This guide provides important information for students considering vocational schools in Florida, including financial aid opportunities, potential careers and salaries for graduates, and answers to frequently asked questions.
|Can I get financial aid for trade school?||Yes, students at trade schools typically qualify for financial aid opportunities. However, students must attend an accredited school to qualify for federal aid.|
|Can trade school credits transfer?||Some two- and four-year colleges accept transfer credits from accredited trade schools. Students should research the transfer credit policies at each prospective school.|
|What is the difference between trade school and technical school?||Technical schools often offer computer-oriented training programs, while trade schools focus more on occupations that require manual skills, such as plumbing and construction.|
|How long does trade school take?||Most trade school programs take about 1-2 years to complete.|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like faculty qualifications, academic rigor, and student learning outcomes. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to for-profit, trade, and vocational schools.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges grants regional accreditation to Florida schools, while organizations like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges grant national accreditation to vocational schools. Additionally, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits online schools.
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 transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree.
Vocational Trade Schools in Florida
The following list ranks the best vocational schools in Florida to help students find the right program for their needs.
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
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|1||Hillsborough Community College Tampa, FL||Tuition||# of Online Programs 29||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 24%||Financial Aid 9%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Florida’s Hillsborough Community College allows career development and advancement students a wide range of certification programs leading to the credentials they need. College Credit Certificates (CCC) are awarded for completing skills development training in technical fields. Postsecondary Adult Vocational Certificates are non-credit programs designed to build skills in a specific industry or business sector. Advanced Technical Certificate (ATC) programs are short-term (9 to 45 credit hours) certificates offered to students who have already completed an associate’s degree. Major certificate fields include studies in accounting, business, computer technology, culinary arts, gaming/multimedia production, drafting and design, criminal justice, allied health office support, manufacturing technology and sustainable design.
|2||Tallahassee Community College Tallahassee, FL||Tuition||# of Online Programs 23||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 33%||Financial Aid 13%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Tallahassee Community College (TCC) is home to more than 35 certificate programs in pre-professional and vocational fields. Its strong suit is in criminal justice and public safety, where students can complete certifications in law enforcement basics, crossover from corrections to law enforcement, correctional probation, armed/unarmed private security, telecommunications, firefighting, and crossover from correctional officer to probation officer credentials. Other key certification programs are in CAD drafting, fire sprinkler design, health informatics, medical coding, health care (critical care transport, emergency medical technician/paramedics, pharmacy technology, diagnostic medical sonography), office administration, and computer networking. Students can apply online for admission and search for scholarships to TCC at the same time.
|3||City College-Altamonte Springs Altamonte Springs, FL||Tuition||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 35%||Financial Aid 16%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Students interested in pursuing an allied health profession can receive the comprehensive education necessary for success from City College’s Altomonte Springs location. These vocational programs incorporate plenty of clinical hours into their curriculum to ensure that students get the opportunity to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom. Numerous other fields may be pursued, as well, in both associate’s and bachelor’s formats. By incorporating online or minimester learning, students will have the option to incorporate as much flexibility into their schedule as they may need. Transferring students may receive credit if previous classes closely resemble those offered at City College.
|4||City College-Hollywood Hollywood, FL||Tuition||# of Online Programs 2||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
City College’s Hollywood location is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, and may award its students a number of associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. A student interested in vocational study will have the chance to learn their trade of interest at a lower cost and in a shorter amount of time, allowing them to graduate and start their careers as efficiently as possible. As all industries are constantly developing, City College is sure to keep the information administered through its programs updated and relevant for its students. City College’s career services are also available to aid students in their career search.
|5||Charlotte Technical Center Port Charlotte, FL||Tuition||# of Online Programs 7||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 66%||Financial Aid 16%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Because the ultimate goal of attending college is often to get a good career, Charlotte Technical Center offers numerous vocational programs specifically designed to help students quickly progress through their program so they can start their new jobs. While much of the learning in a vocational program is provided through in-person, hands-on formats, there are certain classes that may be taken online, granting students the freedom to earn more credits per semester without feeling pressed for time. Winter and summer classes are also available to help students shorten the length of their college careers.
|6||Traviss Career Center Lakeland, FL||Tuition||# of Online Programs 13||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 80%||Financial Aid 6%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|7||Ridge Career Center Winter Haven, FL||Tuition||# of Online Programs 16||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 88%||Financial Aid 11%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|8||North Florida Community College Madison, FL||Tuition||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 43%||Financial Aid 41%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Florida
In Florida, students can begin taking career and technical education (CTE) courses as early as ninth grade, and continue that education through community college. Florida hosts 718 public high schools and 63 community colleges that offer CTE training.
Use the search tool below to find the best vocational and trade schools in Florida.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
Trade school graduates can work in diverse roles, like nail technician, aviation mechanic, network administrator, and occupational therapy assistant. Due to the abundant variation of roles, salaries for trade school graduates vary significantly. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that vocational school careers offer an average annual salary of around $55,000.
