As the cost of a 4-year degree continues to rise and job prospects remain uncertain, more students are turning to trade school as an alternative path for their education. Trade school is becoming increasingly popular among those who want a specialized education that will lead directly to a career without incurring massive student loan debt often associated with many traditional colleges.

Our economy is in desperate need of skilled workers. If you are looking to change the trajectory of your career path and want to learn the trade skills that are needed, Simply visit to see all the programs available in your area.

But what does it take to go to trade school? How long does it usually take? And what types of programs can you enroll in at trade schools?

Here’s what you need to know about pursuing an education at a trade school.

What Is Trade School and What It Involves

A trade school, also known as technical school, is an educational institution that specializes in teaching specific skills and providing the knowledge necessary for a particular career.

Trade schools typically offer certificates, diplomas, or associate degrees in fields such as:

  • Automotive repair
  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Culinary arts
  • Medical assistant training
  • Computer programming and information technology
  • Welding
  • HVAC and refrigeration technology
  • Other technical skills

Since trade school is focused on providing specific skills, courses are often shorter and more intensive than a traditional four-year college.

Typical Length of Program for Different Trade Schools and Programs

The length of a trade school program depends on the type of degree/certifications you’re pursuing and your chosen field.

Certificate programs are usually the shortest, taking anywhere from six months to one year to complete. Diploma programs can take up to two years, while associate degrees typically require two-to-three years of study.

Some programs also offer a hybrid option that allows students to mix online learning with in-person classes, which may shorten the time it takes to earn a degree or certificate.

Some schools allow students to pursue multiple certificates at once or take accelerated courses that will enable them to finish their degree faster than usual.

While there is no definitive answer to how long trade school takes, it’s safe to say that most programs can be completed in two or three years. This is in contrast to a four-year degree which can take up to eight years if you choose to pursue further education on a part-time basis.

Should You Choose Trade School Based on Program Length Alone?

Of course, the length of a trade school program shouldn’t be your only factor when deciding whether or not to enroll. Here are some things to consider when choosing a trade school program.

Your Goals

Figure out what you want to get out of a trade school. Do you plan on entering the workforce right after graduation, or do you want to pursue further education? Ensure that your goals align with the trade school program’s offerings.

If you think a four-year degree is necessary to reach your career goals, a trade school program may not be the right choice.

Your Skillset

Another critical factor to consider is your current skillset. If you’re already familiar with a specific trade, it may not take as long for you to complete the program. On the other hand, if you’re entirely new to a particular skill, it’ll likely take longer to learn and master it.

Some skill sets may require additional certifications, which could add to the program’s length.

Talk With Career Experts

Enrolling in a technical or trade school is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s essential to speak with career experts at those schools to get an idea of what it takes to succeed in your chosen field.

Career experts can also provide insight into the length of trade school programs and the best approach.

Explore Other Fields

Trade schools offer many different options, and you may be surprised at the variety of available career paths. Make sure to research all of your options before making a decision.

Find a Trade School That Fits You With School Match Pro

Finding the right trade school is an important decision and can make or break your career. helps you find a school that fits your needs by providing guidance, resources, and industry connections.

Whether you want to go to a trade school or take an online course to gain a certification, is here to help!