Does Your Alma Matter: A Case For Vocational and Trade Schools


by Arthur Posey

We’ve been trained since our early elementary school days to follow our parent’s mantras like “when you go to college…,” and “get good grades because when you’re in college…,” until we are almost unable to think properly about our own future educational plans. True, college degrees are important, after all, it will probably cull you out of the interviewee slush pile to get at least a second look, but is it really what you need to guide you in the direction of finding your passion and ultimately, your dream job?

The truth is, you can follow your calling, and not just through the traditional college route.

Curious? Then take a look below:

  • Find your Passion: Do you have a natural inclination for all things mechanical, you know the type that happily constructs changes spark plugs or fixes the garbage disposal when most of us would gladly pay someone the nominal fee in order to avoid the project all together? Then perhaps, looking into a trade would better suit your talents. Vocational or trade schools can provide the student a glimpse of their future while they’re earning their degree. And unlike their more traditional routed peers, students at trade schools they will know exactly what they are getting into before they graduate. 
[Learn more about vocational and trade schools on StudentAdvisor.]
  • Debt: Let’s be honest, higher education comes with a price tag, and four years at a top university can incur a pretty hefty one. However, if you know that a certain course will probably never relate to your everyday life and prospective profession, then why saddle yourself with the cost, time or energy in order to chip away at that four-year degree?
[Student Loans: The Truth About the Interest Rate Hike]
  • Time: Speaking of which, if you are looking to enter the job force one or two years earlier, then vocational, technical or trade schools are often the way to go.  Generally, vocational and trade schools will provide the training necessary to master the skills needed for your desired profession unlike the four-year-colleges that encourage students to learn about theory, critical thinking skills and analysis, not the typical hands-on experience you will glean from a vocational school.
[Try before you buy: take a MOOC!]

At the end of the day, it is important to heed that inner voice, no matter shape or form it comes in.  If you happen to find yourself drawn to a profession that can be gained by attending a trade school, then pursuing this option is no less important than those who choose the four-year college route. If rushing for the most popular fraternity and spending your days in liberal arts classes doesn’t appeal to you, then perhaps looking into an alternative like trade or vocational schools might be a viable option to enhance your academic and professional life.

Arthur Posey is a retired guidance counselor who now spends his days as a freelance blogger. Given his wealth of experience in the field, Arthur frequently writes about matching prospective students with the proper colleges and trade schools. When he’s not doing that, Arthur is likely to be found rafting on his favorite rivers or working on his motorcycle.