Trade schools, sometimes also called vocational or technical schools, are geared towards high school graduates who want to study for a specific occupation. Jobs such as plumbing, HVAC technicians, or radiologists are all examples.
Trade school has become increasingly more attractive and viable option for graduating high school students; numbers of enrollees have more than doubled in the past 20 years. If you’re interested in a specific vocation and thinking about getting your certification, there are a few things you should consider when thinking about attending a trade school versus a college or university.
More Affordable Than College
One of the most attractive factors in a graduate’s decision to attend a technical school is cost. Nationally, the average amount of student debt is over $35,000 per debtee. Although total cost will vary by school, most trade school programs cost less than that, with the average vocation program sitting at $33,000 in its entirety.
Bonus: trade school students are just as eligible for government student loans as college-bound ones, no matter the length of the program.
Classes You Have to Take
The courses you’ll take in trade school will, of course, vary widely according to your chosen vocation. If you’re looking to get a general idea of the sorts of classes you might be taking, it would be a good idea to look at what sorts of basic skills your vocation requires.
You might be surprised to learn that you still need to prove yourself in basic school skills such as math, reading, and writing. HVAC technicians, for example, need to understand how to do things like measure superheat. Pharmacy technicians need to interpret and calculate medications. Both of these require proficiency in basic math.
Shorter Degree Programs
A big plus for attending vocational school is faster certification. In a traditional college or university students typically can’t finish a degree in less than four years. Within vocational schools there’s a great deal of variation, of course, depending on the particular field of study, but some certificates can be completed in as little as 10 weeks to 2 years.
After completing a program at a trade school, most graduates will still need to be licensed or do some level of apprenticeship. But even these steps are often faster than getting a college degree.
If you’re thinking about trade school, it can be a great alternative to the traditional university track, especially for those looking to invest less funds in their education. There are many different options of trades to study too, something for every taste.
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