Trade schools are a viable option and should be considered

Why Trade School Is A Viable Option For Your Child

trade school

A mom on posted on Facebook this beautiful wood carved table that her high school son had crafted. She asked, “Should I be sending my son to college when he can make items like this?” Many commented that yes, he needs to go to college and get a business degree because someday he might want to own his own woodworking business.

Unless the child has a desire to own a business, I challenge that he needs to go to college right now. The skills and traits needed between being a wood crafter and running a business are very different. He can always decide to go to a typical four-year college to get a business degree. There are other options to consider. Many schools have 2-year entrepreneurial courses, certificates, etc.  Seeing how beautiful that table was, I have no doubt he could make a lot of money woodworking that could help fund a business degree in the future. If he goes to college now but isn’t really interested or motivated, you run the risk of him dropping out and potentially being in debt. The average cost of going to a trade school to learn carpentry is $17,000.  It could be as high as $30,000 (see Career Igniter).  That’s still a far cry from the over $100,000 to get a degree at a four-year college.

We need to change our mindset as parents that after high-school our child must go to college. I grew up with that mindset. You go to high school, then your next step is to go to college. If you didn’t, you were perceived as a failure. The perception of a trade school, which are now called technical schools, has been that they didn’t prepare you for a well-paying career. But times have changed. There’s a growing demand for a skilled trades workforce that’s projected to continue. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed last month an increase in trade jobs in many categories including Transportation, Construction, Manufacturing, and Mining (see report)

One of my clients knew her child was not suited for a traditional college education. She was concerned about what the future held for him. In working with him, we found several high-paying trade jobs that we knew he would enjoy based on the traits needed for the roles and what he naturally likes to do. We found jobs that would pay in the $70,000 – $80,000 range very quickly after going to a trade school and getting a technical degree. We were able to create a path for him that he felt great about.

There was an article in CNBC recently stating that the aviation industry is need desperate need of mechanics as they will have many workers retiring. Click here for article. A young mechanic could quickly make $72,000 a year. In some trade jobs you could earn even more. Here are a few taken from

  • Flight Inspector $84,000 a year
  • Head of Housekeeping $85,000 a year
  • Power Scheduler – $96,000 a year
  • Machine Operator Supervisor – $75,000

Now I am not saying that every child should go to trade school. My point is that we should steer our kids towards jobs they will naturally like to do, not towards what we think they should do.

Research shows that if your job contains at least 75% of what you naturally like to do, then you will be three times more successful.

As parents, we need to help our kids find those careers. We will better equip them for success if we do. Schedule a call with me or email me at if you would like to discuss how to help your child find a career they will be successful in.

Trade Schools, Another Option

When it comes to picking a major in college, sometimes your child will feel overwhelmed. From picking a junior college or a university, which majors and minors and even what school they should attend, there are a lot of things to be thinking about. But there is one option that no one talks about enough: trade school.

Trade schools are where you can go to learn a technical skill for a specific job, such as computer science, business, car maintenance, electric technicians, hospitality and so much more. Plus, most trade schools have two-year programs to go through in order to receive a certification in the specific trade chosen.

Attending a trade school is often overlooked because most soon to be high school graduates have dreamt of attending a four-year university, along with their friends, enjoying college life and getting a degree. The downside to a university degree is that there is no guaranteed job after graduation. With a trade school, a job is almost always guaranteed because of the specific skill sets that a trade school offers. These skill sets are ones that will never go out of style; there will always be a need for a car mechanic when your car breaks down on the highway, a storm will always knock the power out somewhere and computers will continue to crash frequently with ever-changing code. All of these situations require a special person with special knowledge to help fix things that we break and that is where trade school comes in!

To help your child think about trade school, take them on a tour of your nearest location. Doing this can give you both the chance to see what classes are offered and the possibility to see work in progress during a school day. Also, discuss salaries of trade professions. Hourly rates for trade professions are typically higher than a salary job in other fields. And lastly, encourage your child just to keep an open mind to anything in any career area, not everyone needs a 4-year degree to earn a decent income.

The Junior College Option

The thought of leaving home to go away to a four-year university is intimidating. However, teenagers would rather leave home for school than even consider spending two years in a junior college at home prior to going to university. But with a few solid suggestions, they might just consider it.

For starters, it saves everyone money. The topic of money will not sound important at all to your child, but if you put every single dollar into perspective for them, they will come around. Once they understand that money saved at a junior college can be more money to have when they go away to university, the more appealing junior college will sound.

Your child will also not live in a dorm at a junior college. Even though dorms seem to be a part of the college experience, no one really likes living in a dorm. Compare a cold, cement room to their bedroom and I’m sure that will help in their decision making. Plus, community bathrooms and snoring roommates will help in the process as well.

Junior college also gives time to those who have not decided what they want to major in. It will assist in getting those general education courses out of the way before really entering the career side of college. By doing just the general education courses at junior college, your child will receive minor training in a variety of studies, which just might help them decide on a major.

Lastly, the class sizes are smaller and more intimate. What might be a 200 person lecture class at a university could easily be a 30 person class at junior college. Tell your child to imagine presenting in front of both of these classes and think of which one they would prefer to stand in front of. The thought of presenting in front of 200 other students will probably do the trick.

At the end of their college experience, attending a junior college at first will make no difference in the end result: a diploma. While your child will want to get on with their adult life, just remind them that staying at home for a little while longer will help them in the long run.