Vocational Trade Schools in Illinois

Why Choose Trade School?

Trade schools in Illinois provide career-focused training in areas like allied health, the skilled trades, and technology. Trade school graduates can work as respiratory therapists, radiation technicians, and occupational therapy assistants. They can also pursue careers as mechanics, electricians, paralegals, and cosmetologists.

Vocational programs combine classroom learning with hands-on experiences through practicum, lab, and clinical requirements. For example, students in paramedic programs strengthen their skills through experiential learning in hospitals and ambulances.

Vocational programs offer several benefits over four-year academic programs. Earning a vocational certificate or degree generally takes 1-2 years, meaning students can enter the workforce faster than students at four-year programs. Additionally, professionals with an occupational credential benefit from a higher employment rate than those with an academic credential, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.


This page ranks the top vocational schools in Illinois to help students identify the best vocational program for their needs and goals. It also introduces career and salary data for trade school occupations and scholarship opportunities for Illinois trade school students.

FAQ

Question Answer
Can I get financial aid for trade school? Yes. Students at trade schools can receive loans, grants, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid.
Can trade school credits transfer? Yes. Credits earned at trade schools often transfer to other schools. However, many schools only accept credits from accredited institutions.
What is the difference between trade school and technical school? Trade schools and technical schools are essentially the same, providing career training in areas like healthcare, the skilled trades, and legal services.
What is the highest paid trade? Many trade school jobs offer above-average salaries, including roles like dental hygienist, respiratory therapist, construction manager, and plumber. Prospective students can look up earnings by industry to learn more.

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 high standards for educating students. To earn accreditation, schools must undergo a rigorous review from an independent accrediting agency. During the review, the accrediting agency evaluates the school's student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic mission. Accredited schools must regularly repeat the process to maintain their status.

Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For example, 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.

Schools that offer vocational certificates and degrees may hold regional or national accreditation. Community colleges and four-year universities typically hold regional accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission grants regional accreditation to colleges and universities in Illinois.

Vocational and trade schools often hold national accreditation from specialized agencies like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Approved by the Department of Education, ACCSC accredits over 650 trade and technical schools nationwide. Other accrediting agencies include the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which grants accreditation to online schools. Learn more about the accreditation process here.

In addition to accreditation, postsecondary schools must also hold a license from the state. In Illinois, the Board of Higher Education licenses schools that offer vocational programs.

Vocational Trade Schools in Illinois

Vocational and Trade Schools

Trade schools in Illinois provide career-focused training in many in-demand areas. By choosing a top-ranked vocational program, students can advance their education and increase their earning potential. Our list ranks the best vocational schools in Illinois to help prospective students find the right fit for their goals and interests.

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 City Colleges of Chicago - Wilbur Wright College Chicago, IL Tuition $3,229 # of Online Programs 9 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 14% Financial Aid 2% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Established in 1934, Wright College belongs to Community College District 508, the largest community college district in the Prairie State. The school serves as the College to Careers hub for information technology programs. Wright College enrolls approximately 23,000 students annually and offers associate and certificate programs across 10 focus areas.

Students planning to continue their studies at a four-year institution can choose from 43 associate degree transfer programs in fields like criminal studies, human geography, musical performance, and pre-aviation. Among other trade schools in Illinois, Wright College also offers programs for high school students and online enrollees.

The college's Transfer and Career Center provides several services and resources, including transfer workshops, course and major selection, and access to active job boards. Counselors help students with career planning, resume writing, and job interviewing skills. Wright College offers apprenticeship programs in diverse fields such as information technology; transportation, distribution, and logistics; and architecture, construction technology, and engineering.

2 City Colleges of Chicago - Harold Washington College Chicago, IL Tuition $3,417 # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Harold Washington College began as Loop Junior College in 1962. The college was renamed in 1987 after the death of Harold Washington, Chicago's first African American mayor. Harold Washington College serves as the College to Careers hub for business education, entrepreneurship, and professional services. Since the college's business programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, students can use them to satisfy the required class hours to sit for the CPA exam.

