What’s the Difference Between Trade School and Community College?

If you’ve just graduated high school or you’re at another turning point in life, it’s time to decide what comes next. Often, the choices can feel endless or overwhelming. For some, this route entails going to college, finding a job, or taking a gap year. There is another option, however. Have you ever considered attending a trade school? If not, this is your sign.

Where conventional schooling can take between two to four years of education, vocational schools specialize in getting you out of the classroom and into a job in under two years. We know what you’re thinking: “What about prerequisites and general education?” Instead of spending time and money on courses that don’t pertain to your desired career, trade schools offer specified in-class instruction with certified professionals on top of real-world training opportunities. This method ensures you get the necessary skills and knowledge you need to succeed.

Need more information before making your final decision? We’ve got you covered. In this article, we will break down the main differences between trade schools and community colleges and give you the top benefits of attending a technical school.

Trade School vs Community College: 3 Big Differences

Attending a trade school or community college is ideal for landing steady, well-paying jobs and starting a career. However, they differ significantly in terms of what they offer, their educational costs, and the time needed to obtain a degree. Before settling on one or the other, it may be beneficial to assess which path is best for you.

Programs and Courses

Vocational schools (or trade schools) offer more specialized courses and programs and forgo general studies (i.e., math, science, history, etc.). These programs range from construction and welding to cosmetology and medical assisting. While they still have some in-class instruction and lectures, the focus is primarily on practical applications and on-the-job training experiences. This allows students to master their skills and focus solely on the profession of their choice.

Community college, on the other hand, relies heavily on lecture-based classes. Programs at community college also include general studies or prerequisites to provide a more rounded education experience. Doing this, however, is why earning a degree from a college or university takes two to four years, depending on the level you’re trying to achieve.

Tuition Cost and Time Completion

As previously stated, community college can take anywhere from two to four years to complete; a four-year degree can be extremely beneficial when getting a job across industries after graduation. Trade school can be completed in under two years and, for some programs, students can earn their degree or certification in a few short months.

Another significant difference between the two is the overall cost. The average price of attending a vocational school is approximately $33,000. In comparison, community college can cost up to $10,000 for a single year; that number is significantly higher at universities. What’s not to love about saving money and achieving higher education quickly?

Financial Aid Options

The majority of community colleges offer scholarships, as well as private and public loans and grants. Many community schools also provide the opportunity for students to use federal loans. On top of costing considerably less, career schools offer field-specific scholarships and other financial aid programs. If you are already in the workforce and have considered going back to school, some employers will cover the cost of your vocational education for updated training and skills.

6 Benefits of Technical School

Like trade school, community college has the potential to create a solid foundation for your future career. However, trade school has a wide variety of benefits that make it a more practical choice in the long run for some career paths.

These benefits include:

1. You can start when you want. Generally, trade schools offer multiple start dates that begin at different points of the year; some even accept enrollments monthly.

2. Smaller class sizes. When class size is smaller, personalized attention tends to be greater.

3. Career services. Many technical institutions have counselors who help you find employment, making graduating less intimidating and more exciting.

4. Current training. Vocational school programs evolve as career fields do, so you will only receive the latest skills and knowledge needed for your desired path.

5. Real-world experience and training. Unlike traditional education, you spend more time performing tasks and receiving hands-on training at trade schools. This form of education leads to mastering skills and greater chances of securing a job in your chosen field after earning your degree.

6. Get your degree faster. Depending on the school and certification you choose, you can obtain a degree in less than one year as opposed to 2-4 years. Sounds pretty good, right?

Why wait? Enroll in an accredited technical college like Woodruff today!

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