Trade School Vs. College: Pros and Cons

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Recently we’ve seen a drop in trade school professions. Many kids graduate high school and automatically assume that they must attend college. College is a fantastic way to go, but before you register for classes, first ask yourself why you are going to college. See if there are other professions out there that interest you. Trade schools aren’t a fall back. They are a smart, viable choice if that’s the desired profession of the student.

College or Trade SchoolTrade School


  1. Shorter Curriculum: On average, the typical technical school has a year-long program until you are certified. They cover the biggest topics that will relate directly to the occupation that you are working towards.
  2. Hands On Work: Most trade schools are in hands on, active professions. For example, hair stylists, mechanics, massage therapists, and electricians all are manual labor jobs that require the person to be away from a desk while on the job.
  3. Begin Work Faster: With the shorter curriculum, you’ll be able to start earning money faster by starting work 3 years before your college-going counterparts. You’ll be gaining on-the-job experience and be able to start padding your pockets to save up for a new vehicle or rent.
  4. Job Security: As of right now, trade professions are in high demand. You can find a great paying job with ample benefits easily in almost any location.


  1. Lower Yearly Earning Potential: Over time, your overall earning potential won’t be as high as a college graduate. The average salary for a trade school is about $45,000, whereas the college graduate’s average salary is $70,000.
  2. Limited Upward Growth Potential: Once you are in a position, there’s not a high ceiling above you. If you want to stay in the hands on position, you’ll be able to move up to manager, but past that, odds are you’ll be behind and desk.



  1. More Job Opportunities: After you have your bachelor’s degree, you’ll have more job opportunities in front of you, regardless of the concentration. Most employers want to see a degree and/or years experience before hiring a candidate. You can start off on the ground floor, and work your way up to upper management much easier than someone in a trade profession.
  2. Well-Rounded Knowledge: You’ll not only learn about the things that pertain to your specific degree, but you’ll also gain an education in other areas to make you a more well-rounded individual. It’ll push you to think past your personal experiences, and force you to work on areas that aren’t your strong suit. You’ll come out with a more in-depth education than the trade school graduate.
  3. Higher Yearly Earning Potential: Because you’ll be able to move up higher up the corporate ladder, you’ll be able to earn more on average. In general, the more people you are responsible for, and the bigger decisions you make, the more earning potential you have.


  1. Student Loans: Most people go into college needing some form of financial aid. The average person accrues about $100,000 in school loan debt that they must start paying off soon after graduation. It can be a big drain on the budget for many years to come.
  2. Start Work Later: Because you’ll be holding off on joining the job force to complete your education, you’ll be slightly behind your trade school cohort in experience and earnings.
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