Best Vocational Trade Schools in Georgia

Trade school can be faster and more affordable than a four-year college degree. Check out the best trade schools in Georgia to get into the right career for you.

Updated August 15, 2022 • 6 Min Read

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Why Choose Trade School?

Postsecondary education prepares Georgia students for exciting careers in a variety of fields, many of which do not require a four-year degree. Many career paths in Georgia feature a high growth rate, competitive wages, and at least 100 job openings per year. Such careers include computer support specialists, dental hygienists, and web devewlopers. Vocational schools in Georgia prepare students for these careers quickly with affordable programs.

Trade schools focus on career-specific skills and knowledge. Students gain expertise in their field quickly and soon find themselves in the workforce. Programs combine lectures with practical instruction and hands-on learning. Many schools work with regional industrial partners, tailoring programs to prepare students for local employment.

The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) offers more than 600 programs, 17 of which offer free tuition for in-state students. With 22 colleges, 88 campuses, and online learning, students in every part of the state enjoy access to high-quality educational opportunities. Georgia also authorizes private colleges offering certificates and diplomas in several high-demand fields.

Trade schools in Georgia focus on preparing graduates for the workforce. Schools report that 99% of their students find work in their field or transfer to a four-year program. Many programs require less than two years to graduate.

FAQ about Trade Schools

What is trade school?

A trade school offers postsecondary education and training in specific career fields, such as allied health careers, information technology, or automotive technology. The TCSG includes 22 tech schools in Georgia, and the state also authorizes numerous private schools.

Can I get financial aid for trade school?

Yes, students use federal and state financial aid programs for accredited trade schools in Georgia. Also, Georgia allows qualifying students to earn a technical college diploma in one of 17 high-demand career fields from any TCSG campus through the HOPE Career Grant.

What is the difference between trade school and vocational school?

There is no difference between trade school and vocational school. Both names describe schools that offer career-focused programs that prepare graduates to work in a specific trade or vocation.

When can I apply to trade school?

Many high schools in Georgia allow students to attend trade schools. Students often earn high school and postsecondary credit for coursework. Vocational schools in Georgia also welcome high school graduates, nontraditional students, and students seeking professional development. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools

Students invest their time and money into higher education. State authorization and accreditation ensure the quality of educational programs.

Georgia authorizes trade schools to provide educational services. The Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission reviews applications from schools that offer postsecondary education, including private schools and out-of-state institutions that serve Georgia students with online instruction. Georgia participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement and recognizes accredited, degree-granting institutions from other member states.

Many schools offer specific programs from state licensing agencies such as the Office of EMS or the Georgia Professional Standards Committee. If your chosen field requires a state license for employment, ensure that your prospective program meets your state's minimum educational standards.

Accreditation agencies review a school's curriculum, student outcomes, instructor knowledge, and ongoing commitment to improvement. TCSG schools all hold accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, many schools seek programmatic accreditation from national accrediting agencies, such as the ASE Education Foundation, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Some schools also seek accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC evaluates all distance education activities offered from high school through professional doctoral degrees to ensure schools provide a rigorous educational experience.

Only properly accredited schools participate in federal student financial aid programs. Accreditation also ensures employers and other schools recognize the quality of your education. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation maintain databases of regional and national accrediting agencies, career-specific accrediting bodies, and distance education accreditation. Learn more about accredited schools here.

Vocational Trade Schools in Georgia

Below, find links to the best vocational and tech schools in Georgia as determined by our ranking methodology. Use this ranking to find the best trade school for you. Consider cost, location, and accreditation when selecting a school. If you plan to continue your education later, also consider schools with transfer and articulation agreements with four-year colleges.

  1. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

    Valdosta, GA



    Located in Valdosta, GA, offers 177 programs. Learners can choose from programs in healthcare, computer support and cybersecurity, culinary arts, construction, and more. The school continually monitors workforce needs to expand educational offerings, with a degree in python programming being added for fall 2020.

    One of the premier trade schools in Georgia, Wiregrass Tech partners with industry leaders to ensure program curriculum reflects industry needs. In addition to accreditation from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, many Wiregrass Tech healthcare programs hold programmatic accreditation.

