Trade school vs. college: Choosing the right path

Posted at 10:43 AM, May 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-27 13:43:09-04

(NBC News) If recent history holds, nearly the same number of graduates this year will head to a trade school instead of college.

Career coach Andy Thomas says there’s good reason.

“You can make as much money as the quote, unquote white collar folks can in many cases in the trade area,” he says.

Make as much money, and obtain a skill in much less time at a fraction of the costs of college.

“I wish right out of high school, I knew this was an opportunity, or a chance or a possibility,” Erika Cline says.

Instead, Cline spent a bundle getting a bachelor’s degree in public health.

“I felt I needed a career and the only way to get the career was to go to college,” she says.

She left that career and learned the trade of heating and air conditioning.

The trade school choice certainly resonates with those who made the decision decades ago.

“It’s been awesome for me,” says Randy Tooker, a coworker of Cline’s at Morris-Jenkins Heating & Air. “I preach about it. I love this industry, I love the trades.”

Further food for thought in the trade school versus college debate: Research conducted by the Idaho Department of Labor found that the average bachelor’s degree in the United States costs $127,000. The average trade school degree costs $33,000.