Trade Schools vs. Union Apprenticeship Programs vs. Colleges

The scrap metal industry is touched by so many different industries including trade industries like construction, electricians, plumbers, and contractors. When you want to pursue a trade career, there are many options as to how to learn everything you can about your trade. Here are some of the options:

Trade Schools

One of the best advantages you can gain by attending a trade school over traditional colleges is the on-the-job experience that you gain. When you attend college, the majority of your classwork is studying material and not actually experiencing it hands on.

Inside a trade school, you will also have smaller classes that give you one-on-one training with your instructor. In a larger classroom environment you may easily get lost in the material and fall behind.

Many different trade industries are a dying breed so the value of them are much higher and could be a highly sought out career. Trade schools are a great option if you are looking to learn quickly and get into the field quickly. This is a great option for those who are looking to learn with a hands on experience.

Union Apprenticeship Programs

One of the biggest advantages of union apprenticeship programs is the benefits, pension, 401K, and job security that you can gain from working with a union. With your union apprenticeship program, you will receive free training which can really help you advance your skill level quickly.

Another reward of choosing a union apprenticeship program is the other members of your union that you will be able to network with to find side jobs. This is good if you already have some background work and education in the industry you are looking for. Perhaps you were a handyman before but by allowing yourself to become a union member it gives you more of the benefits and legitimacy as a tradesman.


A traditional college will be about THREE times the tuition of a two year program. College programs are often focused on a wide variety of skills and learning material where you will have the ability to have some leg room in deciding what career path to take after graduation.

When choosing between trade schools, apprenticeship programs, and colleges, it is best to keep in mind your end goal. Do you want to graduate and start directly in your career or do you want to have a more well-rounded education that could prepare you for other opportunities in the future?

Many say that learning a trade is the fastest way to starting your own business. If that is your end goal, maybe a trade school and/or apprenticeship program is for you!
What about you, how did you learn your trade and start scrapping?