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Trade School: The New Face of Higher Education

July 5th, 2018

The benefits of attending a trade school vs. a “traditional” university.

 There’s a bold new horizon emerging on the landscape of higher education in the United States—one that is turning traditional norms on its head. More and more high-achieving students coming out of high school are choosing to attend a trade school instead of a traditional, four-year college or university.

And for good reason.

Just a month or so ago, The Wall Street Journal featured the story of a Pennsylvania honors student who could have had her pick of elite four-year colleges but instead chose to attend a trade school to prepare for a career as a diesel mechanic.

This is the brave, new face of higher education in the 21st-century.

Of course, this type of decision runs contrary to what most parents and grandparents would expect of their student, especially if they’d earned straight A’s and been a member of the National Honor Society. But when you open your eyes and set all previously held biases to the side and give an objective look at the information, this kind of decision makes perfect sense.

Why a trade school instead of a traditional college or university?

You Don’t Waste Time or Money on Classes You Don’t Need

At a four-year school college or university, you could spend most of your first two years taking “core” or “general education” courses that have nothing to do with your major. That’s a lot of wasted time and money.

At a trade school, students only take courses that are directly related to their field of study and chosen career. Not only that, but top trade schools are constantly re-evaluating their program curriculum and work directly with employers to design their courses, so students are getting the most relevant education and training possible.

You Can Choose from High-Growth Professions

High-quality trade schools carefully plan their program offerings based largely on future growth projections for those particular fields. One good example of this is welding. According to the American Welding Society, the U.S. will be faced with a shortage of more than 400,000 professional welders by the year 2025.

In South Dakota, O*Net Online reports that the need for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers will grow by 13 percent between the years 2016 and 2026.

You Can Get Out and Start Earning Faster

Let’s face it, four years is a long time. And that’s assuming you’d actually earn your degree within four years at a traditional college, which fewer and fewer students these days are able to do (more on that in a bit). By attending a trade school, you can get top notch education and training in just a fraction of that time. Some programs can be completed in less than one year.

For instance, at Loenbro Technical Institute, students get training and certification as a professional welder in anywhere from six to 12 weeks.

Now take a look at why you should think twice about a traditional college or university.

Your Costs for Tuition Will Be High, and Will Continue to Rise

It’s no secret that the cost of attending a four-year college has been on the rise for some time. And as the cost of tuition continues to rise, the amount of grant aid awarded to students and tax benefits to families aren’t keeping up. In fact, for full-time college students the net prices continue to rise and 2017-2018 is the eighth straight year this has happened.

Put simply, the tuition, room, and board that you’ll have to pay at a traditional college are outrageous.

You Likely Wouldn’t Graduate in Four Years

And, more and more often, students at traditional colleges aren’t graduating at all. Recent statistics show that a little more than half of entering freshmen at traditional colleges and universities actually earn their degree, with more than 40 percent not graduating. And for those who do graduate, in many cases it takes five or even six years to do it.

You’ll Leave With a Huge Amount of Crushing Debt

When you combine the cost of attending four-year schools continuing to skyrocket with the fact that even if you do earn your degree it will likely take longer than four years, it becomes obvious that you’re going to be paying off a lot of debt for many, many years.

These staggering student loans provide another reason that attending a trade school where your education is focused and you’ll be there for a much shorter amount of time is such a desirable path. The average four-year college graduate carries a burden of more than $33,000 in debt with them out the door. That could amount to monthly payments of over $350 per month for 10 years.

Convinced yet?

When you look at the facts, it becomes pretty clear—at a four-year college you’ll waste a lot of time and money on courses you don’t need, may not graduate in four years or even at all, and when you leave you’re going to have a mountain of debt.

At a trade school, you’ll focus on just those courses that relate to your career, and you’ll complete your education and training in a fraction of the time, saving time and money.

In South Dakota, an outstanding option for students is Loenbro Technical Institute. As the only school in the region accredited by the American Welding Society as an Accredited Test Facility, and by the National Center for Construction Education and Research, LTI offers a level of training that is hard to match.

As a student in the Structural and Pipe Welding program at LTI, you can choose between a six- or 12-week program. Your training will focus on giving you the skills necessary to earn professional welding certifications. Courses include:

  • Structural Welding Technology
  • API 1104 Pipe Welding Technology
  • ASME Pipe Welding Technology

Additionally, the program’s Company Partnership course allows selected students to take part in an 80-hour paid internship with an assigned employer.

At LTI, classes start every two weeks, offering students the most convenient and flexible scheduling options to achieve their professional goals. The program is designed to prepare students for entry into the following fields:

  • Commercial pipe welding
  • Industrial pipe welding
  • Commercial structural welding
  • Industrial structural welding
  • Manufacturing welding

If you’re interested in a career as an electrician, LTI’s Electrical Training Program is designed to provide training and work experience that could lead to a Journeyman’s license. Areas covered in the program include:

  • Safety & OSHA Standards
  • Fundamentals of Electricity & Power
  • Electrical Codes
  • Electrical Equipment
  • National Electrical Code (NEC) Requirements
  • Industrial Requirements
  • Commercial Requirements
  • Residential Requirements
  • Control Theory
  • Math Fundamentals

LTI is the only school in the region that is accredited by the National Center for Construction Education and Research and offers students the most convenient and flexible scheduling options to achieve their professional goals.

As you think through your options when it comes to higher education, remember to keep all of the facts in mind when it comes to the benefits offered by a trade school like LTI. You’ll enjoy extensive hands-on training using the type of modern equipment that you’ll find in professional job settings, as well as individualized instruction from a faculty of experienced welders and electricians.

Contact LTI today, and we’ll get you on your way to your career in welding or as an electrician.

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