Trade Schools vs Universities: What Do They Really Mean to Employers

As high school nears its end each year, promising students are faced with tough decisions. Which college should I attend? Are trade schools beneficial? What career goals do I aspire to achieve? Our paths are not identical. Education is not a one-size-fits-all format. A university or college may offer a more traditional form of education ultimately delivering you a well-desired degree. But a trade school provides an innovative learning platform as well. 

  • Trade school.

Trade schools are known for offering hands-on experience in various fields. This may include jobs in manufacturing, distribution, plumbing, alternative medicine, animal care, and more. This hands-on experience directly prepares you for the kinds of work you’ll complete during your time in your desired field. 

A trade program can cost $20,000 per year. In comparison to a university or college, it is less expensive. Currently, Americans owe close to 1.3 trillion dollars in student loan debt. Trade programs can provide a valuable education with direct experience and less money spent. 

According to a report, you can earn more than $50,000 per year with a trade program.

  • Academic degree.

A traditional university or college degree comes in different shapes and sizes. For example, an associate’s degree requires 2 years of schooling. A bachelor’s degree requires 4 years of schooling. Masters degrees and higher vary in time spent. However, across many professional channels, companies do seek out promising employees with a bachelor’s degree. Typically, companies that hire employees with higher degrees pay them according to their education

Although this style of education comes with higher financial obligations, it is much more than just homework. Getting in-class instruction with the connections between student teachers, study groups, labs, and testing is part of the experience. 


Both styles of education have many benefits and many challenges. The secret to finding what path is best for you is remembering what your true passion is. Keep your goals in mind. Trade schools with direct experience may be something you’re looking for if your goals are closer than you think. A traditional college education might be your path if a long-term investment into your future is what you’re looking for. 

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