Trade schools offer several benefits to students. Vocational programs save students money on tuition and fees compared to four-year programs, and vocational programs offer a faster route to career training. Professionals with an occupational credential also benefit from higher employment rates than those with an academic credential, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
This page introduces the top-ranked trade and vocational schools in Connecticut to help students find the right program for their needs. It also provides career and salary information for trade school graduates, introduces popular vocational programs, and lists scholarship opportunities for Connecticut trade school students.
|Can I go to trade school online?||Yes. Many trade and vocational schools in Connecticut offer online programs. In addition to coursework, online vocational students often complete hands-on training in their local area.|
|Can trade school credits transfer?||Credits earned at an accredited trade school typically transfer to other schools. However, some schools only accept credits earned at a regionally accredited institution rather than a nationally accredited school.|
|When can I apply to trade school?||Many vocational and tech schools in Connecticut offer rolling admissions, which means students can apply at any time. Trade schools also typically offer multiple start dates each year.|
|How long does trade school take?||A certificate or degree from a trade school generally takes 1-2 years to complete.|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Prospective trade school students should always research a school's accreditation and licensure status before applying. Accredited schools meet high standards for granting degrees and certificates. Schools must undergo a rigorous review to earn accreditation, which evaluates schools' student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic mission.
Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree.
In Connecticut, several organizations accredit vocational programs. Community colleges, liberal arts institutions, and research universities typically hold regional accreditation. The New England Commission of Higher Education grants regional accreditation to Connecticut schools.
Trade and vocational schools in Connecticut often hold accreditation from a national accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, which grants national accreditation to over 650 trade and vocational schools nationwide. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission, another specialized accrediting agency, grants accreditation to online schools.
In addition to accreditation, vocational and trade schools in Connecticut should hold a license from the Connecticut Department of Higher Education. The department licenses over 150 postsecondary career schools in the state. By researching accreditation and licensure when choosing a trade or technical school in Connecticut, students can make sure their program provides adequate preparation for the workforce.
Learn more about the accreditation process.
Vocational Trade Schools in Connecticut
Trade schools in Connecticut prepare graduates for in-demand careers. By attending a top-ranked trade school, professionals can advance their careers and increase their earning potential. Our list ranks the best vocational schools in Connecticut to help prospective students find the right fit for their interests and professional goals.
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
Save this list:
|1||Capital Community College Hartford, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs 11||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 9%||Financial Aid 23%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Founded in 1967, Capital Community College offers more than 60 associate degree and certificate programs. Students can choose from two-year associate degrees in fields like criminal justice, nursing, computer networking, and paramedic studies. Learners can also pursue certificate programs in areas like mental health assistant, EMT, and construction management.
One of the top trade schools in Connecticut, CCC offers apprenticeship programs that pay students while they learn on the job. The available apprenticeships, which blend classroom instruction and hands-on training, reflect the state's top fields: insurance and banking. Eighty percent of students attend the school part time, leaving room for work and family life. Many programs offer online and on-campus learning formats to further promote flexibility.
|2||Naugatuck Valley Community College Waterbury, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs 13||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 12%||Financial Aid 16%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Naugatuck Valley Community College operates campuses in Waterbury and Danbury. Students can jumpstart their careers with the school's short-term certificate programs in fields such as automotive technician, construction management, and computer programming.
Learners can also pursue associate degrees in areas like computer crime deterrence, early childhood education, and finance. Degree-seekers interested in a four-year degree can pursue a Transfer Ticket career pathway, completing an associate degree that seamlessly transfers to one of five state colleges. The school also offers an apprenticeship in manufacturing.
|3||Tunxis Community College Farmington, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Tunxis Community College ranks among the best vocational schools in Connecticut. The school offers certificate programs in fields such as computer-aided drafting, network administration, dental assisting, and electro-mechanical maintenance. These programs take less than a year to completely and prepare graduates to immediately enter the workforce. Certificate credits also transfer to associate programs.
