Choosing Between a Trade School or Traditional College

When it comes to continuing your education, some would say that attending a traditional college or university is the best, or at least the more traditional option out there. But for a lot of us, funds and free time are almost non-existent and the idea of college becomes overwhelming, especially considering the statistics.

Analyze the Data

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, some 20.4 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities. Most of those students will spend upwards of $34,000 in tuition fees for either two or four year programs. Regardless of what their degree may be, they’re required to complete general education courses on top of their degree program courses which will add more time and money depending on how they structure their schedule. These fees don’t include what they‘ll have to pay for housing and meals or books and supplies. When it’s all said and done, these students will face over $165,000 of student debt for at least the next ten years of their lives. 

For those of us who aren’t interested in taking the same courses over and over again to fulfill a requirement or signing our lives over to the loan department, there are other ways to learn for almost 20 percent less than what the average college student pays.

We’re talking about trade schools and we think they’re a super cool hands-on type of education. 

The Pros & Cons (Mostly Pros) of Attending a Trade School

Trade schools, also known as technical or vocational schools, teach students specific skills that are related to certain jobs in the trades industry, such as automotive technology, welding and commercial truck driving. Most of the educational training is hands-on with students participating in actual scenarios that occur in real life, rather than burying their noses in books. Not only will students learn first-hand knowledge from the industry’s leading professionals, but they will save a lot of money and time, as well as gain an advantage in the workforce.

The average cost of a trade school is less than $7,000 per program with each program lasting less than a year. Compare that to a traditional college where you’ll pay at least $34,000 per year for classes you already took in high school. And don’t forget that unless you’re taking a hundred classes a day, it’s nearly impossible to earn a degree in just one year. With trade schools, it’s a one and done type deal. Do good in school and earn a certificate in less than a year! 

With trade schools, you don’t need to take a test to see if you’re qualified. If you want to learn a skilled trade and find a good paying job, that’s enough to qualify you! Luckily, there are trade schools in virtually every state so you won’t have to pay out of state tuition or housing fees. If this doesn’t get you motivated to check out a trade school, then we don’t know what will.

PLUS,® has all of the welding accessories, consumables, and apparel you’ll need to outfit yourself with the proper gear for your program. Now you can look the part and do a da** good job at it with all of the latest and greatest welding supplies delivered right to your door.

unique gifts for welders

Watch this video to learn more about our Favorite Tools for School or just head on over to for our entire lineup!


1 comment on “Choosing Between a Trade School or Traditional College

  1. I totally agree! I myself involved contending with the draft. That in itself changed everything. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply today. I met outstanding welders in industry when my military obligation was up in the civilian sector. I went to school on the GI Bill and furthered my education at the government’s expense. I earned a FAA Airplanes and Powerplants license and did aircraft welding of which you have to be certified. Now looking back in retirement I believe I did good raising 3 kids who are doing well now on their own, hunt, fish and enjoy going to car shows with my self built hot rod which I welded together and have won awards to boot! For the early years out of high school, me being 19 and hounded by the military I chose MY PATH and doing a stint in the Navy “Thickened my Hide” and I was able to face any challenge. But most of all stay clean, health-wise and legal and the skies is the limit. Good luck to all you kids out there! Herm Marin .

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