Many trade and vocational schools offer self-paced or accelerated programs to fit the schedule of busy students. Learners seeking flexibility can also attend online vocational programs.
This page introduces the top vocational schools in Idaho to help prospective students find the best program to reach their professional goals. We also cover other important information for students, such as the importance of accreditation, scholarship opportunities, and potential careers and salaries for graduates.
|Can trade school credits transfer?||Yes. Credits earned at a vocational or trade school can transfer to other institutions. However, many schools only accept credits from regionally accredited institutions.|
|What is the difference between trade school and vocational school?||Both trade and vocational schools offer career-focused training. At a trade school, students can earn a certificate or degree in a vocational field.|
|When can I apply to trade school?||Many trade schools accept applications on a rolling basis and offer multiple start dates throughout the year. Prospective students should research application requirements and deadlines at each potential school.|
|How long does trade school take?||Earning a vocational certificate or degree generally takes 1-2 years. Some trade schools in Idaho offer accelerated options that take less time.|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Prospective trade school students should always check a school's accreditation and licensing status before applying. Accredited schools meet the highest standards for granting degrees. To earn accreditation, colleges and universities must undergo a rigorous review process from an independent agency that evaluates the school's student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic mission. Accredited schools must regularly repeat the review to maintain their status.
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.
In Idaho, community colleges and four-year institutions may hold regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Vocational and trade schools in Idaho often hold national accreditation from an agency like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Schools may also pursue accreditation from specialized agencies like the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which grants accreditation to online schools.
In addition to accreditation, colleges and universities must gain approval from the state to grant degrees. The Idaho State Board of Education approves public and private institutions, including trade and vocational schools in Idaho.
Learn more about the accreditation process.
Vocational Trade Schools in Idaho
Idaho's vocational and trade schools provide career-ready training for professionals in many areas, including healthcare, legal services, technology, and the skilled trades. By attending a top-ranked trade school in Idaho, students can advance their careers and increase their earning potential. Our list ranks the best vocational schools in Idaho.
|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||College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls, ID||Tuition $6,426||# of Online Programs 36||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 18%||Financial Aid 46%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
A major two-year college in Twin Falls, CSI ranks among the top trade schools in Idaho. Serving around 12,000 students annually, CSI offers a large selection of degree and certificate programs available in fields such as culinary arts, cybersecurity, dental hygiene, fire science, and water resource management. The CSI Advising Center offers support to students of all majors, emphasizing effective degree and career planning. Advisors can help with course selections, career goals, and connections to CSI campus resources.
CSI also offers an applied technology and apprenticeship program in five career fields: electrical, HVAC, machine operator, maintenance, and plumbing. These apprenticeships typically last four years, combining supervised on-the-job experience with weekly class sessions that explore specialized trade skills. Open to both journeymen and apprentices, the program requires candidates to complete at least 15 general education credits before enrolling. All apprenticeship programs prepare students for professional licensure.
|2||North Idaho College Coeur d'Alene, ID||Tuition $7,503||# of Online Programs 30||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 23%||Financial Aid 28%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Located on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene, NIC enrolls more than 6,000 students annually, offering several associate degree and certificate programs. Students can choose programs in professional fields including aerospace technology, cybersecurity and networking, automotive technology, and mechatronics.
NIC offers several pre-professional programs, including pre-microbiology, pre-nutrition, pre-physical therapy, and pre-veterinary medicine. These associate degrees prepare students to transfer to four-year colleges, serving as the first half of a bachelor's degree. NIC maintains articulation agreements with several public colleges around Washington and Idaho.
Like many trade schools in Idaho, NIC also hosts a professional apprenticeship program, which combines full-time employment with supplementary classroom instruction. Apprentices typically work during the week and attend classes either in the evening or on weekends. The program takes four years to complete and prepares graduates to become skilled journeymen in the electrical, HVAC, or plumbing trades.
|3||College of Western Idaho Nampa, ID||Tuition $4,883||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Founded in 2007 to serve the Boise metro area, CWI maintains several campuses throughout the Treasure Valley region. As one of the top trade schools in Idaho, CWI offers several technical and vocational programs, including options in fire service technology, dental assisting, drafting technology, heavy-duty truck technician, and welding and metals fabrication. Several of the school's technical programs also offer apprenticeships, enabling students to combine professional work and classroom learning.
