What to Do If You Can’t Pay for College: Think about Trade School

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College tuition has been on the rise for decades, greatly outpacing inflation and burdening millions of young professionals with debt. The recent pressures resulting from the pandemic have worsened the financial strain many college students were already facing. These unwelcoming circumstances have many people looking for a viable alternative to college: trade school to prepare for skilled trades careers.

To help individuals make the best decision possible, let’s take a look at some reasons trade schools can be an excellent option when the route to college doesn’t seem reasonable.

Planning for an Uncertain Future?

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted countless lives across the country, as people have been burdened with unforeseen expenses and reduced job opportunities.

A recent survey conducted by the PMI Educational Foundation and Junior Achievement found that nearly half of the Class of 2020 were forced to rethink their academic plans due to the pandemic. ‌Plus, 40% of students said their strategies to pay for college were impacted by the crisis.

Why Consider the Trades?

The trades have always been a viable alternative to college, but many people are just now starting to take notice after being forced to rethink their academic plans. Here, we’ll take a look at a few key reasons you may want to consider joining the trades if you’re having trouble paying for college.

Have You Considered a Career in Welding or HVAC?

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Trade Schools Can Be More Affordable

It’s become conventional knowledge that college is too expensive, but just how much does it cost to get a four-year degree? According to Education Data Initiative, in 2022, the average college student has spent $35,331 per year while attending college. That comes out to be just shy of $141,324 for four years—the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Considering that most undergrads take six years to graduate, that figure could be much higher. In the face of these alarmingly high rates, many students might want to consider the trades simply because trade school programs can be completed in less than one year, which could mean fewer of years of paying tuition and being out of the job market.

Trade School Programs Can Take Less Time

What’s one of the most common solutions to the question, “What do I do if I can’t afford college?” is entering the workforce to start earning an income.

However, some high school grads might want to gain a competitive edge before joining the job market by developing in-demand knowledge and skills in a particular field. For many people, four years is simply too long to wait in between high school graduation and full-time employment.

This rush to the job market highlights another advantage of trade schools, as these programs can be shorter than college degrees. For example, Tulsa Welding School’s trade school programs can last anywhere between seven months and two years. A quicker transition to the workforce can mean a head start on earnings for eager professionals.

Trade Schools Can Prepare Students for Careers with Healthy Demand

College is often characterized as a reliable path towards gainful employment and job security. Unfortunately, many graduates are not finding that to be the case. A report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests that 41% of recent college graduates are working in fields that don’t require a degree. This highlights a key problem with the generality of college degrees.

In contrast to trade schools that help students develop a specialized set of skills to prepare for a specific role, colleges have a relatively broad and overarching curriculum. Technical school can offer more career-focused training.

Trade School Students Can Graduate with Less Debt

The burden of student debt can make potential college attendees reconsider their decision. To put things into perspective, student loan debt represents the largest form of consumer debt in the country, as reported by the Center of Foreign Relations.

Since trade schools typically have shorter programs when compared to college programs, grads might be able to lessen their student loan debt. For example, TWS’ Professional Welder program can be completed in as little as 7 months.

You also have a chance of finding trade school scholarships to further decrease your financial stress, as well as grants and financial aid.

I Can’t Pay for College Anymore. What Should I Do?

If you’re realizing that the cost of a college education is removing it from your list of potential paths forward, you might be feeling a bit confused and lost. But don’t worry! You’re not alone. The pandemic has forced many people to rethink their academic and professional lives.

Instead of jumping right into the workforce, consider joining the trades to gain the qualifications and skills you need to compete in a growing sector of the economy.

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Learn More about a Career in the Trades

Interested in learning more about a career in the trades? Read about the best blue-collar careers in 2021 to see what opportunities the trades have to offer.