For young adults graduating from high school, and those looking to go back to school to retrain for a new career, taking on student debt can be a daunting and prohibitive consideration. With a complete trade school program costing $33,000 on average vs. a 4-year bachelor's degree program costing $25,000 to $50,000 per year on average, trade school can become a relatively attractive option for those worried about taking on student debt.
According to the Federal Reserve System, “Among those with outstanding student loans from their own education, 2 in 10 adults are behind on their payments.”
Student loans are the most common form of student debt. The types of student loans for either trade school or traditional college are generally the same, but since the total cost of a trade school program is less than the total cost of a 4-year bachelor's degree program the potential debt taken on may be less.
Skilled Trade Programs & Their Cost
Here's a few trade school programs to consider if the cost of your education is a major determining factor to you. We’ve considered the potential salaries when choosing these career training options, since your potential earning power can be a factor when the time comes to pay off your debt.
HVAC Technology - An example 35 week HVAC technician training program costs about $15,500 if completed on a full time schedule. The average pay for an HVAC technician was $54,890 in May 2021. Find an HVAC school near you.
Automotive Technology - A 1,500 hour auto mechanic training program costs about $34,000 and this example includes tools, uniform, and other necessary items. That's little above the average of all trade school programs. The average pay for an automotive service technician was $47,990 in May 2021. Find a mechanic school near you.
Electrical - A 2-year associate's degree program in electrical technology costs about $32,000 considering books, uniform and other fees. A little below the average of all trade school programs. The average pay of an electrician was $63,310 in May 2021. Find an electrical school near you.
Welding Technology - A 7-month welding technology program may cost roughly $25,000, and if you need room and board, your costs will increase. The average pay for a welder was $48,290 in May 2021. Find a welding school near you.
The program costs noted above are examples from our partner schools. Where you live, the cost could be more or less, depending on the actual length of the program you choose or other factors like required tools or other supplies. The average pay statistics shown above can be found on the official BLS website (the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Remember to research trade school financial aid, which may come in the form of a grant that does not need to be repaid. There are also scholarships geared toward the skilled trade and technical fields to consider as well. Talking to the admissions department at your potential school is the best way to get advice, and we’ve also added links to resources below.
If you'd like to continue your research these links should be helpful: