Vocational Trade Schools in Alabama

Why Choose Trade Schools?

Many high-paying, fast-growing career fields do not require a four-year degree. Employers often seek candidates with job-specific skills and industry certifications. Trade schools in Alabama provide rigorous and relevant training in a variety of career fields.Students often choose vocational schools in order to enter the workforce sooner. Curricula vary by program, but learners develop career-specific skills and knowledge. Many programs also lead to industry certifications. While the time necessary to graduate varies, most students complete their technical education within two years. According to 2009 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), students who earn an occupational credential are more likely to work in a career related to their studies than learners who obtain an academic credential.

Most technical colleges in Alabama deliver programs that incorporate hands-on training. Instructors often work closely with local employers to provide internship or cooperative education opportunities. Even online vocational programs typically include the application of practical skills.

Alabama vocational schools offer training in fields such as healthcare, manufacturing, and business. Common vocational programs include dental hygiene, pharmacy technician, hospitality management, heating and cooling, and automotive repair. Most technical schools admit both recent high school graduates and working professionals who intend to change careers.

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Can I go to trade school online?Yes, many trade and vocational programs offer online learning opportunities. These programs require excellent time-management skills and self-sufficiency. However, online programs offer greater flexibility than on-campus options, which can be ideal for working professionals.
Can I get financial aid for trade school?Federal and state financial aid is available to students attending accredited vocational schools in Alabama. However, learners at programs that do not meet minimum length requirements may not be eligible for aid.
Are scholarships available for vocational students?Yes, many schools, civic organizations, and charitable organizations offer scholarships for students pursuing a trade or vocational education. This guide includes several examples.
Can trade school credits transfer?Learners can often transfer credits from trade or vocational schools toward a two-year or four-year degree. Some vocational schools maintain articulation agreements with community colleges and universities.

Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools

Accrediting agencies provide an impartial quality check of a school's academic and career preparation programs. Vocational schools in Alabama can receive accreditation from the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools Council on Occupational Education. Institutions can also seek accreditation from a national accrediting agency that focuses on trade and career preparation, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

Additionally, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission awards accreditation to schools that provide distance education programs. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the Department of Education maintain online databases of recognized accrediting agencies. Learners can also use this list of the best online institutions of 2020 to select a school that fits their needs.

The accreditation process includes a thorough review of the school's curriculum standards, faculty credentials, and student success. Agencies often consider the job placements of graduates and whether the institution's programs prepare learners to succeed in their chosen profession. Many vocational schools also work with national certification agencies to align their curricula to industry certification requirements.

In addition to institutional accreditation, learners can look for programmatic accreditation. Individual programs may receive accreditation from field-specific agencies, such as the American Council for Construction Education, the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation, and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. These organizations ensure each program's curriculum meets industry standards for training and education.

Although accreditation is a voluntary process, all schools must obtain a state license to serve students. The Private School Licensure Division of the Alabama Community College System authorizes schools to educate Alabama students through on-campus and distance programs. The licensing process involves a review of the school's academic requirements to ensure its educational programs meet set standards.

Programs that lead to state licensure should also hold authorization from the appropriate state agency. For example, practical nursing programs in the state should hold recognition from the Alabama Board of Nursing.

Vocational Trade Schools in Alabama

The rankings below offer a snapshot of the best vocational schools in Alabama. However, students should consider their individual needs when selecting a school. Learners should choose an institution and program that aligns with their educational and career goals. Other important factors include cost and degree-completion time.

4 Year Colleges

Gadsden State Community College View School Profile Gadsden, AL 14%

Founded in 1925, GSCC is one of the best trade schools in Alabama with a variety of career and technical programs. Students can choose from more than 70 associate degrees and certificates. Areas of study include academic, technical, health sciences, as well as skills training programs.

Certificates take 3-5 semesters to complete. Associate degrees require about five semesters. Learners can study online or onsite and visit with virtual advisors on educational plans and admissions questions.

The associate degree in court reporting trains students with hands-on learning through laboratories, practicums, and internships.

GSCC also offers technical training through the One Stop Center, Joe Ford Center, and Alabama Technology Network (ATN). ATN works with 150 companies annually to provide workforce development in additive manufacturing, environmental systems, practical energy, and lean manufacturing.

Wallace Community College-Hanceville View School Profile $ Hanceville, AL 20%

Wallace State, established in 1966, serves about 7,000 students through a variety of learning formats. Students take classes on the main campus in Hanceville, a second location in Oneonta, or online. Evening and hybrid classes offer added flexibility for working professionals.

Wallace State ranks as one of the top trade schools in Alabama with more than 50 areas of study. Students earn associate degrees and certificates in aviation and flight technology, culinary arts, cosmetology, and diesel mechanics.

Apprenticeships available through the Office of Career and Workforce Development provide paid job training.

Students can also find cooperative education programs that combine classroom learning and on-the-job training. Learners gain a year of work experience by completing the program.

Apprenticeships take about one year to complete. Internships typically take one semester, and cooperative education programs take about three semesters.

Northwest-Shoals Community College View School Profile $ Muscle Shoals, AL

NW-SCC opened its doors in 1963 and now offers two locations in Muscle Shoals and Phil Campbell.

Today, the two-year college, one of the top trade schools in Alabama, offers around 100 associate degrees and certificates to its more than 3,500 students.

Areas of study include diagnostic imaging radiology, salon and spa management, automotive service technology, and welding.

Short-term certificates and two-year associate degrees also provide hands-on work training. The associate degree in emergency medical services requires clinicals that give students practical skills. Labs such as those offered in the carpentry and cabinetmaking program teach students on-the-job building techniques in construction, floors, walls, and site preparation.

Outside of the traditional college learning environment, students also gain technical training and take personal development classes through the Workforce Solutions Division.

The division partners with local companies to cater to their employment and training needs. Students can enroll in the machinist apprenticeship program, customized manufacturer training, or computer classes.

Shelton State Community College View School Profile $ Tuscaloosa, AL 8%

SSCC, a large public two-year school established in 1979, serves about 7,000 students. With two campuses in Tuscaloosa, many learners take in-person courses. The college also offers offsite internships and apprenticeships at SSCC's corporate partnership locations.

Programs provide students with career and technical training and academic pathways to transfer four-year colleges. Technical associate degrees and certificates train students in air conditioning and refrigeration technology, culinary arts, diesel mechanics, and welding technology.

Learners can also become apprentices or interns through the Mercedes-Benz Industrial Mechatronics Program, Mercedes Technician Program, Nucor Technical Academy, Hunt Refining Company Operations Operations Co-Op Program, or Technical Scholar Program.

Apprenticeships offer free tuition, books, and paid wages. However, students must commit to work after graduation.

The Mercedes-Benz Industrial Mechatronics Program includes seven semesters of study and 18 additional months of on-the-job-training at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International. Program graduates receive an associate degree in industrial electronics and a short-term certificate in industrial maintenance.

Northeast Alabama Community College View School Profile Rainsville, AL 24%

NACC, with a 117-acre campus in Rainsville, first offered classes in 1963. Students also take dual-enrollment programs at local high schools and career and technical courses at the DeKalb County Technology Center, the Ernest Pruett Center of Technology, and the Marshall County Technical Center.

More than 180 associate degrees, certificates, and short-term certificates train students to transfer to four-year schools or enter the workforce. Students choose from majors in air conditioning and refrigeration, industrial systems technology, medical office administration, and paralegal studies.

The Skills Training Division also offers non-credit training opportunities for learners who want to upskill and gain professional certification. Short-term training programs prepare students to become carpenters, CDL truck drivers, home health and hospice aides, and pharmacy technicians.

Learners can also take online training programs and non-credit workshops and community education courses.

The college's open admissions policy accepts all applicants who have completed high school.

Bishop State Community College View School Profile Mobile, AL 11%

Bishop State, a public two-year institution, offers an affordable public education to students in Mobile and Washington counties.

