As a trade, our heating and cooling company at the Lake of the Ozarks gets asked about career potential in the area. There are many options available to those who choose further education past high school. Many people go to college just because it is the normal or expected progression after high school. But half of college students drop out before completing their degrees, and 60% take 6 years to complete a 4 year degree. In addition, student debt can be overwhelming for some. Trade school is a great option for many people, depending on what they would like to do for a career, what their gifts and talents are, as well as their learning style.
Colleges provide more general, broad knowledge that is not just specific to one career path. While graduates may not have specific on-the-job knowledge or real world experience, they will have a more a more diverse background of study. College grads will have more understanding of the theories, history, and “whys” related to their field. College most often will take longer and cost more, but may translate to more career choices than trade school which focuses on one specific trade.
College graduates have the advantage of a broader knowledge base which can be applied to a greater variety of career paths. Since the average American will change jobs 10-12 times in their career, a greater diversity of knowledge can give you more flexibility. They also demonstrate the commitment of being able to complete an intensive four year study. But those jobs may not do as well during economic uncertainty. While it is often assumed that a college degree will equal a higher paying career, many such higher level positions require a Master’s degree. Most 4 year college graduates end up in jobs that are somewhere in the middle, with pay that is pretty comparable to that of a skilled laborer.