Vocational &
Trade Schools in Minnesota

Minnesota’s economy is supported by a strong manufacturing sector, a growing mining industry and the wind power industry. Demand for skilled workers remains steady and is projected to continue to grow as more companies in Minnesota branch out into the clean technology sector and build data and operations centers in major cities throughout the state. Vocational and trade programs available in Minnesota provide comprehensive training with a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on practice. This guide provides information about Minnesota vocational and trade schools, career paths for graduates and resources for skilled workers entering the workforce.

Minnesota’s Best Vocational Schools for 2017

Minnesota is home to numerous trade schools and vocational institutions poised to help students succeed. Many of these vocational schools and career colleges offer programs that allow their students to take advantage of fast-growing industries in the state, such as culinary arts and healthcare. Our rankings list makes narrowing down the options easier, as it takes into account factors such as tuition, student-teacher ratio and breadth of programs. Explore the top ranking vocational and trade schools in Minnesota for 2016-2017 below.

RankSchool Name Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1
South Central College
94.97 $$$$$ 8% 22 18:1 22%

Vocational studies at South Central College include programs with a rural focus, with several agribusiness options, as well as programs in the health sciences and manufacturing. Instructors have experience in the industry and bring technology use into the classroom. Learners gain a global perspective on their field of study, and the school has several international travel options that can be integrated into some of the programs. Courses take place on two campuses, and SCC has partnered with local businesses to offer internships, apprenticeships, and employment to its students. Programs can be completed through part- or full-time study; the school’s student population is split evenly between these two options.

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
2
Saint Paul College
94.38 $$$$$ 1% 29 26:1 20%

Vocational programs at Saint Paul College feature collaborative and active learning, with strong student support systems to promote success. Curriculum incorporates advanced technology in the classroom, and students have access to free Wi-Fi campus-wide. Career and technical education options include programs in transportation, construction and building, and manufacturing, as well as esthetics, health IT, and personal training. Student success is supported by numerous campus services, including disability resources, veterans services, personal and academic counseling, and IT assistance. After graduation, alumni have access to career benefits: resume writing and interview assistance, job fairs, and access to the school’s free online Career and Placement Center System.

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
3
Minneapolis Community and Technical College
94.18 $$$$$ N/A 19 24:1 14%

Centrally located in the middle of downtown, Minneapolis Community and Technical College offers a convenient and lively setting where students can earn vocational degrees from seven learning academies. The school was created in 1996 following the merger of a local technical college and an open-enrollment community college. Many of the school’s two-year career training programs have 100 percent job placement rates, and students leave their program prepared to work after training in modern laboratories using simulated technology. Work study and networking opportunities, resume and cover letter assistance, and career fairs are also available to assist students in reaching their career goals.

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
4
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
93.84 $$$$$ 5% 29 21:1 32%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
5
Hennepin Technical College
93.81 $$$$$ 3% 24 21:1 29%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
6
St Cloud Technical and Community College
93.71 $$$$$ 5% 32 23:1 28%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
7
Lake Superior College
93.61 $$$$$ N/A 30 22:1 29%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
8
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
93.27 $$$$$ 1% 29 20:1 47%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
9
Hibbing Community College
93.23 $$$$$ 10% 14 17:1 32%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
10
Dakota County Technical College
92.66 $$$$$ 10% 22 20:1 38%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
11
Rochester Community and Technical College
92.61 $$$$$ 7% 19 21:1 19%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
12
Ridgewater College
92.58 $$$$$ N/A 28 21:1 43%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
13
Northwest Technical College
92.54 $$$$$ 5% 14 17:1 29%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
14
North Hennepin Community College
92.50 $$$$$ 2% 9 24:1 16%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
15
Minnesota State College Southeast
92.48 $$$$$ N/A 23 16:1 29%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
16
Central Lakes College
92.21 $$$$$ 13% 15 25:1 35%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
17
Inver Hills Community College
92.20 $$$$$ 1% 10 24:1 14%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
18
Anoka-Ramsey Community College
92.13 $$$$$ 4% 3 28:1 13%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
19
Mesabi Range Community and Technical College
92.13 $$$$$ N/A 8 20:1 38%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
20
Itasca Community College
91.99 $$$$$ 24% 2 23:1 31%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
21
Alexandria Technical & Community College
91.97 $$$$$ 25% 11 23:1 55%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
22
Anoka Technical College
91.90 $$$$$ N/A 19 21:1 25%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
23
Century College
91.66 $$$$$ N/A 18 24:1 13%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
24
Vermilion Community College
91.40 $$$$$ 21% 2 23:1 32%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
25
Riverland Community College
91.30 $$$$$ 15% 16 20:1 31%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes No Read More
26
Rainy River Community College
91.14 $$$$$ N/A 4 21:1 30%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes No Read More
RankSchool Name Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1
Dunwoody College of Technology
99.82 $$$$$ 20% 11 10:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
2
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
99.60 $$$$$ 54% 7 17:1 73%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
3
St Catherine University
99.60 $$$$$ 99% 6 11:1 59%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
4
Hamline University
99.08 $$$$$ 100% 1 13:1 63%

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes Yes Read More
5
Northwestern Health Sciences University
99.05 $$$$$ 44% 2 7:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: Yes Yes No Read More

Search Vocational & Trade Schools in Minnesota

A high percentage of vocational and trade schools in Minnesota prepare students for STEM careers—science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development states that STEM careers are among the fastest growing in the state. The department also reports that the mining industry has added 4,500 jobs over the past two years. Minnesota companies indicate a strong demand for heavy equipment mechanics, electricians and industrial machinery mechanics.

