Choosing a trade school over other types of post-secondary education can be beneficial depending on your career goals and needs

Though often considered their own entity, community colleges can fall under the heading of trade schools depending on the programs they offermunity colleges s, certificates for vocational tracks or associate degree programs.

Short programs of study

Trade school programs can vary in length depending on your field of study, but most can take between eight months and two years to complete. The shorter the program, the faster you can gain job experience and progress toward your career goals.

Lower costs

Trade schools can cost less than four-year institutions and even most community colleges. Options for financial aid are available for trade schools. Filling out the government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online can help determine how much money you can get and what types of government financial aid you can use. Other financial aid options may include scholarships and grants-which you don’t have to repay-and federal and private loans, which you have to repay, often with interest.

Relaxed admissions requirements

Most trade schools offer open enrollment for their programs, meaning you can apply at any time. You , but unlike other institutions with fixed semesters, it’s only until the next program cycle begins. Admissions processes at trade schools usually have more relaxed requirements than at other institutions-some may not have specific GPA or standardized test score requirements. This makes it easier for anyone to learn a trade, regardless of their previous education or background.

Flexible instruction

Depending on your program, trade schools may offer flexible instruction options like virtual or distance learning or a hybrid option of in-person and online coursework. For some fields this is not possible because of the physical skills you must learn through hands-on training. However, trades in technology fields may provide this option.

Learning practical skills

One of the biggest benefits of choosing a trade school is the type of education you receive. At trade schools, you learn by doing tasks and working through processes rather than by studying abstract ideas. You’ll learn skills you can take out into the workforce and directly apply to the jobs you want to do.

Job placement

The foundation of skills you build in trade school can help you go from training to a paying job quickly. Job descriptions for trades and the skills necessary to do them are straightforward. These types of listings help build the programs at trade schools, making it easier to know what jobs you can do when you graduate.

Common trade school requirements

The requirements needed to join a trade school may vary based on state and federal regulations and different programs of study. Some basic requirements for attending trade school include:

Researching schools and programs

You may benefit from researching trade schools in your area or in a place where you would like to move and work. You can gauge the school’s reputation by reading reviews of the overall institution and its programs. You may also talk to the school’s alumni or current teachers to ask questions. This research can help you suits your goals and interests.

Meeting the age and education requirements

The general age requirement for attending trade school is 16 years old. Some programs may require potential students to be 17. For high school and trade school partnership programs, the age requirement may be 14 to accommodate any advanced juniors or seniors.

Most trade schools also require a high school diploma, educational equivalency certificate like the GED or completion of a recognized home school program. For high school to trade school partnership programs, they waive this requirement, as students are working to pursue both credentials at the same time. However, those without a high school diploma and not enrolled in a partnership program may still attend in some cases.