    Most of the school's instruction consists of hands-on learning, with lectures complementing labs. The school's apprenticeship opportunities continue to expand, allowing students to earn income while gaining new skills. Current apprenticeship opportunities include telecommunications, welding, automotive technology, and accounting.

    The school serves nearly 7,000 students from its four campuses and 12 centers in the south Georgia region. Applicants with industry experience, college credits, or military training may qualify for prior learning credit.

  2. Georgia Northwestern Technical College

    Rome, GA



    Students at GNTC to more than 200 career-focused programs, with more than 70 offered at least partially online. The school boasts one of the most extensive healthcare training programs in the state, with certification, diplomas, and degrees offered in nursing, allied health, paramedicine, and medical assisting.

    GNTC opened a new flooring production center this past year, aligning with regional industry leaders for targeted workforce development. It also launched new programs in automation engineering technology and diesel equipment technology. It continues to expand apprenticeship programs in areas of electrical technology and construction management. Georgia Power partnered with the school for the power apprenticeship to train the next generation of mechanics and electricians.

    More than 7,750 students enrolled in the Rome, Georgia, school in 2017, while another 8,600 learners benefitted from adult education and economic development programs. GNTC offers dual enrollment for high school students and designs customized training for businesses in its nine-county region.

  3. Coastal Pines Technical College

    Waycross, GA



    Headquartered in Waycross, Georgia, CPTC graduates boast an overall rate of 99.7%, with 96.3% working in their field. Serving more than 5,000 students, the school offers many lowstudents with their educational costs.

    CPTC offers 45 certificates, diplomas, and degrees programs. Learners typically complete certificates in a few months, diplomas in a year, and associate degrees in two years. Several programs offer fully online instruction. The Student Navigator Service helps CPTC students access academic assistance, financial aid, and career placement services.

    Program offerings include medical programs, business technology, machine tool technology, drafting, and construction. This is the only trade school in Georgia offering the naval technical apprentice technology program. Hosted on campus at Camden, Georgia, the school works with the Trident Refit Facility at Kings Bay's naval submarine base to prepare students for work on mechanical and electrical systems in a marine environment.

  4. Central Georgia Technical College

    Warner Robins, GA



    CGTC partners with several industries and employers to offer cutting-edge training in healthcare, business, computer technology, and public safety. Its aerospace trade and industry programs utilize the expertise of nearby Robins Air Force Base, home of the Museum of Aviation.

    As a member of the public Georgia technical colleges system, the school offersper credit for in-state students. Graduates enjoy success in the workforce, with 97.9% in relevant careers. The school serves 12,000 students from its three campuses and 11 conveniently located centers. The school recently completed new labs dedicated to the industrial systems program and industry partner Frito Lay.

    The unique aerospace and aviation programs include diplomas and certifications in aircraft structural technology and aviation maintenance. The school partnered with Delta Air Lines' technical operations to provide instruction and hands-on learning opportunities. Other apprentice programs include electrical technology, industrial mechanics, construction, and information security programs.

  5. Albany Technical College

    Albany, GA



    graduates enjoy success in their chosen fields. The school reports that 98% of graduates found employment, and 100% of nursing graduates passed their national exam.

    The school works closely with area industry leaders to provide instruction in more than 70 programs. More than 3,000 students attend the school full time, while another 2,500 enroll in part-time programs, continuing education, and seminars.

    Programs include diplomas, degrees, or certificates in areas of business, healthcare, manufacturing, and personal service. It offers innovative programs in e-commerce, green building technology, and cybercrime.

    Albany Tech welcomes applicants who are at least 16 years old, though some programs require students to be at least 18. The school launched its Success Terms program last year, offering seven-week terms and six starting dates. The school noted this scheduling aided part-time learners.

  6. Southern Crescent Technical College

    Griffin, GA



    has invested heavily in its five campus locations to provide state-of-the-art learning labs for more than 200 programs. Based in Griffin, Georgia, the school serves almost 5,500 students.

