Everything To Know About Trade School

Trade schools (also known as technical institutes, vocational schools, or career colleges) are public or private institutions that offer programs ranging from a few months to two years or more.

A trade school, also known as a technical school, vocational college, or vocational school, is a post-secondary institution that teaches students technical skills in order to prepare them for a certain occupation.

What is a vocational school

A vocational school is a type of educational institution, which, depending on the country, may refer to either secondary or post-secondary education designed to provide vocational education or technical skills required to complete the tasks of a particular and specific job. In the case of secondary education, these schools differ from academic high schools which usually prepare students who aim to pursue tertiary education, rather than enter directly into the workforce. With regard to post-secondary education, vocational schools are traditionally distinguished from four-year colleges by their focus on job-specific training to students who are typically bound for one of the skilled trades, rather than providing academic training for students pursuing careers in a professional discipline. While many schools have largely adhered to this convention, the purely vocational focus of other trade schools began to shift in the 1990s “toward a broader preparation that develops the academic” as well as technical skills of their students.


In trade schools, you can acquire a degree in information technology, nursing and health sciences, automotive technician training, and medical assistance. The length of the program varies, but it usually lasts between eight months and two years.

A trade school, unlike a four-year institution, does not award a bachelor’s degree. Typically, you’ll obtain a diploma or trade certificate following completion of the program, indicating that you completed it effectively. Some programs allow you to earn an associate degree, which is a two-year college diploma.

A trade school offers the specific skills and training you need to excel in your chosen profession.

Before choosing a Trade school to attend, it’s important to assess the full cost of the trade school versus other education options.

How Much Do Trade Schools Cost?

The price of attending trade school varies.  According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, tuition rates typically range from $3,674 to $15,923 per year, however, there are significant differences based on the sort of institution and degree you choose.

Trade schools (also known as technical institutes, vocational schools, or career colleges) are public or private institutions that offer programs ranging from a few months to two years or more.

What Can You Do With A Degree From Trade School?

You can get a job directly connected to the field you studied at vocational school after completing a trade school program. You can work as a dental assistant after completing a dental assisting program, for example. A job as a plumber is possible if you complete a plumbing program. Trade schools are meant to prepare you for a specific field of work.

Here are a few jobs you can do with a degree from a trade school:

  • Electrician
  • Dental hygienist
  • Plumber
  • Paralegal
  • Nurse
  • Graphic Designer
  • Welder
  • Computer technician
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Cosmetologist
  • Chef
  • Marine mechanic
  • Construction manager
  • Massage therapist
  • Pharmacy technician

Benefits of Attending A Trade School

Trade school offers learners enormous benefits that make them stand in comparison to four-year colleges. Let’s take a look at a few benefits of trade schools:

1. It takes lesser time to complete 

Almost all trade school programs take fewer than two years to complete. Meanwhile, a community college degree typically takes two years to finish, and a standard four-year college degree typically takes at least four years to complete, with many students needing a fifth or sixth year.

You can gain more job experience and advance faster in your profession if you spend less time in education. Furthermore, if you’re not in school, you won’t have to pay for those additional years of college tuition and may have to take out fewer student loans.

2. It gives students hands-on experience 

Many four-year institutions and programs place a greater emphasis on intellectual learning rather than job training. If you have a degree in philosophy or theater, for example, you may have trouble finding a job that is closely related to your subject. At a trade school, the emphasis is on learning the skills that you’ll need in your future employment.

Similarly, because the purpose of a vocational school is to learn the skills needed for a specific job, it may be simpler to get work in that industry right away. Furthermore, many trade school programs are focused on industries where people are in high demand.

3. Trade schools graduates earn well

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for dental hygienists was $77,090 in 2020. Meanwhile, the average starting salary for four-year college graduates was $55,260 for students from the class of 2020.

4. Less stressful application process

Application to trade colleges is less stressful unlike four-year colleges and community colleges where you are required to submit test scores, proof of proficiency, and lots more.

