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Types of Trade Schools and Other Important Information

the different types of trade or technical schools

Over the last several years, and even today, there has been a lot more talk in the news about trades schools and skilled trades. Trade school programs are one of the fastest ways to train for a new career, and many trade careers come with high pay.

Unfortunately, not everybody knows what trade school is, or what types of careers these places have to offer.

What Is A Trade School?

Trade school is known by multiple names. It can also be called technical school, vocational school, or career college. They are all, however, one and the same.

Whichever name you use, trade schools are secondary schools designed to prepare you for a career in the skilled trades. This begs the question, “What are the trades?”

Trades are fields that require a particular set of skills and knowledge. Most trades have an element of hands-on work in changing locations, a great option for people who dislike the idea of having to report to the same cubicle every day.

Good examples of the careers in the trades are:

—the list goes on. There are dozens upon dozens of trade school program options!

There are so many benefits to choosing trade school over a traditional college program; these perks typically include less-to-no debt and training in under 12 months.

Flexible scheduling with night and weekend classes, career-focused material (few to no general education courses), smaller class sizes with hands-on learning, and shorter programs that get you into the workplace faster, earning money sooner. Most of these programs also offer internships and job placement assistance.

Everything about trade school makes so much sense in today’s job market, where competition for one “bachelor’s or master’s degree required” position is fierce. With most trade skills, you have the ability to graduate from your program and go right into a job. It’s all very no fuss!

Different Types Of Trade Schools

Trade schools come in all different shapes and sizes. Some schools have a dozen or more different programs you can choose from, while others are hyper-specialized in one or two areas of the skilled trades.

There are some trade schools specifically for mechanics, and some for medical and nursing programs. Maybe you want an HVAC/r school, or one that focuses only on cosmetology or criminal justice.

There are even some schools offering programs that can be completed entirely online, or on the weekends—even just the evenings!

Because there are so many trade programs and schools out there, you likely have one in your area, offering a program you're interested in. There's no need to attend school out of state, ranking up more costs, when you can attend a program a short distance from your home.

Some different types of trade schools:

Health and medical trade schools help you train for a rewarding career in the medical, dental, or other health-related industries. Many allied health and dental training programs can be completed in approximately 10 months or fewer.

Cosmetology schools are a perfect choice if hair, makeup, and nails are a few of your favorite things. Especially after you’ve beautified them. You can look into these schools for outstanding cosmetology training. Most cosmetology training programs can be completed in as few as 9 months.

Criminal justice schools, where you can train to become a paralegal, or law enforcement, homeland security, or for any of the other many kinds of positions in the field. Many criminal justice training programs can be completed in as few as 9 months.

Culinary schools will bring out the best and most creative chef in you. You’ll learn to create everything from mouth-watering main dishes to delectable desserts with any of these fine programs. Culinary training programs, depending on the career focus, can be completed in as few as 10 months.

Emergency services schools are perfect for people wanting to be first responders such as EMT and paramedics. Many EMT training programs can be finished in 9 months or fewer.

Computer and IT schools will train you for positions such as an audiovisual technician, or an IT technician, to name a few careers that are always in demand.

CDL training will allow you to hit that open road as a truck driver. With the driver shortage only growing larger, you’ll easily find a job once you’re qualified. Many CDLA-A training programs can be completed in as few as 3-6 weeks.

Massage therapy teaches you the art of healing through touch. You'll be trained in one or more of the modalities. Many massage training programs can be completed in as few as 10 months.

Welding training will teach you the different techniques you can specialize in during your career. Many welding training programs can be completed in as few as 10 months.

HVAC/R schools get you heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration technician training. It’s a cool career, and the job market is hot right now (See what we did there?). Many HVAC tech training programs can be completed in as few as 6 months.

Automotive technician and diesel mechanic training is where you’ll learn to work on cars, boats, motorcycles, or any other type of vehicle. Many mechanic training programs can be completed in as few as 10 months.

Electrical is what powers us up, and you’ll be trained how to keep more than just the lights on. Many electrician training programs can be completed in as few as 10 months.

What Does Accredited Mean?

You may notice some colleges advertise the fact that they’re accredited. That means a peer board from a private agency has reviewed the facility and found that it meets whatever standards the judging body has set.

Accreditation is completely voluntary, and it’s the Council for Higher Education that heads up this effort. Each state is in charge of accrediting its own schools.

Some important reasons to go to an accredited school are:

  • Your grades will be able to transfer to other schools.
  • You’ll have access to scholarships and grants.
  • You can be assured the school meets quality standards.
  • You’re eligible to sit for certification exams.

Going to a non-accredited school may hamper your academic and career success. It’s important to know whether the school you’re considering has been accredited by a legitimate agency.

Check a school's website to find accreditation, or, use us! All of our partner schools are nationally accredited.

How Do I Get Into Trade School?

Like colleges and universities, there are some steps you must take in order to get into trade schools. Admission requirements are very manageable.

Trade school admissions steps to take:

  • Get your high school diploma or GED. Most trade schools will not accept you if you don’t have one or the other, but some trade schools offer programs to help you complete an GED!
  • Find a trade school that offers the program you’re looking for. Make sure it’s conveniently located, so you’ll actually be able to get there!
  • Fill out the application before registration deadline. Each school has its own dates, but an admissions representative will walk you through this information.
  • Most likely, go through an admissions interview. In 2020, due to COVID-19, this may very likely happen online.
  • Take an admissions test, if applicable. It helps the school determine best placement for you. However, there may be a minimum score you’ll have to get in order to gain entrance to the trade school.