A lot of people today are wondering about this question because the rising costs of colleges today have become especially problematic. What’s worse is the realization that an expensive diploma is not really a guarantee that you’ll get a good job after you graduate. For some people, this means that trade schools have become a much more popular alternative now, than ever before.
Despite the inherent disadvantages of trade schools, you may want to consider them more carefully if any of the following apply to you:
• You don’t have good grades in high school. College—especially the reputable ones—require rigorous study. That means getting into college can be an tough situation, and even if you can get into one you may not have what it takes to finish the program. Getting into trade school is very easy in comparison, and the study requirements are significantly less.
• You are picky in what you want to study. You need to study a lot of different courses in a 4-year college program, and that includes topics like history and literature which may seem “useless” for your employability. It’s just part of what it means to be educated in college, where learning humanities is considered essential. In trade school, most of the time the topics cover only the true essentials of the trade.
• You need to get a job as quickly as possible. Trade schools may enable you to graduate in just two years. This means you can find a good job faster than college educated individuals. For some people, waiting for an extra two years before starting to work is simply unacceptable, especially when children are involved.
• You don’t have the money for a 4-year college. The tuition for trade school per year is usually much lower than what college costs, and trade school tuition is only for two years usually. It’s not uncommon to find yourself having to pay three times as much for a four year college education compared to what you would have spent in trade school. Trade school is simply a less expensive choice of investment.
What you need to understand, however, is that the inherent disadvantage of a trade school education is quite significant. First of all, the quality of your education is considered less than the quality of a typical 4-year college program. If you have to compete for a position armed only with a trade school diploma while the other applicant has a 4-year college degree, in the vast majority of cases you’ll lose out. And when layoffs are required, the college-educated employee enjoys better security in their position.
Your opportunities for advancement are also much less, and it’s not uncommon for trade school graduates having younger and less experienced 4-year college graduates as their immediate supervisors. It’s like in the military wherein decorated combat veterans still have to salute newly minted officers who have just finished their college education. In the private sector, this is still a very common occurrence. If you can’t handle that kind of bias, then you’ll have to stick to a 4-year college program.