Founded in 1927 as the Mobile Branch of Alabama State College, this college offers a variety of one- and two-year programs that train students for some of the fastest-growing careers in Alabama. Associate degrees and certificates focus on trades such as construction management, hotel and restaurant management, funeral service education, and manufacturing and technology.

Depending on the program, learners study on the main campus locations in Mobile, the Theodore Oaks Shopping Center, or the City of Semmes Training Center.

Bishop State's Workforce Development division also offers short-term occupational training programs and apprenticeships. Programs include the lineman training, the heavy highway construction training, and youth programs. Apprentices may incur fees, which the school offsets with stipends.

Jefferson State Community College View School Profile $ Birmingham, AL 7%

Founded in 1965, Jefferson State stands out from other vocational schools in Alabama with its extensive selection of majors and small classes that deliver personalized attention.

Students can choose from 150 transfer, career, and professional programs in close-knit learning environments that feature an average class size of 21.

This two-year college offers four locations throughout Alabama with career and professional programs in subjects such as biomedical equipment technology, construction management, manufacturing and technology, and veterinary technology.

Jefferson State's apprenticeship program provides offsite learning. Apprentices follow a program that includes classroom instruction twice a week at night and paid full-time work experience at partner companies such as Vulcan Materials Company, Alabama Dynamics Fabricators and Machinists, and Milo's.

Students can enroll in apprenticeships in machining, welding, and industrial maintenance.

Trenholm State Community College View School Profile $ Montgomery, AL 33%

Trenholm formed in 2000 when John M. Patterson State Technical College and H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College merged. This two-year college rises above other Alabama technical colleges with its flexible and affordable academic and career training opportunities.

Students earn associate degrees and technical certificates at two locations in Montgomery. Programs give students the technical and occupational skills to land entry-level positions in growing industries in Alabama such as automotive services, culinary arts, dental assisting, cosmetology, emergency medical services, and medical billing and coding.

The school's Continuing Education Division also delivers workforce training that meets the needs of the community and businesses in Alabama.

Flexible programs offer evening, online, and weekend options. Non-credit courses include healthcare certificates, one-day seminars, and career training in computer applications and teacher professional development.

Wallace Community College View School Profile Dothan, AL 19%

Established in 1949, WCC distinguishes itself as one of the largest vocational schools in Alabama with a comprehensive offering of programs.

This public two-year institution serves students of various backgrounds with two locations in Dothan and Eufaula and training offered through the Center for Economic and Workforce Development.

The college features associate degrees and certificates in three divisions: general academics, health sciences, and career technical. Students can pick from majors in applied engineering technology, electrical graphics, radiologic technology, cabinetmaking, masonry, and small engine repair.

Businesses and community members can also take non-credit workforce development courses that lead to careers as certified nursing assistants, industrial welders, dental assistants, and eye care assistants. Learners can complete fast-track programs in 12-14 weeks or less.

Prospective students apply for admission in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. They must complete an application and sometimes take placement exams.

Calhoun Community College View School Profile Tanner, AL

Calhoun Community College, one of the largest trade schools in Alabama, features 49 associate degrees and 52 career certificates that students can earn from its 110-acre Decatur campus or online.

Top programs at Calhoun Community College include advanced manufacturing, emergency medical technology, and computer and information systems. As of fall 2019, Calhoun Community College trained 1,185 existing industry workers, 824 healthcare workers, 224 CDL drivers, and 116 cyber and internet technology workers.

Two-year associate degrees provide paths directly to the workforce or transfer opportunities to four-year colleges. Learners can study paralegal studies, aerospace technology, advanced technology, or welding technology.

Certificates offer short-term training to learn specific technical skills. Some credits from certificates can transfer to higher degrees.

Students can take a career interest assessment to help them pick a major. The Calhoun Career Services office also provides workshops, virtual job markets, and cooperative learning opportunities.

Coastal Alabama Community College View School Profile $ Bay Minette, AL

Coastal Alabama Community College, a public two-year school that began in 1963 as Faulkner State Community College, offers flexible learning opportunities and specialized training for industry professionals and recent high school graduates.