City Colleges of Chicago designated Harold Washington College as the center of online learning for the entire system. The college currently offers 288 online courses and serves approximately 4,500 students across the Chicago area and beyond. Harold Washington College also offers 45 associate degree transfers in environmental biology, criminal justice, engineering, and human development and family studies.

Working with Chicago's local business and civic communities, Harold Washington College offers several apprenticeship programs in diverse occupational areas, such as culinary arts and hospitality, information technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.

3 City Colleges of Chicago - Richard J Daley College Chicago, IL Tuition $3,590 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 8% Financial Aid 9 Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Founded in 1960 as William J. Bogan Junior College, Richard J. Daley College first held classes in the evenings at local high school buildings. The college currently serves as the College to Careers hub for advanced manufacturing programs for the City Colleges of Chicago. Richard J. Daley College continues to work with local industries to align the curricula of its manufacturing programs with emerging industry standards.

The college offers advanced manufacturing programs in two main areas: computerized numerical control machining and factory automation. Students can also pursue associate degrees for transfer in a variety of arenas, including geosciences, philosophy, physics, theater arts, and comparative religion.

Students seeking apprenticeship opportunities can select from the college's several offerings in fields like transportation, distribution, and logistics; healthcare; culinary arts and hospitality; and business, banking, finance, operations, and insurance.

4 City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College Chicago, IL Tuition $3,733 # of Online Programs 11 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 8% Financial Aid 3% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Enrolling just 30 students upon opening in 1911, MXC began as Crane Junior College. Today, the college enrolls almost 16,000 students every year and serves as the healthcare hub for City College of Chicago.

MXC works to ensure the relevance and timeliness of its healthcare programs. The college recently opened the School of Health Sciences, a modern facility featuring a virtual hospital and state-of-the-art facilities.

Students can pursue associate degrees, occupational credentials, and associate degree transfers in 40 fields of study, including world languages, journalism, physics education, and environmental biology. Many programs feature stackable credits that students can build on should they decide to pursue further studies.

MXC maintains apprenticeship programs in fields such as culinary arts, information technology, and healthcare. Some apprenticeships lead to an occupational credential, while others lead to an associate degree

5 City Colleges of Chicago - Harry S Truman College Chicago, IL Tuition $4,105 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 12% Financial Aid 5% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Harry S. Truman College began in 1956 as Mayfair College, an evening school operating out of Amundson High School. Quickly outgrowing its original space, the college moved once before finally settling in its current location when it also changed its name to honor the country's 33rd president.

Today, Harry S. Truman College enrolls close to 23,000 students annually and serves as the hub for education and human and natural sciences for City Colleges of Chicago. Learners at Harry S. Truman College come from 160 countries and speak over 90 languages. Addressing this phenomenon, the college offers the largest ESL and GED programs in the state, registering more than 12,000 students each year.

In addition to education and natural sciences programs, students can also pursue associate degree transfers in diverse fields, including math education, web development, philosophy, and business and economics. Harry S. Truman College also offers apprenticeship programs in transportation, logistics, and distribution; advanced manufacturing; information technology; and healthcare.

6 City Colleges of Chicago - Olive-Harvey College Chicago, IL Tuition $5,091 # of Online Programs 8 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 9% Financial Aid 3% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Resulting from the consolidation of two colleges established in the late 1950s, Olive-Harvey College currently occupies a 67-acre campus, making it the largest of the seven-member City Colleges of Chicago system. Olive-Harvey College serves as the hub for transportation, distribution, and logistics (TDL) for the City Colleges of Chicago. The college is currently constructing a $45 million state-of-the-art TDL facility to produce the professionals needed for this expanding field.

In addition to TDL programs, students can also pursue associate degrees and occupational credentials in other growing fields such as construction technology, education, and human sciences. In addition, Olive-Harvey College offers associate degree transfers in 40 areas of study.

