What do you want to do when you grow up? Children are often asked this question when they are in school, but it can be challenging even for adults to answer the very same question. Luckily, there are multiple options for higher education that help train students in the skills needed for any desired career. Career college is among these options. Here, Paulette Chaffee describes career college and outlines its pros and cons to help those considering trade school make the right decision:

Is a Career College Right for Me? Paulette Chaffe Weighs In

What is a Career College?

Career college is also known as a trade, technical, or vocational school. These programs are usually private or public institutions offering education in a specific career field. Career colleges offer certificates, diplomas, and two- or four-year degrees, depending on a student’s career choice. Their programs are designed to meet specific requirements and skill development for certain jobs.

The Pros

1. More Affordable

In comparison to four-year college tuition, career college is much more affordable. Though tuitions at career colleges vary on a wide scale based on the institute, the average cost of an entire education from a career college is just one year of tuition at the average four-year college. In addition, career colleges are commonly found and attended locally, which helps save gas money going to class, especially when given the option to study online.

2. Start a Career Quicker

Attending a four-year college and extending education to a higher degree takes time away from getting a career kick-started. Career colleges are typically designed as twelve months of studying, and students are then career-ready. Fewer student loans and a quicker path to a job search are a few advantages of career colleges.

3. Learn in Small Groups

Career college is known to have smaller class sizes, which gives students a more intimate learning experience than lecture classes with a hundred or more students. In addition, smaller class sizes allow for more opportunities to ask questions, receive one-on-one time with instructors, and access a deeper level of knowledge and skill development.

4. Gain Higher Job Security

Most career colleges have an educational structure aligned with a robust job placement program, which enhances job security.

The Cons

1. Lack of Financial Aid

While traditional universities offer students financial aid, career college does not. Though the cost of career college is less expensive than other higher education options, the assistance to pay the lump sum of money is narrowed down to applying for federal aid with FAFSA.

2. Packed Learning Schedule

Students who recently graduate from high school and attend career college usually have a smoother time balancing the demanding schedule of career college with a less challenging job to pay the bills. However, parents looking to start a new career path through vocational school while balancing a family and full-time job might face more challenges keeping up with the heavy workload.

3. No Job Guarantee

Yes, most career colleges have excellent job programs that help access a career. However, that does not mean a student is guaranteed a job after graduating, like graduating from a traditional university. Therefore, the job search process still applies to career college graduates.

About Paulette Chaffee

Paulette Chaffee is a teacher, speech therapist, and attorney deeply involved in the Fullerton community. As an educator and member of various non-profit boards, her focus has always been on providing children with the highest quality education. Ms. Chaffee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands, a California Lifetime Teaching Credential, and is admitted to the California Bar.