Why You Should Consider Community College and Trade School When Planning Your Post-Secondary Education

Universities were once a staple point to The America Dream, but now, enrollment is on the decline and tuition fees are on the rise. Many are questioning whether it’s even worth it anymore, seeing as a report by Fed shows that graduates are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed than overall workers. So there’s a lot of anxiety for students contemplating university, but fortunately, there are alternative means to higher education: community college and trade school. But what makes these two examples worthy candidates over university?


While a quick look at costs for Post-Secondary Education will reveal prices are all over the place depending on where and what you want to study. It’s widely recognised that the cost of university will put you thousands of dollars more in debt compared to community colleges or trade schools.

Community college proves to be the cheapest out of the bunch, with an average cost of $3,500 for 2-years of education. Coming in second place is trade school, with a steeper price of $33,000 on average for a 2-year course.

University tops them all with your average 4-year program costing $132,000 for a bachelor’s degree. Those that attend community college are likely to end up with no debt thanks to access to public funding they can receive to pay off the low-cost program they enroll in. 

Even with the funding a university graduate can receive, the student debt they accumulate is around $36,237 on average, while trade school debt is an average of $10,000.


While already feeling anxious about cost, university doesn’t help by locking you into one of their courses. If you finish a semester and now have a change of heart for the course you want to study, it’s not guaranteed if the university can transfer you. Also, all the time spent on that course was more costly than a semester in community college or trade school.

Meanwhile, community college makes it much easier to switch courses thanks to the low costs and no long-term commitments having to be made. This is a great way to experiment with courses and see what suits you best, even making you less anxious about choosing a university course after having some experience with it at a community college.

There isn’t much room for complacency at university, and the same can be said about the schedules they hand you since you don’t have a choice in the hours you study a day or the class timetable.

Trade schools and community colleges give you the options of studying/working full time or part-time, you even have the choice of night classes and online lessons to free up your schedule in the day.

Another suffocating aspect of university is their inconvenient locations on a national scale. Where it’s likely you won’t come across a reputable university and course locally unless you live in one of the major cities in the country. Community colleges and trade schools are greater accessible geographically, which gives you the option of not moving to an expensive accommodation or increasing your budget use on commuting.

Average Salary Earnings after Completion

Community college graduates are reported as earning an average of anywhere between $10,000 to $64,000 right after graduating, which is supposedly 15% higher than the starting salary of university graduates on average. 

Trade school is no different, according to this report by College Finance. But pinpointing an average salary for all three types of post-secondary education is tricky since some job sectors offer greater salaries than others despite the individuals that worked in them could have gone to the same college.

What is more important to note is that trade schools offer the benefit of preparing you for employment better than the other two types of post-secondary education. This is thanks to real-world practices achieved in trade school and a dedicated career services team at your disposal, getting your resume, work experience and interview skills up to scratch as soon as you’ve completed the program!

By Shaan Khan

Bio: Shaan Khan is the Author of ‘Red Scales’, a mystery thriller novel available on Amazon.com, and a Freelance Content Writer that creates blog articles on almost anything—including Entertainment, Technology, Socioeconomics and Gaming!

To contact Shaan Khan and preview his works, here are the following links:

Blog: http://bareullah.com

Book: https://www.amazon.com/Red-Scales-Shaan-Khan/dp/1527284905