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Are Trade Schools The Right Choice For You?

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Trade schools are on your mind. Maybe you just graduated from high school, or maybe it's been a few (or more than a few) years since you got your diploma. Whatever time it is in your life, you're ready to go back to school. That means you have some pretty major decisions to make. Should you get a bachelor's degree and go to a four-year college? Or, should you pick a vocational program? Before making any choice, check out a few facts that may influence your decision-making process.

Hands-On Degrees

Four-year colleges offer a variety of degrees. There's no doubt about that. But, they typically don't have the same types of hands-on degrees that trade schools do. If you're good with your hands or want a degree that puts you into the action (instead of sitting behind a desk), a trade or vocational type of program may be for you. The classes for trade degrees often include direct experience (in labs and through internships) working in the field that you've chosen.

Time Table

How soon do you want to start working? If you have four years to stay in school before you want to enter the work force, a bachelor's degree is probably the way to go. Not everyone has that amount of time to take. Along with not having the time, not everyone wants to wait to start working. You've decided on your career path, and you're excited to start your first job. You're so excited that you can't even imagine waiting another four (or maybe even more) years before beginning your career. Trade schools often offer diploma, certificate, and associates options. These degrees take two years or less. That means you'll be work-force ready in anywhere from a few to 24 months.

Meeting Mentors

There are mentors everywhere. In a four-year college you'll find professors who've studied for years. They're part of the field that you want to go into and have spent their own college and graduate school years learning about the subject that you have interest in. But, they may not have worked in the field (other than teaching at the college level). They also may have hundreds of students (especially in freshmen and sophomore entry-level classes) that all want a mentor too.

Trade school instructors typically have both education and experience in the subjects that they teach. Say you're taking an HVAC repair course of study. Your instructor also went through a similar program. Beyond that, your instructor most likely has worked in the field for many years. This type of experience provides the perfect background to become a career mentor. Along with this factor, vocational school classes are typically smaller than many college courses. Your instructor will get the chance to know you, and you'll get the chance to feel more comfortable with them.

Your education is the start of the rest of your life. Making the "right" choice means weighing your options, looking at what you want out of a career, and understanding what the different choices mean. If you're ready for a hands-on experience that will lead to a job in less time than it takes to get a bachelor's degree, a trade school may be a match for you.