trade school vs college

Trade School vs College? And an Option you Probably Didn’t Think of!

Trade School vs College? Which one is better? We push kids toward college, but is it really the answer for everyone?

Going to trade school means less time in training. You can make just as much money and even more if you start your own business.

And those are really the only 2 options we give kids. Few people will even entertain helping their kids start a business during high school or shortly after.

The Bercaw sisters founded a successful bath bomb business at 11 and 12. Now, they are teens with products in 1,800 Target stores and growing.

Mikaila Ulmer founded Me & the Bees Lemonade at 11, too. And now she sells her lemonade made from her Grandma’s special recipe nationwide in stores like Whole Foods and HEB.

Graduation can be a special time in your teen’s life. Think carefully before pushing them one way to another. Check out the benefits below!

Trade School vs College

Many see college as a direct path to success.

But is it a necessary step? What are the cons of college?

First of all, the cost. I went into debt for college and highly regret it.

Student debt is becoming an epidemic, preventing my generation from buying homes or making significant investments across the board.

Second, underemployment is a problem, y’all.

So much of our youth are pursuing a college degree then end up unable to find employment that matches their education level, both in pay and actual skills.  

Third, my kids may not want to pursue higher education right after graduation. Forcing them to go will produce a real education no more than force an 8-year-old to read will create a love of reading.

trade vs college
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What’s the Alternative? 

Option 1: Trade School

A trade school is usually a 2-year program. Offered through community colleges, these programs focus on only the skills you will need for a single profession. By the end, you are ready to be licensed.

The programs may also offer work experience programs like apprenticeships and job placement services. 

Benefits of Trade School 

Trades schools cost less, only take 2 years to complete, and are in high demand, like nurses and electricians.

You can also often use the credits from a trade school to pursue more education later. 

Option 2: Starting a Business

One of my favorite things about homeschool is the ability to use our time to encourage my kids to gain practical skills. 

I would love to see one of my kid’s childhood hobbies become their career. 

By making sure they develop a valuable skill and monetizing it, I know they will meet independence prepared to support themselves either way.

We are choosing to focus on getting them to start a small business whether it be a blog, selling something like a craft or services, or something totally different. 

They will learn about personal and business finance, how banking works, customer service, the actual skill that drives their business, patience in building a customer base, marketing skills, and how to deal with devastating setbacks. They will learn how building something great takes time, patience, diligent effort, and that it is rarely a linear process. Most importantly the work they put into their business will show them the value of work and the value of themselves.

I do not expect my children to become millionaires or work at this business their whole life. I simply want to give them a practical, valuable starting point.

However, I do dream of them paying for their own college simply because they love the dignity of education. 

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I urge you to consider that college may not be the best fit for your kids right out of high school. Teach and prepare them to make money through their own business or to consider a trade, first.

You will find this opens their homeschool curriculum to things that are probably more interesting to them, while teaching them they are capable of great things, and making money.

​You will give the opportunity to fail, and raise from the ashes of that. Business is a social activity, too, so you will be ensuring they get to mingle more. Last, you will not be saddling them with debt or scraping to help them pay. 

Please leave me a comment if you would like to hear more about children and teens starting a business, the college dilemma and why the answer is a trade or business, or kids who have successfully started companies.

2 thoughts on “Trade School vs College? And an Option you Probably Didn’t Think of!”

  1. I love that you address alternatives to college! My 5 kids all went to college – HOWEVER – I totally believe college is not the best fit for everyone! And we have to make sure our kids know that they have options. Thank you for this!

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