Skilled trades keep the most essential part of our lives moving. From the people who build our houses and roadways, to those installing solar panels and maintaining electric vehicles, the men and women working in skilled trades make modern life possible for the rest of us.
According to a recent study by Stanley Black and Decker, only 16% of high school students say they are seriously considering attending a trade school instead of college. According to the study, part of the reason so few are considering trade school is outdated biases about skilled labor.
But students in a post-pandemic world are starting to get a better understanding of what can be learned at a trade school and how attending one can save both time and money while preparing for a career. If you’re wondering whether trade school could be an option for you, keep reading to learn more about what you might expect to learn.
How Does Trade School Differ From College?
Earning a bachelor’s degree from a college or university is supposed to be a four-year commitment, but according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only about 41% of students who graduate end up completing a degree in four years.
Many students take five or six years, some even longer. Typically, the first two years at a university are spent satisfying general educational requirements before they begin career-focused education.
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The cost of a four-year institution is also becoming more expensive. Even affordable colleges charge more than $10,000 per year in tuition in fees.
When you factor in the cost of books and housing, it isn’t hard to see how the average student leaves college with $30,000 or more in debt.
The Trade School Advantage
Trade schools prepare students for a career in the skilled trades in a shorter period of time by focusing on hands-on, job focused training.
Programs range anywhere from a few months to two years depending on the field of study. The accelerated learning programs can often be completed for well under the cost of a single year at a university.
This is a big draw for people who want to train for a great career in a matter of months, not years.
Why Do They Call it Trade School?
Trade schools specialize in training for the skilled trades sector.
From day one, trade schools offer focused career training to provide real-world knowledge and experience.
Students will physically perform job functions, getting valuable hands-on experience. The goal of these schools is creating trades professionals who will work across a vast sector of industries, from manufacturing, to constriction, to solar energy, just to name a few.
What Trade Can I Learn Quickly?
If you attend a trade school, you can expect to get a foundational education needed to gain entry-level employment in your chosen field.
You will not spend all your class time sitting at a desk listening to lectures. At trade school, classroom learning is blended with challenging, hands-on work. This is great for those who don’t want to spend their time learning or their career behind a desk. Many trades can be learned in less than a year.
What you will learn in trade school depends on your desired career path and the school you choose. Here are a few examples of the many vocational programs you’ll find at trade schools.
HVAC/R Technician Training
Learning the electrical and mechanical functions of comfort systems and how to install, maintain and repair these systems can be done in six to nine months at a reputable and established trade school.
There will always be a need for people who can work on electrical systems, especially as solar power becomes more commonplace. If you want to become an electrician, training for entry-level employment can be done in as little as 7 months.
Training for entry-level employment as a professional welder can be done in around 7 months at a good trade school that has the equipment and experience to teach students the fundamental techniques and processes.
There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to training for a new career at a trade school. The skilled trades cover a wide array of fulfilling, well-paying jobs that offer stability and growth.
Should You Learn a Trade?
If you dread the thought of sitting behind a desk all day for your entire career, the skilled trades could be an excellent option for you. People enter these fields not only for great job stability, but because they enjoy solving complex problems and working with their hands.
If you are fascinated with discovering how things operate or learning how to use high-tech tools and equipment, a career in the skilled trades might be a great path for you.
Learning a trade is also a great option if you don’t want to commit to four years of college and the associated expenses. There are plenty of people out there who want to train for a career as quickly as possible while saving money on their education.
If this sounds like you, it’s probably time to take a serious look at what attending a trade school can do to help shape the future you want.