CWI provides a strong selection of resources and support services for students, including academic advising, career counseling, and tutoring. Advisors can assist students with orientation, degree planning, transfer counseling, and links to other school resources. The Career Information office offers workshops, training sessions, resume review, and interview training. CWI offers comprehensive peer tutoring for most academic subjects, and students can also access 24-hour online tutoring services through the Tutor.com service.
|4||Idaho State University Pocatello, ID||Tuition $13,349||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A major public school in Pocatello, ISU ranks among the top Idaho technical colleges. ISU hosts a wide selection of vocational programs and certificates, including options such as advanced automation and manufacturing, energy systems engineering, health information technology, medical assisting, and physical therapy assistant. The school's status as a four-year institution offers convenient transfer options for students interested in pursuing a bachelor's after earning their associate degree.
ISU's Career Center uses the resources of a major public college to offer comprehensive support to students, including career exploration, workshops, and career fairs. The Career Center provides several services both in person and remotely, including resume review, career counseling, and interviewing training.
ISU hosts apprenticeship programs in electrical, HVAC, and plumbing, offering a combination of professional training and classroom instruction for trade students. Sponsored by individual employers, joint employer and labor groups, and employer associations, apprenticeships last four years.
|5||Lewis-Clark State College Lewiston, ID||Tuition $10,118||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A public four-year college in Lewiston, LCSC offers several technical and vocational programs in areas including business technology and services, technical and industrial, and nursing and health sciences. Students can choose from dozens of professional degrees and certificates, such as medical assistant, web design and development, industrial electronics, medical receptionist, and packaging design. Several programs, such as radiographic science and paralegal, enable students to pursue a bachelor's degree after earning their associate degree.
LCSC also offers apprenticeship programs in electrical, HVAC, industrial mechanic/millwright, and plumbing. These programs enable students to work and learn a trade simultaneously, combining full-time employment with college instruction. LCSC offers academic flexibility for apprenticeship students, delivering course content through both traditional classroom sessions as well as correspondence and online education. Like most trade schools in Idaho, LCSC's apprenticeships typically take four years to complete.
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Idaho
According to the Idaho Department of Labor, 17 of the 20 occupations with the largest amount of vacancies can be filled by trade school graduates. Use the search tool below to find the vocational and trade school programs in Idaho that can help you reach your career goals.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
Trade school graduates can pursue diverse roles, like HVAC technician, dental hygienist, medical assistant, cosmetologist, and pharmacy technician. Because trade schools in Idaho prepare graduates for so many different careers, the salaries for trade school occupations vary widely. However, trade school graduates in many fields earn above-average salaries and enjoy strong projected job growth.
Trade school jobs offer an average salary of $55,000 per year. Personal care and service occupations pay around $32,000 per year, while managerial roles pay an average salary of over $96,000 annually. Healthcare practitioner and technical occupations offer around $55,000 per year and healthcare support occupations offer around $45,000 per year, on average.
Many trade school careers offer strong job growth projections. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects much faster-than-average job growth for HVAC technicians, occupational therapy assistants, and paralegals between 2018 and 2028.
Prospective trade school students can research Idaho salary data to learn more about state wages in their field. For example, in Idaho, dental hygienists earn nearly $76,000 per year, on average, and HVAC technicians make around $44,000 per year. Paralegals in Idaho earn $48,000 per year, on average, while occupational therapy assistants make around $53,000 annually.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Trade and vocational schools in Idaho offer certificates and degrees in high-demand fields like construction management, medical assisting, electrical technology, and paralegal studies. Completing a vocational program typically takes 1-2 years and prepares graduates for opportunities in growing areas, including healthcare, technology, and the skilled trades.
This section introduces some popular trade school programs in Idaho. Prospective students can also research vocational programs in other fields.
- Construction Management Schools
Construction managers plan and supervise construction projects. Also known as general contractors, they prepare cost estimates and work timetables, supervise workers and subcontractors during construction, and communicate with clients throughout the construction process. Construction managers must also follow building and safety codes.
Vocational and trade schools in Idaho offer construction management and construction technology programs to prepare students for careers as construction managers. During these programs, students take courses on topics like construction materials, cost estimation, and building codes. Construction managers earned a median annual salary of over $95,000 in 2019 and benefit from faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.
Construction managers can pursue professional certifications to demonstrate their expertise. The Construction Management Association of America and the American Institute of Constructors offer certifications for construction managers.
For more information, visit our page on construction management programs.
- HVAC Training Schools
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technicians install, maintain, and repair HVAC systems. They test systems, repair worn or defective parts, and discuss HVAC systems with customers.
HVAC training programs prepare students for careers as HVAC technicians. Students take courses on topics like HVAC system design, electrical systems, and heating systems. Programs also include hands-on training to strengthen technical skills. HVAC technicians earned a median annual salary of nearly $49,000 in 2019 and enjoy much faster-than-average projected job growth.
