What’s Next, Seniors? P2: Trade Schools

Gillian Ward

For many high school students, just completing their final assignments to graduate requires major mental effort. So the question of what comes after can be extremely intimidating. There are many paths to consider for after high school. Post- high school options include trade school, the armed forces, the workforce, a gap year, a community college, or university; It is important for a blossoming adult to weigh the advantages and disadvantages that come with all post- high school options.

Trade Schools
Very different from colleges and universities, trade schools are hands-on training schools that can prepare you for a particular job. In trade schools, you are trained for a technical skill, and because they are focused on this skill instead of general education, earning a certificate takes much less time than at a college or university. Trade schools often have much smaller classes of around 30 students, compared to a university’s possible 100-student classes. This provides students with more one-on-one instructor time and the ability to ask questions and contribute. Trade schools offer education that will certify you for positions in many different fields, from cosmetology to plumbing.
Another great advantage to trade schools is the low cost in the shadow of university tuitions. An article titled “What is Trade School?” by Career School Now states that “…The average cost for a bachelor’s degree is $25,000-$50,000 per year, which adds up to $100,000-$200,000 for those four years of attendance,” and “…trade school runs, on average, [cost] around $33,000 from start to finish.” Moreover, the current need for trade school graduates to fill professional positions is large and growing and to make it easier to get a trade school education, new scholarships and grants are now available for trade school attendants. To earn a bachelor’s degree can sometimes take up to 5 or 6 years, but trade school courses can span from only 6 weeks to 2 years until completion. The average starting salary of a trade job is $35,720, and although this is about $11,000 less than that of a bachelor’s degree holder, they have much more debt to pay off. Not to mention they often won’t start working until 2 years after a trade school graduate. The article “What is Trade School?” argues that “… on average, you’ll have made more than $75,000 before the person with the bachelor’s degree even pounds the pavement in search of a job.” Amazingly, most trade schools also offer job placement assistance to their graduates, which practically guarantees a graduate’s ability to earn money right off the bat.
Everyone is Different
Everyone is different, and one post-high school path isn’t right for everyone. There are so many choices for young people to make at this culminating time of their lives, so wether you decide to continue your education, learn a trade, join the military, take a gap year, or join the workforce, it is very important to know and weigh the benefits and downfalls of each one.