After graduating from high school, young adults have many opportunities to further their education. While attending a traditional college may seem like an obvious step, trade schools also offer paths to future success. Trade schools are secondary schools that certify students to work in various specific fields, such as graphic design, culinary arts, massage therapy and cosmetology. Trade schools are also sometimes referred to as vocational schools or vo-tech (vocation technical). Those who enroll in trade schools arm themselves with the knowledge and skills to take on their chosen job.

Relevant Skills

At a trade school, you will learn practical skills that relate directly to your field of interest. Most of the training is hands-on and takes place in a setting similar to the workplace. There are little-to-no general education course requirements. In addition, some trade schools offer to help with job placement after you complete the program. You might be surprised to find that many employers prefer to hire individuals who come equipped with the specialized knowledge gained in trade schools.


Attending a trade school is typically less expensive than enrolling in a full-time college program. Loans, grants and financial aid can lower the cost even more. However, substantial federal aid is not always available for trade school students.


While pursuing a bachelor's degree at a college requires four years or more of full-time work, completing a trade school may only take two years. This reduced period allows you to get out into the workforce and start making money faster than students who are pursuing a college degree. However, some employers are more impressed by college degrees, which demonstrate a capacity for long-term commitment.

Class Size and Flexibility

Trade school classes are typically smaller than college classes, allowing the instructor to give each student a generous amount of attention. Many trade schools offer flexible class hours. You will be able to work a job during the day while attending classes in the evening or at night.

Limited Scope of Job Opportunities

Due to time restraints and the narrowed scope of subject matter, trade school students may have a hard time finding jobs outside of their specific field. This can be particularly troublesome if their chosen job declines in popularity. Colleges, on the other hand, arm their students with a wider range of skills. For example, if you pursue a communications degree at a university, you open multiple career paths, including journalism, public relations and media planner.

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