Some states require a professional license to work as an HVAC technician. In Idaho, the Division of Building Safety grants HVAC licenses for HVAC apprentices, HVAC journeymen, and HVAC contractors.
Learn more about HVAC training programs.
- Electrician Schools
Electricians install electrical systems in homes, businesses, and other buildings. They also maintain electrical systems and perform repairs. They must read technical diagrams, use testing devices to identify electrical problems, and repair wiring or other equipment.
Trade and tech schools in Idaho offer electrician programs, which include coursework in circuitry, electrical installation, and safety practices. Students also learn about electrical code requirements and electrical theory.
Electricians earned a median annual income of over $56,000 in 2019 and enjoy faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028. Electricians typically need a license to practice. In Idaho, the Division of Building Safety licenses electricians. The state grants licenses to apprentice electricians, journeyman electricians, master electricians, and electrical contractors.
For more, visit our page on electrician programs.
- Occupational Therapy Schools
Occupational therapy assistants help occupational therapists treat patients. They assist patients with therapeutic activities, teach patients to use special equipment, and report each patient's progress to occupational therapists.
Typically, occupational therapy assistants hold an associate degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program. During the program, students take courses in anatomy, rehabilitation therapy, and medical terminology. Programs also incorporate fieldwork where students build practical skills. Occupational therapy assistants earned a median annual pay of over $59,000 in 2019, with much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.
In most states, occupational therapy assistants need a license to practice. In Idaho, the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses grants licenses to occupational therapy assistants who complete an approved occupational therapy assistant program.
Learn more about occupational therapy programs.
- Paralegal Schools
Paralegals support lawyers by conducting legal research, investigating cases, and drafting legal documents. They write reports to help lawyers prepare for trial, arrange evidence for attorney review, and file briefs and appeals with the court. Paralegals may specialize in an area of law, such as corporate paralegals or litigation paralegals.
A paralegal studies program prepares students for careers as paralegals. During a certificate or degree in paralegal studies, students take courses on topics like legal writing, civil litigation, and legal research. The BLS reports that paralegals and legal assistants earned a median annual pay of over $51,000 in 2019, with much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.
For more information, visit our page on paralegal programs.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
Trade and vocational programs often cost less than four-year academic programs. Most two-year colleges charge lower tuition rates than four-year institutions. In Idaho, public universities cost over $7,000 per year, on average, in tuition and fees, while private universities cost nearly $6,000 per year. In contrast, community colleges cost around $3,000 per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
In addition to choosing an affordable school, students can lower the cost of their education through financial aid. Students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid programs, including loans and grants. Applicants must submit the FAFSA every year to receive federal financial aid.
Scholarships and grants represent one of the best forms of financial aid for college students because, unlike loans, they do not require repayment. The next section introduces scholarship opportunities for students at vocational schools in Idaho.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
Trade school students may qualify for many scholarship opportunities in Idaho. For example, the state offers several scholarships for Idaho college students, including students attending career technical education programs. In addition to the following scholarships, students can research additional opportunities based on their school or field.
- Idaho Opportunity Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Offered by the state, this scholarship funds Idaho students with a minimum 2.7 GPA who demonstrate financial need. Applicants must be attending an eligible college or university in Idaho.Apply for Scholarship
Amount: Up to $3,500
- Idaho Opportunity Scholarship for Adult Learners
Who Can Apply: Idaho students attending an eligible Idaho college or university, including vocational schools in Idaho, as adult learners can apply for this scholarship. Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA.Apply for Scholarship
Amount: Up to $3,500
- Idaho Governor's Cup Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Students pursuing career technical education at an Idaho school can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must be Idaho residents with a minimum 2.8 GPA.Apply for Scholarship
- Idaho Community Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Idaho Community Foundation offers more than 70 scholarships for Idaho students, including students at trade and tech schools in Idaho. Requirements vary by scholarship.Apply for Scholarship
- Pride Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Pride Foundation offers over 60 scholarships to LGBTQ+ students and allies in the Pacific Northwest, including students at vocational schools in Idaho.Apply for Scholarship
Additional Education and Career Resources
This agency supports the teachers and administrators that provide career and technical education around the state.
The Idaho Department of Labor's website includes information to help those looking for a job, applying for unemployment, or considering for career training.
The Idaho Career Atlas uses Idaho labor data to give students and workers a guide to possible careers. It includes data on career paths, salaries, and necessary certificates and licenses.