How to Change Careers: Transitioning to the Trades
Life after high school can feel like a crossroads.
There are so many options available to you: university, a gap year, community college, private trade college, and just outright entering the workforce. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed as you evaluate which is best for you.
In recent years, there has been an uptick in students opting between community college or private college as a pathway into the trades. Both public and private schools can be great post-secondary options, but it’s important to understand their similarities and differences.
Here’s what you need to know about attending college!
What Are Private Colleges?
These private institutions are often referred to as “trade school,” “vocational school,” or called “private career colleges,” depending on who you ask.
Private colleges strive to teach the technical skills they need to forge careers for themselves in specific trades. Typically, students can expect predominantly hands-on learning at many private colleges rather than sitting at a desk.
Additionally, many private college programs are apprenticeships or pre-apprenticeships—this means you can make money while you learn!
What Are Community Colleges?
A community college is a public post-secondary school that offers a diverse selection of programs for further education or employment training.
The main difference between a community college and a university is that the former offers courses that take only two years to complete, whereas the latter offers four-year courses. Expect mostly traditional in-classroom learning at community colleges.
While some community colleges do offer apprenticeship programs, they are not customary and should not be an expectation when you enrol.
A Head-to-Head Comparison
While they may share a few common denominators, there are stark differences between private and public colleges.
You will find community colleges provide classes that focus on instilling a general understanding of academic concepts such as math, science, literature, and art. They are a continuation of the school you know and love—or hate.
Private colleges teach more practical skills. These private schools prepare local students to hit the ground running once they graduate through apprenticeship programs. Popular courses offered at private colleges include plumbing, home renovation, network cable technician programs, as well as electrician training.
Are you the type of person who likes to take their time to study or do you prefer to learn new things as fast as possible in order to kickstart your career?
Courses at community colleges typically require two years of your time before you can officially toss your cap into the air. Depending on your schedule, you can opt to take fewer or additional classes at your own pace.
If you prefer to move quicker, private colleges can have you job-ready in as little as three months. These short yet effective classes are intensively focused on equipping you with the skills for your dream job as fast as possible. Spending the majority of your time on the job with a professional mentor speeds us the process dramatically.
We are all products of our environment—for better or for worse.
Your compatibility with a learning environment directly impacts how you absorb and process information. How you like to learn is something you need to consider when choosing whether private colleges are right for you.
If you choose to attend a community college, you will find yourself in traditional classrooms and labs for all academic-based courses. There will be professors leading classes with lectures and handing out homework and projects.
Those enrolling at private career colleges will spend most of their time on a job site or in workshops rather than in a classroom. There will of course be instructors, but you can expect smaller class sizes and more collaboration at private colleges.
Post-secondary education is never free. International students in particular should pay special attention to this section as we discuss finances.
Typically, community colleges are less expensive than private career colleges. Larger classrooms mean more students to split the costs of the instructors and resources—with the trade-off of a less involved learning experience.
Private colleges tend to have higher tuition fees, but with those higher fees comes the more personal and involved learning process we discussed. Apprenticeship programs often pay those who participate in them. Financial aid in the form of grants or scholarships are also available to help limit barriers to attending these private career institutions.
Kickstart Your Career in the Trades at STC
If after reading this you’ve decided a private career college is more your speed, then Skilled Trades College of Canada is the best place to learn the skills that will accelerate your career in the trades.
What makes STC unique? Each course is run by construction industry experts who know exactly what it takes to be successful in the trades. Offering industry-leading pre-apprenticeship programs in various disciplines, students can expect a ratio of 80:20 hands-on vs. in-classroom learning—forget excessive tests and assignments.
Don’t believe us? Hear it straight from our alumni!
Become a Skilled Trades College of Canada student today and build your foundation for success!