Learners interested in an associate degree can choose from programs in areas such as computer science, economics, data science, and business administration. TCC also offers the Transfer Ticket career pathway, allowing students to seamlessly transfer to several four-year institutions. Apprenticeship programs at TCC focus on manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and bioscience.
|4||Three Rivers Community College Norwich, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs 12||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 13%||Financial Aid 22%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
With state-of-the-art programs and facilities, Three Rivers Community College prepares learners for rewarding careers in traditional and emerging fields. Students can pursue associate degrees in areas such as nursing, criminal justice, and general engineering technology.
The school's associate in nuclear engineering technology program is the only one of its kind in New England, and one of three in the nation. The program combines classroom learning with hands-on experience at a local nuclear power plant. One of the best trade schools in Connecticut, TRCC also offers certificate programs in fields such as data analytics, construction management, and library technology. Students can also pursue a manufacturing apprenticeship, which offers paid training for high school students and adults.
|5||Gateway Community College New Haven, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs 15||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 8%||Financial Aid 30%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Based in New Haven, Gateway Community College is the largest state community college in Connecticut. The school enrolls about 14,000 students each year through 90 degree and certificate programs. Students can pursue degrees and certificates in areas such as administrative assistant, customer service technology, and paralegal studies. The school also offers programs in manufacturing, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering technology, and automotive technology degrees.
One of the best trade schools in Connecticut, GCC boasts strong partnerships with area organizations and businesses that provide student internships and other programming support. In addition to low tuition, students benefit from a variety of payment options.
|6||Manchester Community College Manchester, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs 16||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 18%||Financial Aid 39%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Manchester Community College offers 80 degree and certificate programs. Students can pursue associate degrees in areas such as computer science, industrial technology, and healthcare. The school's paralegal associate program, approved by the American Bar Association, allows learners to continue working while they pursue their education at night.
Students can also pursue certificates in fields such as accounting and computer network technology. One of the best technical schools in Connecticut, MCC offers affordable tuition and personalized learning experiences. Academically gifted students interested in physics, computer science, and mathematics may qualify for National Science Foundation scholarships.
|7||Goodwin University East Hartford, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Goodwin University is among the most comprehensive trade schools in Connecticut. The Hartford school's associate programs span fields such as advanced manufacturing, CNC machining, business administration, and dental hygiene. A unique funeral service associate degree program includes internships at funeral homes across the state. Some of the school's two-year programs use a hybrid learning model that blends in-class instruction with online learning.
The school offers short-term certificate programs in medical assisting and CNC machining. Unlike many trade schools in Connecticut, Goodwin also offers bachelor's programs. Students can earn an accelerated BSN in just 16 months or complete a four-year degree in fields such as advanced manufacturing, business administration, and human services.
|8||Middlesex Community College Middletown, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs 6||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 14%||Financial Aid 28%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Middlesex Community College administers 70 associate degree and certificate programs. Students can pursue associate degrees in diverse fields such as accounting, manufacturing machine technology, and criminal justice. The unique associate degree in ophthalmic design and dispensing trains licensed opticians, functioning as a substitute for the four-year, 8,000-hour apprenticeship requirement for licensure.
One of the top trade schools in Connecticut, MxCC offers programs that prepare students for high-wage occupations in areas like computer engineering technology and biochemistry. Students can also pursue certificates in areas like healthcare, behavioral science, and STEM fields.
|9||Howell Cheney THS/CT Aero Tech School Hartford, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Part of the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System, Howell Cheney Technical High School hosts both high school students and adult learners. The school offers academic classes and certificate programs in areas such as automotive technology, culinary arts, digital media, and information systems technology.
