New URL:

Why More Graduating Seniors Are Choosing Trade School Over a Four-Year Degree

Request More Info
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By submitting this form, I agree that Southern Careers Institute may contact me via email, text message or telephone, including the use of autodialers, regarding its programs and offers. Standard text and/or usage rates may apply.

We are all told the same thing in high school: the pathway to success lies in getting a bachelor degree. We are encouraged to spend four years at a university, or maybe two at community college before transferring over, because that is the way to land a successful career. But what if four-year college isn’t the best option?

 More and more students are choosing to bypass traditional education for trade school after they graduate high school. In fact, in 2020, 57% of students in college agreed that higher education no longer seemed worth the cost of the education.  

Pathways After High School 

Getting a 4-year degree isn’t the only option after graduating high school. Here are other paths that students choose to take: 


  1. Entry-level position: Whether it is out of choice or necessity, almost 30% of young adults do not further their education after they graduate high school. Many high school graduates choose to work directly after high school instead of seeking some sort of higher education. This choice could result from necessity, such as taking care of themselves and their family, from the intimidating cost of tuition, or because of a personal decision. Entry-level positions with a high school diploma could lead young adults down many paths, but typically have limitations in relation to career development.  
  2. Trade school: Programs in trade schools surround a chosen occupation, so for high school students who know the vocation they’d like to pursue, trade school is a great option. Students at trade schools typically complete their program and begin their careers sooner than those who pursue a 4-year degree. Because the programs at trade schools are specific to a certain career, young adults have a clear career pathway to follow after finishing their training. 
  3. Community college: With rising tuition costs, community college has become a more popular option for high school graduates. Students can attend community college to obtain an associate degree (a two-year degree if they attend full-time) and can either choose to transfer to a four-year college to finish their bachelor degree or start working. In fact, more than one third of college undergraduates attend a 2-year college. Many students choose to attend community college part-time (64%, to be exact), making working students’ lives a little bit easier.  
  4. Apprenticeship: A lesser known, but just as valuable option for graduating high school seniors is an apprenticeship. While apprenticeships may not be the most widely spoken of option for young adults after high school, they are growing. In the past 10 years, there has been a 70% growth in new apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are another great option for students who know what career they would like to pursue. Many apprenticeship programs offer training along with placement with a company seeking apprentices. The goal of apprenticeship programs is for the apprentice to grow into a career with the company they start at, which takes the job search out of the equation for young adults.  
  5. Training program: Instead of choosing something like a trade school, some students choose to enroll in training programs to gain the skills they need for certain career paths. These programs can range from technology bootcamps to online learning platforms.  

Why Many Graduating Seniors Are Choosing Trade School 

83% of people working in a skilled trade are satisfied with their job. In a world that is fast-paced and often filled with people moving onto the next best thing, that statistic is astounding. Along with the benefits of working a skilled trade, choosing a trade (or technical) school has its benefits: 

  1. Less expensive: Trade school costs significantly less than paying to attend a 4-year college. Additionally, college students have an average debt of $36,406, regardless of whether they graduated university or dropped out. At trade school, students spend less money to gain skills necessary for their vocation. By investing in learning a skilled trade, young people can accrue less debt and work towards their future faster. 
  2. Start your career faster: While college typically takes anywhere from two to four years to complete if the student attends full time, many young adults complete trade school in less than a year. This allows young adults to start their career faster and start working towards long-term financial goals.  
  3. Flexibility: Many trade schools cater towards young adults who are working outside of attending school. Because of this, many programs offer both daytime and nighttime classes. Some programs even offer online training. Having flexibility like this offers adult learners the opportunity to learn their trade while remaining engaged in their day-to-day lives.  
  4. Hands-on experience: Perhaps one of the most valuable assets of trade school is the opportunity to gain hands-on experience. If a student’s vocation is cosmetology, they will practice skills on mannequins and eventually on live clients. If they are training to become a welder, they will get hands-on experience learning different welding techniques.  
  5. Location: Not every college a student wants to attend is nearby. Some universities might be known for their science program, while others could have an excellent English program. With trade schools, students can anticipate getting experience regardless of the location. This allows the flexibility to move or find a trade school in their area.  


Whether you want to work hands-on as a welder or auto technician, behind the scenes as an administrative assistant, or directly with patients in the healthcare industry, SCI offers training to support you on your journey. With eight campuses in Texas along with online programs, it is SCI’s mission to provide employer-tailored programs to students. To learn more about the programs, start dates, and financial aid, click here. 

This article was published on: 04/6/22 1:56 PM

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

Speak with an
Admissions Advisor

Call 1.833.SCI.TEXAS

Our mission is to be a leading talent producer by delivering employer-tailored training.

Contact Us Today