According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, career sectors with high levels of trade or vocational training are projected to have the most growth between now and 2026. With this in mind, it’s clear that there is no time like the present to consider the next step to achieving your career goals: a trade certificate.
What is a trade certificate?
A trade certificate is a career-specific certificate earned in no more than two years by taking courses and getting credit from hands-on work at apprenticeships or skills trainings.
What can I do with a trade certificate?
A trade certificate can open the door to a rewarding career in fields such as automotive service, computer programming, culinary arts, and human services, just to name a few. Specifically, careers in medical records/health information, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), information technology, and accounting services are projected to have a 13 to 14 percent increase in employment prospects between now and 2026.
Where can I get a trade certificate?
Usually, people attend classes at either a trade school or a community college to earn their trade certificates.
- Community College:
- Community colleges can offer a wide variety of accredited trade certificate programs taught by instructors who are trained to teach, in addition to the skills they are teaching you. They can be a less expensive option than private trade school, and the certificate programs are equivalent when applying.
- If you may become interested in earning an associate degree, community college is also a good option because credits may transfer and count toward that degree.
- Disadvantages may include less depth of resources dedicated to your specific program and less hands-on style learning, with more classroom-based learning instead.
- Trade school:
- The advantages of choosing to get your certificate at trade school include flexibility of schedule (because they typically don’t use the traditional academic calendar) and more resources focused on the specific trade program.
- Hands-on learning is typically a valuable feature of trade school, with opportunities to intern or apprentice for credit.
- Disadvantages may include less breadth of certificate programs to choose from and potentially higher costs.
The Bottom Line: When looking to get your trade certificate, it’s a good idea to do your research. Check for: first, your program of interest, then tuition estimates, accreditation, program schedule, and opportunities for hands-on learning. These can be found on the school’s website and online reviews, and by talking to career/college counselors, and even students who have gone through the program you are interested in.
By Annemarie Arnold