Is Trade School The Right Choice For Me?
If the idea of going to college and the academic requirements it may entail are not entirely appealing to you, you might consider going to trade school. Take this quick quiz to see if your interests, needs and priorities match those of students who do well in a trade school environment:
|Is saving money important to you?||Yes or No|
|Do you want to limit the time you spend in post-secondary school?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy hands-on learning?||Yes or No|
|Is general education not a priority for you?||Yes or No|
|Do you know what career you would like to pursue?||Yes or No|
|Do you want to start working as soon as possible?||Yes or No|
|Do you think you might want to pursue a degree later in your career?||Yes or No|
|Do you need a flexible program?||Yes or No|
|Is job security important to you?||Yes or No|
|Are you self-motivated?||Yes or No|
Why Are These Questions Important?
Is saving money important to you?
The average cost to complete trade school is about a quarter of what it costs to earn a bachelor's degree, and trade school students qualify for the same federal financial aid programs as college students.
Do you want to limit the time you spend in school?
Some trade school programs can be completed in less than a year, versus the two to four (or more) years it takes to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree.
Do you enjoy hands-on learning?
Trade schools focus on practical skills, taught by professionals within a particular field. Most trade schools emphasize lab work and similar hands-on experiences.
Is general education not a priority for you?
While traditional college degree programs require students to take general education courses not directly related to their major, trade schools zero in on the skills and knowledge you'll need in your career.
Do you know what career you would like to pursue?
If you go to trade school, you will need to choose a particular vocation. If you change your mind in the midst of the program, you will likely need to start over again from scratch in another area.
Do you want to start working as soon as possible?
Trade school graduates typically land jobs more quickly than college graduates, thanks in part to trade schools offering placement programs and assistance with applicable certification requirements.
Do you think you might want to pursue a degree later in your career?
While trade school will train you for a specific occupation, many schools offer credits that are transferable to colleges and universities should you choose to pursue a college degree at some point in the future.
Do you need a flexible program?
Generally, trade school programs offer greater flexibility than colleges and universities. This includes classes that may be taken evenings, weekends or online.
Is job security important to you?
While many white-collar jobs are increasingly outsourced to other countries, the occupations that trade schools emphasize are hands-on. This means that most trade school graduates may expect to have strong job security throughout their careers.
Are you self-motivated?
Trade school can require long hours and extensive hands-on requirements. They also, typically, do not have the strong academic structure offered by colleges and universities, so you will need to be focused and self-motivated to complete your training.
Decide What to Do Next
Did you answer 'yes' to most of these questions? If so, you may want to start investigating schools that offer training in your field of choice. There are numerous trade schools in the United States that offer certificates, diplomas and associate's degrees in a myriad of vocations, ranging from nursing to HVAC training.