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Career Paths – Choosing between Trade School and Traditional University

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Depositphotos_3388278_xsBy Katherine Gredley

Deciding a career path is difficult, and not the least among the necessary decisions is the education necessary to get the job you want. College is expensive, but it’s hard to know if a trade school is the better decision for you. Here are some considerations to make your decision easier.

You should consider traditional university if:

  • You’re not sure what career you want to pursue
  • You want a well-rounded and diverse education
  • Your desired career specifically requires a certain degree
  • You want your learning to focus on theories
  • You value knowledge more than just employability

You should consider trade school if:

  • You want a specific job that has a trade specific certification. Some careers like this are:
    • Beautician
    • Massage therapist
    • Culinary Arts
    • Welder
    • Automotive Careers
    • Medical Assistant
    • Practical Nursing
    • You want a shorter education so that you can start work sooner
    • You want your learning to be practical training, rather than theory-based
    • You want to focus on learning the skills for your specific desired job
    • You’re more concerned with employability than general knowledge

Typically, vocation-specific schools are faster paced, more specific, and involve more hands-on training than traditional bachelor degree programs. Because they are shorter programs, they are often less expensive. They usually are very job-focused, providing career placement services for students, and honing the skills necessary for immediate employability.

Some jobs, however, absolutely require college degrees. Careers in research, education, and high-level business often require a lot of background knowledge in order to be successful. There are also traditional education opportunities that help offset the cost, such as local public schools, community colleges, scholarship programs, and grants. Traditional college does not have to be more expensive than trade school.

Ultimately, the best program for you will depend on your desired career path, as well as your learning style. Make sure you research the requirements for the field you want to enter, the cost for all your options, and talk with people who have gone through the programs you’re considering. Most schools can put you in contact with students and alumni.

Byline: by Kate Gredley

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