Trade School vs. College: Which Should You Go?

Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Updated September 5, 2023
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Choosing between trade school vs. college can shape your entire career. Prospective students may feel stuck wondering “Should I go to college or should I go to a vocational school?” If you are trying to decide whether to earn a vocational vs. college degree, this article offers tips to make an educated choice.

You can begin by reflecting on your interests and career goals. The subjects offered in a trade school vs. college lead to different career paths. For example, future allied health professionals benefit from a vocational program, while fields like education and business more often require an academic degree.

You should also consider how long it takes to earn each degree. Most vocational programs take two years or less, while a bachelor’s degree takes four years. Tuition rates, earning potential, and job demand can also help you choose whether to attend trade school or college.

Both trade school and college prepare graduates for a variety of career paths. Students must make personal choices about which option works best for their unique circumstances.

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Subject Matter



Career Potential

Can I Study Online for a Vocational Degree?


Continuing Education

Should I Go to a Vocational School or a University?

Choosing between a vocational degree, an online certificate, or a bachelor’s degree can feel overwhelming. But by considering your interests, career goals, and timeline, you can confidently answer, “should I go to college or should I go to a vocational school”?

The choice between trade school vs. college ultimately comes down to personal priorities. For example, aspiring healthcare professionals might prefer allied health training at a trade school versus career paths that require a master’s or doctoral degree.

When it comes to costs, learners at colleges and vocational schools qualify for financial aid. Many scholarships and grants support students pursuing academic degrees and vocational degrees.

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Connect with a community of peers, and find a program that will allow you to continue your education in a fast and flexible way.