Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

ASO Staff Writers
by
Updated June 28, 2023
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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.

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Best 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 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

  • Location-markerValdosta, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate54%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,669
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment28%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Georgia Northwestern Technical College

  • Location-markerRome, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate67%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled6,616
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment53%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Coastal Pines Technical College

  • Location-markerWaycross, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,147
  • Out-of-state$4,294
  • Retention Rate58%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,498
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment30%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Central Georgia Technical College

  • Location-markerWarner Robins, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate59%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled8,244
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment51%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Albany Technical College

  • Location-markerAlbany, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate55%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled3,285
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment75%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Southern Crescent Technical College

  • Location-markerGriffin, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate63%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled5,246
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment49%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Savannah Technical College

  • Location-markerSavannah, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate58%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,003
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment38%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Atlanta Technical College

  • Location-markerAtlanta, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate58%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled3,797
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment58%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Oconee Fall Line Technical College

  • Location-markerSandersville, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate71%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled1,859
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment48%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Lanier Technical College

  • Location-markerGainesville, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,000
  • Out-of-state$6,000
  • Retention Rate60%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,616
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment39%
  • AccreditationYes
#11 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Ogeechee Technical College

  • Location-markerStatesboro, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate67%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled2,079
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment58%
  • AccreditationYes
#12 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

South Georgia Technical College

  • Location-markerAmericus, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,000
  • Out-of-state$6,000
  • Retention Rate67%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled2,117
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment44%
  • AccreditationYes
#13 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Southern Regional Technical College

  • Location-markerThomasville, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate55%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,973
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment52%
  • AccreditationYes
#14 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

West Georgia Technical College

  • Location-markerWaco, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate51%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled7,074
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment46%
  • AccreditationYes
#15 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Athens Technical College

  • Location-markerAthens, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,132
  • Out-of-state$4,264
  • Retention Rate67%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,756
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment28%
  • AccreditationYes
#16 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Gwinnett Technical College

  • Location-markerLawrenceville, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate62%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled9,539
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment42%
  • AccreditationYes
#17 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Columbus Technical College

  • Location-markerColumbus, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate53%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled3,489
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment46%
  • AccreditationYes
#18 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Augusta Technical College

  • Location-markerAugusta, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate53%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,237
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment19%
  • AccreditationYes
#19 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

Chattahoochee Technical College

  • Location-markerMarietta, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate63%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled10,184
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment45%
  • AccreditationYes
#20 Best Vocational Trade School Programs in Georgia

North Georgia Technical College

  • Location-markerClarkesville, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate66%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled2,697
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment43%
  • AccreditationYes

FAQ about Trade Schools


question-mark-circleWhat 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.

question-mark-circleCan 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.

question-mark-circleWhat 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.

question-mark-circleWhen 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.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

plusLewis 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


plusSouthern 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


plusJames 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


plusRob 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


plusZell 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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