New Survey Finds Students and Parents Lack Knowledge About Trade Schools

A new survey has found that students and parents are interested in trade schools but don’t know enough about the option.

StrataTech Education Group, a Phoenix-based company that owns several trade schools, conducted the survey of 1,000 high school students and 1,000 parents across the country.

Nearly half of students said they would consider going to a trade school and the majority of parents said they would support that decision. But one-third of students said they don’t know enough about trade schools.

One-third of students also said the cost of going to a trade school was keeping them from making the decision to attend one after high school.

About a quarter said the pressure to attend a four-year university or a two-year college was another reason.

“Unfortunately, in this country we’ve treated vocational education as somewhat like ‘hey, if you can’t succeed in traditional education, this is an avenue for you’ rather than ‘this is as viable and actually can support you as well, if not better, than following a traditional education route,’” said Mary Kelly, the company’s CEO.

Kelly said there are many trade jobs that pay well.

For example, she said the average wage for a welder in the United States is about $41,000 a year and for heating and air conditioning repair workers it’s $47,000. Both careers require less than a year of trade school.

Kelly said many of these and other trade jobs are sitting empty.

“We’re in a time of great economic growth and companies are actually having to turn away business, because they don’t have the workers to take on the contracts,” she said.

The survey also found more than 90% of parents said they would support their children’s decision to pursue a career in skilled trades.

Most parents also said they would offer their children financial support so they can attend a trade school.

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