The road less traveled

Ella Schulte, Student Life Assistant Editor & News Writer

U of I, ISU and UNI. These abbreviations are at times associated with university programs like Big Ten and All-American.

“The bigger, the better,” but, is it?

Unlike four-year colleges, trade schools are designed to quickly prepare and equip students for their future occupations with post-secondary training regarding specific fields.

Offering direct access to a variety of degrees, these schools get students out into the workforce typically eight months to two years after they first enter into the program of their choice.

“A combined 41 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 years said they would attend a trade school over college for career opportunities and high pay potential, and yet, many have the misconception that trade schools do not pay well,” Vice President of Marketing Jim Arabia stated in an article that was published in 2019 to the nation’s largest equipment rental company’s site, BigRentz. “One reason might be lack of knowledge- a survey conducted by Degree Query found that 30 percent of high school students only go to a university because they think it’s the natural path after high school and 23 percent attend college because they feel they are expected to.”

Trade schools save students both time and money by providing instruction in a smaller classroom setting, in addition to allowing for early access to job experience and career services.

“I am going to Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge. I wanted to be able to get a good paying job straight out of school and not have a lot of debt,” Xavier senior Logan Petersen said. “Iowa Central has a soccer team, so I can continue playing as well.”

There are a variety of vocational trade schools in Iowa which include, but are not limited to, Western Iowa Tech Community College, Eastern Iowa Community College District and Des Moines Area Community College. Back in 2017, these schools were recognized by Accredited Schools Online as the top three vocational and trade education schools in the state.

These, alongside other institutions, specifically cater to prospective students who are interested in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, education, healthcare, science, technology, engineering and math.

Traditional economies often require and rely upon programs such as these, as a range of diverse jobs is needed in order for it to properly function.

“I will be attending the Aveda Institute in West Des Moines next year,” Xavier senior Megan Gradoville said. “I didn’t want to go to a four-year college and waste both time and money on something I’m not interested in. I’m going to study Cosmetology and Esthiology.”

Although the stigma exists that four-year institutions produce students who attain higher-paying jobs than those who attend a trade school, American poet Robert Frost once said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”