Trade Schools Vs Four Year Colleges

The Facts You Need To Know About Trade Schools Vs Four Year Colleges

Today more than ever before the pressure to go to college is on the minds of many. If you have just graduated high school, or if you are an adult that has been unable to get any traction in your career path, then you are likely considering college. But what about trade schools, are they a good choice?

When it comes to considering between these two types of education, there are many factors that may not be so obvious, but are important to examine before making the decision. Many jobs and career paths will themselves determine which of these you must choose. So if you have made up your mind on the exact job you want, then the choice may be made for you.

If you want to be a mechanic, this will require you to go to a trade school as a college or university will be unable to give you the training you will require. If you want to be veterinarian or an attorney, then college will be your only choice. Still, there are those careers that have the choice. If you are interested in computers, you could choose a trade school that offers training in repairs or other skill sets, but college is also a choice.

Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, is dedicated to helping students gain the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed. Drawing from over 30 years of career school experience.


  • Carpentry
Locations:  Norfolk

Our mission is YOUR SUCCESS!

When you succeed, we succeed.  That is why we provide high-quality, specialized career preparation for all our students. Our goal is to help you find your rewarding career.

Our Mission Statement:

To provide high-quality, specialized career preparation or enhancement to meet and cope with technological changes resulting in employment and career success.


  • Industrial Maintenance Mechanic, Diploma
  • Heating, Ventilation & Conditioning (HVAC), Diploma
Locations:  Fort Smith

We Are Focused On Your Success!
At South Texas Vocational Technical Institute (STVT), we are focused on one thing - preparing you for the career you want by providing you with the skills and knowledge. You’ll find a supportive learning environment and career-focused training that is designed to help you gain the knowledge and hands-on training to succeed.
  • Business Studies
Health Care & Wellness
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Administrative Assisting Technology
  • Medical Assisting
  • Professional Massage Therapy
Skilled Trades
  • Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration
  • Automotive Service Technician
  • Combination Welding
  • Diesel Heavy Truck
Our Campuses 
STVT offers five convenient locations to get the training to start or advance your career. We’re located in:
STVT - Brownsville
2144 Central Blvd.
Brownsville, TX 78520
STVT - Corpus Christi
2000 S Padre Island Dr.
Corpus Christi, TX 78416
STVT - McAllen
2400 W Daffodil Ave.
McAllen, TX 78501
STVT - San Antonio
734 SE Military Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78214
STVT - Weslaco
2419 E Haggar Ave.
Weslaco, TX 78599


  • Automotive Service Technician - Diploma
  • Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration - Diploma
Locations:  San Antonio


If you enjoy working with your hands and are looking for a rewarding career, contact Advanced Technology Institute, located in Virginia Beach, VA!

ATI offers NATEF/ASE Master Certified Automotive Technology programs, is approved for Veterans, and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Financial Assistance is available for those who qualify and graduate employment services are also offered.


  • Automotive Technology - Diploma
  • HVAC and Refrigeration w/ Service Management - Associate's
  • HVAC and Refrigeration - Diploma
  • And more...
Locations:  Virginia Beach

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it. From the moment you enter ourschool, to graduation and beyond, we are right there with you.


  • Automotive Technician (11-Month Diploma Program)
  • Electrician
  • HVAC Technician (11-month diploma program)
Locations:  Chula Vista

Driving Futures Forward…


J-Tech, a nonprofit institution, is doing so much more than training the next generation of automotive and diesel technology professionals. We’re sharing the power of mobility – and that is powerful stuff.



  • Automotive Technology, Occupational Associate Degree
  • Diesel Technology, Occupational Associate Degree
Locations:  Jacksonville

Train for the real-world skills that help you launch a successful technology or healthcare career with a degree, or diploma from Florida Career College.


