Why Choose Trade School?
Trade and vocational schools provide workforce training in fields like healthcare, technology, and construction, as well as professional trades like plumbing. Many trade school careers offer above-average salaries and strong job growth potential. Earning a vocational certificate or degree generally takes 1-2 years.
During a vocational program, students take coursework while gaining hands-on experience through labs, internships, or practicums. For example, dental hygienists complete clinical requirements to build career-ready skills, while mechanics and HVAC technicians practice their skills in an experiential learning environment.
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.
Top 10 Vocational Trade Schools in Connecticut
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.
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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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Amount: Up to $4,650
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.
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.
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.
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