    The school offers several popular programs in topics like business, computer information systems, and allied healthcare. The degrees require about two years to graduate, while diplomas and certificates require between two months and two years. Facilities include a medical technology building, industrial training facility, and a film technology facility.

    Griffin served as a filming location for several popular films and series. Southern Crescent helps meet the needs of film and production companies through its film programs. Students can study film production, scenic technology, lighting, and rigging. Other programs prepare students for film business, or for roles in hair and make-up.

    Career placement data finds 99% of Southern Crescent graduates find employment after leaving the technical college. The school also maintains articulation agreements for four-year degrees. Students wishing to study online may choose from almost 40 programs.

  7. Savannah Technical College

    Savannah, GA



    Headquartered in historic Savannah, offers more than 150 programs through its five campus locations. More than 4,500 students take advantage of these career-focused studies that include industry training in business and technology, health science, public service, and industrial technology.

    The school's location allows it to offer degrees, diplomas, and technical certificates in historic preservation. Its Center for Traditional Craft hosts visiting artisans, oversees traditional craft research, and holds weekend workshops. The Georgia Film Academy partners with film producers to train highly skilled production assistants.

    Savannah State welcomes applicants with a high school education or equivalent, though some programs have competitive admissions processes. Savannah Tech also holds distinction as a Purple Heart Technical College for its veterans' services and outreach.

    In addition to institutional accreditation, the school maintains several programmatic accreditations in the allied health, dentistry, electrical engineering, and culinary arts fields. The Federal Aviation Administration has also certified the aviation technology programs.

  8. Atlanta Technical College

    Atlanta, GA



    The 48-acre in metro Atlanta features state-of-the-art training labs, a childcare center, and industry-specific workspaces. More than 5,500 students attend the school, and pursue degrees, diplomas, or certifications in more than 150 programs. Upon graduation, 99% find employment or pursue further education.

    The school partnered with the city of Atlanta and industry leaders to create the Center for Workforce Innovation. This program combines on-campus career development with work-based learning through internships and apprenticeships with some of the region's top employers.

    Students can pursue training in areas of culinary arts; accounting; and hotel, restaurant, and tourism management. The healthcare and public safety division offers training for firefighters, emergency medical technicians, dental assistants, and allied health professionals. Industrial and transportation technology includes programs in aviation, diesel and auto mechanics, drafting, and electronics.

    Admission requirements include a high school education or equivalent, and placement tests. Averagetraining.

  9. Oconee Fall Line Technical College

    Sandersville, GA



    OFTC continues to expand its program offerings to meet workforce and student needs. The launched a new program in 2019 for construction management. It also celebrated the first class of associate nursing graduates from a new practical nursing bridge program.

    The school serves more than 2,000 students from two campuses and four centers. Its 100-plus programs boast 100% placement for graduates. Students may choose from numerous online degree, diploma, and certificate options. While many programs require a high school education or equivalent, many allied health programs include competitive admissions standards.

    Students can focus their education in industrial technology, business, computer technology, public service, and allied health. Allied health programs include practical nursing, pharmacy technician, and respiratory care. The school offers apprenticeships in precision machining and manufacturing, allowing students to learn while they work.

  10. Lanier Technical College

    Oakwood, GA



    In five of the past six years, LTC has achieved 100% job placement. With more than 50 programs offered, the continues to set new records for enrollment, serving more than 5,000 students enrolled at its five campuses.

    The seven-county service district also recorded the lowest unemployment rate among the 22 schools in Georgia's technical schools system. Employers work with school faculty to develop relevant and rigorous curricula in areas of public service, industrial technology, personal service, computer systems, and healthcare.

    In addition to its job placement rate, the school's students also excelled in licensing exams, with 85.9% of graduates earning their professional license.

    In-stateeducation benefit from articulation agreements with 25 colleges and universities.

Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates

A degree or certificate from trade schools in Georgia helps prepare you to enter the workforce with valuable skills. Higher education typically leads to higher income and more career opportunities. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute shows that individuals with more education reported higher earnings.