The college's apprenticeship programs cover seven professional arenas, including advanced manufacturing, information technology, healthcare, and culinary arts and hospitality. Employer partners include some of the region's largest businesses, such as Accenture, Walgreens, and Rush University Medical Center.

7 City Colleges of Chicago - Kennedy-King College Chicago, IL Tuition $5,731 # of Online Programs 17 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 26% Financial Aid 9% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Founded as Woodrow Wilson Junior College in 1934, Kennedy-King College currently serves as City Colleges of Chicago's hub for two occupational fields: culinary/hospitality and construction technology. Learners take culinary classes at the Washburne Culinary & Hospitality Institute and construction technology classes at the Dawson Technical Institute. The college coordinates closely with local businesses in these sectors to ensure graduates are prepared for professional opportunities in these fields.

Kennedy-King College offers associate degree transfer (ADT) programs for students who wish to continue their studies at four-year universities. Students can pursue an ADT in 40 areas of study, including computer science, chemistry education, human geography, and journalism.

Students can also earn an associate degree or occupational credential by completing one of several apprenticeship programs. Learners can explore apprenticeships in information technology; architecture, construction technology, and engineering; healthcare; and advanced manufacturing.

8 College of Lake County Grayslake, IL Tuition $3,870 # of Online Programs 39 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 17% Financial Aid 9% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

CLC opened in 1969 with an initial enrollment of 2,360 students. Today, the college admits approximately 15,000 enrollees each year and offers programs for transfer to four-year institutions, workforce entry, career development, and specialized services for businesses. Students can explore associate and certificate programs across nine areas of study, including business and information technology; sustainability and horticulture; wellness and health science; and manufacturing, engineering, and advanced technologies. CLC is also the only school in Illinois to offer associate and certificate programs in the laser/photonics/optics field.

CLC maintains guaranteed admission transfer programs with several four-year institutions throughout the state and across the country. Students who participate in the program and meet all the requirements can seamlessly transfer to a participating four-year school. CLC also offers apprenticeship programs in fields including automotive, business, healthcare, horticulture, information technology, and manufacturing.

9 Richland Community College Decatur, IL Tuition $5,017 # of Online Programs 30 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 21% Financial Aid 31% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

RCC opened in 1971 and was originally called the Community College of Decatur. RCC currently enrolls 3,630 students and offers more than 80 associate and certificate programs across four academic divisions.

The school offers health profession programs in nursing, radiography, and surgical technology. The college's Health Professions Division participates in a Cooperative Education Program with other local community colleges. The program allows healthcare students to cross-enroll in courses offered at participating schools, thereby increasing their academic options.

The Workforce Development Division offers several internship and training programs. Students receive extensive hands-on experience in fields such as highway construction, industrial job skills, and commercial driver training.

Each year, the Richland Community College Foundation awards over 500 scholarships to incoming RCC students. The Foundation also maintains several scholarships for transfer students continuing their education in four-year institutions within the state.

10 Harper College Palatine, IL Tuition $6,938 # of Online Programs 27 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 24% Financial Aid 6% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Established in 1965 and opening two years later, Harper College currently enrolls more than 35,000 students each year, making it one of the nation's largest community colleges. Harper College offers occupational credentials, associate degrees, workforce training, professional development, and continuing education classes to traditional learners and working students in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Harper College offers educational programs across 10 academic areas of interest, including health science; business, entrepreneurship, and information technology; manufacturing and construction; and public service. In addition, the college offers specialized programs in adult education development, ESL, and international studies.

Apprenticeships allow students to earn a salary as they undergo intensive hands-on training in specific occupational arenas. Acknowledging its advantages to students, Harper College maintains apprenticeships in 10 fields. Students can enroll in an apprenticeship program in areas such as electromedical technology, supply chain management, precision machining, and graphic arts print production.

