Trade School Programs

Trade school programs (or trade schools) are becoming more popular in the US. According to recent statistics, 40% of high-school graduates choose vocational training over college, almost twice as much compared to fifty years ago. 

And we can understand why: the job market has been becoming increasingly more competitive, and college graduates are forced to work their way up, while trade school programs – if done right – give you a head start in your career.

What is a trade school program?

A trade school program is a two- to three-year educational program that offers a professional certificate or diploma. Trade schools provide students with the education required to enter their desired profession. 

They may offer some college credit, too. Most people do not attend trade schools, but they should be considered when making career choices, particularly if you feel that you lack specific skills needed in your chosen field of work and are interested in learning them.

For example, if you have a background in accounting and desire to enter health administration, you can take some accounting courses at a community college or university. However, enrolling in a trade school is probably more appropriate for you.

Why should I go to a trade school? 

Trade schools offer a practical education that often includes hands-on training. In addition, many career opportunities exist for those in high school and who already have some work experience.

Is a trade school program right for me? 

Yes, although you may have to search for the right one. Trade schools are easy to locate because they are listed in local phone directory and the Internet. However, it would help to talk with the vocational adviser at your high school or community college. You should also remember that trade schools may not be accredited like colleges and other schools. 

Unfortunately, they may not be able to offer you a degree. That said, trade school programs can provide you with the same opportunity to learn and train as other educational institutions.

What are the similarities between junior college and trade school programs?

 Junior colleges provide students with an academic transfer program. They offer ample majors and programs, similar to those of four-year colleges. Many trade schools accept junior college credits from regional or community colleges; this is often referred to as articulation agreements.  Trade schools typically offer vocational training and do not provide junior college transfers. However, they may have similar programs that lead to an associate’s degree or technical diploma.

What are some differences between junior college and trade school programs? 

Junior college programs tend to be more costly, but they can also lead to a bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, trade schools are often less expensive than junior colleges and may only offer training for certain jobs or trades.

How do I choose the right trade school program?

Your high school or community college guidance counselor, can give you some information on local trade schools. You should also consider a school’s reputation, its location, and the size of its student population. 

It is good to visit and talk with students at a trade school to find out what it is like to attend that particular institution. The financial cost of attending a trade school is also important. Talk with the director or financial aid officer about any possible scholarships or other opportunities for assistance.

What should I expect when I go to a trade school?

You should expect to have hands-on training using state-of-the-art equipment. In addition, you can expect to receive an education that places a strong emphasis on doing things the right way the first time in your chosen industry.

How does the trade school program work?

Students agree on an apprenticeship with a local company or business; this takes about three years, and besides knowledge and skills, students also gain real-life experience. They work a set number of hours a week and attend an educational center for the rest of their studies.

Trade schools are usually more affordable than traditional colleges, but this is not always true; they usually charge per hour (so if you’re attending classes for 8 hours, they get more money than if you just go for four), and sometimes, they may require students to attend classes all day long.

Is trade school safe?

There are few risks associated with attending a trade school. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established minimum safety standards for most trades. You will have to meet these safety requirements before you can begin school.

Does trade school cost a lot of money?

No, although some trade schools are more expensive than others. In addition, most trade schools require students to pay a fee to attend school. The exact amount will depend on an agreement between the trade school and your community college or high school.

Trade schools are not for everyone – usually, people who want to get a bachelor’s degree in the future enroll in college courses. However, trade schools work great for those who do not wish or cannot afford to spend four years in college. They are more focused on the future, and that is what most students want – to go ahead in their professional lives with as few hiccups along the way as possible.

Although many people consider trade schools to be less prestigious than traditional colleges, this is not always true; it all depends on the school you choose. You should do your research thoroughly before signing up for any classes.

Beware of schools that are too cheap because usually, their programs are sub-par. Look for a trade school with an excellent academic record that provides advanced training. In addition, look for one with an articulation agreement.


In the end, trade schools offer students several benefits over traditional universities: they are usually cheaper (in some cases, at least), they are smaller (so you don’t waste much time on public transport), and they typically offer classes in the evening, which makes it easier for students to hold down a job. Overall, choosing the right trade school is important because it will define your future; that is why research must be done thoroughly beforehand.

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