What’s The Differnce Between Community College And Trade School?
Community College vs Trade School
Community college and trade school are both great options for students to continue their education after high school. Outside of traditional 4-year Universities, community colleges and trade school are the next two most popular options for continued education, and they are becoming more and more popular.
Just a few years ago, students enrolled in 4-year Universities made up 65% of all US college students. Now that number is just above 50%. There are many reasons that community colleges and trade schools are becoming more popular, but the biggest reasons are they are much more affordable and less time consuming than traditional colleges.
So, we know that both of these are great options for higher education, but what is the difference between community college and trade school?
As of 2018, there were 1,100 community colleges counted in the United States, and over 13 million students enrolled in these colleges. Community college is often seen as sort of a feeder into traditional colleges, but community colleges have degree options of their own as well.
Sure, some students go to community college to get some credits done on a budget before transferring to a 4-year college from which they’ll graduate, but most community college programs offer different Associates degrees, diplomas, and certificates for finishing.
Some community college programs even offer 4-year bachelor’s degree options. But these options aren’t always all that much cheaper than traditional 4-year educational institutions.
The major difference between community college and trade school is that community colleges, much like traditional Universities, take a broader approach to education.
This means that students are required to take fundamental courses such as Math and English, as well as electives, for most of their degree programs.
The big downfalls for community college is dropout and unemployment rates. Only about 25% of community college students finish their degree programs, and of that 25%, there is an 8.5% unemployment rate, and 16.5% underemployment rate.
Trade school is often also referred to as technical school and/or vocational school. Trade schools across the United States are growing in students about as fast as traditional colleges are losing them.
In 1999 there was roughly 9.6 million students enrolled in trade school programs, and in 2014 that number was up around 16 million. This is largely due to the sharp increase in tuition costs for 4-year Universities in the last two decades, and the decrease in employment rates for graduating students to go along with the higher prices.
Trade school is a great option for students who know what they want to do for their career. While the average starting salary for trade school graduates is still slightly lower than that of 4-year degree graduates, most trade school degrees can be finished in 2 years and only cost a fraction of what you’d pay in tuition at a traditional University.
That means, trade school graduates get into the work place faster, and with much less debt. Whereas bachelor degree holders might be paying off their student loan debts for years, if not decades, trade school graduates can have their debts paid and be cashing pay checks while those degree holders are still in school.
Another reason that trade school is a great option for students who know what career they want to pursue, is trade school programs often offer hands-on job experience for real world employment training.
Trade schools don’t require students to take core courses and electives like traditional colleges, so students can focus on learning a skill that can get them into the workplace.
Is Community College or Trade School A Better Option For You?
So, now that you know the major differences between community college and trade school, which is a better option for you? Do you know what career you want to pursue when you finish your education?
Are you interested in pursuing a career in a skilled trade profession, such as becoming a carpenter, an electrician, a mechanic, a technician, a nurse etc.? Are you in need of a job and looking for the quickest route to your next paycheck?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then trade school might be the best route for you. Get matched with top trade schools here: LINK.
If you aren’t sure exactly what you want to do, and you’re looking to get started on an education, then community college is the better option for you. At most community colleges, you can take a number of courses with varying subject matter to start figuring out what you’re interested in.
The best part is you can do all of this while paying a fraction of what you would to do the same thing at a traditional University. Find community college options for you here: LINK.