trades and industry text

Graduate, choose a career, go to college, spend the rest of your life doing that career; sound about right? For some, maybe. For many though, this is not the ideal route. Many students choose to take routes to career training that do not involve 4+years of college. Last week I posted a little something about apprenticeships, including statistics and links to local programs. If you missed that spiel, you can find it HERE. This week, let’s take a look trade schools.


What exactly is trade school? Trade schools teach specialized skills in a career, preparing you to enter the field career-ready in a relatively short period of time. The education is focused on teaching specific sets of skills, rather than exploring the various genres of general education that traditional college degrees require, resulting in less time in the classroom. Trade schools often have small class sizes as well, allowing more one-on-one time with the instructor.


Trades typically involve hands-on work and pay higher beginning wages than many other fields. Trade industries are also very stable due to their heavy involvement in elements of our daily lives. This leads way to high availability and stability over time. Examples of some common trades are; culinary arts, cosmetology, carpenter, law enforcement, vet tech, HVAC, roofing, welding, windmill turbine technician, dental hygiene, heavy equipment operation, CNA, truck driver, esthetician, lineman, boilermaker, and many, many more!

Trade programs take much less time to complete, in comparison to traditional college or apprenticeships. Some trade certificates can be earned in as little as 6-9 months, with the average being 18-24 months. The schedule of many trade schools is often more convenient than traditional college as well, offering more flexibility for working students or parents. And due to the demand of trade jobs, job placement after training is very high.


Although trade school may be more expensive than apprenticeships, they are typically far less than traditional college. According to, the average cost of trade school runs about $33,000, compared to the $50k-$200k a bachelors degree can potentially cost; depending on the school of course! Many trade schools accept grants money for those who apply through FAFSA. Scholarships may also be available to help pay for the cost. HERE is a list of scholarships out for various industries. And don’t forget bout the Lisa Lewis Memorial Scholarship available through KBA.


Ultimately, you will never make a wrong choice when you choose to take your education to the next level. Whether you are looking at trade school, apprenticeships, or traditional college, as long as you are looking forward you are doing the right thing. Any education is good education. After all, nobody ever looks back on life and thinks, “I wish I knew less!”


Check out more information about trades as well as some local options for training:


NIC Trades & Industry Programs

Career Technical Programs at NIC Highest Paying Trade Jobs

Carrington College Programs