Times, they are a-changin’. No longer is a traditional college degree the end-all. In fact, there are no guarantees that with a bachelor’s degree you’ll even find a job in your field. Trade and vocational schools are on the cutting edge of becoming en vogue again, and for more than one excellent reason. But first you need to make sure trade school is the right path for you. Here are five reasons to you should consider heading to into a skilled trade.

Five Reasons You Should Consider Trade School

Certainty: There is a huge need for skilled tradespeople across most industries. With the right training, getting a job immediately upon your trade school graduation is pretty much a sure thing. Also, skilled trades jobs will never be outsourced overseas: Someone needs to be present to fill in immediately.

Demand: The majority of the trades are in high demand. If you go into one of the many medical trades such as medical assisting or nursing, then there is a huge need for you and jobs will be plentiful. The same goes for the skilled trades. Most of the current tradespeople are reaching retirement age, and there aren’t enough bodies coming out of the trade schools to fill the spots that are about to be empty.

Experience: Once you’ve completed your education, you’re not only holding that certificate but also all your hands-on experience. Trade schools teach you the practical information in a classroom, but you’ll also be working in the field. That counts toward that desirable work experience most hiring personnel look for in employees.

Money: Four years of college can cost you over $125K. Trade school, on the other hand, costs an average of $33K. That’s a significant difference, and way less debt. Since the vast majority of students have to take out some sort of financial assistance for all four to five years of undergraduate studies, you’ll be ahead of the game—done and out in the working world in two years or less. More reading: Financial Aid for Trade School

Time: Most training programs last a few months to a couple years. Very often, you go right from school to an internship, and that’s where you’ll stay and work for your first job in your field. Because the programs are career specific, you won’t be learning any core subjects you’d find in a traditional college setting. More reading: Fast certifications that pay well

Once you decide which trade you’re best suited for, you will need to figure out which trade school offers the best program at a price you can afford. Do your due diligence by researching each program. Read the reviews from students; they are extremely telling. Find out the graduation rate, as well as the job placement success the school has. Be wary of the for-profit colleges. Not all of them are predators, but it’s best to go in with your eyes wide open.

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