Part of the 23-member Alabama Community College System, this community college offers nine campuses throughout the state, including the regional administrative campus in Bay Minette. The college awards associate degrees and certificates in subjects such as administrative medical office technology, culinary arts, and masonry. Students can complete certificates in 2-3 semesters and associate degrees in two years.

Additionally, since 1979, Alabama Aviation Center at Brookley Field has provided career opportunities with programs in power plant technology, airframe technology, and avionics. The curriculum prepares students to earn Federal Aviation Administration certification.

Employers and individuals can also take workforce development courses and recreational classes through the Center for Professional Development. Non-credit courses teach students welding, industrial maintenance technology. JumpStartAL also offers virtual classes.

Lawson State Community College View School Profile $ Bessemer, AL 18%

Established in 1965, LSCC features academic and career and technical programs to meet the specific needs of students and industries in Birmingham.

Students can pick from more than 70 associate degrees and certificates, including the most popular majors of nursing, air conditioning, computer science, business administration, and welding. The college features both short-term and long-term certificates that require 17-56 credits. Associate degrees take about two years to complete.

Many programs offer work experience such as the business internship available in the office administration and banking and finance certificates.

Industry professionals at the Office of Workforce Development also train students to earn fast-track training certificates in healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing and logistics training.

Partnerships with local and national agencies also offer additional occupational opportunities. The school's small business center provides free workshops through its partnership with the United States Small Business Administration. The real estate short certificate allows students to become real estate agents through its connection to Realty South.

JF Drake State Community and Technical College View School Profile Huntsville, AL 15%

F. Drake State Community and Technical College began in 1961 to serve the African American community, and today this public college continues to distinguish itself above other technical schools in Alabama.

Learners can choose from several flexible and affordable majors that lead to associate degrees and certificates.

Programs meet industry needs by training students in the fields of automotive service technology, heating and air conditioning, culinary arts and hospitality service management, and machine tool technology.

A member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, this two-year school allows students to transfer credits earned in technical associate degrees toward bachelor's programs at Athens State University, Alabama A&M University, Oakwood University, or the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Employers in the surrounding area also benefit from the highly trained workers who complete programs through the Workforce Development Division. The division provides continuing education and training programs, which specifically meet the needs of local industry partners.

Enterprise State Community College View School Profile Enterprise, AL 13%

ESCC, which dates back to 1963, offers workforce and academic opportunities on its 160-acre main campus in Enterprise. The college also operates the Alabama Aviation College at Ozark and Alabama Aviation College at Andalusia.

Academic, career, and high school associate degrees and certificates prepare students to transfer, advance in their careers, or find entry-level work in fast-growing industries in Alabama. Courses meet the needs of working adults with various formats, including hybrid and completely online formats.

Career programs, which allow students to graduate within two years, include majors in avionics technology, health information technology, and 3D modeling and simulation. ESCC also works with local businesses through the Training for Business and Industry division to help workers upgrade their skills.

To help students fund their tuition and books, Enterprise State Community College Foundation awards various scholarships based on financial need and academic merit.

Southern Union State Community College View School Profile $ Wadley, AL 14%

Located in Wadley, SUSCC opened in 1993 and has since continued to grow its student population and its program catalog.

SUSCC stands out as one of the top trade schools in Alabama with associate degrees and certificates that suit the needs of its more than 5,000 students. Learners can gain training in automotive service technology, cosmetology, machine shop technology, engineering and design, and magnetic resonance imaging.

Short-term certificates in plastics injection molding, tractor trailer truck driving, and robotics and automation offer training within as little as six weeks. Students take technical division classes at the Opelika and Valley campuses.

The college's articulation agreement with Point University allows students to transfer credits from a technical degree toward a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership.

The Southern Union Workforce Solutions also offers non-credit programs in industry training and engagement, certified production technician, ready to work, and CDL truck driving.

JF Ingram State Technical College View School Profile Deatsville, AL 31%

Established in 1965, ISTC has distinguished itself as one of the only comprehensive technical schools in Alabama that serves incarcerated adults.

