A Career in Trades — 4 Things to Know

ALICIA LAPERUTA | October 29, 2019

For many students, their educational journey doesn’t end with high school graduation. As they ponder their next step, most usually think about two choices. Should they enroll in a two-year community college program or opt for a 4-year college or university program?

We can tell you that there is a viable third option, i.e., vocational or trade school. It can be your ticket to a well-paying highly skilled career. It also lends itself well to adult students thinking about a career switch. Below, we discuss four things that you should know about a career in trades:

Highly Affordable

Compared to college tuition, trade school fee is much more affordable for most students. For the former, many students have to take out a loan. It limits the money they will earn in the future after graduating. After all, a big portion of it will go into paying back that loan! Student Loan Hero reports that the average student debt rate is now $29,800!

On the other hand, trade school students pay $33,000 as opposed to $127,000, which is how much a bachelor’s degree will cost them!

Quicker Route

The U.S. News and World Report revealed that it took 60% of students six years to earn a bachelor’s degree, instead of four. The additional time in spent totals up to $70,000 that the students need for debt and over lost wages. Moreover, as a college student, you are more likely to dropout. The National Center for Education Statistics mentions that 40% of college-goers drop out.

Your educational journey in a technical college will end within two years. Some programs even culminate within a year! Which one sounds like a better idea?

High Earning Potential

The Bureau of Labor Statistics mentioned that even without a college education, it is possible to earn $2,872 per month. The amount increases to $4,756 and $5,804 for those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree, respectively.

As someone who has completed technical college education, you could earn more than those with an associate (43%) or bachelor’s (27%) degree.

Scholarships and Grants

But there are more advantages to choosing a career in trades. A substantial one is the various grants and scholarships available to vocational students. We mention several of them below, but you can find even more with just a bit of browsing:

AmericanTrucks Student Scholarships

Two students can win an award of $2,500 each if they are attending a vocational school or technical institute. This scholarship is awarded twice a year. That means you stand to win one for either the fall or spring semesters.

The Andrew Piech Memorial Scholarship

High school-graduating and college-continuing students can get a scholarship – sometimes more than one is available — in New Mexico. The rules indicate enrollment in a degree or certificate program in an automotive or technical vocational institution. The award can be as high as $2,200. Recipients can use it to pay their tuition fee, buy books, and other school materials.

ASHRAE Society Scholarship Program

For next year, the society is announcing 38 scholarships. They are open to students all around the world. The objective behind ASHRAE’s award is encourage more students to enter the HVAC&R field.

AWS Foundation

The organization gives $1 million in awards to students who are enrolled in a welding or related program. Therefore, most students who go to a trade school will be eligible for this award. Should you win, you can use the money to pay for your educational expenses, such as tuition, supplies, books, and equipment you’ll need to graduate.

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Moreover, there are various types of awards and grants. Go through the list and pick one that is best for the career you have in mind. The academic or training institution you are enrolled in will receive the money directly.

Sport Clips Haircuts

There is no shortage of financial awards to assist students in vocational fields in graduating. This one is specifically for helping cosmetology students. Sport Clips Haircuts is a well-known brand in men’s and boys’ haircare. It provides 20 scholarships each year! To qualify, an applicant must meet the academic and essay requirements they have set up. They can use the $1,000 award money – if they win – for academic expenses.

The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation

Along with the support of the American Academy of Chefs (AAC), the foundation offers various types of scholarships to potential chefs. These awards are opened every year and based on the level of study. For instance, students enrolled in an apprenticeship program can win $1,500. The amount for certificate programs is the same as for apprenticeships. However, the post-secondary degree program students may get $2,500.

A college education doesn’t suit every student. Some of them cannot afford it. Others want to learn a craft other than the ones traditional institutions offer. If this sounds familiar, we’d suggest picking a vocational school. Any confusion? Talk to us!