Because the application requirements are easier at a trade school, if you decide to go to one, you won’t have to spend the time or money associated with four-year college applications. You won’t have to take the SAT/ACT.

The SAT is an entrance exam used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. Here’s how to Score High On SAT | Tricks To Hit The Numbers In 2022

5. A dependable job market 

Trade school prepares students for specialized, in-demand jobs with more job security. Many trade school professions, such as plumbing and HVAC, are immune to the economic changes that affect most sectors. Many trade jobs remain vital even in the most difficult of times, making them extremely coveted.

Are There Disadvantages Of Attending A Trade School?

Everything that has an advantage also has a disadvantage. Here are a few drawbacks of Trade School:

1. Four-year colleges have access to bigger study aid

After financial aid, the average cost for West Coast University in Anaheim, California is $39,100. Meanwhile, the average cost for an in-state student at CSU Long Beach, a California State University school, is $9,622.

2. It appears college school graduates make more money than trade school graduates

According to College Scorecard, American Career College in Los Angeles’ salary after attending, which is the typical income for students receiving federal financial aid 10 years after graduation, ranges from $16,663 to $43,426 depending on the course of study.

In comparison, UCLA’s compensation after graduation ranges from $18,498 to $110,878. Even after accounting for the extra time spent in school, the average UCLA graduate will be financially better off.

3. Rigorous study schedule

The fast-paced nature of trade school allows students to graduate and find work rapidly. However, with such a busy schedule, students may not have much free time throughout the school day.

Some trade schools offer year-round classes with little breaks. The ability to swiftly enter the workforce may outweigh the disadvantages of vocational school.

4. Limited career growth

Although trade school positions might be lucrative, individuals may have limited opportunities for career advancement. Advancement in a trade sector might be challenging because many managerial or supervisory positions require a college diploma.

On the other hand, a typical college degree offers students a broader education and helps them build transferable abilities that can qualify them for numerous types of employment.

How Long Does Trade School Programs Last?

The shortest programs are trade school programs, which can last anywhere from a year to two years. Many vocational schools are for-profit enterprises, as opposed to community colleges and four-year institutions.

Trade schools focus on providing students with hands-on experience that is closely relevant to a specific job. You can get a diploma or certificate, study for a licensing exam, or work as an apprentice or journeyman in a skilled trade after completing a program. The majority of admissions are open enrollment.

How To Apply To A Trade School

The majority of trade schools have a straightforward application process. Most colleges feature a simple online application on their websites, or you can inquire about admissions by contacting the school directly. In addition, there are usually no application deadlines. You can apply at any time, but you may have to wait until the start of your desired program before enrolling.

Additionally, you may be required to interview or talk with an admissions representative after completing the application. These discussions are intended to provide you with useful information and point you in the direction of the program that is right for you.

Most trade schools are open enrollment and are not considered selective. You are not required to take the SAT/ACT or write an essay for the majority of institutions and programs. In addition, trade schools do not require recommendations or take your extracurricular activities into account when deciding on admission.

Are Trade Schools Worth It?

The answer to this question is contingent on your job objectives, financial situation, and personal situation. As previously said, vocational school has both advantages and disadvantages.

A trade school education can be a low-cost path to a high-demand, well-paying job. However, depending on the type of trade school degree you choose, your career and earnings prospects will differ dramatically. Other factors that determine the types of trade school employment accessible include industry, company, geographic area, and level of previous experience.

Take into account the cost of the trade school and the length of any of their programs, as well as your expected earnings after graduation. Is there room for advancement in your job once you complete this program? Where will you acquire the money to pay for your education if you need to borrow money, and how long will it take you to repay it?

There are certain disadvantages to trade schools, such as limited school and financial assistance alternatives. Finally, trade school programs provide numerous advantages to persons seeking a skilled job that does not require a college diploma.

Remember to think about the intangible benefits of trade school, such as gaining new skills and having a built-in professional growth network.

When you put all of these into perspective, you will find out that trade school is well worth your time.


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