Are you interested in walking off the beaten path in your professional life? What is a trade school and how does it fit with your career plans?
Trade schools are a preferred alternative to four years of conventional college. They can help you learn skills directly related to a specific field.
These schools typically do not compare with a community college or regular university.
At the end of the trade program, you receive a trade certificate in the field you studied rather than a typical college degree.
For those students looking for a different path to success, trade school might be your answer!
Most of these schools are famous for being vocational schools or technical schools that help students acquire technical skills for a specific occupation.
A lot of these trade schools are either public or privately funded. Program lengths vary anywhere from eight months to two years.
These post-secondary institutions often give associate degrees that you would normally earn from a two-year college.
Students attend these trade school programs to learn the skills they need to become a business owner, welder, or even a computer repairer, to name a few occupations.
In many cases, you can train for the same career by doing a technical program or apprenticeship at a community college.
Trade schools, however, can be cheaper and much more professionally oriented than your average community college!
Types of Trade School
Both programs exist at a single technical school, but each program is unique and provides students with qualified teachers and related instruction.
Other schools offer different programs with specializations, too. They might have variations of training in only one field. An automotive technical school, for instance, focuses on car mechanics and offers a course in that area only!
These technical schools offer hands-on training to prepare students for actual work in chosen professions.
Trade School Speciality
If you are in it for the short-haul and would like to attend classes to acquire professional training, a trade school specialty is the best option!
These are vocational for-profit institutions that give you a diploma or certificate and let you prepare for a licensing exam. You can also become a journeyman in a skilled trade.
Admissions are mostly open to all students who have graduated High School. With no extracurricular involvement and on-campus culture, you often find a no-nonsense ethos here.
Benefits of Trade School
What is a trade school degree if it doesn’t require less time to complete?
Almost all trade programs can be finished in less than two years. Community colleges, on the other hand, take two years or more while traditional college degrees often may need a fifth or sixth year to complete.
Less time in school allows you to get more on-the-job experience and progress faster in your career.
Furthermore, if you are not completing an additional two years, you don’t have to pay additional college tuition and therefore can take out fewer educational loans.
Trade schools also give you hands-on preparation for any mechanical or automotive job. If you graduate from a university having studied philosophy or theater, you may have trouble finding a job related to your major.
Trade programs, on the other hand, focus on learning skills directly needed in the job market.
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Thirdly, most trade schools aim at helping students acquire the necessary skills for high demand work.
There are lucrative jobs you may get with trade school degrees. If you are studying in a dental hygiene program, you could get a profitable job in a dental clinic.
Meanwhile, median salaries for four-year college graduates in fine arts and social sciences can be much lower.
If you attend a trade school, you don’t have to worry about the traditional college application process. Application requirements are far less strict than average college applications associated with four-year degree courses.
Less Stringent Eligibility
You also don’t have to take the SAT/ACT and stress about the grades in high school. Extracurricular activities also are not required to enhance your college applications.
If you are looking to enter the skilled mechanical trades, a trade school offers the best practical training for that specific career.
Every lesson and assignment will help you meet the needs of an entry-level job. Trade schools provide students with a dedicated environment and experienced tutors in the field.
The trade school class schedules are also often more flexible and can accommodate other life responsibilities.
Trade schools also have dedicated career services on hand that can answer almost all student concerns and questions. Career services want their students to succeed, so they help them start working as soon as possible.
A trade diploma allows you to stay competitive in the job market and make advances in your career.
Drawbacks of Trade School
Even though the financial costs of studying in a trade school are much lower than a four-year degree college, most college graduates find jobs that will pay well later on.
Trade school graduates can find lucrative jobs upon completion of their programs but might run out of steam with no economic potential in the long run.
Professional trade schools also do not offer generous financial aid, unlike four-year degree colleges. Furthermore, if you go to vocational school, you may miss out on traditional college experiences.
These schools do not offer an on-campus culture with a thriving social scene.
At a four-year college, you can join clubs and attend parties, sporting events, and live in dorms with your peers.
Much of the learning takes place outside of the classroom. You can also attend lectures held by prominent academics and personalities, thus enabling you to socially interact.
At a trade school, in contrast, the aim is to prepare you for the job and that is the extent of your education.
Traditional colleges pride themselves on imparting critical thinking skills and making you an informed student who has a positive impact on society and business.
Finally, there is more job flexibility with a traditional college degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree, regardless of the major, you can vie for sales, education, and consulting job roles available for all graduates.
In a trade school, you only can do a specific job, as switching arenas with a specialized vocational school diploma won’t be of much help.
Find the Best Trade School
Once you’ve decided to join a trade school, the next step is to find the best possible school for what you are looking for!
If you are interested in a specific trade program or certificate, ensure that the school offers exactly what you are looking for so that there are no surprises at the end of it.
Consulting the top admissions counselors at the schools you are interested in is a good first step.
It is also imperative that the schools you apply to attend are reputable to employers and have the right accreditation.
Ensure that you don’t enroll in a diploma school that only churns out certificates without ensuring students are employable in the current job market. Doing your investigation early on will help!
Finally, ensure that you can afford the tuition costs or even apply for the right amount of financial aid.
Classes offered should work with your schedule, and you should be able to estimate the number of hours a week you would have to devote to the program.
The workload should be manageable, and if the need arises, you could also check out part-time options!
Apply to a Trade School
It’s relatively simple to apply to trade school. The process is not filled with roadblocks! Most schools have a basic online application on their websites with no application deadlines.
You can apply at any time and need to speak with an admissions representative. These conversations are informational and help you make an informed choice.
Trade schools are not selective and most have open enrollment. You don’t need to write an essay and take the SAT/ACT. You also don’t need recommendations and extracurricular activities when seeking admissions.
Remember to consider the benefits of future earnings, salary upon completion, and expected job growth in your chosen area.
Also, be sure to research the expected number of working years and future potential earnings with advanced specializations when you opt for a diploma course!
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