The cost of trade schools

College isn’t for everyone. According to David Kirp of UC Berkley, 40% of students attending college for a bachelor’s degree drop out. They never make it to graduation, never see their diploma. That’s a bummer, especially when you consider that a bachelor’s degree is costing an average of around $138,800. Presumably the student doesn’t drop out as soon as every class is completed, but even if they leave after one year, that’s a lot of change that just went down the toilet.

So, what’s the alternative?

Trade schools. These are places of higher education that concentrate on a single area of study. These can vary from carpentry, to film making, to culinary, to audio production. Maybe one of the great benefits of a trade school is the time it takes to complete your education. Your standard bachelor’s degree will take about four years to achieve. In a trade school, you can get certified in a field in as little as two years.

But what about the cost?

This is the best part. Not only can you get your degree faster in a field you’re trying to break into, but the cost of getting that degree is also 77% less on average. On the high end, a trade school education will cost around $31,400 total. That’s less than one year’s tuition at a regular college. Part of the reason they’re so much cheaper is because of the focus. At a trade school you’re learning how to operate in your trade, and that’s about it. They are not broad. Fewer classes equal less time. Less time equals less money spent.

Do trade school jobs pay well?

Online School Center posted a list of high paying trade school jobs and their requirements. The average of all of the earnings is $112,002. So, yes, a trade school education will land you a potentially well-paying job.


Education is a wonderful thing. Obviously, there are some definite financial upsides to it. But not everyone needs to go down the same educational path. College is wonderful, but it’s not for everyone. If the university thing isn’t working, think about what it is you really want to do, and see if a trade school can meet that requirement. They’re cheaper and you can complete your education faster.

Derek San Filippo

Derek San Filippo

Derek is a freelance writer who spends his off time either working with his rescue animals or writing children’s books. He lives in San Diego with his beautiful wife ... Web: Details