College vs. Technical School: Deciding the Best Option

In today’s globalized economy, practical knowledge is just as economically valuable as academic knowledge, so you may be wondering about college vs. technical school. Technical schools can provide the skills and information necessary for practical, everyday careers. Colleges require lots of time and money, but can be economically advantageous depending on your area of expertise.

However, new tools for success are created everyday while old tools are altered or become obsolete altogether. One tool that used to guarantee success was going to college and receiving a Bachelor’s degree. Then, that tool became a Master’s and from there, a Doctorate. This should not discourage you. There are so many ways to learn the information or skills necessary for a successful career. 

Lots of practical skills and trades can be found outside the traditional path of a four-year college at a technical school. Technical schools usually require less time and less money, while the outcomes in terms of salary and career are generally similar to that of a college degree. 

College vs. Technical School

What Is a Technical School?

A technical school is an alternative education option that specializes in practical skills and trades. These practical skills and trades often apply directly to specific occupations like a truck driver, a chef, an electrician, or a paralegal. They typically take much less time and money. There are not strict admissions requirements, extensive applications, or the submissions of ACT and SAT scores. 

Technical schools often prepare students for work in one specific field. Before deciding on college or technical, consider what career paths interest you. If you are interested in a more niche area of study, a master, or a doctoral degree, then college may be the route for you.

Continue reading to find out more about the drawbacks to attending a four-year college and the benefits to attending technical schools.

College vs. Technical School: Breaking Down the Pros and Cons

TDI Technical School College
Average Cost $225 deposit + $5,000–$6,000 tuition

We offer scholarships, financial aid, and tuition reimbursement as well.

$33,000 $127,000
Average Time 15 days 1 year 4 years
Average Income $71,000 $60,000 $51,000
Areas of Expertise/Fields CDL Certified truck driving Can range from truck drivers to administrative assistants or nurses to carpenters Lawyer, doctor, or any highly skilled or professional

1. Time Is Money

Attending a technical school is often the quickest way to a well-paying career. Receiving a Bachelor’s degree from colleges and universities generally takes four years. If a student has to work full time, it could take up to six years. Technical schools can take as little as a year. 

Ultimately, the more time you spend in school the more money you will spend. Technical school tuition is far less than four-year colleges, so graduating with little to no debt is almost certain. The average four year degree cost $127,000, while the average technical school degree cost $33,000. Even if you do need a loan to pay for a technical school degree, the amount of debt owed would be significantly smaller than the debt you would owe from a Bachelor’s degree. The amount of debt skyrockets as you spend more time studying for high level degrees like a Law degree or a Doctorate. 

Going to a technical school allows your money to be optimized more efficiently than going to a four year college. In technical school, there are no general courses. You receive specialized training for your career. This allows technical school to cost less money and take less time to complete. Scholarships are also widely available for both technical schools. 

2. Make Money Faster

Here is some food for thought. Graduating from a four-year college has never guaranteed anyone a high-paying career immediately. This is even more true because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly 50% of college graduates could be unemployed by the end of this year. While going to a four year college almost guarantees you massive amounts of debt, it does not guarantee you a job to help pay off that debt.

Going to a technical school instead allows you to specialize in a specific trade or skill in a short time. Graduating anywhere within a few months to two years gives you years of time ahead of college graduates to begin your career and paying back any debt you may owe. Spending the extra time at college could cause you to lose thousands of dollars in the year you don’t work. 

3.  Practical Career Options

Starting salaries and job placement rates for technical jobs frequently match or even exceed the starting salaries for people with four-year degrees. The average salary for a college graduate across all fields is $51,000, while the average salary for a truck driver is over $60,000. You can go to technical school for less money and less time and end up with similar outcomes in terms or career and income. 

Of course, the benefit of spending so much time and money at a four-year college is that you are more likely to make more money with a high degree (eventually). The average salary for a master’s degree is around $55,000 while the average for a doctorate is $84,000. So, how much money do people with technical school degrees make?

One major difference is that careers available to technical school graduates are often different from the careers of college graduates. Careers for technical school graduates can range from truck drivers to administrative assistants or nurses to carpenters. These jobs require practical skills and do not take long to learn.

Many technical schools and colleges both offer the same accreditations, certificates, and associate degrees. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges gives national accreditation to many of the best technical schools in various areas of expertise. 

4. Long Term Plans

If your plan is to become a lawyer, doctor, or any highly skilled or specialized professional, then the commitments of time, money, and debt for college will be your best option. These career options come with more risk and commitment, but salary and stability will come in the long term. 

Technical school degrees will not take you to medical school. However, it could take you to a specific career related to the medical field like a midwife, an x-ray technician, or a paramedic. Depending on your long term career goals and life plans, college and technical school can provide the necessary education for a successful, professional career.

Still Can’t Decide on College vs. Technical School? –– Learn More at TDI

If you’re ready to start a new career, truck driving is a great path to choose. However, getting your CDL is always the first step. We offer the best CDL training in America, both affordable and only 15 days long.

Take a look at our course offerings here at TDI, our job placement scheme, or other useful information to start learning about the truck driving industry. You can also contact us today to learn more about the trucking industry and all of our truck driving schools East of the Rockies.