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Trade school vs College: Which one is better ?



Trade school vs College


When it comes to obtaining the education necessary to enter your chosen career, there are frequently multiple options. For particular employment options, many people weigh the benefits and drawbacks of trade school vs college. 

We’ve assembled all you need to know about college vs. trade school to make your decision easier. We’ll go through what each one offers, as well as some common career pathways, prices, and duration. 

The Admissions Procedure 

Shortly after starting high school, the average kid starts thinking about universities. However, applying to universities can be stressful, and getting into a top-tier university is difficult. Brown University, for example, had over 30,000 applications in 2019 and only admitted 8.6%. (2,580 candidates). 

High SAT scores, voluntary service initiatives, and a diverse portfolio of extracurricular activities are all required to get into a reputable institution. Even so, Ivy League schools frequently require more. 

The admissions process for trade schools, on the other hand, is rather simple. You won’t have to study for your SAT/ACT, and you won’t have to fight with thousands of other students for a spot. You can instead show your high school diploma and enroll in the next available program.


A traditional institution provides a four-year Bachelor’s degree, followed by an optional Master’s degree, and culminates in a gleaming diploma or two for your wall. Furthermore, all of the people you study and socialize with in college are perfect for eventually creating your professional network. 

Meanwhile, trade schools provide certificates or diplomas that aren’t equal to college degrees but are sufficient for employment in a field that accepts the certification. Apprenticeships are also available at some trade schools. This assures that when you finish your course, you will already have some experience in your field. 


A bachelor’s degree normally takes four years to complete. This means that if you begin college after high school, you will not be able to work until you are at least 22 years old. It may take even longer if you continue on to a graduate program. A college degree can shorten your working life by a few years, but there’s no assurance you’ll obtain a job in your field at the end. 

Trade schools, on the other hand, take about half as long to complete a program. They are usually intensive courses that take one to two years to complete. Students can expect to gain hands-on experience, which will prepare them for immediate employment. 


It’s no secret that education costs a lot of money. Not just in terms of tuition: sustaining a respectable lifestyle during your college years may be extremely expensive. In actuality, student loan debt in the United States reached $1.7 trillion in 2021, with an average debt of $37,693. 

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Graduates typically have loan installments hanging over their heads after final examinations, and they may not be able to save a penny. Even if you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a Bachelor’s degree, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the job of your dreams – despite the fact that you still have to pay back your loans. 

Of course, if those figures have you chewing your nails, don’t allow the possible costs deter you from pursuing a college education. Financial help, scholarships, loans, and grants are all available. 

Students interested in vocational training aren’t left out either, with trade organizations and state governments stepping in to provide financial choices. 

Earning Prospects 

Is it true that college graduates make more money? Yes, is the quick answer. College provides you with a diverse set of talents, so once you graduate, you will have a variety of options. In their first employment out of college, college graduates make roughly $50,000 per year on average, which is much higher than non-college graduates. A number of these high-paying positions also come with amenities like health insurance, maternity leave, and retirement benefits, among other things. 

Trade schools, on the other hand, allow you to begin working sooner due to the shorter length of their programs, allowing you to begin earning money sooner. Furthermore, vocational schools may be able to provide some very high-paying employment. The median income for construction managers in 2019 was $95,260 per year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Radiation therapists were paid $85,560 per year, while dental hygienists were paid $76,220.

Job Stability 

One of the biggest benefits of going to a trade school is that many of the jobs you’ll earn with a technical degree can’t be outsourced. Automotive technician positions, for example, cannot be moved offshore since they require physical labor. Chefs, electricians, and plumbers all fall within this category. 

College degrees, on the other hand, are frequently misunderstood as a one-way ticket to career security. For years, jobs in computing and insurance have been outsourced, and even professions in healthcare, banking, and education are no longer protected.

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College Can Be Replaced by Trade School 

A typical four-year undergraduate education is not for everyone. Vocational colleges, technical schools, and trade schools may be an excellent alternative to attending college. 

These institutions have a different mindset than four-year colleges in that they aim on preparing students for immediate employment in specific jobs in a range of trades, crafts, vocations, and skilled professions. Many of them achieve it in less than two years. 

Although vocational, technical, and trade schools may have an overarching concept, with so many focusing on such a diverse variety of specializations, it’s reasonable to expect that there are significant variances among them as well. 

HVAC, automotive, plumbing, electrician, aviation, healthcare, medical billing and coding, radiography, management, accounting, office administration, culinary arts and professions, interior design, photography, music production, web design, graphic design, vet tech, cosmetology, legal assistant, and more are among the specific skills they specialize in. 

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Within each speciality, there are high and low grades, and each specialization has its own salary range.


What are the advantages of going to trade school? 

Gaining hands-on skills training is more relevant to a future profession in the mechanical trades, skilled trades, or medical area than receiving a degree from an academic college for students contemplating these fields. Both community colleges and trade schools typically provide vocational training classes, though the extent and types of programs offered will differ per campus. 

In general, trade schools provide a faster path to graduation. 

Community colleges offer a mix of GED, pre-college, and vocational education, whereas trade schools are solely focused on practical training. All of our programs and courses at Delta Technical College (DTC) include a mix of hands-on lab instruction and classroom theory, with no general education subjects. With the exception of the Cosmetology Program, which might take 13 or 16 months to finish, most programs and courses at DTC can be completed in less than a year. In comparison, an associate degree from a community college takes two years to complete, and certificate programs might last anywhere from one to two years. 

Within the trades, there are various job pathways that are in high demand. 

Medical assistants, nursing assistants, maintenance and repair workers (general), and electricians are among the occupations with the biggest job growth until 2029, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is also a stated shortage in the trucking business, which has resulted in greater earnings and recruiting among young people and women. DTC provides a Professional Truck Driving Program that lasts 20 weeks and a CDL Training Course that lasts 20 days. 

Trade schools are frequently less expensive than traditional institutions, and trade school graduates have less student loan debt on average. 

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Due to the high cost of traditional education, students are looking for alternatives, such as trade school. Given that the average Millennial has $30,000 in student debt, a trade school is a much more affordable option than a traditional four-year university. In addition, many trade schools provide financial help and scholarship possibilities to qualified students. For example, at each of our campus locations, DTC’s annual High School Scholarship Program grants scholarships in varied amounts. Choosing trade school can also imply that the student will graduate with less student loan debt and will be able to pursue a high-demand career. A certain amount of investment is required for both trade school and college. Depending on the location, area of study, and type of degree given, each institution and program will be unique.

Is it Possible to Attend Trade School or College Online? 

Fortunately, both trade schools and colleges offer online courses. The online component of trade school differs depending on the career. This is due to the fact that many trade schools incorporate practical training. 

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As a result, many online trade school alternatives will be developed as hybrid learning, meaning they will combine online and in-person instruction. 

Dental hygienists, for example, will need to master clinical skills in dental offices and laboratories. Paralegals and office managers, on the other hand, can get their degree by attending a totally online trade school. 

Many bachelor’s and master’s degrees are available online. Education, health science, computer science, and business administration are some of the subjects that lend themselves well to online learning (all of which can be taken at the University of the People). Online programs are more cost-effective and offer more flexibility than their in-person counterparts.


How Much Does Getting a Vocational Degree Cost? 

The cost of a vocational degree is determined by the school and length of the program. For-profit vocational schools, for example, charge greater tuition than public two-year schools. For-profit trade schools, according to the Center for Education and the Workforce, cost over $20,000 per year. Public community colleges, on the other hand, charge less than $7,000 per year. 

Trade school students, on the other hand, pay less overall than those seeking a four-year degree because a vocational degree usually takes two years or less. A vocational degree can also assist professionals enter the workforce more quickly. 

By comparing pricing at several colleges, prospective students can save money on a trade degree. Often, the most economical vocational training is found at a public community college inside the state. Learners can also save money by looking into getting credit for earlier learning or work experience. Finally, students attending accredited colleges may be eligible for federal student aid, scholarships, and grants, among other forms of financial aid.

How long does it take to get a college diploma? 

Depending on the school, a four-year academic degree can cost under $10,000 or over $30,000. Tuition and fees at public colleges average roughly $9,000 per year. On average, tuition and fees at private universities cost roughly $32,000 per year. Tuition costs can also differ depending on whether students are eligible for in-state or online learning discounts. 

Many college students rely on financial aid to help them pay for their education. Four-year students receive an average of $13,000 in grants and scholarships per year. The awardees are not required to reimburse the funds. Students attending authorized universities can also borrow money from the federal government to help pay for their education. 

By taking some classes at a community college, students can reduce the expense of an academic degree. Tuition at public two-year colleges is roughly $3,000 per year. Students can obtain credits at a reduced tuition rate and transfer them to a bachelor’s degree program. Other choices for saving money include testing out of classes, taking AP classes, or enrolling in an accelerated program.

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