I’ve noticed in the past couple years, sometimes trade schools get a bad rap. Not that there is anything wrong with them in particular, but an individual graduating from the University of Southern California tends to get a bit more respect than a graduate of Devry.

Why is that?

True, to get into USC you likely had to jump through a lot more hoops and pay a lot more money, but after mulling it over I’m not so convinced that is the smarter route.

Reports show that employers have been increasingly showing a preference for students from technical schools. Since they already possess the skills and technical know-how required for the job, some bosses feel they will save considerably on training costs by hiring trade school grads.

According to acinet.org, skilled trades are among the fastest growing as well as the most well paying occupations. In 2004, the United States Department of Labor conducted a survey that proved the growing importance of technical and vocational school graduates. It reported that more than one-third of the fastest growing occupations required an associate’s degree or a postsecondary vocational certificate.

Another great reason you may want to consider attending a trade school is the huge cost and time savings involved. Since courses are of shorter duration than at universities, you spend less money and time studying. It would also allow you to start earning much faster–almost two to three years earlier than if you had attended a university. Your total savings could amount to almost 60-70 percent of what you’d spend at university.

I attended a four-year university, so I have to admit that they are not all bad. You do receive a more well-rounded education and the experience overall is a great one, but, if you know upon graduating high school that you want to be a chef, or a mechanic, does it really make logical sense to pay thousands of dollars for four years, of English and history classes?

Starting as early as elementary school we are conditioned to believe that it goes elementary, middle, high school, then college.

College is never a secondary “only if you want to” option. Instead you are taught that if you want to be anything worthwhile, if you want to get a good job, and live a good life, then you must go to college, even though it may not be the “one-size-fits-all” it is portrayed to be.

But if conditioning you isn’t enough, it is becoming that much more difficult to navigate through life without a degree. In fact, some people believe soon you’ll need a degree to work at McDonald’s.

Nevertheless, it’s unfair the way today’s youth are forced to buy into the hype of four-year universities, especially when an astonishing number of graduates have difficulty finding employment, and are left with a pile of loans they will be paying back for 10-plus years.

Trade and vocational schools with their focused curriculum, lower costs, and assisted job placement are a far better choice for many students, unfortunately, not enough people see it that way and end up being persuaded into taking the long way around.