Alternatives to 4-Year College: A Trade School Education

Alternatives to 4-Year College Trade School Education

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

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?

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Trade school can be a great alternative to 4-year college for your high schooler

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[20] Midwest Technical Institute, 2020 ACCSC Annual Report, Gainful Employment, and Internal Data as of November 2020