Trade School vs. Community College
With the high cost of college tuition these days, more people are opting to attend either a community college or a trade school. Both are the next step after a high school diploma, leading to better jobs and higher salaries for most graduates. But which is the most affordable choice? Determining this requires considering other factors besides just the bottom-line dollar difference between the two. On average, attending a trade school costs about $33,000 total to receive a certificate of completion, and community colleges average around $10,000 annually, so community colleges are a bit more affordable from the point of view of yearly cost. But the pros and cons of each should be considered when making a decision.
The median salary of a trade school graduate is about $7,000 less annually than a graduate with an Associate Degree, although many trade school graduates make even more than those with a degree. Another factor to consider is the time required to earn a certificate or diploma. Most trade schools can be completed in less than two years, and over half can be completed in less than a year. Community colleges require a minimum of two years to earn a diploma, but most students require more time than that to finish, with almost 40% taking six years to finish their degree.
The Tulsa Welding School created a useful guide summarizing the differences between trade schools and community colleges. This information may help prospective students and family members make more informed choices regarding the financial consideration of each.