Why Trade Schools Are Bad: Is Trade School Worth the Effort?

By Staff

More students are researching why trade schools are bad as more university programs are trying to entice learners to enroll in their programs.

Trade school can be a fantastic learning opportunity for many students, especially those with a penchant for learning with their hands.

That said, it’s not the right environment for every student looking to pursue their dream career.

Today, we’ll explore the disadvantages of trade school to answer, “Is trade school worth it?” before you enroll.

You may find it’s not the right avenue to pursue your desired degree.

What Is a Trade College?

Trade colleges or trade schools are a great alternative to standard universities and colleges.

Most trade programs are designed to give students hands-on learning opportunities and real-world training experiences.

It’s a type of vocational training specifically designed to help students prepare for their future careers.

At trade school, students tend to study several common career options, including:

  • Machinist
  • Millwright
  • Welder
  • Electrician
  • Industrial Management
  • Construction
  • CNC Machinist
  • HVAC Technician
  • Carpenter
  • Painter
  • Mason
  • Pipefitter/Steamfitter

What Are the Differences Between College and Trade Schools?

If you’re stuck on the fence about deciding between college and a trade program, you need to note a few key differences.

Trade School vs College Salary

One of the most notable differences between college and trade school can be salary, depending on your area of study.

Most students know that a trade makes you more likely to earn a higher amount right out of school.

While after college, you may have to get plenty of work experience before qualifying for an above-average salary.

That said, how much you make in your future career has everything to do with your chosen industry.

For example, a student studying law at college will likely make more money than a millwright in trade school.

Alternatively, an electrician is likely to make more money than an English graduate from college.

learn trade schools are bad

Trade School vs College Cost

Another large difference between these two types of schools is that trade school is often less expensive than college.

This has much to do with length, as college is often longer than trade school.

Most trade students can finish their program within two years, significantly reducing schooling costs.

That said, there are additional expenses you’ll likely be responsible for in trade school rather than college.

Students are likely required to invest in their own equipment for hands-on learning.

For example, you may have to invest in your own welding or steamfitting gear before participating in your trade classes.

Trade School vs College Curriculum

If you’re the type of student that enjoys learning from a textbook, trade school is not the best choice for you.

It’s commonly known the majority of these programs are less academia-based and more hands-on.

As such, you’ll spend more time in real-world working situations than learning in a classroom at a trade school.

Trade School vs College Length

One of the largest benefits of trade school vs college is the length of study is usually much shorter, especially for specialties.

Many students can complete their post-secondary schooling in less time and make more money upon graduation than college students.

If you’re ready to jump into the workforce, trade school could be your ideal option.

Why Trade Schools Are Bad: Important Trade School Facts

With a good idea of the trade school vs college pros and cons, it should be slightly easier to know which pathway is right for you.

That said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty regarding the negative side of trade school pros and cons.

It’s important to ask yourself the following questions to guarantee you’re making the right choice.

Is trade school expensive?

As a student, asking yourself, “Are trade schools expensive?” before enrolling is important.

The last thing anyone wants is to graduate with a ton of school debt before they even start working.

Still, trade school may not be as expensive as a four-year university program, but it’s still an added cost.

As mentioned earlier, trade schools often focus primarily on hands-on learning in real-world environments.

Students are often responsible for investing in their learning tools, such as toolkits and other utensils needed for their training.

These costs, on top of your tuition and textbook costs, can be expensive over time.

Are there a lot of career options at trade school?

If you compare trade school to itself, you might find a decent assortment of career options.

Students can work to become paralegals, nursing assistants, mechanics, welders, and more.

The options are incredibly limited if you compare them to other institutions, like universities.

For example, students who want to become archeologists aren’t going to attend a trade school with only ten-degree programs.

That said, it’s important you 100% know what career you want before attending trade school, as your options are limited.

Enrolling in specific programs might be more challenging than you initially thought.

As trade school programs are often restricted to a few common careers, finding an available program can be challenging.

That is why many students choose an online degree program or go out of state to find a high-quality trade program with available spots.

Is trade school hard?

No matter how you slice it when it comes to higher education, your skillset is going to be put to the test.

Whether you’re studying to become a plumber or a doctor, you’ll have to learn the ins and outs of a new career.

That said, don’t expect trade school to be a breeze, which is a huge misconception first-time students often have.

Just because a program focuses primarily on hands-on, real-world learning doesn’t mean it’s easier than in-class instructions.

You must put a lot of time and effort into your studies, along with any other responsibilities you have at the time.

As many people in trade school also work full-time, you can expect your schedule to be packed.

It’s also important to remember that the length of trade school programs has much to do with their difficulty.

Unlike traditional college, trade school is designed to be completed in half, if not less time.

That means you’ll be entering a more rigorous curriculum to teach you the fine details of a career in far less time.

Students not only find the curriculum challenging at trade school but also won’t benefit from as many breaks as in standard college.

Although you’ll be able to enter the workforce much earlier, it can take a toll on your personal or social life.

Can I get financial aid for trade school?

Financial aid is often a must-have for students that don’t have savings available to fund their schooling.

It’s important to remember trade schools are often smaller than standard colleges and universities, meaning they often have fewer scholarships and grants.

Financial aid opportunities may be fewer with trade schools, as their tuition is slightly more affordable.

How competitive are trade schools?

Competition isn’t something you only have to worry about during your time in tech school but when you graduate as well.

These programs are often packed with students all vying for jobs in the same industries.

It means during your studies, you’ll have highly competitive classmates looking to become the top learners in their program.

After graduation, you’ll have an entire graduating class entering the job market simultaneously for certain specialties.

As such, it can be challenging to stand out against your peers when applying for many of the same jobs.

Also, it’s important to note that some trades aren’t expected to have high job growth over the coming years.

If you want to enhance your chances of finding employment after graduation, seek employment services through your school.

With the guidance of the career staff, they can help you find placements in top-earning positions once you graduate.

Can my career grow with a trade school certificate or diploma?

Students asking, “Are technical schools worth it?” often think about career growth after graduation.

Considering you’ll be studying a specialty while in school when you graduate, you’ll be placed directly in a high-earning position for your career.

That said, job growth could be slower than with other specialties you can explore in university and college.

For example, plumbing students can work to become journeymen plumbers, but that’s the upper echelon of the career.

There’s no further to grow after that, which means your earnings could be capped at a certain amount.

Sure, you can change from working for a company to owning your own if you want to be an entrepreneur, but trades don’t often have a lot of job growth.

It can be helpful to choose a trade with associated specialties to help you diversify your skills and work experience.

From there, you can specialize in an area that could offer job growth.

Are Trade Schools Actually Bad?

Understanding why trade schools are bad has a lot to do with the competitive nature of the programs and their availability.

Although the average cost of trade school per year is less than you’d think, it can become costly over time with books, gear, and tools included.

It’s also important to note that there’s little job growth to expect after graduation, as you’ll already be an expert in your field.