Are you a non-traditional student interested in changing your future by going to school to learn a new trade or skill? You aren’t alone. Nontraditional student enrollments are on the rise, with a projected increase  of 11% for students aged 25-34 between 2015 and 2026.
Enrolling in school as a non-traditional student can be intimidating, but it is possible and can be an exciting opportunity. There are many nontraditional students who choose trade school, which could be because they didn’t find the right fit at a four-year college or because they aren’t happy with their current job and want to pursue a new career.
Starting a new career without the cost or expectations of a four-year college can be possible for non-traditional students who attend trade school. Older students, or those who don’t fit the mold of a typical incoming freshman, are becoming more common across educational institutions. This is leading non-traditional students to sometimes be called “new traditional ” students.
Non-traditional students can train for a new career and opportunities when they choose trade school. Understanding the educational opportunities available can be the path to changing your professional future.
What is a non-traditional student?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a nontraditional student  is someone who fits one (or more) of the following characteristics:
- Works full time and/or attends school part time
- Delayed their post-secondary education
- Did not receive a traditional high school diploma
- Single parent and/or caregiver of one or more dependents
- Financially independent for financial aid purposes
- Is older than 25
- Is active military or a veteran
How do you pursue a career as a nontraditional student?
According to USA Today , “People over 25 or those with children are enrolling in college classes – so many that nearly 74% of American undergraduate students are “nontraditional.”With baby boomers retiring, it’s possible there will be a trade job deficit of more than 31 million  by 2020, meaning that jobs in the trades are in high demand. Trade school programs offer unique opportunities for nontraditional students to take advantage of these job openings and pursue a career.Becoming a student at a trade school involves commitment. First, you must choose a career to pursue, find the right program, and then work hard for the length of that program. A career in the trades can mean the chance to launch a career directly after completing trade school with minimal debt .
What educational opportunities are available to nontraditional students?
Every educational opportunity is available for non-traditional students. Trade school can offer a flexible class schedule for non-traditional students, which may be ideal for those who need to balance work, school, and family, such as moms going back to school. At Delta Technical College (Delta Tech), the Student Success Specialists are available to help busy students with balancing their work and school schedules. This can include locating childcare, transportation resources, and study groups.Many trade school programs can be completed in less than a year. Trade schools can help nontraditional students quickly begin the process of transitioning to a new career in a variety of programs in the allied health, mechanical trades, and skilled trades industries, including Medical Assisting and Professional Truck Driving, both offered at Delta Tech.Medical assisting is experiencing much faster than average job growth through 2028. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected employment growth for medical assistants is 23%, compared to the national average for all occupations of 5%. CNBC  also listed medical assisting as one of the fastest-growing jobs in the US. Delta Tech offers a 9-month Medical Assisting Program that can prepare students for a career in this field. This program provides students with the skills required to perform in either a clinical or office capacity.A report by the American Trucking Association noted the considerable shortage of truck drivers, which could reach more than 174,000 by 2026 . An NBC article  suggested it might be an appealing career for Millennials as trucking becomes safer and more technologically advanced. Delta Tech offers a 20-week Professional Truck Driving Program that prepares students for a career as a professional truck driver.
“New traditional” students may find opportunities at trade school
Nontraditional is the new “traditional”, as more people look to pursue an education in their mid-20’s, or as single parents. Trade school can offer an opportunity to complete training in a shorter time than a traditional four-year or two-year college. Many occupations in the trades are expected to experience job growth, such as medical assisting and truck driving. It is never too late to consider learning a new skill or continuing your education at trade school.
Begin your journey as a non-traditional student