Use the search tool below to find accredited vocational and trade schools in Minnesota offering a foundation for a career in skilled industries:

Basic Search
Tuition
School Type
Advanced Search +
Degree Level
Student Population
Compare key info for up to 4 schools

Please remove a school if you would like to compare a new one

results

Show:

School Tuition
Tuition for in-state undergrads at the campus location
Acceptance Rate Student Population School Type Nursing Programs

A Quick Look at Minnesota Skilled Trades

The Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system includes 24 state community, technical and colleges offering 5,400 educational programs—many of which are vocational-focused.

51 percent of all jobs in 2012 in Minnesota were middle-skill jobs, requiring education beyond high school but not a four-year degree.

The Minnesota Department of Education reports that 88 percent of students who took at least 240 hours of trade and vocational school courses graduated in the 2012-2013 school year.

More than 27,000 high school students were enrolled in college-level career and technical education courses in 2012, more than double the amount enrolled in 2000.

Vocational Certificates and Diplomas Trends in Minnesota

49 percent of job openings through 2020 in Minnesota will be for middle-skill jobs, reports the National Skills Coalition. The data shows that many of Minnesota’s key industries are struggling to find workers to fill these skilled jobs. In Minnesota, the number of less-than-one-year certificates awarded in 2010 was just below the national average, however, the number of associate degrees and bachelor’s degree rose slightly higher than the national average that same year.

Distribution of Undergraduate Certificates & Degrees

Credential Minnesota National
<1-year certificate 12.5% 14.7%
1-year certificate 11.5% 12.6%
Associate’s degree 27.8% 24.7%
Bachelor’s degree 48.2% 48.0%

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2010)

Career Opportunities in Minnesota for Skilled Workers

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reports office and administrative occupations, sales positions and food preparation positions had the highest levels of employment in the first quarter of 2015. Production, transportation and logistics occupations trail right behind. The Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system projects that home care aides, masonry and concrete finisher occupations will see the biggest employment growth through 2022.

Many vocational and trade schools offer specialized programs in Minnesota’s biggest industries. In many cases, the median wage in Minnesota is slightly higher than the national average. The table below shows careers with the most job openings in Minnesota, industry growth projections and wage information.

Careers Offering High Numbers of Job Openings in Minnesota

Occupation 2012 Employment Projected Annual Job Openings Percent Growth
(2012-2022)
Median Annual Wage
(Minnesota, 2014)
Median Annual Wage
(National, 2014)
Postsecondary, Non-Degree (Some College)
Teacher Assistants 33,230 880 4% $29,700 $24,400
Nursing Assistants 30,180 850 9% $27,000 $25,100
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 35,940 830 7% $41,400 $39,500
Licensed Practical Nurses 17,420 750 19% $41,800 $42,500
Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists 15,340 450 6% $22,600 $23,100
Two-Year Associate Degree
Registered Nurses 55,950 2,030 17% $71,000 $66,600
Preschool Teachers 8,120 310 10% $32,800 $28,100
Dental Hygienists 4,600 170 12% $71,100 $71,500
Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technicians 3,280 160 23% $44,900 $38,400
Radiologic Technologists 3,840 130 21% $63,000 $55,900

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Career One Stop

Spotlight: Trade School Options in Minneapolis

Minnesota is home to 24 state community or technical colleges and seven state universities that offer programs for skilled and trade workers. Minneapolis is home to Minneapolis Community and Technical College and Dunwoody College of Technology. Students will also find beauty schools, a business college and a nursing school in the city.

Minnesota allows students to enroll in vocational and trade courses during high school with its Postsecondary Enrollment Options program. Irondale High School—situated in the Minneapolis metro region—was the first high school to partner with Anoka-Ramsey Community College to offer the Early College High School program. The program was implemented to make it easier for students to earn a certificate, diploma or associate degree shortly after high school graduation.

Minneapolis and the Twin Cities region is home to some of the largest Fortune 500 manufacturing companies. These include General Mills, Medtronic, Ecolab and Land O’ Lakes. Vocational and trade school graduates may find attractive jobs as an administrative professional at United Health Group, one of the biggest public companies in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area or and sales jobs with private companies like Cargill Foods.

Additional Education & Career Resources

A detailed graphic of all major career fields, career clusters and pathways used to develop vocational and trade programs in Minnesota. Useful for identifying attractive career paths and finding out what types of courses and programs are required for different occupations.

Information about CTE courses available at seven Minneapolis high schools and program descriptions. Includes details about various gateway programs of study and a list of resources for students.

Provides contact information for state and technical education professionals and updates about CTE programs around the state.

Provides resources for job seekers and data about the state of the Minnesota economy with job guides and an economic trends magazine.

Online resource for high school graduates wishing to advance their careers. Includes tips for finding the right school, exploring education options, paying for education, and student success stories.