Students can choose from 17 career fields with certificates in automotive mechanic, barbering, carpentry, diesel mechanics, upholstery, and welding. The college offers short-term stackable certificates with credits that students can combine to receive long certificates.

A central focus of ISTC's curriculum includes live work, or hands-on learning opportunities to work under the expertise of instructors. Students can get practical skills changing oil in the auto mechanics program, customizing cabinets in the cabinet-making program, or cutting a client's hair in the barbering and cosmetology program.

ISTC also provides adult education, GED preparation, and soft skills training programs. Eligible students may also qualify for free industry credentials. To prepare graduates for the workforce, the Ingram State Technical College Foundation provides financial aid to cover tools, equipment, and certification costs.

Bevill State Community College View School Profile $ Jasper, AL 14%

Bevill State, a two-year public institution that opened in 1992, features four campuses and an instructional site to serve students in West Central Alabama and online. Remote learning allows students to learn through the interactive inter-campus television or hybrid instruction.

Career-focused students begin their journey to secure high-skilled trades at the Career Technical Education Division. Bevill State features career associate degrees, and a variety of certificates, including short-term and long-term credentials, and certificates of completion. Learners can gain skills in office administration and technology, electrical systems technology, and salon and spa management.

Associate degrees, which require 60-68 credits, take two years to complete. Certificates require 27-49 credits. Programs prepare students to take state exams such as the esthetics short-term certificate, which gives students the knowledge to become licensed estheticians.

The admissions process begins with an online application. Prospective students must also submit personal identification materials and proof of residency.

Chattahoochee Valley Community College View School Profile Phenix City, AL

CVCC, a public two-year college that opened in 1974, features a 101-acre campus in Phenix City. This small community college serves 1,800 students with intimate classrooms that feature a student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1.

Trades in automotive manufacturing, industrial maintenance, heating and air conditioning, and welding prepare students to compete in Alabama's demanding workforce. Students can pick from associate degrees and certificates that take no longer than two years to complete.

Learners can find short-term training that prepares them to reenter the job market with new skills. The 72-credit associate degree in automotive manufacturing allows students to transfer to a four-year college. The college also offers a 63-credit certificate and 23-credit certificate in automotive manufacturing for students to want to quickly reentry the workforce.

The Chattahoochee Valley Community College Foundation offers scholarships to eligible students, including career technical scholarships.

Snead State Community College View School Profile Boaz, AL 32%

Snead State, which opened in 1898, offers instruction on its main 43-acre campus in Boaz, and at the Arab location which serves students in Guntersville and Brindlee Mountain.

Trade programs train students in office administration, aircraft structures, building and property management, and landscape and grounds management.

Programs include associate degrees, certificates, and short-term certificates. Short-term certificates require less of a time commitment than certificates and associate degrees. Students earning an associate degree through the Arab center can combine evening and online courses to graduate in four semesters.

Classes run in eight-week terms and start in the fall, spring, and summer. Learners can take classes fully online to earn associate degrees in office administration and applied business and certificates in accountancy and healthcare management.

The college also operates the Aviation College that provides pathways for students to become aviation maintenance technicians. The Workforce Development Division also offers professional development courses, including the free Alabama Ready to Work program.

Reid State Technical College View School Profile Atmore, AL 34%

RSTC, unlike other trade schools in Alabama, offers accelerated programs to provide workforce training. Students take classes at the main campus in Evergreen or the offsite location in Atmore.

Many associate degrees and certificates offer quick pathways to land in-demand careers in Alabama. Learners can become skilled in trades such as industrial electricity and electronics, cosmetology, commercial truck driving, office systems technology, and welding.

The cost of each program and length of time to graduate depends on the subject area. The commercial truck driving program takes only eight weeks to complete, whereas the associate degree in industrial electricity and electronics technology takes about two years.

RSTC emphasizes learning through non-academic activities with community service and leadership opportunities. Students can participate in on-campus activities such as the annual blood drive and the Student Government Association.

To apply for programs, prospective students must complete an application, submit their high school or college transcripts, and complete an in-state residency form.

