College vs. University vs. Trade School
I've been thinking about where I'm going to go after high school, and I realized I don't really know much about the differences between the three.
My goal is to become a horse trainer/riding instructor and either a teacher or a psychologist/therapist. If I become a teacher, I'd probably want to teach an agriculture, biology, or math class in the high school level, or get much more education and become a college professor in a more specific subject. I'm still only a freshman in high school, so I have plenty of time to think and decide, and I could find something completely different that I want to do, but that's my hope as of now.
Anyways, what are some pros/cons of each type of school? How are they different from each other? What one do you think would be the best choice for me?
Thank you for the question. I see great responses to your question about the differences among colleges, universities, and trade schools. I would like to add to those responses by addressing your career choices.
You indicated: horse trainer/riding instructor AND either a teacher or a psychologist/therapist.
As for your career choices, let's explore what you can do to prepare and if it's possible to combine them.
First, if you want to be a teacher (agriculture, math, or biology), do you like teaching or do you enjoy the subjects? To see if you enjoy teaching, consider tutoring a friend, family or neighbors' children in math. Or work at a tutoring center/learning center like Kumon. You can also join your school's Future Teachers of Tomorrow student organization to explore the field of teaching or Future Farmers of America. Both groups have competitions! If you want to go this route, you will need to get a teacher certificate from a university (you can start out in community college and transfer to a university).
Second, you can search for Certified Professional Horse Trainer in your area. The program should tell you how long the program is, the cost, and any other requirements.
Third, if you want to be a psychologist/therapist, you will need to obtain a bachelor's in psychology plus a masters (two years after you obtain the 4-year degree) in Counseling Psychology to be a therapist.
Now lets' see if you can combine any of these:
horse trainer and therapist: explore a career using equine therapy as mental therapy. You can use riding, grooming or other aspects as part of the therapy. You are also incorporating teaching in that you are helping others through personal development.
teacher (college level) and horse trainer: you can explore a career as an adjunct professor (they have 9-month contracts) and you could work as a horse trainer during the summer months (to supplement your income from teaching).
As you continue to learn more about each career choice, interview professionals in each field, and join student organizations, I am most confident you will come up with a plan that will lead to your future success.
Cassandra recommends the following next steps:
Trade schools specialize in vocational or technical training, and can provide a more direct path to a career in a specific field such as horse training or riding instruction. The pros of trade schools are that they offer a shorter and more focused educational program, and often have strong connections to employers in the field, which can lead to job opportunities after graduation. The cons are that trade schools may not provide as much theoretical or broad-based education as a university, and they may be more expensive on a per-credit basis.
Community colleges offer a more affordable alternative to four-year universities, with lower tuition and smaller class sizes. They also offer a variety of programs and courses, including career training, transfer programs to four-year universities, and continuing education opportunities. The pros of community college are that they offer a wide range of options at an affordable price, and they can be a good choice for students who are still unsure about their major or career path. The cons are that some employers may view a community college degree as less prestigious than a university degree, and some programs or courses may not be as comprehensive as those offered at a four-year university.
Four-year universities offer a broad-based education, with a range of academic programs and opportunities for research, internships, and study abroad. The pros of a four-year university are that they offer a comprehensive education, a wide range of opportunities for personal and professional growth, and a degree that is highly respected by employers. The cons are that four-year universities are typically more expensive than other types of schools, and they may take longer to complete.
In terms of which type of school would be the best choice for you, it depends on your personal goals and financial situation. If you're interested in a more specialized and direct path to a career in horse training, a trade school may be the best option. If you're looking for a more affordable option or are still unsure about your major or career path, a community college might be a good choice. If you're interested in a comprehensive education and the prestige of a four-year university degree, a four-year university may be the best option for you.
- If you know what you want to do and you’re willing to do that work for a life time, trade school (if they offer that specialization).
- if you’d like to be more exploratory, leave yourself open for more jobs, college.
As far as cost, you’re correct about community colleges. That may be best for you right now! Community colleges also have certificates that may suit you!
Eric recommends the following next steps:
You have already received great answers in response to your questions as to the pros/cons of trade school, community college or university, so my response is more about your interest in horse training as well as therapy because there is a great fairly new field of equine therapy where you can utilize horses to engage in the therapeutic process. My best advice to you is not to wait to get started with gaining experience asap! For example, are you an experienced rider? If not, you may want to take lessons first to determine if this is a good fit for you and being in this environment will allow you to ask questions of the other professionals at the horse ranch you may choose. If possible, pick a place to do horse riding lessons where there is also an equine therapy program as there may be a way to participate as a volunteer for the program. This is a great way to gain experience for your resume and also to determine if this is an area you would enjoy working in. In my experience the horse riding instructors always started out as students first and after 4 or more years of riding lessons they then progressed to riding instructors and the ranch actually paid for them to do the training needed to become a riding instructor for them. Best of luck and let me know if you have any more questions!