Trade School vs Community College?

  1. hey there -

    brand new to this site and have been reading what seems to be some very honest feedback. that's exactly what im hoping to get... with that, i'm about to turn 40, married with a teenage son. i've worked every shift imaginable and have the full support of my family when the shifts arent the fun ones. have been in the same industry for 20 years, its not what it used to be and i have no real opportunity to make a difference or feel some meaning in it.

    i've come to the conclusion that the best thing for me to do toward figuring out if any level of nursing or specialty medical tech job is for me is to start at a community college with the common pre-reqs for both paths. this way if im not cut out for it then im not out much. plus, with only one income right now, pay-as-you go is what we can do. may take a ton of time but you have to start somewhere. went to trade school in the past and i was just a giant dollar sign to them. once i got to class it was not at all what i signed up for and im still paying the student loans. the community college i'd start the medical pre-req's at has an excellent RN program so i could make the transition there. i have an assesment test scheduled for next month on the math (ugh).

    so my questions are... what experiences can you share about trade school and/or community college? recommend one over the other/why? what do you wish someone would have told you up front before you entered your first class? - good or bad - any feedback is seriously appreciated. i have a feeling that the schooling and work itself will be quite hard but i'm looking forward to it; the rewards seem to come on many levels. for a split second, i thought i might be too old to start doing this. anyone with feedback on that, its most welcomed! thanks in advance for your time and thanks to each nurse here for what you do each day.
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    About RNcurious

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 2


  3. by   caliotter3
    I often see negative comments about the trade schools, particularly those for LPN. Lack of classroom control making it difficult to pay attention to the instructor type of thing. My best advice is to go with the community college to save money and get a better education, with courses that will transfer. Trade schools are too expensive for the lower quality of education and their courses transfer only to another trade school, for the most part. But, on the other hand, if you don't want to deal with lotteries, waiting lists, or rejection, they are the way to go. Essentially you pay for the convenience. Good luck.
  4. by   RNcurious
    thanks so much for the quick response. i checked out the board of nursing and there was a lot of good info about schools so that helped, too. so about the waiting lists, etc - what's the deal with that? again, im just learnin but is it ok to get on a wait list early and/or while completing prereqs?
  5. by   mochabean
    Last year I considered going to trade school and I went to the website of one to see what tuition was- but it wasn't listed. I called the school and asked, but suggested I come down for a tour and then they would discuss it with me. I went down there and, after an hour long tour, it was like I was dealing with a telemarketing/sleezy car salesman type of deal. I finally found out how much tuition was for PCT and medical assistant program: between $17,000-$20,000 for 12-18 months. Then the credits don't transfer to a college or university. I decided I was better off going to community college.
  6. by   CrufflerJJ
    I can't speak to trade schools, but have only good things (except for the nursing program director - see below) to say about my local community college. I did my paramedic program there, along with most of my nursing prereqs. It was well equipped, the teachers were excellent, and the price was very low.

    Their nursing program director, however, was an unresponsive twit. I emailed her, asking if any of my prior Bachelors courses or my paramedic coursework would permit me to bypass any of the ADN courses. No response. After a few weeks, I sent her a letter, asking the same thing. No response.

    At that point, I decided to go elsewhere (I did an accelerated BSN). The community college's ADN wait list was ~2.5-3 years long when I was considering it. I believe that this is pretty typical. Some colleges have shorter wait lists.

    You'd need to ask your local nursing program about how they work the wait list. Some require that you complete prereqs BEFORE starting the wait list. Others allow you to be on the wait list while working on your prereqs.

    As to being too old to start this, NO. I'm 47 (almost 48), and will be starting my first RN job in a few weeks. There was a lady in my accelerated BSN cohort who was 57 years old. She also had Masters in Public Health & Microbiology, as well as a PhD in Microbiology. Many nurses have "interesting" backgrounds, as you will hopefully discover.

    Good luck, and I hope that things work out as you hope.