11 Waubonsee Community College Sugar Grove, IL Tuition $4,706 # of Online Programs 26 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 30% Financial Aid 12% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

WCC opened in 1966 with an initial enrollment of 1,603 students. The school began conducting classes in various community facilities until a 243-acre plot of land in Sugar Grove became the site of its permanent campus. WCC serves over 12,000 students each semester and offers transfer programs, occupational credentials, professional development and adult education courses, and personal enrichment classes.

WCC participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI), a statewide program that facilitates the transfer of credits between participating institutions. Students who complete the curriculum for the school's associate degrees for transfer satisfy the general education requirements of all participating IAI schools.

Students can pursue a career program by completing either an associate of applied science degree or earning a certificate. WCC offers more than 90 career programs.

Business administration majors can apply to The Hartford Apprenticeship Program. Apprentices receive free tuition, paid on-the-job training, and a guaranteed job at The Hartford (insurance company) after completing the program.

12 Frontier Community College Fairfield, IL Tuition $670 # of Online Programs 9 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 57% Financial Aid 91% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Established in 1976, Frontier Community College offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs that help students transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce after graduation. Frontier Community College also offers community education classes, GED test preparation, and professional development courses. The college belongs to the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges system.

Many of the school's career and technical education programs include internship opportunities with local businesses and organizations that give students hands-on training and real-world experience. Learners can pursue associate degrees for transfer or occupational credentials in diverse fields including construction technology, fire science, graphic arts and design, and health informatics.

Frontier Community College maintains academic support services and career resources to help students succeed in their studies and job search after graduation. Students can take advantage of tutoring services, advising on majors and careers, resume writing assistance, and interview tips. The college provides reasonable accommodations for students with learning and physical disabilities.

13 Southwestern Illinois College Belleville, IL Tuition $6,491 # of Online Programs 29 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 27% Financial Aid 14% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Founded in 1946 and originally called Belleville Junior College, SWIC offers more than 150 associate and certificate programs across five academic disciplines. Students can pursue an associate degree for transfer in 10 areas of study, including agriculture, engineering, health and exercise, and the social sciences. The college maintains articulation agreements that facilitate the transfer of SWIC graduates to public and private four-year institutions throughout the state and surrounding region.

Career and technical programs consist of 40 professional areas, including web technologies, paralegal studies, horticulture, and commercial maintenance mechanics. SWIC offers a construction apprenticeship for students who wish to earn a certificate of proficiency or an associate in applied science degree in the construction field.

SWIC maintains several community programs, including one that promotes independence and productivity for seniors. SWIC also customizes career training options for area businesses to help maintain their competitiveness on the national and international economic stage.

14 South Suburban College South Holland, IL Tuition $5,181 # of Online Programs 19 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 22% Financial Aid 16% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

SSC began in 1927 and was originally called Thornton Junior College. Today, an average of 9,000 students enroll at the college each year. SSC offers associate degrees and occupational credentials across seven academic fields of study. Additionally, the college's Business and Career Institute maintains non-credit training programs and regularly holds short-term business classes.

Counselors at the SSC Transfer Center help students create a Master Academic Plan (MAP) at the start of their enrollment. The MAP ensures that students' SSC courses transfer to the four-year institution of their choice. The Transfer Center also provides admission information and transfer policies of several colleges and universities across the state and surrounding areas.

SSC offers a free 12-week Highway Construction Careers Training Program that prepares and qualifies students for work in highway construction projects or apprenticeship opportunities in the field. Program applicants need a driver's license and must pass a skills assessment test.

15 College of DuPage Glen Ellyn, IL Tuition $5,724 # of Online Programs 40 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 16% Financial Aid 6% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

When COD opened in 1967, the school held classes at leased sites and office trailers scattered throughout the district. The following year, construction for a permanent campus began on a 273-acre property in Glen Ellyn, where the college stands today. The college admits about 26,000 students annually and stands second only to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as the state's largest provider of undergraduate education.

