As time goes on we always find ourselves encountering a new group of people ready to go to school. Whether they are high school graduates looking for their next path, older individuals ready to go back and get another degree, or anything in between, there are always people debating their options. The usual thought that pops into people’s minds is the idea of a traditional college. A four to six year degree where you find yourself yanking out loans for a massive commitment. It’s definitely something that can’t be decided in a quick minute. It’s always worth the ponder, but is it your only option? The answer is no. Traditional college is not the only option. There is a wonderful different option known as vocational or trade schools. In this piece we will be diving in to see if traditional college is worth the time & money and comparing it to a trade school.
HANDS ON TRAINING VS. BROAD TRAINING
Traditional colleges have a range of broad degrees to choose from. With one degree, you can have a multitude of positions at your disposal, but the catch 22 is that this can be your downfall. For example, if you get a degree in communication studies, you will find yourself with a degree in broad knowledge but no job experience.Your degree will lack a focus in education. You can do anything from social media, journalism, public relations, and maybe even human resources, but once again, will these institutions find you as a promising worker with just a degree and no focus? Without a list of internships, you may find it hard to find a job that will pay the bills right off the bat.
On the other hand, trade or vocational schools focus on one trade that will shoot you in the right direction. Without beating around the bush trade schools can you get you certified in fields such as medical assisting, physical therapy aide, personal fitness training, phlebotomy tech, personal fitness trainer, and even massage therapy. Vocational schools are specifically designed to focus on education that will get you careers to sustain you as opposed to an education that will leave you with a diploma and a world of debt. Programs offer laser focused hands on training that will give you all the tools you need to be successful. For instance, to become a medical assistant, instead of four years of reading books and a few labs near the end, vocational schools get you straight in and begin to alternate you between hands on labs and in class text.
GET CERTIFIED IN LESS THAN A YEAR
Traditional colleges are definitely not the quickest option. If you are deciding between the vocational school route and the traditional college route you must know that traditional college will normally take significantly longer. With bachelor’s degrees needing about four years of education you can find yourself with a trade school certificate in as little as 5-10 months depending on where you go and what you study. Obviously, every certification track is different depending on what credentials you need to gain, but you can almost always bet on trade schools getting you to your goal much faster. This is helpful for anyone looking for a level up in a career the quickest way possible. Oftentimes this route is specifically ideal for individuals who are looking for a career change and want to get into the workforce after a long break in their education.
GETTING FINANCIAL AID FOR SCHOOL
We spoke about the currency of time, but now it’s important to discuss actual currency. Is college with the money? With traditional college taking longer and prices normally being deciphered upon the amount of credits, there will be an exponential difference in price ranges. Traditional colleges can cost on average about $140,000 while vocational certificates are just a mere fraction of that. Let’s compare and contrast. The flat fee for years 1 and 2 of a DPT degree at the University of Southern California is $72,189 according to their tuition and financial aid website. This is excluding year 3 which is $43,615. Additional fees can also tack on extra $2,500 which will give you a grand total of about $120,000. Now, a physical therapy aide certificate without any financial aid is about 1/12th of that. You do not have to be a mathematician to know that a vocational certificate, which will get you a nice job, is much more less than a traditional degree.
How To Get Certified?
First thing to do is research what you want to do. Make sure school is accredited and make sure the school is good with research. Find out the cost and speak to financial aid. Talk to admissions advisors about student experience, hands on experience, and graduate placement. Once you’ve found the appropriate school of your choice you can then start your path to saving your time and money.