Chuck Bentley: Should My Child Go to Trade School or College?

Dear Chuck,

My wife and I are committed to financially helping our children get college degrees. We’ve graduated two and have three to go. We are not sure a four-year college will work for one of our children and are considering directing him towards a trade. What are your thoughts?

Skilled Labor

Dear Skilled,

Congratulations on getting the first two their degrees! I hope you both were able to avoid student loan debt.

Your question is so important with the rising cost of college tuition and the inability for many to find appropriate jobs to manage their excessive student loan debt.

Some kids are just not designed to learn by sitting at desks. Many brilliant young people tend to get easily bored, in need of hands-on activity. We need them!

Yet many parents have a wrong attitude toward trade schools, thinking jobs in labor are less respectable than what a college degree offers. I strongly disagree.

We are experiencing a skilled labor shortage in the U.S. Specialized jobs can pay more than some college degrees and the training can be obtained without heavy debt loads. Some trade certificate programs are expensive, other plans are covered by employers, and some states offer tuition-free programs. Regardless of which program you go with, a trade or two-year degree may be a better investment if your child is gifted in that direction.

Trade school is a hands-on, technical education focused on teaching a skill. General education courses are not taught which reduces classroom time. Smaller classes and faster routes to degrees with highly marketable training at much lower costs propel a person to earning money faster.

With proper stewardship knowledge, these students can be thousands of dollars down the road from their college-bound peers when comparing earnings vs debt in the first ten years of their career.

Financial Cost of Education

CareerSchoolNow.org reports: Trade school runs, on average, around $33,000 from start to finish with many students only carrying a loan of around $10,000.

Compare that to a Forbes report which revealed that in 2016, 70% of those completing an undergraduate degree were carrying $37,000 of debt. And many of those degrees don’t guarantee high-paying jobs. More than half of students take longer than four years to graduate, costing in lost wages and educational costs. Another fact is that 40% of the student body will drop out of a four-year college and still have to pay back loans.

Jerry Bowyer recently commented at the Townhall Review: Elite education in recent decades has seen double-digit price increases and at the same time moved from its mission of broadening minds towards narrowing them. So: Higher price and lower quality. Seems like a bad deal…

Niel Dawson, of Independent Electrical Contractors in Georgia says: We probably need to do a better job hammering in how much debt you are going to have going to college. From day one you’re earning money in an apprenticeship program.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley