At a time where the human brain isn’t even fully evolved, high school graduates are made to choose what they’ll do for the rest of their lives.
Trade school vs college
Carl has both a college degree and a trade school certificate and he explains the differences between college and trade school and also gives a good list of pros and cons.
Carl background. During high school his counselors were pushing him towards technology and computers but he wasn’t very interested in that. He was more interested in music and other passions. He was not a good student and he really didn’t enjoy school at all but in high school you are pushed to go to college and luckily he was accepted into the college of his choice. Unfortunately it was just to expensive for him to go to.
Carl ended up going to a local community to take cheaper classes with the hopes of transferring to his college of choice later on down the road. This is a great way to save money and get a good degree if you can pull it off.
“Community college was a bit of a culture shock”
Community college wasn’t that supportive of an environment and neither is college but it was clear that you are on your own to succeed. During his time at community college he took a job at a local mechanic shop and started working all day. He really enjoyed it and after a while he decided to work at the mechanic shop full time instead of wasting his time on pointless school projects.
So he ended up working on trucks, he got his Class A CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and he did some heavy duty tow truck driving. But he remembers the day he realized he never wanted to do this again. He drove straight to one of the local tech schools to speak with a counselor.
And that day he decided that he was interested in being an electrician, so he signed up for the electrical technology program. Four years later he had done his apprenticeship and he did his license journeyman test and he was officially a licensed electrician. For w while he kept his same job and started climbing the ranks but eventually he started feeling the itch for improvement again.
At that point he decided to go back to state school to complete his degree and he would go to night classes everyday after work. So by now he had a college degree and he was a licensed tradesman. He applied for an assistant project manager position which he was able to get. He was excited to be able to see the money side of things and that’s what he was really interested in. To this day he’s been able to work on all sorts of exciting projects including resorts, railways and bg city projects.
So what advice would he have for someone just starting out and thinking about going to trade school or college? There are certain people who are just more fit for trade school and those kids should not be pushed towards college.
Benefits of trade school
You can earn money while you learn. You’re actually earning a wage and you’re getting paid to learn your trade. The cool thing about trade school is that you’re not wasting time or money on all of these extra classes your have to take at college, you’re laser focused!
And the educational costs are a lot less than college as well. You can expect to pay around $30,000 for a trade school diploma and you can expect to pay around $120,000 – $250,000 for a bachelor’s degree.
At college you’re not really earning much even if you’re working full-time and you have so many expenses you’re most likely losing money or just breaking even.
If you get into a good union you’ll be able to secure good benefits and a good benefits package is pretty rare in today’s “gig economy” when a lot of people work for themselves.
Moving around all day and being busy is a great feeling, the days fly by and you get great sleep. There’s a certain reward to feeling tired at the end of the day.
“Once I had my white collar job I missed moving around and I got stuck looking at a computer all day”
There is a real sense of accomplishment when you work in the field. But to wrap it up for the benefits of trade school, it’s very hard to outsource these jobs so it’s pretty secure.
The negatives of trade school
As you get into the workforce your job depends on your ability to do labor. You need to be physically fit and capable of using your body and as you get older that can become a problem And if you get injured you might not be able to work which would be detrimental to your life.
“I hurt my back and I was out of work for 10 months”
Lack of freedom
This depends on where you work but you have a lack of freedom as a blue-collar worker. You have a very rigid schedule and you have a lot less freedom for things like lunch breaks and expectations. You are working hard and long and you need to be comfortable with that. It can feel constricting.
Higher chance of injury
If you are performing work you have a lot higher chance of getting hurt on the job when you’re driving a truck or swinging a hammer.
Lack of sophistication
This is not the same for everyone and this isn’t what it sounds like in terms of the quality of people you’re surrounded by but you most likely be using porta-potties and sub-par facilities when you’re working. It’s pretty nasty to use a portable toilet in the sweltering heat or freezing cold.
If you want to take lunch, you’ll be sitting wherever you can. It could be in your truck or on a stoop or a curb and you’ll be eating lunch you packed. You almost never will sit down at a table like a sophisticated human and eat a hot lunch. You have to do it wherever you can.
What are the pros of a college degree?
When you’re looking for a white collar job and you’re going to college there are a lot of different career options you can go into after college. When you have a white collar job you have a lot of great benefits like cafeterias, clean bathrooms, meeting rooms, clean work spaces, and sometimes you can even work from home.
The college experience
Going away for four years and meeting new friends and partying comes with the college experience. The growth that happens from being away from your parents for the first time is something that can’t be overlooked. If you can afford it.
If you have a bachelor’s degree you can achieve higher levels of education like a master’s degree or PHD and if you don’t you won’t have those options. When you do that you can push your income way higher.
There are just certain life skills that you learn in college that you won’t learn elsewhere and the are very useful in real life.
What are the cons of college?
You really don’t earn much money until you graduate because you don’t really start your career until after four years of college. So you miss out on a lot of earning potential that someone in a trade school could isn’t.
Unneeded prerequisite classes.
Having to take classes that really have nothing to do with your career path can be very frustrating. I remember taking a stage acting class that was an absolute joke and I took it just because I needed credits.
College is expensive
On average in the United States, a bachelor’s degree is $127,000. Sure you can get pell grants and scholarships but that’s still an incredible amount of money. But the expense don’t stop just at tuition, there’s room and board and books and supplies food and everything else you can think of.
At the end of the day there are a bunch of pros and cons to both trade school and college but it really depends on you and your individual goals. Everyone has their own path in life and the best we can do is make decisions that fit our needs and desires over anyone else. Remember these decisions are yours and yours only, do what makes you happy.