Don’t sleep on trade schools

Trade schools may be a better option than you think.


“If you want to make it in life, you need to go to college.”

That’s the kind of advice that’s been pushed on most students all throughout our educational careers. There’s a reason for it too– according to Social Security, men with bachelor’s degrees earn $900,000 more in their lives than those with only a high school diploma. Women bring in $630,000 more.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that college is the only good path towards success for everyone. One very obvious reason for this is the growingly enormous cost of earning a degree, which unfortunately shuts some people out. Another reason is a clear alternative— trade schools.

Trade schools have not always been given the same level of respect as college education. Many people view trade schools as a second-rate option—something a student would only be interested in if they were struggling in more traditional school settings.

But the truth is trade schools are extremely viable options in their own right. During the pandemic, many older workers in those fields retired, causing a labor shortage that made skilled trades very high-demand. 

And that demand is great for people’s salaries—people who graduate from trade schools make good money in Missouri. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary for electricians is $58,560-$67,750. HVAC techs make a mean of $48,580-$52,710. For carpenters, it’s $56,250-$79,200.

On top of that, the trade schools themselves are much easier on the wallet, and they typically only take two years to finish, meaning that you can begin making money (and be independent!) much faster than you would have if you went to college instead. Plus, if you can earn an A+ scholarship through the very-easy-to-complete A+ Program, you can get those two years of trade school for free.

And I’m not saying this to disparage college education. It’s still true that people with college degrees may earn a bit more, especially when it comes to extremely skilled careers, like a medical career. But not everything’s about the money. There are many students out there that mostly want to go to college for a field they’re passionate about, like medicine, education, public health, psychology, etc. People working within these fields can be extremely important to their local communities. 

At the end of the day, college and trade schools can both be viable options for your future. It’s time to stop assuming that college is automatically the best decision for every student. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses that are good for different things. So if you’ve been thinking that trade school might be the better option for you, don’t feel held back just because of the false perceptions some people have about trade schools.