Choose What is Right for You


National Scholarship Month

calls us to examine the relationship between college and trade schools!

From a very young age kids are told that the only way to obtain personal and financial success is to obtain a college degree. I don’t remember it being an option if I wanted to go to college or not. It was so pushed on my classmates and myself; I truly believed that was the only option. With local college recruiters on our high school campus so frequently, and the application process taking place in the school, the whole process was simple.

I don’t think I am alone in this experience, and many teenagers in the United States feel that their next step is always to college. Taking another route is more often than not looked down upon and revered as inferior to attending college.

This isn’t the case, anymore

It’s important to note that following the conventional route of four years of post secondary education after high school graduation, followed by entering the work force, is not the most viable option for everybody.

The allied health profession and trade schools offer many different routes, especially for those wanting to specialize in a specific realm. These jobs have better than sub-par income, and the demand continues to rise, as not enough people are taking the highly important trade school route. With less people in the pool, more money can be required for services. The principle of supply and demand serves itself amongst trade workers.

Some professions that are thoroughly trained through vocational schools include:

  • · Electrician
  • · Plumber
  • · Sonographer
  • · Respiratory Therapist
  • · Mechanic
  • · Nail Technician
  • · General Contractor
  • · Elevator Installer/Repairer
  • · Web Developer
  • · Dental Hygienist

While getting a college degree in certain topics can increase the likelihood of finding a job and even earning a higher salary, there are certainly drawbacks with attending college.

One of the biggest drawbacks includes the financial burden that kids take on to go to college through financial aid, and are required to pay it back with additiona linterest. With the cost of college rising 1,100% since 1978, and the cost increasing every year, it’s making it less affordable and less feasible for some to attend.

Time is also another major drawback when considering college. Most students take at least five years to graduate with a four-year degree, and commonly have to work to help put themselves through school.

It’s essential to remember and call it like it is that not everybody is made for college. Over 54% of Americans who enroll in college, eventually drop out. For those that aren’t passionate about it, they are not going to be motivated and focused to finish it out.

It’s so important that we are talking to not only our high school seniors, but to our youth at all ages, about the options that lie ahead in their futures once they graduate high school. These technical and vocational schools allow them to learn valuable skills, which are highly sought after, and they will come out of it with much lower debt to payoff.

A lot of scholarships and grants are out there

for trade and vocational schools, and some of them include essays, to help set apart from the crowd. Many of them are specific to the trade including Women in HVAC Scholarship, ASHRAE Undergraduate Engineering, Automotive Hall of Fame Scholarship for Automotive Students, along with many more. It’s important to research the scholarship opportunities that are available at specific schools you are looking into going. Another added benefit is that there is often funding for apprenticeships, which serve as an advanced learning track, to observe and grow with a professional.

Whether trade school or college is the route you take, either comes with benefits and complexities of their own! The most important thing to remember is that you have an option in your future, and the possibilities are endless. Ready. Set. Take that step for your future!

Casey Rollins
Casey Rollins