Life up through the end of high school is generally quite simple. There are few, if any, major choices that a student must make about their education. The real challenge comes when you throw your graduation cap up in the air and are presented with the prospects of furthering your education.

A GED doesn’t get you very far anymore. You won’t have many job opportunities, and life will be more difficult. 

Rounds of surveys have reported that a large part of students choose to enroll in a 4-year college program because they think it is a natural progression – a college degree will get you a good career, a decent salary, and so much more! 

But more students are finding that this is not the case. After graduation, many are finding that getting a job is not so easy. They are saddled with inescapable debt. When they do finally get a job, life suddenly feels so much less satisfying.

That’s not to say that college isn’t for everyone. However, many high school students don’t even consider a trade school. Electricians, HVAC repair, welding, and other trade jobs often require just a few months of schooling. There is also a glut of jobs available with nobody to fill them. Nobody says these jobs are easy, but many people who go through trade school are often surprised by their earning potential and satisfaction that comes from being debt-free, working with their hands, and not sitting behind a desk all day.

Trade School vs College – Which is better?

Choosing whether to go to college or trade school is a big decision. So it is crucial to explore all educational opportunities before you enroll in one because years post-high-school is not a smooth ride. 

Trade school

A trade school is also known as a vocational school. Some schools recommend planning for two years of schooling, but this can be less depending on your vocation of choice. The curriculums at these schools are streamlined to focus only on the skills you need to complete the job. For example, at a traditional 4-year university, you may wonder why you spend an entire semester taking liberal arts courses if you are studying to be an accountant. As a result, trade schools less expensive.

Trade schools also focus more on specialized courses that get you hands-on to learn the skills you’ll need each day. This practical learning strategy makes graduates of trade schools far more coveted than some college students. It is common to hear people coming out of college saying that they forgot everything they learned after six months, and that they had to learn everything over again at their first job. Moreover, the school provides a certificate or diploma and a licensing exam based on the program chosen.  


The 4-year bachelor’s program at a college is not only too expensive to afford for many students, but spending that long on education can be daunting, especially when you are so young, and your interests may change over time. Likewise, many students don’t get to enjoy college because they are working part-time jobs to help reduce their debt burden. 

All that being said, college is the perfect fit for many students who aim to work in a field that primarily requires a Bachelor’s or higher level of degree. Many companies won’t even consider you as an applicant if you don’t have a college diploma, or they will say that you need the equivalent of 7 years experience instead.

If you are a person who has the funds, loves to learn, is excited about a full-time college experience, makes friends, finds yourself as a person, and explores more areas of study, enrolling in a college is probably for you. 

Final Thoughts

Life is long, and anyone can enroll in college or a trade school at any age. While it will likely be much harder for you to connect with students in their early 20s if you are near or older than 30, you can still get the education you need for the job you want. 

So perhaps there is a third option: wait. 

Finding one or two part-time, low-skilled jobs, and a roommate for an affordable apartment is one option as you bide your time. There is still a lot of growth happening in the brain through your 20s, so giving yourself time to develop a little more can make a choice easier and potentially more fulfilling. When you are ready to make the decision, you will know!