Is your high schooler looking for an alternative to the traditional 2-year or 4-year college after high school path? It’s normal to have concerns over their future—however, there are educational options after high school aside from traditional college that can lead to exciting and fulfilling careers.
A traditional four-year degree isn’t suited to every student and has other significant drawbacks. According to Forbes, 66% of students who graduate from a public college will do so with student loan debt, and, while it’s true that 70% of Americans will study at a 4-year college, less than 2/3 will graduate with a degree.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to traditional college. Many parents are interested in knowing the options available to their sons and daughters who may decide not to attend a traditional four-year college. Trade school is an alternative to a traditional 4-year college, but there are many misconceptions about the opportunities for trade school graduates. According to an article from CBS, only 3% of parents expect their child to attend a trade school. This is likely due to the perception that trade school is only for students who can’t “make it” at a traditional 4-year college. Trade school is often seen as a second choice, due to stigma around the trades.
Despite these misconceptions, going to trade school after high school, according to some research, is becoming more accepted by high school students and growing in popularity. Trade schools can put high school graduates on the road to success by offering training in occupations that are expected to grow. Also, trade school graduates typically graduate with significantly less student loan debt than students who graduate from a four-year college.
The benefits of trade school for high school graduates
1. Trade schools are often more affordable than traditional colleges
The cost of traditional college is leading students to seek alternatives, such as trade school. The average trade school costs much less than a traditional four-year college. If your son or daughter is more suited to a career in the trades or allied health, and finances are a major factor in whether to attend college after high school, a trade school can potentially offer a more affordable option for them than a traditional college.
Many trade schools also offer financial aid and scholarship opportunities to students who qualify. For example, MTI’s annual High School Scholarship Program awards scholarships for various amounts at each of our campus locations.
2. Jobs in the trades are in demand
“You can get a particular skill in a particular field and make more than a college graduate,” according to NPR. “Millions of good-paying jobs are opening up in the trades. And some pay better than what the average college graduate makes.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the occupations with the most job growth through 2029 include medical assistants, nursing assistants, maintenance and repair workers (general), and electricians.
Medical assistants are among the careers experiencing much faster than average job growth through 2029 according to the BLS — employment for medical assistants is projected to grow 19% compared to the national average of just 4%. Midwest Technical Institute (MTI) offers a 9-month Medical Assisting Program that can prepare students for a career in this growing field.
A 2019 Bloomberg article highlighted the truck industry shortage, which is expected to double in a decade. This is creating increased demand for truck drivers, leading to higher salaries and recruitment among young people and women. An NBC article suggested truck driving might become more popular with Millennials due to increased safety measures and technological advances. MTI offers a 20-week Professional Truck Driving Program and a 20-day CDL Training Course at the Springfield, MO campus location.
Many allied health and skilled trade professions are projected to grow quickly compared to the national job growth average of 4%.
- Medical Assistants (19%)
- Phlebotomists (17%)
- Electricians (8%)
- Nursing Assistants (8%)
- Medical Coders (8%)
- Dental Assistants (7%)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected employment growth 2019-2029
3. Students graduating from trade schools will usually have less student loan debt
Forbes reported the immense student loan debt in the U.S. at $1.5 trillion collectively owed across more than 44 million borrowers. Concerns about student loan debt have contributed to an 8th consecutive year of declined enrollments at traditional colleges. Nearly 20% [of high school graduates] say they may delay college due to expense, according to a TDAmeritrade study.
However, trade school offers a lower-cost alternative to a traditional four-year college. Professions in the trades, such as medical assisting and truck driving, can offer students the opportunity to enter the workforce with less student loan debt. Students who choose trade school can begin their career sooner than students who attend a 2- or 4-year college. Choosing trade school can also mean the student will graduate with less student loan debt and can enter into a profession that is in-demand.
Is trade school right for your high schooler?
Does your son or daughter enjoy building things or working with their hands? Do they learn best through hands-on activities? Would they be interested in a career that offers travel opportunities -- such as welding or truck driving? Do they want to enter the workforce sooner? Trade school may be the right path after high school for them.
At MTI, most programs and courses can be completed in less than a year. Daytime and evening classes are available allowing students more flexibility to work part-time while attending school. At MTI, dedicated Student Success Specialists (SSS) provide ongoing support tailored to each student’s needs, including tutoring, test taking strategies, life skills workshops, and resources to locate transportation, housing, and part-time jobs. MTI’s Placement Team identifies individual student’s strengths to match them with job opportunities. Qualified graduates have access to lifetime job placement assistance. MTI works to find employers locally, statewide and/or nationally, allowing the student to explore all options available to them.
*Not all programs are available at all campuses. Evening classes may not be available for all programs. Please contact your local campus for more information on programs and class schedules.
Trade school can be a great alternative to 4-year college for your high schooler
If your high schooler is interested in going to trade school after high school, fill out the form below to contact MTI and learn more.
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