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What Trade Schools Offer and Why You Should Consider Going to One

Trade schools are being attended more and more by those looking to get a head start in their careers, this article presents the case for why trade school might be the best option for you.
By: Kishan Patel
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Trade schools or vocational schools are on the rise with their ability to train students in a short amount of time on the skills necessary to be successful in their careers. Let’s have a look at what trade schools exactly are, what they offer, how much they cost, and why they may be a good option for you. 

What is a trade school?

Trade school is post-secondary education that’s meant to give students hands-on experience in their field of interest. Trade schools are commonly referred to as vocational schools, vocational colleges, trade colleges, and technical schools. A trade school tends to only focus on the program of study that the student is enrolled in, and avoids dipping into other subjects. Due to the focused nature of trade schools, many students are beginning to choose trade schools instead of conventional college programs.  

Trade schools offer programs in a variety of occupations, including but not limited to:

  • Nursing
  • Information Technology
  • Therapy
  • Automotive Technology
  • Medical Assistance
  • Cosmetology
  • Construction
  • Culinary Arts
  • Hospitality Services

How long is trade school?

Trade schools are renowned for their ability to produce great candidates for their occupation within a short period of time. The timing it takes to complete a program depends on the field you are meaning to get into. Programs can vary anywhere from six months to even two years.

What kind of degree do I get from trade school?

You don’t receive a bachelor’s degree or any other degree that you obtain from common institutional programs like a master’s or bachelor’s program. Instead, you will receive a certificate or diploma, acknowledging your completion of the program. Some programs for certain occupations, however, do allow you to work towards your associate’s degree while at the trade school. 

Are there trade schools for all jobs?

No, there aren’t trade school programs available for all types of jobs. Some occupations require many years of schooling that can only be completed by accredited and traditional education. However, there are many programs that come very close to occupations you may be considering. For example, while there aren’t trade school programs geared towards making lawyers there are programs in criminal justice that one can pursue as a substitute to be on the path of becoming a paralegal.

How much does trade school cost?

The cost of attending a trade school is less than that of obtaining a bachelor’s degree. On average, a four-year college degree costs anywhere from $60,000 to $150,000, whereas trade school programs can be as low as $25,0000. Some trade school programs set you up with a paid apprenticeship, so you can recover most of your costs by working the apprenticeship. 

Is there financial aid and scholarships for trade school?

Many trade schools offer a variety of scholarships to those looking to pursue trade school programs. Further, other institutions also offer scholarships for those wanting to attend a trade school program, such as Home Depot offering scholarships for those wanting to study contracting or construction. 

You may be eligible for financial aid through FAFSA if your trade school accepts this type of aid. Further, you can always apply for private student loans to which you can repay promptly upon completion of your education. 


Trade school is a growing option for graduates in today’s society. With many jobs requiring technical skills, trade school may be the best option if you solely want to focus on your career trajectory. If however, you want to be able to explore other career paths and be diversified in other subjects, a traditional college experience may be a better option. Before deciding between the two, you should also consider the time and cost difference between both, and see if you are comfortable with one over the other. 


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