The Value of Trade School

After high school, there are infinite paths a young adult can take to pursue a career. For many, the option of trade school can give them direction and help them go after their goals as soon as possible. Whether you’re interested in the restaurant industry or the open road is calling you as a long-haul truck driver, these programs can give you the training you need to grow as a young professional. If you’re unsure if this route is right for you, here is the lowdown on how trade school can help you succeed.

What Is Trade School?

Trade school, like many post-high school programs, is dedicated to teaching an individual a specific career path. The industries taught under this curriculum, though, are typically skilled and mechanical trades that require a lot of hands-on training. Trade school will prepare a student for the future job they pursue through real-world application opportunities with veteran instructors in their chosen field. Also known as a vocational school, it is typically the shortest track to a career, aimed at preparing you for a licensing exam or an apprenticeship.

The Advantages of Going to Trade School


trade schoolTrade schools not only want to arm you with the skills needed for your new career, but they also understand that life can’t always cater to standard school hours. If you need to support yourself or your family while going back to school, night classes are available that will work with your schedule. They also don’t waste your time with introductory courses that don’t directly relate to your chosen career path.

To attend a trade school, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. If you haven’t passed this milestone, it will take longer to get a trade school education, but many programs will offer GED assistance or even free prep courses to get you on your way.

Direct Training That Shortens Your Degree Time Frame

Technical programs aren’t structured like traditional community college or four-year university programs. Instead of taking two to four years to complete, you can finish your degree in anywhere between seven and 18 months. Trade schools can achieve this shortened time frame by weeding out irrelevant material and focusing instead on teaching directly market-ready skills that help students succeed.

Universities, by contrast, offer a broader curriculum to allow students to explore multiple career paths before settling on their chosen industry. With trade school, you choose your industry based on the program you pursue, leaving no time wasted by general education courses or electives.

To have this career-oriented mentality, trade schools place real-world applications at the forefront of their curriculum. For commercial truck driving school, for example, your instructors are veteran truckers who will take you behind the wheel as soon as you’re ready.

Adult-Oriented Experience

Trade school classes are often smaller in size, so students usually don’t feel lost in the crowd as you would at a big university. The learning experience doesn’t feel impersonal, as professors regularly offer individualized attention to their students. Teachers are also entirely dedicated to the curriculum, not distracted by other research unrelated to your course experience. They instead provide real-world insights into your career and handle all the logistics of your class that a teaching assistant typically would, from grading papers to teaching seminars.

Career colleges also eliminate the other distractions of a regular university, such as dorm living, partying, and otherwise. When you attend class, you know that you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals ready to learn. The mature culture of trade school in part drives its expedited pace if you choose to take advantage of it.

Types of Trade Schools


A cosmetology degree has vast applications in the beauty industry, and the trade school program arms students with an array of skills to bring with them into their careers.

trade schoolHaircare, from cut to color to styling, is a common thread of cosmetology school. The curriculum begins with hair care, trimming, styling, and wig or hair extension application. Once you master these skills, you can progress to hair color, from chemical safety to techniques and color recommendations for clientele. Beyond hair, you can learn nail care, makeup artistry, and skincare.

Cosmetology school is a prime example of a trade school for those who need industry experience but not necessarily a traditional four-year college degree. Later stages of the program involve practicing techniques on actual clients, from creating highlights to applying acrylic manicures. By having real-world experience in the classroom, you can have a portfolio ready as you graduate to present to potential employers or apprenticeships.

Dental Hygiene

If your primary reason for getting a higher education is to increase your earning potential, a trade school for dental hygienists is an excellent option. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the median salary for this career path at $74,820 in 2018, which can make a world of difference for any family’s living.

These professionals assist a dentist by performing procedures like teeth cleanings and dental impressions. They also act as an extra set of hands during more intensive dental procedures. To prepare for the licensing exam, you will complete coursework in microbiology, oral hygiene, anatomy, and more. Plus, you’ll gain clinical experience by practicing dental procedures under the supervision of licensed dentists and school faculty.

Culinary Arts

Becoming a chef is slightly different from the other trades listed because it doesn’t require a formal licensing exam to start your career. Getting a formal education, however, can significantly expedite your trajectory once you step into your first role.

Trade school can teach you how to be a skilled, versatile chef, covering basics like food safety and knife skills, then progressing through cultural cuisines, menu planning, and baking sciences. While these skills can all be learned in a restaurant kitchen, if you start your first gig already armed with the basics, you’ll rise up the chain of command quicker.

Home Improvement

Whether you’re interested in HVAC, plumbing, or electrical work, all of these jobs require a certification to prove that you have the necessary skills to succeed in these industries. All three professions require a knowledgeable technician at the helm of every project, as the margin of error is small, and the safety concerns are substantial.

Beyond initial trade school training, you will need to fulfill an apprenticeship for up to four years to become a fully certified technician. While working under a licensed contractor, however, you will earn a steady income that will only increase with the more experience you gain.

Long-Haul Trucking

trade schoolThe trucking industry is made for those who crave independence while fulfilling rewarding work all over the country. To take the first step towards a career in commercial truck driving, you first need to secure your commercial driver’s license, or CDL. Trade schools for truckers offer CDL training programs that give you all the skills you’ll need on the road while ensuring you’re in the cab of a long-haul vehicle as soon as possible.

Training programs will include curriculum on general maintenance of a truck, safe driving tactics, and tips on making these long drives a sustainable career path when burnout looms. Veteran instructors will then take you behind the wheel to familiarize you with the actual driving component in time for your exam. With in-class and hands-on experience combined, you will have the skills necessary to ace your CDL exam.

If your next steps to a new career involve the trucking industry, turn to the knowledgeable faculty at the Hamrick School to prep for your CDL exam. This Medina, OH, based truck driving school gives you the confidence to begin a trucking career. With their industry experts teaching you in the classrooms and career services supporting you beyond your days on their campus, the Hamrick School assures that you will graduate ready to thrive on the road. For more information and to get started on your new career today, visit their website or give them a call today at (800) 362-0098.