College vs. Trade School: Disadvantages of College Education Length: Four (or More) Years vs. Two Years

For starters, a bachelor’s degree normally takes four years to complete, implying that persons who enter the employment after getting a bachelor’s degree are typically not doing so until they are 22 years old.
This cuts years off a person’s career and can be regarded an opportunity cost for getting hands-on experience in the’real world’ rather than in a classroom. In addition, a four-year program will almost always need you to take classes outside of your major in order to meet credit requirements. It may seem pointless to pay for extra credits and courses unless you enjoy spending time in a classroom. Although that improv theater class was entertaining, was it beneficial to your chemistry major?

A Bachelor’s Degree is Expensive

Another disadvantage is the price.
According to research published by the Idaho Department of Labor, the average bachelor’s degree costs $127,000 in the United States! Furthermore, approximately 70% of students take out student loans to help pay for education. According to the survey, more than 20% of students with loans owe more than $50,000, with 5.6 percent owing more than $100,000.Although some student loans are clearly better than others, the additional cost of interest increases the entire cost of receiving an education in the United States for the ordinary student substantially more than the already high price tag suggests. Dorming, paying for food, going out, and even doing your own laundry are all expensive aspects of the college experience.

Late Grads + Dropout Rate

A third disadvantage is that some people are just unprepared for the demands of a four-year university.
Many students’ first experience away from home is college, and it’s easy to get off track without a good strategy. Indeed, according to the Institute of Education Statistics, 40% of four-year college students drop out before completing their degree. If you are among the 40%, you have not only incurred some of the costs of education, but you have also departed without getting a diploma. According to U.S. News, of the 60 percent who do finish their degree, 64 percent spend longer than four years to do it, costing them almost $70,000 in missed wages and school expenses per year. Most institutions don’t require students to declare a major until their second year, resulting in a class of undecided students who may have squandered time and credits on courses they didn’t want to take.

Economic Difficulties

Finally, fresh graduates’ job prospects may not be as promising as they had hoped.
Despite the fact that some college majors fare better than others in terms of labor market outcomes, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment (8.5%) and underemployment (16.8%) rates for college graduates under the age of 25 are nearly double what they were in 2007. Graduates have encountered poor labor markets for the past five years.
Young graduates suffer a scarcity of career options and financial difficulties in repaying their education loans. College degrees are a significant investment of both time and money, and the percentage of graduates who are unable to find desired job (or any employment at all!) is seeing a negative return.

An Alternative to College is Trade School.

In light of these figures, I believe that students nearing graduation should seriously consider trade school, especially if they are not at the top of their class. A typical four-year degree is not for everyone, and trade school provides a tempting career route, especially when considering the advantages listed above that are connected with a college education. I’ll give an outline of what a trade school education entails, who it’s best for, and some of the benefits of a trade school education over a college education.

What is the difference between a Trade School and a Vocational School?

A trade school, often known as a technical or vocational school, is an educational institution dedicated to teaching job-related skills. Trade schools take a more condensed approach to education, with curriculum focusing on creating a specific skill set and knowledge base for a certain job rather than a comprehensive education. Trade schools are perfect for many types of learners since they take less time to finish, have lower class numbers, and the majority of the training is hands-on. Vocational degrees can lead to well-paying positions such as electrician, mechanic, machinist, pharmacy technician, nuclear technician, and dental hygienist, all of which have opportunities for advancement and management.

Salary for Trade School Jobs: Benefits of Trade Schools

For starters, trade school grads’ incomes aren’t that much behind those with a four-year degree.
Technical and trade school positions pay a median annual wage of $35,720, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, though this figure varies greatly depending on the industry and the amount of expertise of the worker. Earnings for bachelor’s degree holders are expected to be around $46,900, a difference of $11,180 per year, according to the BLS. Of course, this statistic ignores long-term earnings growth.

However, because trade school takes an average of two years rather than four, the trade school graduate will earn an extra two years of income, or $71,440.When you add in additional $70,000 in fees for many students who take an extra year to finish college, trade school graduates can be over $140,000 ahead right away, making up for a 12-year wage gap.

The Cost of Education

When compared to a $127,000 bachelor’s degree, the average trade school degree costs $33,000, a savings of $94,000. But wait, there’s more! If students pay for their education entirely with loans at 4% interest over ten years, a bachelor’s degree will cost $154,000, whereas a trade school diploma will cost only $40,000. Just on the degree, that’s a savings of $114,000!

Of course, in both circumstances, the majority of students will not be able to fully fund their education.
They’ll work and look for other ways to get money to aid with the procedure, so the gap will be minimal in most cases. According to 2012 research, the average college student debt load is $29,900, which rises to $36,327 when interest is factored in. Students graduating from a two-year technical school, on the other hand, have an average debt load of $10,000, which is around 70% less than a four-year graduate.

Job Stability

Another advantage of technical trade school is that the majority of the jobs you’ll earn are incredibly tough to export. As more jobs are outsourced to regions where labor is cheaper, domestic employment in particular sectors is becoming increasingly difficult to come by. Exporting computer programming or other information economy employment is more easier than exporting carpentry or electrical work, which requires a physical presence.

Not only that, but there is a growing demand for high-precision talents in the United States.
According to Forbes, skilled trade employees are disproportionately older than the general population, and this trend will continue, resulting in more chances for young workers to fill their shoes.

Last Words on Trade School vs. College

It’s important to stress that I’m not advocating for a four-year degree; rather, I’m arguing for a choice that many people miss when determining what to do after high school. Don’t get me wrong: a bachelor’s degree still pays off in terms of lifetime wages. A person with a bachelor’s degree is expected to earn roughly $1.1 million, compared to $393,000 for an associate’s degree or trade school program graduate, according to statistics.

A four-year degree has numerous advantages:

You’ll make significantly more later in life, and you have the option to continue your studies and earn even more with a master’s or doctorate, but the cost/benefit equation for even higher education is always shifting.

Opportunities for trade school graduates to further their studies are quite limited.
A four-year degree, on the other hand, is costly and not appropriate for everyone’s learning style or skill set. If you’re a hands-on learner who wants to get out of the classroom and start working right after high school, trade school is a comparatively priced alternative education that might be right for you.
Use the search tool above to learn more about trade schools in your area and what they have to offer.

Let me conclude with an anecdote.
My friend’s cousin finished high school around the same time as my wife did.
My wife attended a four-year university while her relative attended an electrician’s school.
Her cousin began working three years before my wife and had a far lower student loan debt load.
He makes slightly less money today than she does, but the gap isn’t significant, and he didn’t have much debt to pay off after school.

My nephew graduated from high school this past May.
He’s now enrolled in an electrician’s program as well.
In his situation, I believe it was the best decision he could have done.

If you are about to graduate from high school or have a loved one who is, I strongly advise you to think explore trade school as an alternative.