When it comes to higher education, many people look toward college or university. Going to college opens up several career opportunities and many employers look for college graduates during the hiring process.
However, going to college can be expensive, time-consuming and difficult for many people. Trade schools serve as a valuable alternative for individuals who want to learn a specific skill and find a successful career.
Below is our guide to trade school careers and how you can find financial success through some of the best trade schools in the United States.
What is a Trade School?
A trade school, commonly referred to as a technical school, vocational school or vocational college, is an institution that prepares students for a specific job or career.
At a traditional school, you earn a degree in a career field where there are multiple job opportunities. Comparatively, trade schools train you for a singular job or occupation.
The programs are typically shorter than traditional universities but may take as long as two years to complete depending on your chosen occupation.
Trade School vs College
Many people wonder what is better, going to a trade school or a university. There are pros and cons to both. Below is a list of what sets trade schools apart from college and why you should consider them.
Trade School Costs vs College
A big hurdle many individuals must overcome is the cost of college. Even going to a local university may cost tens of thousands of dollars. Many students go into debt or must get scholarships in order to attend a four-year university.
On average, a college degree will cost you $127,000. In comparison, the average cost of a trade school program is just $33,000.
Trade School Length vs College
If you’re a working adult, you may not have the time to dedicate yourself to a four-year education to earn a bachelor’s degree. Trade schools can take up to two years for a student to complete. Some programs take less than a year. If students work full-time jobs, trade schools may serve as a good alternative to university education.
Trade School vs College Degrees
While trade schools do offer associate degrees and certificates to graduates, they typically do not provide bachelor’s degrees. It’s important to consider what your employer would require before choosing a trade school over a university or college.
Some employers are fine with those who do not have a formal college degree, but there are many positions where employers strongly recommend you have a bachelor’s degree. Not having a bachelor’s degree may also prevent or reduce your chances of receiving a promotion or salary increase.
The Highest Paying Trade School Careers in 2020
One of the key reasons people strongly suggest you go to a university is for a higher-paying, long-lasting career. However, those same opportunities are available to trade school graduates. Many of these careers pay more than $50,000 per year without the need of earning a bachelor’s degree.
Below is our guide to some of the highest-paying trade school programs available. Many of these positions have favorable job outlooks and a steady projected job growth rate for the next several years.
If you’re interested in finding a new career without spending several years in college, consider any of the following positions.
Trade School Boilermakers Degree
Boilermakers have some of the highest-paying jobs among trade school graduates. The position requires you to assemble, repair and install boilers, along with other large vessels and containers that hold liquids and gasses.
The job is very physically demanding and requires a great deal of travel. Boilermakers are away from home for long periods of time and earn an average salary of $62,150. As you gain more skills in the position, you can expect your pay to increase.
Trade School Detectives and Police Degree
One of the fastest-growing trade job positions on this list, police officers serve the public and protect the peace. As a detective, your work involves gathering and collecting evidence to solve a particular crime.
Both of these positions require specialized training and you must spend time at a training academy. For most entry-level police positions, some form of trade school work must be completed. With a median salary of $63,380, many people consider this to be one of the best trades to learn.
Trade School Dental Hygienists Degree
With a median salary of $74,820 and a large projected growth rate, dental hygienists have one of the most successful trade school jobs out there today. The majority of dental hygienists work part-time and earn an average of $35.97 an hour.
Some of the job duties that dental hygienists have include cleaning and examining teeth, educating patients on the prevention of oral disease and providing preventative care. Most dental hygiene programs last three years and you must earn a license before practicing dental care.
Trade School Web Developer’s Degree
Web development is one of the fastest-growing positions today. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that web development has a projected job growth rate of 13 percent within the next 10 years.
Web developers are tasked with creating and designing websites, both the front-end and back-end of the site. Web developers also design, program and create web applications.
While web development positions can require a bachelor’s degree, there are many jobs that take trade school graduates. Web developers earn a median salary of $69,430.
Trade School Air Traffic Controllers Degree
An air traffic controller holds the highest paying trade school position on this list. With an incredible annual salary of $124,540, air traffic controllers are highly valued and tasked with ensuring the safe movement of multiple aircraft over large distances.
At a minimum, air traffic controllers need an associate’s degree from the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program. While the position can be obtained through a trade school, the requirements to become an air traffic controller are numerous.
You must be a US citizen, pass a medical and background check, as well as take multiple required courses.
People commonly associate having a high-paying career with a college degree, but that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s entirely possible to earn a degree and work in a high-paying career field without dedicating several years of your life to a university or college education.
The above list just notes some of the trade school career opportunities available to you, but there are dozens of choices and several of them offer high-paying positions that rival many of the job opportunities that come with earning a bachelor’s degree.