College vs. Tech School


Poised on the cusp of adulthood, high school seniors are in a unique position to shape their future. The decisions they make even at their young age will affect them for years to come, if not their entire lives. As college costs continue to soar, families are revisiting the idea of technical schools as a viable option to secure future success. Which is right for your child?


Following is a look at the benefits of both technical schools and colleges or universities:

Advantages of Technical Schools


One of the attractions of a technical or vocational school is the cost. College costs vary greatly, including the difference between public and private. But according to the Education Data Initiative which collects data about the US education system, the cost of attendance for a four year in-state public university can cost an average of $25,707 per year. A trade school on the other hand could cost as little as $5000 total.


Enrollment can be much easier for a technical school. Colleges and universities often have a weeks or months long application processes and require essays and test scores such as the SAT or ACT. Technical schools require less, and generally a high school diploma is all that is necessary.


While college degrees take either two years or four years to complete, a student can expect to spend less time in a technical school. There is a wide variety of programs but most students can expect to spend six months to two years.

Advantages of College or University

Flexibility @ College

College credits can be transferred from one institution to the next should the need arise. Additionally students can change majors or wait to declare a major if they are undecided when they enter college.

Communication and critical thought

The communication and critical thinking skills taught at the university and college level are essential to many aspects of life, not just in a student’s future career.


College Educational options

A college degree can be a first step toward a master’s or PhD. While technical school has an intense focus on a single career path, a college degree can offer a wider range of learning opportunities.

Earning potential

A college or university degree generally offers a higher earning potential, although this is not the case in all career choices.

Which is right for your child?

For some students the answer may be obvious. For a high school senior who has a definite career choice in mind such as electrician, mechanic, or chef, a technical school may be the logical choice. On the other hand if your child thrives in an academic setting, seeks broad knowledge, or wishes to continue his or her education, college or university may fit him or her quite well. Scholarships may be available for both options but in general a college education will cost more before your student can start his or her career.

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