Why You Should Consider Trade School Instead of a Four-Year College

Why You Should Consider Trade School Instead of a Four-Year College

For a lot of people, going to a four-year college seems like an automatic choice when they graduate high school. As a recruiter, I am seeing opportunities for skilled trades and not enough people with the knowledge to fill them. Quite a bit of people complete four years of college only to find that there are little to no jobs in the field they have studied and are settling for anything just to pay off student debts.

An Alternative to Consider

People approaching high school graduation should seriously consider trade school. A traditional four-year degree is not for everyone and trade schools offer a pretty compelling career path, especially when considering the factors associated with a college education. For example: 40% of attendees at a four-year college drop out before completing their degree. If you find yourself as a part of that 40%, not only have you incurred some of the expense of college, you left without receiving a degree. For the 60% that do complete their degree, a whopping 64% take longer than four years to graduate, costing themselves nearly $70,000 in lost wages and educational expenses per year, according to U.S. News.

What is a Trade School?

A trade school, also known as a technical or vocational school, is an educational institution that exists to teach skills related to a specific job. Trade schools are a more streamlined approach to education, with curriculum focusing on developing a particular skill-set and knowledge base for a career rather than receiving a general education. Trade schools typically take a time to complete, have smaller class sizes, and the majority of the training is hands-on, which is an ideal environment for many learners. Vocational degrees can lead to well-paying jobs like electrician, mechanic, machinist, welder, pharmacy technician, nuclear technician, and dental hygienist, with room for growth and managerial potential in each field. All of which are in high demand and paying competitive wages.

In my personal experience, my husband went into a trade school straight out of high school and has been in the local sheet metal union since finishing his trade degree. As an apprentice he was making more money than most with a four year degree start out with and now 15 years later he is in the same trade and there is no limit to what he can make.  If you are graduating from high school soon, or have a loved one who is approaching graduation, I recommend seriously considering trade school as an alternative option.