Central Alabama Community College View School Profile Alexander City, AL

CACC, which opened in 1966 when City State Junior College and Nunnelley State Technical College merged, offers classes at its main campus in Alexander City, in Childersburg, the Talladega Center, and Millbrook Instructional site.

Students pursue associate in applied science degrees, associate in occupational technology degrees, associate in science degrees, and certificates. Programs offer in-person, hybrid, and online classes. Areas of study include cosmetology, child development, industrial electronics technology, and occupational technology.

Required credits vary with every program. An associate degree in cosmetology requires 66-67 credits and a cosmetology in certificate requires about 48 credits. Short-term certificates, such as the 12-credit chemical services and salon and nine-credit hair coloring programs, offer the fastest route to graduation.

CACC's Workforce Education department also offers career training programs for students just out of high school or working professionals. Programs prepare students to become clinical medical assistants, dental assistants, medical billing and coding specialists, and pharmacy technicians.

Lurleen B Wallace Community College View School Profile $ Andalusia, AL 21%

LBWCC, with a campus in Andalusia that opened in 1963 and three additional locations, educates students in five counties in south Alabama.

Technical and occupational programs train students in automotive mechanics, air conditioning and refrigeration, diesel and heavy equipment mechanics, and forest technology.

Associate degrees offer accelerated formats that allow students to graduate in 15-24 months. The average student graduates in two years. The college also provides prior learning credit for military experience, volunteerism, and on-the-job training that can help students graduate quicker.

Many learners also use the credits earned in an associate degree to transfer and pursue a bachelor's degree. The STARS program guide ensures that students earn transferable credits.

The Cooperative Education program provides an alternative learning option that allows students to earn credits for their part-time or full-time work. Students enrolled in Cooperative Education programs also receive preference for full-time positions once they graduate.

Wallace Community College Selma View School Profile $ Selma, AL 25%

Tracing its history back to 1963, WCCS provides educational opportunities and workforce development to seven counties in western Alabama. This community college serves 1,700 students with 16 technical programs.

Through the WCCS technical division, students can pursue associate degrees and certificates in drafting and design technology, industrial maintenance, cosmetology, drafting and design technology, masonry and building trades, and welding.

The college offers various delivery methods to earn a certificate or degree. Students who work full time or care for families can take online courses that operate asynchronously. Online learners make their class schedule. Some programs may require students to take labs and exams on campus.

The Workforce Development department offers the community free programs, including no-cost commercial driver's license training, welding classes, and training to become a certified product technician.

The college's open door admissions policy welcomes students of various backgrounds. However, programs may outline specific requirements.

University of South Alabama View School Profile $$ Mobile, AL

USA, a four-year public research institution, has since 1963 offered engaging learning experiences. This large college caters to 14,000 students with a 1,200-acre campus and 24 undergraduate majors and 13 graduate programs.

USA features mostly bachelor's degrees, but also technical and academic certificates. Students can earn certificates in EMT, paramedic, gerontology, and health informatics. Many programs take no longer than 1-3 semesters to complete. Graduates often gain the skills to sit for national exams. The EMT certificate prepares students to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

The curriculum typically incorporates practical work experience. For example, the gerontology certificate requires 300 contact hours in which students work in clinical settings with older individuals.

The college also offers four student scholarships every year, including the Jack Edwards Scholarship and Bob Lager Scholarship.

Samford University View School Profile $$$$$ Birmingham, AL

Samford, a private school founded 1841, offers accelerated pathways to higher education and better careers. About 97% of students graduate within six months.

The school sits on a 247-acre campus Birmingham and features 177 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations. Career-minded students can earn a technical certificate from Samford's McWhorter School of Pharmacy to become a pharmacy technician.

Students can complete the pharmacy technician certificate within eight weeks and find work in one of Alabama's fastest-growing fields. Graduates possess the knowledge and practical skills to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam.

The curriculum offers a combination of online learning and personal interaction with faculty. Online learners spend about 10 hours a week reading materials and watching lectures. During the program, online learners must complete a four-hour hands-on learning experience doing non-sterile and sterile compounding.

