Three Advantages to Technical School

The time you spend in college is what you make of it. And, according to a Washington Post article, only 27% of college graduates have a job related to their college major. If you are particularly vested in obtaining a career in the field you study at a traditional four-year college, then you might want to consider a time-saving alternative, technical school. How could a technical school be more advantageous than a traditional four-year college?

The first advantage - you can potentially join the workforce in half the time it takes to complete a four-year degree. And should you decide to attend a four-year university, there’s a 73% chance you will not land the job you desire.

Attending a tech school, on the other hand, will not only save you time, but it will provide you with specialized training and experience you can immediately apply to your chosen career. For example, the medical assistant field is expected to grow at the rate of 26,000 jobs per year from now until 2022. A technical degree in this field could shave off years from the time it otherwise requires to get a traditional four-year degree, and the internships available in a technical program open many doors into the workforce.

The second advantage to a technical program is its applicability.  Obtaining directly-applicable skills to perform at a professional level holds as much, if not more, value than pursuing career leads through the people you know. The accepted mantra is, “In the working world, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” and this potentially discourages people from choosing to pursue college or vocational programs. However, in today’s highly competitive workplace, we need to move beyond the “who you know” box and invest in the skills required for a chosen career. An article from Lifehacker weighs in on the value of contacts versus skills, arguing that who you know may help you get the job, but what you know helps you keep it.

What does this mean in terms of choosing between a university and a tech school? Primarily, a tech school offers to increase your quotient of what it teaches—that is, you obtain directly applicable knowledge and necessary skills for a field, such as cosmetology. In addition, the classes and built-in internships at a tech school immerse students into an actual workforce where the “who” quotient can then be increased and utilized.

Attending a traditional college is a little murkier. There, one can gain both skills and networking experience, but both occur abstractly and are more removed from the workplace. Internships do exist in traditional higher education, but they are not built directly into a curriculum. However, there are many are in technical school programs. At a traditional college, internships are limited, oftentimes temporary, and extremely competitive, so gaining valuable hands-on experience is scarce.  

The third advantage is financial. For most of us, saving money matters. The average cost of a four-year degree at a traditional college ranges between $30,000.00 to $40,000.00. What’s disconcerting about this investment is, about 25% of graduates aren’t earning much more than those with a high-school diploma. Almost everybody knows someone who is saddled with an enormous college debt, and the high price-tag and spotty chances of obtaining a desired career in a chosen field deter many prospective students from starting their education.

Technical schools, however, do not cost nearly as much as traditional four-year colleges, and their program content and internships have a very high degree of transferability into the workforce. If you are interested in getting a practical degree and, in turn, a job where all the money earned won’t go directly towards paying off an educational debt, a technical program might just be the best investment.


Photo courtesy of

Robert Leavitt

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