What to look for in a Trade School

What to Look for in a Trade School

We spend our childhoods in a classroom that others have chosen for us, but as adults it is time to decide what type of education will best suit our needs. While a four year college may be the most popular path, many people decide to opt for a trade school. One good thing about going to trade school is that it trains a student for something very specific and allows them to get a job doing something they enjoy. Some common areas of study at a trade school are cosmetology, plumbing, and culinary school. While picking a career you can envision yourself enjoying is a great first step, it is important to be aware that not all trade schools are equal, so choosing which school to invest your time and money in should be done with care. When looking at trade schools, it’s important to look not only at your immediate future, but a little bit further down the road as well. Most trade school graduates can make a modest living, but if you think you might want something a little better down the road you may want to choose a trade school that leaves the door open for bigger things.  


A trade school’s accreditation should be one of the first things you explore. There are many trade schools that are essentially diploma mills. These schools require very little work and a fraction of the money you might normally spend, but very little pay off. Even if you believe you already have the knowledge you need for a job, prospective employers will see through a sub-par degree and you will be the one starting off with a poor reputation in your field. A reputable school should make it easy to find their accreditation information, which you should verify with the US Department of Education.

Tuition Costs

Next, you may want to look at tuition costs. The cost of education is not necessarily something that is in direct relation to the quality. Local community technical schools often offer programs that many people find beneficial. You may be able to get a certificate in a matter of months, or an Associate’s degree within two years. Many times Associate’s degree credits will transfer into a Bachelor’s degree later on, if you decide to pursue something else. The cost of these programs is often reasonable in comparison to some private schools. However, you may know of some trade schools that have a certain rapport in the industry and may help you more with job placement after you complete the program.

Class Types

  One last thing to consider in a trade school is how you will attend classes: online, in person, or a mix. You will need to consider your personal learning style as some people do not do well with online classes, and others thrive in this environment. There are also some things, such as cooking or hair styling that normally require more hands on learning to fully grasp the skill. Some programs have hybrid classes; classes that are sometimes online but have an in-class component that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and receive whatever correction they may need from the instructor. These are often a great option for working students with families of their own looking to change careers. Wherever you are in your life, whether right out of high school or if you’ve been in the job market for a while, learning a new specialized skill can widen your employment options. Attending a trade school is a great way to open up these new opportunities.

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