7 Benefits of Attending Trade School

7 Benefits of Attending Trade School

By Doug Wintemute

Published on September 7, 2021

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A bachelor's degree can lead to many postgraduate career and educational opportunities. However, that path doesn't appeal to everyone.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 38% of students who began pursuing a bachelor's degree at a four-year college or university in 2012 did not graduate within six years. Not every learner thrives in a college or university setting, and prospective learners should consider this attrition rate before choosing a program.

Trade, career, and vocational schools may offer more suitable training and more direct career pathways for many students. In this guide, we explore this career-preparation route, highlighting the benefits of going to a trade school. We also look at some possible disadvantages and additional considerations.

What Is a Trade School?

Trade schools may be known by several different names, but they typically focus on providing trade-specific training. These programs usually run for two years or less. They remove the majority of general education courses and emphasize hands-on training and practical skills.

Many of the top online community colleges offer training for various skilled trades and professions. These include licensed practical nursing, electrician work, and culinary arts. In some fields, students can gain the entry-level skills necessary for employment and then complete the rest of their training on the job. Many of these fields are in high demand and may offer competitive wages.

For many learners, the value of trade schools comes from their differences from four-year bachelor's programs. These vocational programs tend to be shorter, feature less-restrictive admission requirements, and cost less than a bachelor's degree.

Read on to learn more about these potential benefits.

7 Benefits of Going to Trade School

Disadvantages of Going to Trade School

Prospective students should consider both the pros and cons of trade school before making a decision. The focused training in trade schools may appeal to many learners. However, it can limit the types and number of careers available to graduates.

For trade school graduates who wish to pursue more training in the future, their specialized and practical credits may not transfer easily to a traditional college or university. Furthermore, as trade schools adapt to COVID-19 protocols, many have been forced to reduce hands-on training in favor of remote learning. This has made practical learning more challenging for many students.

Is Trade School Worth It?

The pros and cons of trade school are varied, but many students find the training beneficial. Prospective learners who cannot commit four years to their education, do not meet the admission requirements of a four-year program, and/or simply want to pursue a skilled trade may find trade school as a viable and promising option.

Trade schools offer hands-on training and access to unique programs. Their smaller classes and career services departments can provide more individualized support. Before making a decision, learners should think about their long-term career goals and figure out if trade school can help them find success.

Frequently Asked Questions About Trade School

Are trade schools better than college? true

Trade schools and traditional colleges offer different styles of training. For learners who want smaller classes, shorter graduation timelines, and more practical training, trade schools may be a better option. However, some careers are only accessible with a college degree.

Are trade schools worth it? true

Trade schools can be very worthwhile for students in pursuit of a skilled trade and career. These schools typically feature less expensive programs, smaller class sizes, and direct pathways to careers. They are a solid investment for many learners.

What is the best trade to learn? true

Identifying the best trade depends on your strengths and preferences. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), two trade jobs with the highest projected growth rates are wind turbine technician and solar voltaic installer. The BLS projects 61% and 51% growth, respectively, for these positions between 2019 and 2029.


Feature Image: Highwaystarz-Photography / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Students pursuing a trade often study at vocational schools. Learn more about trade schools and their challenges. Not every career requires a bachelor's degree. If you're considering entering a vocation, check out these popular — and lucrative — trade school jobs. We've ranked the best online community colleges & trade Schools for programs, financial aid, and more. Compare and search for the school that matches your goals. Trade schools can be a direct route to job stability, high salary potential, and personal fulfillment in your career. Learn more about the importance of trades in today's economy.