If you’re a recent high school graduate, or will graduate in a few years, you might be wondering what the difference is between trade school vs. the traditional 4-year undergraduate degree. As more drawbacks to pursuing a 4-year degree emerge (i.e., a lot of debt, difficulty finding a job, etc.), trade school is becoming a more attractive option for students who want an advanced degree but aren’t really cut out for the university lifestyle. If you are considering trade school, keep reading to get a glimpse into what to expect from pursuing this type of degree.
Let’s start by looking at what trade school prepares you to do; “[Trade] schools teach skills and abilities that are directly related to specific jobs, whereas traditional colleges tend to offer broader, more general education programs…” (Trade Schools). If you attend trade school to study welding, then you strictly study the skill of welding and you know that your career will involve the skill of welding. Whereas if you study English at a 4-year university, you study an array of subjects and have no certainty as to what kind of career or industry you will land a career in.
The trade school timeline and class structure is also very different than the 4-year degree. Trade school degrees are typically 2-year programs with most schools offering flexible schedules (i.e., night classes), so many students can work full or part-time the entire time they are in school.
Finally, there is job placement. The pool of qualified candidates with a traditional 4-year degree is saturated, and many graduates struggle to find a job in the industry of their choice. The story is different for the trades: “Skilled trades such as plumbing, electric, and welding are experiencing shortages of qualified people, creating vacant spots in need of being filled” (Career School Now).
To sum it all up, pursuing a degree in a trade has many benefits and allows you to enter the workforce sooner, without a lot of debt, and with a skill that employers are searching for. Sounds pretty great, right?
If you want to learn more about a certain trade, or just want to talk more about what trade school can do for you, reach out to our team! We are happy to provide any guidance you need to make this life changing decision.