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Why Students Prefer Trade School Over Universities

Students who are about to complete high school are mostly in their teens when the urge to break free and become independent is at an all-time high. What should I go for “trade school or university”, is a question that is in the mind of most high school students except the best performing 5% who want to pursue higher studies in college and university. The rest of the students have a latent intent to start earning within a year of passing out of high school. However, a high school diploma won’t help them get a steady job in a specialized area where they can build a career in the long term. So what option do they have?

This is where technical trade schools around come in, with their expertise in teaching students the skills that are required for a specific job within an industry of choice. These training schools have a more focused approach in helping students learn the skills of their chosen area of study. These courses are designed to equip the students with the necessary skills within a short duration ranging from 6 months up to 2 years. These are job-oriented courses and are in high demand in the market thereby ensuring that students completing such courses, get a job immediately.

Trade schools vs universities
This makes it easier for students to choose a trade school over college and start earning within 1 year of completing high school. Pursuing a job-oriented vocational course provides them the option to start earning within just 6 months after completing high school. The best part of a trade school diploma is that it is relatively affordable as compared to a college degree and assures a job opening immediately upon completion of the course. Unlike students passing out or dropping out of colleges, a student who chooses a vocational course doesn’t carry a huge debt burden when beginning his career.

There are many reasons for students passing out of high school to prefer a job-oriented course over colleges or universities. Here are some very important reasons why Students Prefer Trade School Over Universities:

It’s much easier to get admission in a technician trade school   

For someone just out of high school, it’s much easier to get admission to a vocational training school, here is an admission eligibility criteria to refer to from a well known technical trade school in Philadelphia.

Better attention from instructors

Most training schools offer specialized courses in a number of areas. This means that class sizes are smaller, making it easy for instructors to pay more attention to individual students. The quality of instruction improves with such individualized attention, which benefits the students, who learn more easily.

Help students get training, internship, and job opportunities

Trade schools are very well-connected to the market and the respective industries that require the skills they teach their students. They have counselors in their ranks who focus on helping their students to get opportunities like internships, industry-oriented training as well as hands-on training.

Sets up a youngster to face the challenges of life

Somebody passing out of high school and choosing a vocational course can hope to begin earning in about a year. This is the kind of empowerment that most youngsters are looking for after passing out of high school. It gives them the confidence to choose a career of their choice including pursuing higher studies in college or university while working.

Some of the most popular fields of study in trade schools are:

  • Healthcare – Account for over 36% of students choosing vocational courses.
  • Consumer services – 8% of the students prefer courses in this area
  • Manufacturing, construction, repair and transportation – 7% of students prefer to be skilled in this area
  • Around 18% of the students prefer to study courses in protective services, computer and information studies and education-related services respectively.

Top-tier college education is expensive and competitive

Studying in a top tier college or university can be both very competitive and expensive. It is very difficult to get into a reputed college without a high Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) score and other credentials like volunteer service projects and extra-curricular activities. Hence, students are more likely to choose trade school over universities.

Vocational courses lead to lucrative careers

There are differences in the earning potential of those who pass out from top-tier colleges and those who pass out from trade schools. However, some data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics are quite interesting. While construction managers earned an annual salary of over $95,000 per year, radiation therapists earned over $85,000 a year and dental hygienists over $76,000 a year. While that can’t be said about all jobs with vocational qualifications, it is also true that most such jobs don’t get outsourced. Besides, if a worker with a vocational qualification wants to pursue higher education later in his career, he can always do so.

Trade schools vs universities - Workforce Chart


Overall, the opportunities for a student choosing trade school over universities is something that cannot be overlooked. Gone are the days when a college degree could get you a well-paying job soon after graduating. Today, the market requires people with hands-on skills in precision jobs that trade schools teach – e.g. HVAC technician, manufacturing, mental health technician, etc. The other important point to note is that the wages in these jobs are quite decent even if they don’t match up with the wages that graduates passing out of good colleges and universities get.

According to Student Loan Hero, a leading agency that counsels students on loans, the average college student graduates with a debt of $30,000 which requires an average debtor 21 years to repay. College fees can range between $56,000 and $127,000. Compared to that, a student passing out of a trade school just requires about $16000 which is much easier to repay. For someone who gets a job immediately after passing out of a skills training school paying off a much smaller debt is easier. Thereafter, build a career in his chosen field.




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