This non-credit program is recognized by the Alabama Board of Pharmacy.

Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates

Many trade schools in Alabama offer programs that lead to positions in high-growth career fields. Graduates often earn above-average salaries and enjoy high levels of job security. The state's economic and industrial recruitment efforts impact the availability of certain trade programs.

For example, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama ranks among the top states for aerospace and aviation engineers. Projections Central projects employment for aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians to increase 37.9% and 35.7%, respectively, in Alabama from 2016 to 2026.

Salary potential for graduates of technical schools in Alabama depends on the individual's industry, training, and experience. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), avionics technicians earn a median annual salary of $59,120 nationally and $54,410 in Alabama.

Prospective students can explore employment projections from the BLS to understand their career options. Recent data from the BLS projects healthcare positions to comprise a large portion of jobs created from 2018 to 2028. Users on the BLS website can also research each occupation's median salary and top-paying industries.

What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?

Many vocational schools in Alabama work in tandem with workforce development programs to help industry partners develop their workforce. Ambulatory healthcare services is one of the state's top industries, according to the BLS, and trade school programming in the state includes several medical training opportunities. Alabama is also home to large automotive manufacturing facilities and aerospace and aviation companies. See below for several popular vocational programs at technical colleges in Alabama.


Paramedics provide advanced medical care outside of hospital settings. Paramedics often provide the first level of intervention after a medical emergency or traumatic injury. Paramedics assess each patient's condition, provide first aid or life support, and transport the patient in an ambulance to a medical facility.

Projections Central projects a 13.7% increase in employment opportunities for paramedics in Alabama from 2016 to 2026. According to BLS data, about 3,780 paramedics and EMTs currently work in the state. Paramedic positions require1-2 years of training, and students must already have a valid advanced EMT license.

To qualify for work as paramedics, graduates must obtain a paramedic license from the Alabama Department of Public Health and pass the paramedic exam from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. To ensure they are eligible to pursue licensure, students should select an accredited paramedic training program.

Dental Hygiene

Dental hygienists work primarily in the dentists' offices, providing patient care during routine dental exams. Hygienists often conduct cleanings to remove plaque and tartar, take X-rays, and assess oral health. They discuss treatment plans and help educate patients about proper brushing and flossing.

Many dental hygienist preparation programs require two years of education and lead to an associate degree. These programs combine classroom instruction with clinical and laboratory training. The BLS reports that 3,790 dental hygienists work in Alabama and projects the occupation to increase 17.9% from 2016 to 2026. Alabama requires hygienists to hold a state license from the Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama. This guide provides information about dental hygienist schools and curricula.

Paralegal Studies

Paralegals and legal assistants work with licensed attorneys to manage law offices, organize legal paperwork, and research laws and opinions. Projections Central projects employment for paralegals to increase 13.7% from 2016 to 2026. Alabama paralegals earn an average annual salary of $47,380.

Some paralegals complete only on-the-job training, while others earn a four-year degree in legal studies. Many paralegals complete certificate programs to quickly enter the workforce. Certificate programs in the field help learners develop skills including conducting online legal research and writing court documents. Some paralegal programs take only a few months to complete, while others require a year or longer.

Alabama maintains no licensing requirements for paralegals. However, industry certifications demonstrate knowledge and expertise to prospective employers. This resource provides additional information about paralegal training.

Medical Assistant Programs

Projections Central projects employment of medical assistants in Alabama to increase 24.7% from 2016 to 2026. This growth is likely due in part to the anticipated increase in patient volume. Medical assistants work primarily in physicians' offices, where they record vital signs and take patient histories. These professionals may also handle administrative tasks, such as completing insurance forms with medical codes and managing electronic health records.

Some medical assistants specialize in optometry or podiatry. Training for this position typically takes 1-2 years and may culminate in a certificate or diploma. Medical assistants can pursue industry certifications, such as certified medical assistant or certified clinical medical assistant credential.

