Is a career or trade school right for me?

January 5, 2018

See what's possible through career-focused education

As a high school student, your junior and senior years can be a flurry of campus tours and vital conversations with parents, teachers and guidance counselors about what to do after graduation.

For some people, a four-year degree may not be the right fit. Fortunately, there are alternative paths to a rewarding career: As the U.S. economy continues to shift, there will be 55 million job openings between 2010 and 2020, 65 percent of which will not require a four-year degree, according to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

How does a trade school or career training program differ from a 2-year or 4-year degree, and how can you tell if a trade school is right for you? Here are a few key differences.

Learn through hands-on training

Trade school programs, also often referred to as career education or vocational training, are focused on specific skills and knowledge related to a particular industry or career. Programs are industry modeled and combine classroom learning with hands-on training that mimics situations a graduate will find in the workplace. Skills-based training is supplemented with classes that teach the soft skills employers are seeking, including the interpersonal skills that are vital to succeeding in the professional world.

Benefit from flexible and accelerated programs

Many individuals choose trade school or career training programs because they can provide more flexible opportunities and are often shorter than traditional four-year programs. Accelerated programs mean graduates can get to work faster, and students graduate with a diploma or degree, leading to opportunities to test for professional certifications and licenses desired by employers.

Grow in a growing field

The current shortage of skilled workers means that many jobs for trade school graduates, specifically in health care, are in high demand. We've seen this growth over the past decade at Professional Skills Institute, even relocating to a larger facility in Maumee in 2012 to accommodate the demand for qualified health care training. Now, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that from 2016 to 2026, employment of health care occupations is projected to grow 18 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations. Part of this is due to aging Baby Boomers and increasing demands for senior housing and health care.

How can you tell if career training is a right fit for you?

First and foremost, recognize that one size doesn't fit all. The most important part to defining your career path is realizing that there are a variety of options available.

It can be helpful to start a conversation with your guidance counselor or high school about local options for career training, or to do your own research. Schedule a tour to learn more about a specific program and whether it matches your passion.

Choosing the right post-secondary education path can seem daunting, but keep in mind that there are many ways to achieve your career goals.

If you are interested in beginning your path to a rewarding career, then trade school may be an option for your post-secondary education. Connect with Professional Skills Institute today to see if our school is a fit for you!

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