Thursday, March 25, 2021

Trade School or College - Which is right for you?

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.

Trade schools focus more on a specific career or job path and the specific set of skills needed for that job.  Example of trade school careers include electricians, plumbers, graphic designers, massage therapists, welders, nurses aids, and of course, HVAC technicians like us at Royal Heating and Air.  At a trade schools there is less lecture style classroom work, and more hands-on training, usually in a setting that is more like a real job environment.  They generally take less time to complete, and cost less per year than the average college.  Graduates of trade schools are ready to join the work force immediately as skilled laborers, and often incur significantly less student debt. 

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. 

There are advantages to both trade schools and colleges, depending to your learning style or preferred career path.  Trade school allows you enter the job market more quickly with the skills and knowledge to immediately enter your chosen career.  Skilled labor jobs are usually hands on jobs which provide services that are always in need, and hard or impossible to ship overseas or be done remotely.  So overall trade school takes less time, costs less money, and allows you to enter the job market quickly.  Skilled labor jobs can also be more recession proof and offer more job security.  They are also more effective for people who have a hands-on learning style and who do not learn well from a classroom or lecture setting.

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.  

In the end, what really matters is what is the best fit for you. If you value education for the sake of education and believe the college experience is essential to your future and the cost is not prohibitive, trade school will probably not your first choice.   If you have a hands-on learning style, and a specific career path you are interested in, there may not be any advantage to studying general education classes and paying tens of thousands of dollars and years of time off the job market.  If you are daunted by the time and money required by a college degree, and want to start earning money sooner, trade school could be a very smart option. If you think you are a hands-on learner and you would like to earn a competitive wage without a ton of student debt, Royal Heating and Air would be happy to talk to you about career options as an HVAC technician at Lake of the Ozarks and give you an idea of what you can earn and what skills you would need.  Just know it is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to school after high school.  You can choose what is best for you, and that is what matters.

Royal Heating & Air - "The King of Comfort"

Visit our website:

CALL TODAY! (573) 480-4313

No comments:

Post a Comment