According to the BLS, medical assistants in Alabama earn an average salary of $29,220 per year. This guide includes information about accredited medical assistant certificate programs.

Construction Management

Construction managers oversee building projects, from the planning stage through completion. These professionals schedule workers, order supplies, and manage budgets. Projections Central projects a 7.5% employment growth for construction management occupations in Alabama. Construction managers in the state earn an average annual salary of $98,550, according to the BLS.

Several technical schools in Alabama offer building construction programs. These two-year programs lead to an associate degree and help learners develop the skills necessary to enter the construction field or advance their career. Courses typically include reading blueprints, workplace safety, contracting and construction law, and construction estimating.

Construction managers can demonstrate their expertise through industry certifications from the Construction Management Association of America and the American Institute of Contractors. Alabama requires construction managers to hold a general contractor license from the State Licensing Board for General Contractors. This page includes information about the best construction management programs.

Financial Aid for Trade School Students

Trade schools in Alabama offer high-quality educational programs that typically cost less than four-year degrees. According to NCES data, the average cost of tuition and fees at four-year public universities in Alabama was $9,827 for the 2017-18 academic year, while tuition and fees at two-year schools in the state averaged $3,243 for the same time period.

The Alabama Community College System includes 24 schools, with campus locations throughout the state. Learners at two-year institutions in Alabama can pursue certificates or associate degrees, and they often save on costs related to housing and transportation. Additionally, some schools offer distance education options, which can further reduce costs.

Federal and state financial aid programs can help defray the cost of career training and education. Learners should complete the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal funding. Trade school students can qualify for need-based aid, such as the Pell Grant, which offers up to $6,345 for the 2020-21 academic year.

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education administers several state financial aid programs, such as the Alabama Student Assistance Program, which delivers $300-$5,000 per academic year to eligible students. Unlike loans, these awards do not require repayment.

Learners can also apply for scholarships to help cover the cost of tuition, books, and equipment. Students can also consider federal student loans, some of which offer deferred interest charges.

Scholarship for Trade School Students

In addition to grants, learners can apply for scholarships to help fund their education. The scholarships below are available to students attending trade schools in Alabama. Learners can contact their school's financial aid office for information about institutional scholarships. Students can also pursue scholarship opportunities from civic organizations, employers, and philanthropic organizations.

Alabama Home Builders Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award supports Alabama residents pursuing a construction-related program at an accredited junior college, university, or technical school in Alabama. The scholarship committee considers financial need, and past recipients may reapply.
Amount: Varies

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Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions

Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in career entry-level, degree-granting programs in any health discipline can apply for this award. Learners must be attending a participating school in Alabama. Applicants must submit a resume and one-page essay on their career goals.
Amount: $1,000

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Baptist Health Care Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Baptist Health employees and their families can apply for the family scholarship program. The award supports students seeking postsecondary education in an allied health field. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, Baptist Health maintains facilities throughout Central Alabama.
Amount: $1,000

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E.L. Gibson Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Administered by Enterprise State Community College, this fund supports students seeking a degree in an allied health field, such as respiratory therapy, nursing, or radiology. Applicants must live in Coffee County or the surrounding region.
Amount: Varies

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Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Scholarships

Who Can Apply: These awards support Alabama high school seniors from Jefferson and Tuscaloosa Counties. Applicants must plan to continue their education in a vocational or college program. The company awards 10 scholarships each year, with five reserved for the dependents of Mercedes-Benz team members.
Amount: $2,000

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Additional Education and Career Resources

Arkansas Department of Career Education Division of the Arkansas Department of Education that oversees career education, including adult education, career and technical education and rehabilitation services. Comprehensive resource for information about vocational and trade education in Arkansas' school system.
Arkansas Department of Workforce Services Provides a variety of resources related to Arkansas' workforce, including information about career training, employment, and the state's labor market.
Arkansas Works A college and career planning system to help Arkansas students learn about potential careers and the education necessary to get them.
Discover Arkansas Labor market information resource for Arkansas. Includes current employment data, industry and occupation projections, and helpful guides for individual vocational career clusters.

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