It’s no secret that NEPA School of Massage is a specialized trade school—a fact that we’re very proud to tell others. 

We believe that it’s time to change the narrative on trade schools for a variety of reasons. Trade schools can help you learn a skill that will land you a job faster, cost you less, and give you longevity and job security that sometimes isn’t seen in other industries and careers. 

Consider how difficult it is to find a good electrician, contractor, hair stylist, or massage therapist. People who graduate from trade schools have skills that are in considerably higher demand than those who graduate from a typical four-year college. 

What Is a Trade School?

A trade school is an educational institution that offers postsecondary level programs–sometimes known as technical school, vocational school, or vocational college. A trade school’s primary focus is to teach its students to hone manual, mechanical, or technical skills for specific careers. 

Trade school programs have streamlined curricula, courses, and learning methodologies that give students hands-on experience in their trade of choice. This allows students to become equipped to enter the workforce quicker than their college-going counterparts. 

After completing a trade school program, students will be awarded either diplomas, certificates, or, sometimes, associate degrees. Some careers require students to pass a licensing exam or become an apprentice.

According to the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), there are sixteen career clusters that can be divided into seventy-nine career pathways for trade school graduates.

Common Trade School Programs:

  • Electrical Programs
  • Cosmetology
  • Massage Therapy
  • Information Technology
  • Automotive Technician Training
  • Nursing
  • Culinary Arts

Are Trade Schools Better Than College? 

The decision between a trade school vs. a traditional four-year college depends on your goals and career aspirations. It can also depend on your finances too. Trade school can be a great option for those who cannot afford a four-year education, need to work while going to school, or want to learn technical hands-on skills. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself while you’re deciding:

  • What are you passionate about? 
  • What time do you want to commit to your education? 
  • Do you have a restricted budget? 
  • Can you apply for scholarships and grants? 
  • Does the potential program align with your future goals? 

You may benefit more from a trade school if your dream is to work in a field that requires hands-on skills. A trade school will also be able to jumpstart your career much earlier than your peers. 

The Benefits of Trade School

The most significant benefit of attending a trade school is that students leave their program of choice with an educational foundation and hands-on experience to be immediately competitive in the job market. 

But let’s get into some other benefits below. 

Trade School Tuition Costs

The average tuition for trade schools in 2022 ranged from $5,000 to $15,000 for a 3- to 18-month program. These tuition costs are significantly lower than attending a four-year college. The average in-state college tuition is $9,377 a year, while private college tuition averages $54,501 a year. 

Duration of Trade School 

The average duration of a trade school program is between 12 months and 24 months vs. the four years or longer it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree. Condensed programs allow students to enter the workforce sooner, which means they’ll be able to start earning money and gaining experience faster too. 

Job Salary

After graduation with a specialized skill, tradespeople can improve their earnings with experience, and there really is no earning ceiling, especially if they decide to become self-employed. 

Depending on location and the demand for any specific skill will influence wages and salary. Here are some examples of trade salary averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): 

  • Electricians: $60,370 to $79,000.
  • Dental Hygienist: $76,000 to $115,000.
  • Construction Manager: $92,260
  • Massage Therapist: $49,260 to $77,600

Trade Schools Offer Job Security

Trade schools are more stable regarding job security because most vocational careers can’t be outsourced or automated (e.g., massage therapy, nursing, plumbing, paralegals, etc..) And because of the decades-long push for high school graduates to attend a four-year college, there’s a shortage of tradespeople in the United States. 

Trade School FAQs

Q: What is a trade school?

A: Trade schools offer dedicated training in a specific vocational skill where courses are streamlined, and hands-on training is a requirement. 

Q: What is the average cost of attending a trade school?

A: While programs vary, the average tuition for an entire program ranges between $5,000 to $15,000.

Q: Are there any massage therapy schools in Wilkes-Barre, PA? 

A: Check out the NEPA School of Massage program here.