Trade schools: A viable option over a traditional four-year route

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox Sunday
Updated: Dec. 24, 2022 at 12:46 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - South Dakota’s public colleges saw 5,259 new students enrolled this year, with an average in-state tuition of $10,000. While that may seem like a low price to pay for higher education today, there are other options for higher education, trade schools.

Trade schools also referred to as technical or vocational schools, are designed to prepare students for very specific careers involving manual, mechanical, or technical skills.

These skilled trades might be welding, machining, automotive mechanics, dental hygiene, or even medical assisting, but these will vary depending on the school.

Western Dakota Technical College is one of only four trade colleges in South Dakota that offer a wide variety of programs.

“We provide a lot of active learning so we have a lot of labs and trainers and things where students can study exactly what they’re going to study in the workforce. These all focus on what a student will experience when they go out into the workforce,” says Diana Newman, Director of Admissions, at Western Dakota Technical College.

They help train students for high-demand trade jobs and, in turn, ease the skilled labor shortage in America, by offering fast-paced, skills-based programs.

Going to trade school has become a heavily viable option among young people looking to go to college because it is, on average, only a few months to two years. It is also cheaper, at around $8,000 a year--students only see around $10,000 in debt in total.

The average student coming out of a four-year bachelor’s degree is $30,000 in debt.

“It’s a very affordable education, we are very accessible and obtainable for a lot of students. It is the focus on career development. You are really taking the classes that focus in on your career and your area of study,” Newman continues.

Trade schools remain a viable option over the traditional route because they do not require a minimum GPA to get accepted. Making the process of improving your future a little easier.

“We have students who have sorts of backgrounds from GED, non-traditional students, traditional students who come to us to enroll in workforce development education. Providing education for training for careers, so they’re ready to go out and get careers that are heavily needed in our area,” Newman concludes.

The accessibility of trade schools allows for students of all ages to attend and focus entirely on their chosen field-- learning the skills it would take to get a higher-paying job. They offer highly relevant, career-focused training to help you meet your goals.