Certificates and Degrees from Trade Schools

Always wanted to attend college but find a four-year course too long or expensive? Then, trade schools could be perfect for you!

Popularly known as trade schools, vocational and technical programs were the rage in the U.S. before the mid-1970s. However, post the baby-boomer generation, there has been a growing preference among students for four year university courses. The consequence of this has been a sharp deficit of skilled graduates in trades that demand specialized knowledge like refrigeration, pipefitting and metal work.

By equipping you with the skills required to perform a specific job, vocational or career schools prepare you for the competitive dog-eat-dog world that awaits you outside the college gates.

A Marketable Degree

In a scenario where demand is high and supply is low, a trade school degree can fetch you a job much sooner than a traditional degree. For some trades such as hairstyling or massaging that you've pursued as a hobby, a professional certificate from a trade school can help you set up your business. Some of these courses don't require even a high school certification. Another article, Technical School Right for Youcontains additional details pertaining to attending a trade or vocational school to earn your degree.

Associate degrees can be obtained in the following popular career school programs:

  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Culinary courses
  • Computer Network Technology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Graphic Design
  • Healthcare Management
  • Marketing
  • Massage Therapy
  • Multimedia
  • Nursing
  • Office Administration
  • Paralegal
  • Psychology
  • Technicians - automotive, electrical, plumbing, TV repair etc

Certificate programs are offered in the following fields:

  • Accounting applications
  • Legal Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
  • Microsoft/Sun certification programs
  • Network Administration
  • Personal Computer/Network Technology
  • Multimedia / Digital Video Production

Benefits of Trade School Courses

  • Highly focused education: Emphasis is on acquiring specific skills through practical training.
  • Short-term courses: Since the subjects in a course are confined only to the relevant field of interest, they are of shorter duration than an under-graduate program that is usually generic in nature. Certificate and associate degree courses typically span between six months and two years.
  • Easier to find a job: The placement rate is usually high because of the niche skills. For example, on obtaining a Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for the Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 5 certification, it is easier to target architect positions in an IT services firm. Moreover, many instructors in career schools are from the associated industry making it easy for students to land a job faster by leveraging their contacts.
  • Funding higher education: A vocational degree can help you get a high paying off-campus job to partly fund your higher education.
  • Flexible hours: Online courses offered by some schools do away with personal attendance, saving you time.

A large selection of courses are offered by trade schools covering specialized areas within popular fields like human resources, technology, accounting, administration, business, health care and the like.

Trades Figure among the Highest Paying Occupations
In the last few years, trade school degrees have attracted some of the most lucrative salaries. Trades have a very high ranking among the highest paying as well as the fastest growing occupations. The following starting salaries for a few trades, should give you an idea of the absolute potential that trades offer:

  • Dental Hygienists: Can earn anywhere between $45,000 and $85,000 a year. According to a study, 68,000 new dental hygienist jobs are likely to be created by 2014.
  • Paralegals and Legal Secretaries: As a paralegal or a legal secretary, you could earn between $35,000 and $60,000 a year. 47,000 new legal jobs and 67,000 new legal secretary jobs are expected to be added by 2014.
  • Nursing: An aging population in the U.S. has created tremendous pressure on the country's healthcare system, making nursing one of the most sought after professions. Registered nurses earn in the range of $48,000 - $74,000.
  • Automotive Mechanics: Can expect to earn around $25,000 a year. Some trades such as a hairstylist pay less with a starting salary of around $15,000 a year while a network administrator can expect to start at $54,000 a year.
    (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and industry sources)

How to Choose the Right Trade School

Placement rate, student completion rate, tuition fees, career guidance by school, and infrastructure facilities are some of the factors you should consider before deciding on a trade school.

How to Choose the Right Trade School

The following list of resources can help you choose the right vocational school:

Vocational Schools

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