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Trade School Vs College: What’s the Difference and Which Is Best for You?

trade school vs college

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

If you’re looking into higher education, there’s a good chance you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of available options. From online colleges to trade schools to physical campuses, today’s students have more choices than ever.

But which is the best choice for you? Should you go the traditional college route, or choose to specialize in a trade?

Here’s a breakdown of the age-old trade school vs. college debate and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Trade Schools

Trade schools offer quite a few differences from their four-year counterparts.

When a student enrolls in a trade school program, they’re specializing in one specific trade or skill. Most trade schools offer programs in the most in-demand fields, such as HVAC training or electrician training.

Since you’re attending a specialized program, there’s no need for a core curriculum. Instead, you’ll only attend classes relevant to your field.

As you’d expect, this means that you’ll graduate faster than if you attended a traditional college. In fact, the average certificate program at Intercoast lasts 40 to 50 weeks.

Since you leave school equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in your field of choice, you’re can be more employable than if you received a general degree.


On the other hand, college presents its own unique set of advantages.

Since you’ll attend school for a longer period of time, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue learning about many interests.

You spend the first half of your college career taking a basic, core curriculum. While these courses may seem like a waste of time and money, enrolling in such courses can broaden your mind.

For instance, even if you’re an English major you could take a philosophy course to strengthen your critical thinking skills. And, almost all four-year degrees require a series of math courses in order to graduate in many degree choices.

Finally, you’ll want to consider earning potential. While trade school helps you learn a specialized skill, a degree could present various options. Because you have a specific degree doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ill-equipped to go into another field.

Yet with some degrees, it doesn’t always mean you will have a job in a specific skill area. Many graduates leave school only to discover that their skills are mismatched by the job market.

Trade School vs. College: What’s The Best Choice?

By now it’s clear that both trade schools and college have their own sets of pros and cons. Which is the right choice for you, trade school or college?

Ultimately that depends on what you want to do with your career.

If you’re looking for job-specific skills, trade school is no doubt the better route, particularly when you factor in the cost of your education. However, if you’re interested in research or a general pursuit of knowledge, you may thrive in a traditional college setting.

Ready to Learn?

Whether you’re interested in vocational school or college, we’d love to talk with you about your options.

At InterCoast, we’re all about connecting you with the jobs of tomorrow. You can even take courses online so you can work while you get your certification or degree!

Get in touch with our admissions department to request more information.

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Joe Finggin
Joe Finggin
2 years ago

Where do i find the date this article was published without going through a bunch of pages

Mr. Jackinof
Mr. Jackinof
2 years ago

Picking which school you want is sure hard but sooner or later you will find your choice. Please think before picking the type of school you would like to go to.

8 months ago

Is there an author for this article?

4 months ago

Who published this??

2 months ago

get me working plz im tired of staying home and binge eating

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