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.
|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.|
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.
|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||Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 64||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 31%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Central Georgia Technical College is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, offering technical certificate options through the divisions of aerospace trade/industry, business and computer technologies, health sciences, and public safety/professional services. The school serves 11 counties in Georgia with four campuses and three instructional centers. Trade and industry programs include studies in automotive maintenances and repair, HVAC, construction management, carpentry, drafting, commercial truck driving and welding. Business programs offer certificates in accounting, business administration, computer programming, hospitality management, design and media. Health science certifications are available in dental/medical assisting, laboratory technology, practical nursing and pharmacy assisting.
|2||Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Valdosta, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 52||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 25%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
The career development courses and testing services at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College help students to attain the professional licenses and credentials required for success in their chosen field. The Center for Industry Excellence provides training in mechanical engineering, health and safety, automation, and leadership development. The applied curriculum serves occupations in child care, contracting, timber, real estate, early childhood education, and agricultural sectors. Wiregrass also hosts Georgia Pest Exams-Georgia Department of Agriculture license renewal testing in forestry, agricultural production, waterways, industrial and residential applications. Online programs use the Blackboard course delivery/class management system with 24-hour support.
|3||Columbus Technical College Columbus, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 41||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 16%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
In addition to programs leading to Technical Certificates of Credit, Columbus Technical College awards HOPE Scholarship and/or the HOPE Grants to support the education of close to 80% of its students. Some 90% of its graduates are employed within 50 miles of the college. Programs of study leading to technical certificates are presented by the divisions of Business, Health Sciences and Nursing, and Professional/Technical Services. Business certificates include the fields of accounting, management, computing, criminal, justice, early childhood care, and customer service. Professional service offerings are in HVAC, cosmetology, automotive technology, drafting, cosmetology, machine tool and industrial systems.
|4||Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 61||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 19%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Certificate programs at Georgia Northwestern Technical College can be completed in less than a year – or longer for more technical specializations. Credit requirements can run from 10 hours or up to 80 credit hours depending on job requirements for the field. The major vocational areas for certificates include automotive, aviation, business, commercial truck driving, computer technology, allied health, industrial technology, and public service (criminal justice, firefighting, and law enforcement). GNTC offers more than 45 certifications within the Industrial Technology division alone, including specialties in HVAC, welding, machining, CAD operations, commercial wiring, green building, instrumentation and controls, robotics and computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining processes.
|5||Southern Regional Technical College Thomasville, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 30||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 40%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Southern Regional Technical College serves the four counties of Colquitt, Tift, Turner and Worth, and is part of the Technical College System of Georgia. Its Technical Certificates of Credit (TCC) programs are offered through the college schools of Business, Health Sciences, Industrial Technology, and Professional Services. Business certificates include studies in areas of computer networking, entrepreneurship, human resource management, medical billing, PC repair and payroll accounting. Industrial technology certifications include fields of HVAC, automotive, mechatronics, construction, drafting, welding, mobile electronics and carpentry. In Professional Services, students can take certifications in criminal justice, firefighting, early childhood education, horticulture and wildlife management, cosmetology and commercial truck driving.
|6||Athens Technical College Athens, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 56||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 29%||Financial Aid 1%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|7||Augusta Technical College Augusta, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 41||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 20%||Financial Aid 20%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|8||Albany Technical College Albany, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 57||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 41%||Financial Aid 2%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|9||Savannah Technical College Savannah, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 55||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 26%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|10||North Georgia Technical College Clarkesville, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 36||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 30%||Financial Aid 1%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|11||Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 52||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 18%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|12||Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Tifton, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 18||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 6%||Financial Aid 14%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|13||Georgia Piedmont Technical College Clarkston, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 36||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 20%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|14||Atlanta Technical College Atlanta, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 53||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 24%||Financial Aid 33%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|15||South Georgia Technical College Americus, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 41||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 32%||Financial Aid 3%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|16||Chattahoochee Technical College Marietta, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 52||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 10%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|17||Oconee Fall Line Technical College Sandersville, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 36||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 37%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|18||Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 43||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 29%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|19||Lanier Technical College Gainesville, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 52||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 28%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|20||West Georgia Technical College Waco, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 39||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 17%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|21||Southeastern Technical College Vidalia, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 30||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 27%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|22||Coastal Pines Technical College Waycross, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 38||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 43%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|23||Helms College Macon, GA||Tuition||# of Online Programs 1||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 58%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Georgia
Vocational and trade schools in Georgia train students for careers in various fields such as finance, energy, health science, and information technology.
This search tool helps prospective students find the vocational and trade schools in Georgia that best support their career goals.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.Apply for Scholarship
- 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.Apply for Scholarship
- 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.Apply for Scholarship
- 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.Apply for Scholarship
- 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.Apply for Scholarship
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.