Why Choose Trade School?
Trade schools prepare students for specific skilled occupations. They offer career-focused programs in areas such as welding, auto repair, and cosmetology. Also known as vocational or tech schools, an increasing number of trade schools offer programs in emerging fields such as web graphics, sustainable energy, and industrial automation technology.
Trade school programs take less time to complete than a bachelor's degree. Many vocational programs take 12-18 months to complete, and graduates quickly enter the workforce. Additionally, by pursuing career-focused programs , 74% of trade school graduates end up working in jobs that directly relate to their field of study. By contrast, only 53% of graduates with bachelor's degrees gain employment in a profession related to their college major.
High school graduates make up the bulk of trade school enrollees. Increasingly, however, professionals seeking a mid-career change enroll in vocational and tech schools. The affordability, brevity, and quality of trade school programs draw students from diverse backgrounds.
This guide provides general information about vocational education with a focus on trade and tech schools in Utah. Continue reading to learn more about relevant factors such as accreditation, career and salary for graduates, and financial aid.
|What do trade schools offer?||Trade schools offer programs that train students for specific occupations in a variety of skilled-trade fields.|
|How much does a trade school cost?||Trade school programs currently average $33,000 for an entire program , or approximately one year of tuition at a four-year college or university.|
|What are examples of vocational jobs ?||Examples of vocational occupations include beauticians, mechanics, electricians, and occupational therapy assistants.|
|Can trade school credits transfer?||Some trade school credits transfer to two-year community colleges. However, this often depends on the trade school's program type and accreditation status.|
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Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
In the United States, school accreditation refers to the review process that postsecondary institutions voluntarily undergo to determine the quality of their academic programs. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee the accreditation process.
Degree-granting nonprofit institutions seek regional accreditation. ED and CHEA recognize six regional accreditors, each responsible for accrediting schools within a specific region of the country. For-profit, career-centered institutions (including trade and sectarian schools) seek national accreditation. Programmatic accreditors evaluate specific programs instead of entire schools. National and programmatic accrediting agencies also fall under the oversight of ED and CHEA.
ED channels financial aid only through regionally or nationally accredited schools. The same applies to most private organizations managing scholarship and grant programs. Additionally, accreditation simplifies the credit transfer process.
The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges accredits vocational and trade schools throughout the country. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits colleges and universities in the northwest, including Utah. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits online schools and programs .
All states require schools to obtain a license before they accept students. A license demonstrates that a school meets the basic requirements to offer academic programs. Accreditation evaluates the quality and rigor of a school's educational programs.
Vocational Trade Schools in Utah
The following list includes vocational schools in Utah. Continue reading to find out more about each school's accreditation status, program offerings, and financial aid.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Trade schools often coordinate with local area businesses and large state industries to craft program curricula. Vocational schools serve students and workplaces by adapting their program offerings as job markets and industries shrink or expand. The following list includes four occupational fields commonly available in trade schools today.
Dental Hygienist Schools
Most dental hygienist programs include extensive hands-on training to give students the chance to develop practical skills. Students enroll in classes that cover subjects like dental radiology, oral pathology, and oral disease prevention. Vocational schools typically offer 18-month dental hygienist programs.
States require dental hygienists to obtain a license. Licensure requirements include passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination . You must graduate from an accredited program in order to take the test. The Commission on Dental Accreditation serves as the main accrediting agency for programs in the dental field.
The BLS projects a faster-than-average growth rate of 11% for dental hygienist jobs between 2018 and 2028. Dental hygienists earned an annual median pay of $76,220 in 2019.
Most students complete a trade school mechanic program in one year. Mechanic programs include hands-on training in addition to classroom instruction. Students take courses in auto repair, safety protocols, electrical and mechanical systems, and vehicle performance. Some local trade unions and large automobile companies coordinate with trade schools to offer paid apprenticeship programs that normally last three years.
Mechanics do not need licensure to work in most states. However, many graduates opt to earn the Automotive Service Excellence certification by taking an exam administered by the National Automotive Education Foundation . The exam only accepts applicants from an accredited mechanic program or apprenticeship recognized by the industry.
Automotive service technicians and mechanics earned an annual median salary of $42,090 in 2019.
A paralegal certificate program often consists of 18-30 credits and typically takes 12 months to complete. Students who earn the certificate usually qualify for entry-level jobs in the legal field. Coursework covers fundamental subjects such as estates and trusts, contracts, and legal software.
Employers prefer to hire graduates from at least a two-year associate program in paralegal studies at a community college. Many vocational schools offer two-year paralegal programs or include courses that easily transfer to community colleges.
The BLS projects a 12% growth rate for paralegals between 2018 and 2028. Paralegals earned an annual median salary of $51,740 in 2019.
Radiology Technician Schools
Most radiology technicians work in hospitals, and many work directly with patients undergoing a variety of tests. Radiology technician programs often include classes in patient care procedures as well as radiobiology, radiation physics, and biochemistry.
Most states require radiologic technicians to obtain a license before beginning their professional practice. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists administers several widely recognized tests that many states use as the basis for granting licensure to applicants.
Radiology technicians earned an annual median salary of $62,280 in 2019. The BLS projects a faster-than-average job growth rate of 9% for radiology technicians and the addition of 23,300 jobs between 2018 and 2028.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
The postsecondary journey for many American students begins by completing the FAFSA . Institutions of higher education including vocational and tech schools rely on the information students provide on the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for scholarships and grants. Several professional associations and private organizations that administer financial assistance programs for students also rely on FAFSA information to disburse funds.
Although trade school education costs less than four-year bachelor's degrees, many students still apply for financial aid from need-based federal programs like Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants . For students that do not qualify for need-based grants, the government offers low-interest student loans that come with payment deferment options. Although a private lender, Sallie Mae administers the Career Training Smart Option Loans , a program earmarked specifically for vocational school students.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
In 2019, a total of 163,690 students enrolled in various career and technical programs at trade schools in Utah. Some 95% of students completed the trade school programs in which they enrolled, higher than the 87% completion rate for students enrolled in four-year institutions. The scholarships in the list below comprise a small segment of available financial assistance programs for trade school students in Utah.
American Welding Society Welder Training Scholarship
Who Can Apply
: Applicants provide proof of enrollment or acceptance to a welding training program at an accredited trade school or community college. Local AWS districts accept applications, which they then forward to the national chapter.
Amount : $1,000
Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractor National Association Educational Foundation Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply
: The program accepts applications from students pursuing a plumbing and heating/cooling program at a community college or vocational institution, as well as professional plumbers seeking to refresh their skills.
Amount : Varies
Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute Technical Scholarship
Who Can Apply
: RMCMI accepts applications from students pursuing a technical school program related to the coal mining industry. Eligible applicants reside in one of the eight member states, including Utah.
Amount : $1,000
Southern Utah Home Builders Association
Who Can Apply
: SUHBA invites students pursuing a postsecondary program in a construction-related field to apply for funding. Applicants do not need to maintain membership with SUHBA to apply, although the organization gives preference to members.
Amount : $1,000
Utah Energy Workforce Scholarship
Who Can Apply
: The program accepts applications from students enrolled in an energy-related technical certification at an accredited Utah postsecondary institution. Applicants submit their answers to the prompts included in the application form.
Amount : $2,000