Whether you just graduated from high school or are looking for a new career path, you may be considering some sort of continuing education. College is often considered the next logical step in this transition to most. However, a traditional degree might not be productive for all students. About 30% of students around the world pursue four year degrees because they think it’s the next natural progression after high school. Know that you do have other options that can still set you up for a bright future. 

For many young students and adult learners, trade school can open up opportunities without the cost of a four-year degree. Here’s how you can decide whether trade school is right for you. 

How are trade schools different than colleges?

College degrees generally take four years to complete. While these degrees focus on a specific discipline, general holistic education requirements are required. Trade programs are much shorter, generally lasting between two weeks and 18 months. They’re highly focused and allow students to learn skills in a hands-on environment and require little to no study that’s not directly related to your chosen discipline. So, if you are focusing on roofing, you’ll exclusively learn about replacement roofing and installation nearly. 

What are the benefits of attending a trade school?

While individuals attend trade school for a variety of reasons, there are some key benefits that drive enrollment:

  • Cost: Trade school costs much less than the average four-year degree. While the typical bachelor’s degree costs around $127,000, trade school costs $33,000 on average. Trade school enrollees are also eligible for grants, loans and foundational scholarships that are specific to a vocation or field of study.
  • Career Opportunities: Professional trades can offer heightened job security, since these disciplines will always be in demand. For example, knowing that people will continuously require car repair, automotive, diesel and collision repair academic programs offer some of the most promising job prospects. If you want to learn a special skill or advance your career options, you can also obtain continuing education credits through your trade school. These vast career options and job stability are often why trade workers are proud to devote their lives to a vocation.
  • Hands-On Learning: The classroom setting is not for everyone, and trade schools get you on your feet and learning by doing. You will start absorbing tangible skills that’ll be directly useful for your future career from the start. Most anyone who enjoys learning through action will find a trade school’s environment to be stimulating and helpful to their career paths.

How do you choose the right program for you?

With so many trade programs out there, it can be tricky to narrow down your options. However, your personal interests are a great place to start. Think about what excites you and what you can picture yourself doing every day. If you love being creative and building, carpentry could be the perfect path for you. Anyone who loves working with others might even consider construction or home health aide careers. 

Learning a skilled trade like laying resin driveways can set you up for a lifetime of job security and numerous job opportunities. You might even graduate without debt if you’re a working student, and could launch your career path with a clean slate. 

Remember, that even if you feel pressured to complete a four-year degree, there is no need to follow the status quo. You can define your own success and build a career you are proud of. Once you know what you’d like to study, research programs in your area and go on tours of the facilities to talk to current students. You’ll find what’s best for you that way, and set yourself up on the path to success. 

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