Should you pursue a bachelor’s degree or a different form of education?

Kathleen Kelley
4 min readNov 3, 2020


These days college, or some other secondary education, is necessary to succeed in life for most people. The few exceptions are people who work hard at something else combined with some luck or decide to work their way up in something that will never require a secondary education, such as selling real estate. While that requires plenty of work, and self-discipline, it does require a bit of luck for a person to be extremely successful, especially if you are young.

Trade school was never talked about much when I was in high school, if at all. There were some courses such as a culinary program and a class on auto mechanics that was offered but that was about it and they never talked about school options to go to after high school for those kinds of things unless you took the program in high school.

This list has some options for people who don’t want to go to college for four years. Most require a two year degree or a certification and on the job training, but it can be a great option for people who don’t want to sit in a classroom for an extra two years.

This list has other things to consider if you pursue a higher education.

Some people are made for college while others would do better in a trade school. This article goes a bit in depth on how to know if you should go to college or trade school. It also goes into cost and other variables. the nice thing about trade school is you most likely won’t give up anything by studying a trade despite what people may believe.

This is a channel I like and in this video Graham Stephan breaks down two career paths people might take.

There is more differences between a trade school and college than the teaching style and cost difference which this article covers:

This article combines trade school and two-year degrees because:

  1. They’re both options outside of college that lead to perfectly valid careers
  2. Trade school can be completed in 2 years or less which is much faster than a 4-year degree
  3. Both of these options are not talked about nearly enough, especially to graduating high school seniors

Other options people might take are mentioned in this article:

Sometimes a certificate is only needed to earn a high paying job. This article gives a variety of ideas, description of jobs, and salary and employment outlook.

Another thing that should be talked about is 2-year or Associate degrees. These are not something that should be brushed under the rug despite what people may think.

This website has a good list of options for people who want to get a 2-year degree, don’t want to put in more time to pursue a bachelor degree, but still want a good job even when they get older.

Don’t feel ashamed if you decide to go to trade school. Looking back I wish I had given it some thought. There’s this thought that if you don’t go to college you aren’t smart, you aren’t good enough for college, you aren’t disciplined enough or a lot of other stereotypes. You can get out and work a decent job that pays above minimum wage faster than your classmates who went to a four year college and have the potential to make the same, if not more money than them as well.

I think kids should feel free to explore and get exposed to options earlier so they don’t feel like they don’t have options like I felt. The most important thing about this is to think of this before you finish high school so you can talk to your parents about your plans; unless they won’t be included in this conversation for some reason; however for most people parents will be and this is a conversation that is needed much sooner rather than later.

It is far worse to not have gone to any sort of secondary schooling than to have gone to trade school. Not having any secondary education at all means you can’t move up in life. You are stuck because even if you know how to do a job, someone will hire the person who has a degree and is younger than you because the managers feel they can go farther and they probably can in the long run. They know things at 25 that it took people in their late 30’s or early 40’s to figure out because they learned it later on the job versus in school.



Kathleen Kelley

I am a college student who works at a grocery store. I am majoring in journalism. I write about personal finance, college and things I wish I knew in life.