Schools Training

Picking the Right School – University, Trade School or Career College

19 FEB 2014

In this day and age, figuring out what you want to do with your life can seem overwhelming – there are just so many options, and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one path, even with Canadian college directories and a multitude of informative educational articles. There are so many great schools out there that can prepare you for so many different things that people are now spoiled for choice.

However, before poring over a school directory and leaping into a career path, it’s important to know not only what you want to study, but what kind of school you want to be studying at. So how do you know which kind of school is right for you? Well, you can start by asking some questions.


University tuition is climbing pretty high these days, and unless you’re willing to get a student loan or work throughout your studies to help curb the cost, you might want to think twice. Career colleges and trade schools are not only much cheaper, but have shorter durations and more often than not involve co-operative opportunities that allow you to work in the field you’re training for as you study.


Most universities will require you to move, set up shop in an entirely different town, and either stay in residence or find an apartment. Moving to a new city, enrolling in a school and having to find a new place is a lot to ask, and it can be pretty stressful. The benefit of a career college or trade school is that they’re usually much more local and accessible, meaning that you don’t necessarily have to move your life to attend them.

Learning vs. Getting a Job

The big question you have to ask yourself is “why am I going to school?” If the answer is that you want to devote the time and energy to becoming an expert in a given field, gaining a wealth of knowledge on a particular subject, and having that inform what you want to do as a career, then chances are you’re better off taking a bachelor of arts or sciences program at a university. However, if your end goal is to come out of your training with a guaranteed job, then the career college or trade school route is probably more your speed.

University is a great idea if you plan to continue studying after your bachelor’s degree, because it’s an integral prerequisite for getting your Master’s or your PhD. Many fields, such as engineering or teaching, require a university degree. However, if you’d just like to get hands-on and practical training to prepare yourself for a career right away, then university might be an excessive expense.

So while crunching the numbers and considering how comfortable you are with moving cities are both very important to choosing what kind of school to study at, it ultimately comes down to what you want your education to do for you. Once you know what you want your education to provide you with, it makes deciding where and what to study a whole lot easier.