The purpose of this article is to present you with an overview of trade schools, explaining how these schools differ from traditional four-year colleges and why they can make an excellent choice if you’re looking to break into the industry as soon as possible.
If you’re a high school graduate considering the possibility of attending trade school in the near future, and you want to know what benefits such a decision could offer, read this article to find out more.
What are Trade Schools?
Trade schools, also known as vocational schools, are post-secondary schools – meaning that students usually enroll after graduating from high school or obtaining their GEDs – that teach the skills necessary to help students acquire jobs in specific industries.
Some of the most common careers for graduates of these schools include:
- Construction Worker
- Auto or Diesel Mechanic
- HRVAC Technician
In addition, some schools also offer programs in health care, culinary arts, and computer technology.
How Do Trade Schools Differ from Traditional Colleges?
The biggest difference between trade school and traditional college is the amount of time students need to complete their education. Most vocational schools offer programs that students can complete in about one year. Students attending traditional colleges often take four to five years to complete their education.
Traditional colleges also require students to complete a liberal arts education; they must enroll in a broad range of courses that are not necessarily related to their area of study. Vocational schools only require students to enroll in classes that pertain to their particular trades.
Who is the Best Candidate for a Trade School Education?
There really is no “best candidate” for a vocational school education. However, individuals who enroll often fit into one of the following categories:
- They are attempting to gain experience to enter a new industry.
- They want to shorten the amount of time needed for training.
- They have decided to experiment in an industry before jumping into the job market.
- They need to decide what career they’re most interested in.
Similarly, some students who enroll are attending classes as part of their industry apprenticeship or as part of their on-the-job training in a particular career field.
How Do Students Succeed in Trade Schools?
The formula for success as a trade school student is very simple. Simply follow these three steps:
- Attend classes
- Ask Questions
- Complete assignments on time
- Pass exams
If you can follow these steps, you’re almost guaranteed to be awarded your certificate or diploma after completing your program.
How Do I Know If I’ve Chosen the Right Trade School to Attend?
To figure out if the vocational school you’ve chosen is going to help you succeed, there are five things you should consider:
- Job placement rate
- Graduation rate
- Student services
- Tuition and fees
A good trade school will have a high job placement and graduation rate. This indicates that students find the classes enjoyable and are going straight into the workforce as soon as they complete their program.
You also want to attend a school whose facilities are up-to-date to ensure that you are learning the latest technologies that apply to your field.
Schools that offer numerous student services show they are invested in students’ futures and will strive to help them succeed.
Lastly, when reviewing a schools tuition and fees, make sure there aren’t any hidden expenses that you will not be able to afford. A good school will not hide this information from prospective students.
Do Trade Schools Offer Online Courses?
Many trade schools do offer students the option of taking online courses. These courses allow students to complete coursework around their own schedules from the comfort of their home.
While online courses might work for students seeking careers in health care or computer technology, those students who are interested in careers that require hands-on training should enroll in schools that offer in-class instruction.
You can’t learn how to be an electrician or welder by staring at a computer screen. You need to get in the classroom and learn how to work with the tools of your trade and gain the real life experience you’ll need to succeed in your field.
Furthermore, many online schools do not offer students the same services as those that provide in-class instruction. So, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth giving up services such as job placement to be able to attend school in your pajamas.
What are the Benefits of a Trade School Education?
A trade school education offers many benefits to students, including:
- Teaches essential job-related skills
- Offers hands-on training
- Requires less time to graduate than traditional college
- Provides easy transition from classroom to the workforce
- Increases job security
Employers also prefer to hire individuals who have received job-related training before entering the industry. Vocational schools will provide you with this training to help you become more appealing to future employers.How Much Does It Cost to Attend Trade School?
Depending upon the school you choose and the classes you enroll in, the cost can vary. You should verify any costs with your particular school before you begin classes.
If you think you won’t be able to afford your education, don’t forget to review available financing options. Some schools may offer scholarships to certain students, and other grants and student loans may also be available.
Could North American Trade Schools (NATS) Be the Best Choice For You? For over 30 years, North American Trade Schools has realized that the most important career decision you’ll make is where to receive your new career training. Our philosophy says it all: Real people. Real training. Real jobs. We offer all of our graduates job placement assistance through our Maryland technical school because we believe our responsibility to our students extends beyond the classroom. Our customer service and commitment to students sets us apart from other Baltimore vocational schools.