Benefits of Choosing a Trade Vs. Going to College

In many high schools, college is assumed to be the foregone conclusion after graduation. Some well-meaning family members, teachers, and counselors sing the praises of college as the only option for a successful career with long-term earning potential. While there is always value in education, there are many benefits to entering a trade school or accepting opportunities to learn on the job. Many trade programs prepare you for certifications you can earn as you acquire new skills. If you are interested in job security, earning potential, and accruing less debt while beginning your career a bit sooner, choosing a trade can be an excellent choice.

Structural steel fabricator welding in a shop.

How are Trade Schools Different from College?

College typically means a four-year degree. For many schools, getting into college is an extensive application process that requires SAT scores, essays, and a portfolio of extra-curricular and volunteer activities. The cost for most colleges and universities is high, and you will not begin working and earning until you graduate, if you can find a job in your field. College offers many social and extracurricular options and will give students a broad education.

Trade schools have a relatively uncomplicated admissions process. Most of the time all you will need to have to apply is a high school diploma. Rather than four years of classes, you will have a year or two of intensive, hands-on training in a trade. Compared to college, the cost is far less. The training is focused on a specific trade and will give you the skills you will need to begin your career.

If you’re someone who likes to work with your hands and create, entering a trade is a fulfilling choice, both mentally and financially. To be successful in this line of work, experience is key, and that’s not something you can learn in a traditional classroom. Within a few years of working, you will gain specialized skills and credentials long before your counterparts earn a college degree and begin their job search.

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What are the Advantages of Trade School?

While college is the right choice for some students, it is not the right choice for all high school graduates. Forgoing the traditional four-year college or university path and choosing a trade school has many advantages. Not only will you acquire far less debt during the process, but you’ll be paid as you train. Trade schools also offer very competitive pay. Many trade school positions cannot be outsourced, giving trade school graduates excellent job security. Because of this, 21% of trade school graduates are more likely than their counterparts to follow through with a career in their field of study, and they are 4% more likely to find a job right out of their program of study or apprenticeship than students graduating from a four year university.

Choosing Trade School over College

For many students, trade school can lead to an even better and more stable career option than college, and can certainly get young people started off in their adult life with less debt. In many cases, a new trade school graduate can out earn a college graduate. Although college graduates tend to make more starting out in their career, trade school graduates typically enter the workforce two years earlier and with less debt. When deciding between trade school and college, think about what you want from your future. In some professions, a four-year degree is required, but if you want a more hands-on, fulfilling career with great pay and benefits, applying for a trade may be the right decision.

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If you are graduating high school or you’re looking for a career change and you aren’t feeling sure about college, consider a trade. The benefits of immediate employment, getting paid as you learn, and assuring yourself some job security can be a far better choice than accruing debt for a degree you aren’t sure what you’ll do with. College has its advantages, but many smart students are opting for a secure career in the trades instead. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a welder and metal fabricator, contact Swanton Welding today. We are always looking for creative hard working applicants, and with our diverse job scene, we know you’d enjoy working with our team.