In 2017, high school graduates earned a $29,437 median annual salary while individuals with some postsecondary education reported a median annual salary of $35,055. Graduates of certificate programs earned a median annual wage of $25,000-$40,000 in 2017 while graduates with associate degrees earned a median annual wage of $27,000-$44,000 in the same year.

Numerous factors influence career and salary outlook, including location, industry, and experience level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers in-depth information on median salaries for thousands of career fields in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

For example, many people find employment in the healthcare industry. Licensed practical nurses require only one year of training but reported an annual mean wage of $40,650 in Georgia for 2017. Continue reading to learn about other trades and career opportunities.

What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?

Trade schools in Georgia offer degrees, certificates, and diplomas for high-demand fields. The TCSG includes 22 public colleges and 88 campus locations. Their 600 programs include diverse fields such as healthcare, computer support, and culinary arts. Numerous private, career-focused colleges around the state also offer programs in growing industries. Learn more about popular programs below.

1. Beauty and Cosmetology Schools

Cosmetology and beauty schools train students in the theory and practice of hair care, nail care, and skincare. Students choose from specific programs such as nail care, or seek a comprehensive cosmetology diploma. Nail programs require only a few months, while the cosmetology program requires one year of full-time study. Some schools offer part-time programs.

Many cosmetologists work in salons after graduation, and some go on to operate their own businesses. Cosmetology requires standing for long periods and working with various chemicals. The demand for cosmetologists continues to grow with increasing population. Georgia reports one of the nation's fastest population growth rates. Cosmetologists reported a mean annual salary of $31,530 in 2019.

The Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers licenses barbers, cosmetologists, and other beauty technicians. The process requires a written and practical exam. Applicants graduate from a cosmetology school or complete an apprenticeship program before seeking a license. Learn more about accredited beauty and cosmetology schools here.

2. Construction Management Schools

Construction managers oversee residential and commercial construction projects. They plan and coordinate subcontractors, order materials, and manage project budgets. They often work on the construction site, providing day-to-day supervision and responding to questions or concerns as they arise.

Georgia's continuing population boom fuels demand for construction managers. The more than 7,800 construction managers working in the state reported a mean annual salary of $103,130 in 2019.

Construction management programs build on the skills gained in a construction job and prepare graduates for supervisory positions. Students without construction experience benefit from courses in carpentry and construction trades. Construction management includes instruction in building codes, construction drafting, cost estimating, and legal consideration.

Diplomas or associate degrees usually require 1-2 years of study. Some schools also maintain articulation agreements with four-year schools, which enable students to continue their education to earn a bachelor's or graduate degree. Construction managers often need a general contractor license from the State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors. Learn more about accredited construction management schools here.

3. Electrician Schools

Electricians install and maintain electrical power, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and other structures. They use blueprints and technical diagrams to properly install systems during the construction process and help ensure the system's ongoing performance and stability. Most electricians work as contractors. The work requires physical stamina to stand or kneel in cramped spaces, extreme temperatures, and inclement weather.

Students choose from technical certificates in specific areas of electrical technology, such as commercial wiring or industrial electrical controls. These programs require only one semester to complete. A diploma in electrical systems provides a general curriculum and requires two years to complete. Find information on accredited programs here.

After graduation, students apply for a license from the Georgia Board of Electrical Contractors. The process includes an application, exam, and continuing education in the electrical field. In Georgia, electricians reported a mean annual salary of $51,430 in 2019.

4. Pharmacy Technician Schools

Pharmacy technicians help dispense medication through commercial pharmacies or healthcare facility dispensaries. They apply labels and measure and count medications to ensure accuracy and patient safety. They also arrange for customers to speak with pharmacists about concerns or questions, and organize pharmacy inventory. Pharmacy technicians take on clerical duties to process insurance claims and track customer information.

Students in pharmacy technology in Georgia enjoy substantial employment opportunities after graduation. The state reported a mean annual salary of $31,360 for pharmacy technicians in 2019. Programs include certificates and associate degrees, and take 1-2 years to complete. Healthcare programs involve courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and pharmaceutical calculations. Some programs offer fully online instruction.