Teens can get a jumpstart on their college education through dual-enrollment programs at neighboring community or state colleges. The school also offers extracurricular activities, such as a biweekly program that allows students to participate in archery and hiking.
|10||Asnuntuck Community College Enfield, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs 3||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 25%||Financial Aid 46%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Located in Enfield, Asnuntuck Community College offers associate degrees in registered medical assisting, human services, and massage therapy. Students interested in seamlessly transferring to Connecticut state universities can choose the Transfer Ticket option and pursue majors such as finance, criminology studies, or social work studies.
The school's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center prepares students for jobs with manufacturers and aerospace-related companies in the area. Students interested in health and wellness can earn non-credit certificates in fields such as medical billing and coding, electrocardiogram technician, and cosmetology.
One of the best trade schools in Connecticut, ACC extends in-state tuition to residents in neighboring Massachusetts. Beginning in fall of 2020, qualifying Connecticut residents can attend ACC and other community colleges tuition free.
|11||Quinebaug Valley Community College Danielson, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Quinebaug Valley Community College offers 50 degree and certificate programs in diverse fields such as allied health, business, human services, and education. QVCC administers a robust computer science division, with AS degrees in cybersecurity, IT support, computer networking, and computer science studies.
Learners interested in a technical degree can focus their studies on biomolecular science, environmental science, or lean manufacturing and supply chain management. Students can also pursue a unique associate degree in cannabis studies that teaches entrepreneurial students about the nation's "fastest-growing bumper crop."
One of the best trade schools in Connecticut, ACC extends in-state tuition to residents from neighboring Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Beginning in the fall of 2020, qualifying Connecticut residents graduate debt-free thanks to the state's PACT program.
|12||Housatonic Community College Bridgeport, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Located in Bridgeport, Housatonic Community College offers 75 programs that lead to degrees and certificates. Learners can pursue studies in areas such as accounting, criminal justice, human services, and medical assisting. Business-minded students can pursue an AS in business administration with six concentrations, including finance, global business, and HR management.
Learners seeking to acquire skills in an accelerated time frame can choose from many certificate programs in fields such as graphic design, manufacturing, and retail banking. Transfer agreements with many four-year institutions help cement HCC's reputation as one of the best Connecticut technical colleges.
|13||Northwestern Connecticut Community College Winsted, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Northwestern Connecticut Community College offers degree and certificate programs in five primary areas: business; arts and the humanities; health and veterinary sciences; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and public service, social, and behavioral sciences.
One of the best technical schools in Connecticut, NCCC offers unique programs such as an AS in therapeutic recreation, which prepares workers to treat individuals with disabilities. The school's AS in interpreter training program is the only one of its kind in the state and prepares students to work as ASL and English interpreters. Many of NCCC's programs feature hybrid and fully online formats, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.
|14||Norwalk Community College Norwalk, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 8%||Financial Aid 26%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
The state's first public two-year college, Norwalk Community College offers degrees and certificates in areas such as business, computer science, nursing/allied health, and social and behavioral science. Students can pursue associate degrees in fields like business, criminology studies, and social work. Graduates can seamlessly transfer to senior institutions in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.
The school's AS in architectural engineering technology blends academics and hands-on learning to prepare students to work on residential and commercial projects. Certificate programs at NCC cover fields such as web development, medical assistant, and gerontology. One of the best vocational schools in Connecticut, NCC offers a series of first-year enrichment programs to help learners transition to college life, including courses in college writing and reading, transitional strategies, and career planning.
|15||Sacred Heart University Fairfield, CT||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Sacred Heart University is a Catholic college located in Fairfield. The school enrolls more than 9,000 students annually. Students can pursue an AS in nursing that combines academic coursework with hands-on clinical training at St. Vincent's Medical Center and other facilities. The program lasts 2-3 years and prepares learners for RN licensure and to enter the accelerated RN-to-BSN program.
The school's associate degree in radiology trains radiographers in the use of diagnostic imaging for patient care. Graduates can sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists certification exam. Among the top Connecticut technical colleges, the school also offers healthcare certificate programs in areas such as computed tomography, mammography, and MRI.
