Why Students Are Choosing Trade Schools Over College

Trade school or college? This is a question a lot of high school seniors are asking themselves. There was a time when the choice would be college without a second thought. But there has been a shift in the mind of students.

A lot of people are seeing friends and family members struggling with student loan debt. The debt levels are rising, with the average college grad going into the workforce with $37,000 in debt.

It’s a financial burden that forces many would-be homebuyers to remain in their parents’ homes. And a lot of these graduates are having difficulty finding employment because of the wide range of college-educated individuals applying for the same jobs.

Trade schools are starting to make a lot of sense to these students.


Trade Schools are Significantly Cheaper

Trade schools have a cost of around $33,000 through completion. Financial aid and assistance are available for many of these schools, too. And when a student exits these schools, they often exit with loans of around $10,000 – much less than the college graduate.

State and federal programs are helping fund these trade schools.

You’ll also find organizations that are willing to help pay for the trade school student’s education costs.

In some instances, such as in the trucking industry, you’ll find a lot of companies that are willing to train truckers for free as long as they agree to work for the company for a pre-defined set of time.

Programs May Be a Lot Shorter

Obtaining a degree can take 2 – 4+ years for just an associates or bachelor’s degree. Trade schools often, but not always, have a shorter program. Keep in mind that students often start making money while in these programs.

HVAC technicians can work in the field with just 2 years of course material.

A general idea of what professions a trade school can offer are:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Cosmetology
  • Massage therapy
  • Commercial trucking
  • Welder

If you want to work for Pipe Surgeons, your local electrical service or as a mechanic, you’ll often need to work as an apprentice. The apprenticeship will allow a student to learn from a master in their profession. The good news is that the professional will begin earning money during their apprenticeship, which lasts 2 – 4 years on average.

Enter the Workforce Faster

Students going to college need to earn their degree before entering the workforce in their profession – in most cases. This means that a degree must be completed, or a loss of several healthy years in the workforce.

Trade schools offer a much faster pace to employment.

Apprenticeships, for example, will pay the apprentice while they learn the trade. These payments can be applied to loans and help a worker get out of debt faster.

There’s also a much higher demand for trades. A lot of people are choosing office jobs and going to college, and this trend has led to a huge demand for trade skills.

Truck drivers, plumbers, mechanics and carpenters are among the highest in demand in 2018, and the salaries of these professionals are on par with that of a lot of college graduates.

Adam Richards

About Adam Richards

Adam Richards is a semi-retired business professional originally from Bangor, Maine. He spent the majority of his career in sales and marketing where he rose to the marketing lead of a Fortune 1000 company. He then moved on to helping people as a career counselor that specifically helped bring families to self-sufficiency through finding them rewarding careers. He has now returned to Bangor for his retirement and spends his free time writing. This blog will be about everything he learned throughout his career. He'll write on career, workplace, education and technology issues as well as on trends, changes, and advice for the Maine job market and its employers.