Pharmacy technicians register with the Georgia Board of Pharmacy each year. Many graduates pursue national certification from a Pharmacy Technician Certification Board program or by passing the National Healthcareer Association Pharmacy Technician Certification exam. Learn more about accredited pharmacy technician schools here.

5. Physical Therapy Schools

Physical therapy assistants and aides work under the direction of a physical therapist in an office, rehabilitation, or hospital setting. They work with patients recovering from illnesses or injuries. They provide direct care, helping patients complete the exercises in their care plan, and demonstrating stretches and mobility equipment. They also help transport patients, prepare equipment for therapy sessions, and clean up afterward.

The BLS projects 26% growth in employment nationally for the field between 2018 and 2028, due in part to an aging population. Physical therapist assistants earned a mean annual wage of $58,520 in 2019.

Physical therapy assistant programs typically require two years to complete. Coursework includes anatomy and physiology, human development, and kinesiology. Students also complete clinical rotations in physical therapy, rehabilitation, and kinesiology. Most programs lead to an associate degree.

Look for programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Georgia requires physical therapy assistants to earn state licensing from the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy.

Financial Aid for Trade School Students

Students attending trade schools in Georgia often pay less in tuition costs compared to students who attend four-year schools. The National Center for Education Statistics reports tuition for in-state students totaled $2,901 at public, two-year colleges in 2018 compared to $7,206 for tuition at public four-year schools.

State and federal financial aid helps students pay for their education and career training. Grants, scholarships, and loans help make vocation education affordable. The process begins by completing the FAFSA. Be sure to complete the form by your school or state's deadline.

Federal aid includes grants such as the Pell Grant or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. Unlike loans, grants do not require repayment. Work-study programs place students in part-time positions while enrolled in school. Many students who need additional aid consider student loans. Federal student loans offer a low interest rate, and some students qualify for subsidized interest payments while in school. Many private lenders also offer student loans.

Georgia offers numerous grants and scholarships. The HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Award help residents of Georgia pay undergraduate tuition costs. The state identified 17 vocational programs that qualify for free tuition for eligible students. Scholarships also help offset educational costs. Learn about scholarship opportunities below.

Scholarship for Trade School Students

Community organizations, churches, employers, and schools often offer scholarships. These awards support postsecondary education by providing funds for school-related costs such as tuition, books, or equipment.

Lewis Center Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: Offered by the Home Builders Association of Georgia, this scholarship assists students seeking careers in the homebuilding industry. Applicants submit a statement of career goals and two letters of recommendation along with proof of financial need.

Amount: Varies

Southern Automotive Women's Forum Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship assists women at two-year technical schools who study in a STEM-related field applicable to the automotive industry. Applicants live in Georgia or other eligible states and hold a 2.5 minimum GPA.

Amount: $1,000-$5,000

James D. Eunice Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Awarded by the Community Foundation of Southern Georgia, this scholarship recognizes students with character, leadership, and integrity. Eligible students study at an accredited college or technical school. Academic performance, extracurricular activities, and financial need factor into the award decision.

Amount: Varies

Rob R. and Christel Adams Veterinary Technology Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: This scholarship aims to assist individuals with at least one year of work experience as a veterinary assistant. Eligible applicants seek an associate degree in veterinary technology from an accredited program.

Amount: $5,000

Zell Miller Grant

Who Can Apply: This merit-based program offers full tuition for students seeking a certificate or diploma at an eligible Georgia university or college. As a Georgia HOPE state aid program, applicants must meet residency and academic requirements for the HOPE Grant.

Amount: Varies

Additional Education and Career Resources

This site contains information on vocational and trade education provided by the Georgia Department of Education. The Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education delivers services and support to teachers who provide CTE in the state. This site provides information about career paths for vocational and trade students, as well as academic performance metrics among Georgia students. This report from the Georgia Department of Labor provides an in-depth analysis of the workforce and economic trends expected to take place over the next decade. This site provides comprehensive information about industries in the state from the Georgia Department of Economic Development. TCSG ensures that the state's technical colleges provide a quality education to students. The agency also offers workforce development programs.

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