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Connecticut
Many schools in the Connecticut education system integrate career training into their curricula, but the state also offers many secondary and postsecondary schools dedicated to vocational and trade training. The Connecticut Technical High School System comprises 17 technical high schools that provide trade and vocational education to teenagers and offer career training, education, and apprenticeships. Connecticut also hosts 19 agriculture science and technology education centers and offers career and technical education (CTE) training at 12 community colleges throughout the state.
Students interested in vocational and trade schools in Connecticut can use this search tool to find the right CTE school.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
Trade school graduates can work in roles such as paralegal, automotive service technician, medical assistant, and construction manager. Salaries vary by field and role, but trade school professions offer an average salary of around $55,000 per year. Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations pay around $50,000 per year, while healthcare practitioner and technical occupations pay around $55,000 per year. Management occupations pay over $96,000 per year, on average, while construction occupations offer over $60,000 per year.
In many fields, trade school graduates earn high salaries with strong job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that occupational therapy assistants, dental hygienists, and HVAC technicians all earn above-average salaries and benefit from much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.
Salaries also vary by location and experience. Prospective trade school students can research Connecticut salary data to learn more about the earning potential in different fields. For example, Connecticut paralegals earn over $60,000 per year, on average, while automotive mechanics make nearly $51,000 per year. Electricians in Connecticut make more than $63,000 per year, while respiratory therapists earn over $70,000 annually.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Trade schools in Connecticut offer vocational programs in many high-demand fields, including healthcare, professional trades, and legal services. Graduates with a vocational certificate or degree can work as construction managers, dental hygienists, medical assistants, and electricians.
This section discusses trade school programs for various careers. In addition to the following examples, prospective students can research vocational programs in other fields.
- Construction Management Schools
Construction managers, also called general contractors or project managers, oversee construction projects. They prepare cost estimates and work schedules, hire subcontractors, and supervise construction throughout a project. Construction managers must adhere to regulations, like building and safety codes.
Many construction workers hold an associate degree in construction management or construction technology. During their program, they may study topics like construction budgeting, estimating, and mechanical systems. Construction managers benefit from faster-than-average job growth projections between 2018 and 2028 and a median salary of over $95,000 per year.
In Connecticut, the Department of Consumer Protection licenses major contractors. Construction managers can also pursue professional certification from the Construction Management Association of America or the American Institute of Constructors.
Learn more about construction management programs.
- HVAC Training Schools
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technicians install and maintain HVAC systems in buildings. They test systems, install electrical components, and maintain or repair systems as needed. HVAC technicians often hold a certificate or associate degree from a technical or trade school. During an HVAC training program, students take courses on topics like electrical systems, mechanical systems, and HVAC repair. Students also gain hands-on training.
In 2019, HVAC technicians earned a median annual salary of nearly $49,000. They also benefit from much faster-than-average job growth, with over 46,000 new jobs projected between 2018 and 2028. In Connecticut, HVAC technicians need a license from the Department of Consumer Protection, which offers licenses for journeymen and contractors.
For more information, visit our page on HVAC training programs.
- Mechanic Schools
Mechanics inspect and repair automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles. They perform tests to identify problems, test parts, and perform maintenance on cars and trucks. Mechanics also perform repairs and explain automotive problems to clients. Automotive service technicians and mechanics typically hold a vocational certificate or associate degree. During mechanic programs, students take courses in electronics, automotive repair, and automotive technologies.
Automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a median annual salary of over $42,000 in 2019. Many mechanics pursue professional certification to demonstrate their skills. For example, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers certifications in specialty areas like automatic transmissions, electronic systems, and engine repair. Many employers prefer to hire certified mechanics.
Learn more by visiting our page on mechanic programs.
- Medical Assistant Schools
Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks in healthcare settings, including doctors' offices, hospitals, and other medical facilities. They record patient history information, measure vital signs, assist physicians during patient examinations, and schedule appointments.