Healthcare support occupations pay around $45,000 per year, on average, while personal care and service occupations pay around $32,000 annually. Meanwhile, managerial roles pay an average of over $96,000 per year.
Many trade school careers offer above-average growth potential. For example, the BLS projects HVAC technicians, paralegals, and occupational therapy assistants to experience much faster-than-average job growth between 2018 and 2028.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
According to the Florida Department of Education, 36% of the fastest-growing job sectors in the Sunshine State require a postsecondary non-degree career certificate or an associate degree. Therefore, trade schools in Florida play an important role in providing well-trained workers to support the state's economy. The following list outlines several popular trade school programs.
- Dental Hygienist Schools
An accredited dental hygienist trade program typically takes 18 months of full-time study to complete. Students complete career-focused classes in addition to hands-on training. According to the BLS, dental hygienists earned an annual median salary of $76,220 in 2019 and enjoy an 11% projected job growth rate between 2018 and 2028.
Most states require dental hygienists to hold a license. Licensure requirements include passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Only students who complete a program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation can sit for the exam.
- Mechanic Schools
Trade school mechanic programs usually take one year to complete and include extensive hands-on training. Completing a trade school mechanic program or apprenticeship meets the educational requirements to sit for the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification administered by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.
The ASE also requires a minimum of two years of on-the-job training. Professionals in this field can specialize in a variety of areas, such as electrical/electronic systems, collision repair, and suspension and steering. The BLS does not project a robust growth rate for jobs in this sector, although automotive and service technicians earn a median salary that exceeds the national average.
- Paralegal Schools
Most paralegals need an associate degree or a certificate. Many vocational schools offer paralegal certificate programs that comprise 18-30 credits and take 1-2 years to complete. Learners study topics such as legal research, ethics, administrative law, and contracts.
The BLS projects a 12% growth rate for paralegal jobs between 2018 and 2028. These professionals earned a median annual salary of more than $51,000 in 2019. Paralegal certificate programs prepare students for entry-level positions, but many employers prefer candidates with a related associate degree.
- Radiology Technician Schools
Many organizations require radiology technicians to hold an associate degree in the field. While vocational schools that offer two-year associate degrees in radiology technology exist, these programs are more often available at community colleges.
Most radiology technicians work in general medical and surgical hospitals, but they may also work in doctors' offices, outpatient care centers, and medical and diagnostic laboratories. The BLS reports that radiology technicians earned a median annual salary of $62,280 in 2019. These professionals enjoy a faster-than-average projected job growth rate of 9% between 2018 and 2028.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
While trade and vocational programs typically cost much less than four-year programs, they still require a significant financial investment. Students can help offset the cost of their education through financial aid opportunities, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. Learners at accredited trade schools qualify for federal financial aid. Students must submit the FAFSA every year to determine their eligibility for federal aid.
Students with demonstrable financial need can also apply for federal grants like the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships do not require repayment, making them the ideal forms of financial aid.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
The following list highlights several scholarship and grant opportunities for students at vocational schools in Florida. Learners can also research additional scholarship opportunities based on factors like their identity, financial need, and area of study.
- AWS Welder Training Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Students accepted to a welding training program at a trade school or community college can apply for this scholarship. Students submit applications through their local AWS district.Apply for Scholarship
- Executive Women International ASIST (Adult Students in Scholarstic Transition) Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This funding opportunity accepts applications from learners facing socioeconomic or physical difficulties that prevent them from continuing their vocational education or training.Apply for Scholarship
- Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant Program
Who Can Apply: Florida students enrolled at least part time in a career certificate program at an accredited trade school can apply for this grant.Apply for Scholarship
- Horatio Alger Association Career & Technical Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Candidates for these scholarships must be under 30, enrolled in a technical education program, and demonstrate financial need.Apply for Scholarship
- Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractor (PHCC) National Association Educational Foundation Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Applicants must show proof of enrollment in a plumbing and heating/cooling program at a trade school or community college. Plumbing and heating apprentices and professionals can also apply to the program.Apply for Scholarship
Additional Education and Career Resources
This page of the School District of Osceola County provides information on the areas of study for students pursuing CTE education in Florida and the careers that this education can lead to.
This site provides in-depth information on the key industries in Florida, such as aviation and aerospace, life sciences, defense and homeland security, and manufacturing.
This nonprofit group is dedicated to advancing career and technical education in the state by providing support to students, teachers, and administrators. The association provides CTE training materials and news about this area of the educational field.
Provides employment projection data that can be searched by Florida counties and regions.
This workforce education program provides assessments that allow job seekers to certify their qualifications in order to find employment. In addition, the organization works with educators to ensure that students are taught the skills that employers expect.
Provides data on general Florida employment and employment in specific sectors, as well as wages, and unemployment in different regions.
This study, conducted by the Center for Naval Analyses, provides information on CTE programs in Florida and their impact on different sectors of the state's workforce.