hands on side. You leave college without the know-how to get things done. You have to do internships and volunteer to gain experience before you’re able to find a career in your field.

Be honest with yourself to find out what it is that you truly enjoy. Don’t let the other voices around you confuse you. Stay true to yourself and be happy with the life that you choose. One job isn’t better than another. Our society needs all types of skill sets to be successful!