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Trade School over College? Why the younger generation is leaning towards Trade Schools

Lately, we have seen that the younger generation is starting to look more into Trade Schools and less at Colleges. According to, priorities and the economy have something to do with this. Cost for higher education has increased rapidly and those choosing to attend a University have fallen into debt after graduation. On the contrary trade school is only a fraction of the cost, time, and any debt accumulated may be much more manageable compared to a college degree. Even though the majority of high schoolers think about going to college, the reality is that it has become more expensive over the years. According to Business Insider the cost of attending college has increased by 260% from 1980 to 2014. Just as an example in California State University San Marcos, the cost of attendance is estimated to be from $18,192 to $27,606 a year. (keep in mind that is also for California residents.) Now, multiply that by 5 years (which is an average of years it takes to graduate now) you are looking at a total cost of about $138,000 for a state university!

College isn’t a bad investment, but you need to also realize that maybe the field in where you want to study might not necessarily need a 4-year degree. Trade schools allow you to pursue technical education in a specific field. By choosing trade school you go in directly to learning about the trade and having hands-on experience. Enrollment to trade schools has slowly started growing. According to, between 2006 and 2007 there was a collective increase growth of 5% and 6%. And between 2013 and 2014 it rose to 12%. The average total cost of attendance in California for a Trade school can be around $33,000 depending on the trade and it takes about two years to complete. Now, compare that to a 4-year degree, you start working faster and it's only a fraction of the price.

The younger generation has more resources available for them to use due to technological advances. Even though they do seem to prefer a college or university, they also know that the financial burden might not be the right path for them, especially when thinking about their career choice and whether or not a degree is needed.

Trade schools need to stop being given a bad connotation, the reality is that it can be the smarter choice and we as a society need to learn that. Not everyone thinks the same, therefore not everyone can be in a classroom for four plus years. Some of us would much rather be out in the field working with our hands. So why does trade school seem to be frown upon? Any thoughts?

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