Medical assistants typically complete a certificate or associate degree, taking courses on topics like anatomy, medical terminology, and patient care. Students also complete laboratory and clinical requirements. After completing a medical assistant program, graduates can pursue certification from an organization like the American Association of Medical Assistants or the American Medical Technologists.
Medical assistants earned a median annual salary of nearly $35,000 in 2019, with much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.
For more, visit our page on medical assistant programs.
- Occupational Therapy Schools
Occupational therapy assistants support occupational therapists in providing therapy to patients. They teach patients to use special equipment, assist in therapeutic activities, and record patient progress. Occupational assistants typically need an associate degree. During an occupational therapy assistant program, students take classes on topics like medical terminology, rehabilitation theory, and human anatomy. Students also complete hands-on training in a clinical setting.
Work settings for occupational therapy assistants include nursing care facilities, home healthcare services, and occupational therapy offices. According to BLS data, occupational therapy assistants earned a median annual salary of over $61,000, with much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.
Occupational therapy assistants must hold a license to practice. In Connecticut, the Department of Public Health licenses occupational therapy assistants.
Learn more about occupational therapy programs.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
Vocational and trade school students often save many on their education compared to students in bachelor's programs. Connecticut public universities charge over $12,000 per year in tuition and fees, while private universities cost over $40,000. In contrast, Connecticut community colleges cost around $4,000 per year in tuition, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
In addition to choosing an affordable trade or vocational school in Connecticut, students can save money on their education by pursuing financial aid opportunities. Students attending accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid. Learners can determine their eligibility for federal aid by submitting the FAFSA every year. Not all schools meet the requirements for federal financial aid, so prospective students should check with specific schools to learn more about their eligibility.
Trade school students can also help cover the cost of a certificate or degree through grants and scholarships. Unlike loans, recipients do not need to pay back grants or scholarship awards, making them one of the best forms of financial aid. The next section introduces scholarship opportunities for trade school students in Connecticut.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
Trade school students may qualify for many scholarship opportunities. By applying for scholarships and grants, students can potentially cover the cost of a vocational certificate or program. In addition to the following opportunities, students can find scholarships based on their school and field.
- Roberta B. Willis Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: The Connecticut Office of Higher Education administers merit- and need-based scholarships that support Connecticut residents pursuing a two-year college degree. Recipients must attend a Connecticut public or nonprofit college full time.Apply for Scholarship
Amount: Up to $4,650
- Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports students from the lower Fairfield County area who demonstrate good citizenship. Applicants must provide evidence of community involvement and submit two reference letters.Apply for Scholarship
- Naugatuck Valley Medical Scholarship Fund
Who Can Apply: The NVMSF supports students planning to major in a medical or biomedical field. The scholarship sets high academic standards. Applicants must live in the lower Naugatuck Valley area of Connecticut.Apply for Scholarship
- CTASLA Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects offers scholarships to support students enrolled in an accredited landscape architecture program. Applicants must be legal residents of Connecticut.Apply for Scholarship
- Jewish Community Foundation Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Residents of the Greater Hartford area qualify for these scholarship opportunities. Recipients must be Jewish and enrolled at an accredited institution of higher learning.Apply for Scholarship
Additional Education and Career Resources
The Connecticut faction of the largest national association promoting career and technical education. Provides information and resources regarding career-focused education in Connecticut and works with local governing agencies to ensure the growth, promotion and funding of career and technical education programs.
Has many comprehensive tools that allow users to learn about Connecticut's labor market, research careers and education programs, connect with employers and find jobs.
Has information about the technical high school system and adult CTE programs in Connecticut.
Comprehensive job search platform for those seeking employment in Connecticut. Includes salary information and resume help for job seekers.
Provides a detailed overview of CTE missions and education programs in Connecticut. Includes information about programs of study, funding and transitioning between institutions.