  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (11-month diploma program)
Locations:  Jacksonville

Blue Cliff College was founded in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1987 with the goal of becoming one of the most respected Massage Therapy training centers in the nation. In June of 1989, the College in Louisiana received its Proprietary School License from the state. In 1998, the Continuing Education College was proud to receive accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) is a recognized accrediting agency by the US Department of Education.


  • HVAC Technician - Diploma
Locations:  Houma

Get a hands-on education at Lincoln Tech. Designed for today’s tough job market, our in-depth programs cover many fields including: Health Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Hospitality, Automotive Technology, HVAC Technology and Electrical Systems Technology. Financial Aid is available for those who qualify. Programs vary by campus.


  • Automotive Technology
  • Electrical/Electronics
  • Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Locations:  Mahwah

Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment. As a student at Southern Technical College, you will have the opportunity learn in several different ways.


  • Applied Electronics Technology- HVAC Major (Diploma)
Locations:  Sanford

Advantages Of College

According to government statistics, those who receive a four year degree, or bachelor’s degree, typical make an annual salary above $45,000 while those with only a high school diploma make less than $30,000 a year. If you are not sure what you want to do or which career is best for you, college allows you a couple of years before you will have to choose your specialty of study.

College life is seen as a coming of age opportunity where many are living away from home for the first time and they have more freedom, but still have the restriction of campus rules to give some structure. As most colleges require students to live on campus the first two years, it is a chance to make lifelong friends and future business contacts.

Disadvantages Of College

While the average annual salary is higher for those who have a degree, so are the cost to get that degree. It is possible to get an education for less, but the statistical average of a four year degree is well over $100,000. Many student loans come with low interest rates, but these rates still raise the amount paid by a considerable amount over the length of the loan (s).

Although a bachelor’s degree is called a four year degree, it is notable that forty percent of all those who start a degree program quit before completing it. Of those that do finish and graduate with their degree, sixty percent of those graduates took 5.5 years or more to complete their degree program, not four years.  This is a substantial investment in time and money that some just can’t or don’t want to make.

One of the biggest disadvantages is that most colleges and universities require you to take many subjects that have nothing to do with the area of study you are interested in. Academic English, social studies, science and others are among the required courses of degree programs.

Advantages Of Technical School

The cost of this type of preparatory school is considerably less. In fact it can be a full 70% less. Because this type of school focuses on job skills training and does not require the academic study of unrelated topics, it can be completed in much less time and still gives you real working skills and experience that is lacking in college degrees.

These schools take two years instead of four because they skip the required college level high school topics that are required for all degree paths at the four year universities. As these types of schools focus on the specific skills needed for a particular career path, the percentage of those that finish and graduate are significantly higher than at four year colleges.

Tech schools are easier for many adults to attend as they offer a range of class times including evening courses. There is no requirement to live on campus and as the study is focused on skills training it often keeps students attention and gives them a feeling of progress.

Disadvantages Of Technical School

These schools are seen by some as not being of the same high standards as a traditional college. The education is sometimes frowned upon as lacking in rigor and the discipline to work through the academic requirements set by traditional universities. The academic requirements set by a regular college is seen as instilling critical thinking and writing skills as well as building a strong foundation in the fundamentals of education.

If later you do wish to complete a four year degree, you will not be given any credit toward you degree from the skills learned at technical school. Additionally, these schools are focused on job skills training and lacks the social environment created at many colleges and universities.

Certainly there is a lot to be said about either of these educational choices. It really comes down to what your goals are, how much you are willing to spend on your education and how much time you want to invest before being able to apply your newly learned skills.

Some Additional Facts To Help You Decide

According to a government study the difference in average annual salaries of those that graduated technical school vs traditional college is about $5,000 annually with the college graduate having the higher salary. But if you were to factor in the added cost of a college degree along with the 2 or 3 years of additional time to complete it and you included the extra cost along with those extra years of lost income, the typical technical school graduate can put in their pocket the same or slightly higher amount of real world lifetime earnings as the college graduate.

It is not really a matter of which is better, but instead is a choice of which one best suits you needs and goals.