COD offers associate and certificate programs and associate degrees for transfer in diverse arenas, including computer and information science, interior design, medical assisting, and health information technology. The college participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiative, a program that facilitates the transfer of community college graduates to four-year institutions.

COD continually works with local businesses and corporate leaders to provide apprenticeship opportunities to its students. The college currently maintains seven apprenticeship programs in fields like facility management, industrial maintenance, manufacturing machining, and electro-mechanical and mechatronics.

16 Rend Lake College Ina, IL Tuition $7,012 # of Online Programs 30 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 51% Financial Aid 44% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

RLC began in 1955 as Mt. Vernon Community College and enrolled a total of 203 students during its first year. Today, RLC serves approximately 3,000 students annually and offers more than 100 associate and certificate programs. Students can pursue a degree or certificate in allied health, arts and sciences, and applied science and technology.

RLC partners with local businesses to provide students with apprenticeship opportunities. Students can apply for apprenticeship positions in fields such as automotive and electrical.

The college's Career Center offers multiple services to RLC students, including job search assistance and resume writing and interviewing tips. Students also gain access to academic advising, placement and testing services, and IT assistance. The Rend Lake College Foundation offers several scholarships for students pursuing an associate degree or occupational credential.

17 Lincoln Trail College Robinson, IL Tuition $1,927 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 43% Financial Aid 96% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Lincoln Trail College began in 1969 with an initial enrollment of about 300 students. Today, the college serves close to 1,100 students and offers associate degrees, occupational credentials, and a variety of continuing education and community service programs. The college belongs to the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC) education system.

Through the IECC, Lincoln Trail College participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI), a statewide program that facilitates the transfer of qualified students between participating institutions. More than 100 two- and four-year colleges and universities throughout the state participate in IAI, giving Lincoln Trail College transfer students several options for pursuing a bachelor's degree.

The college's Academic Success Center offers several support services, including tutoring sessions, course and major selection guidance, and placement and testing assistance. Students with learning or physical disabilities can also request accommodation services. All students receive some type of financial assistance.

18 Triton College River Grove, IL Tuition $4,960 # of Online Programs 29 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 15% Financial Aid 8% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Established in 1967, Triton comprises a 110-acre campus just 14 miles from downtown Chicago and enrolls more than 10,000 students each year. The college offers more than 200 associate degrees and certificates across five academic departments. In addition, Triton serves the local community by offering several adult, continuing, and community education programs.

Triton partners with the Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT) to bring apprenticeship opportunities to students. ICATT currently coordinates apprenticeship programs with 15 colleges throughout Illinois and 62 companies in six states. Triton's partnership with ICATT significantly expands the educational and occupational options of its students.

Students can take advantage of many support resources, including tutoring services, academic and career advising, and transfer and testing centers. Triton's Center for Access and Accommodative Services provides accessibility and accommodation resources for students with learning, physical, medical, or sensory disabilities.

19 Olney Central College Olney, IL Tuition $2,522 # of Online Programs 11 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 37% Financial Aid 86% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Founded in 1963 and currently admitting an average of 1,100 students each year, OCC belongs to the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC) system. OCC offers more than 100 associate, certificate, and transfer programs. Students can pursue a program in diverse areas of study, including alternative fuels, broadband technology, computer security and forensics, and medical assisting. OCC also offers adult education classes, free GED review courses, and other educational resources for the greater community.

The college participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) through the IECC. More than 100 colleges and universities throughout the state take part in the initiative. IAI targets and assists students transferring from a two-year college to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor's degree. On the other hand, the Comprehensive Agreement Regarding the Expansion of Education Resources, or CAREER program, supports students pursuing a technical or occupational credential. The program allows learners to enroll in courses not offered within their district without paying non-resident tuition.

20 Joliet Junior College Joliet, IL Tuition $4,428 # of Online Programs 31 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 13% Financial Aid 7% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

JJC opened in 1901 with a handful of enrollees and now serves more than 38,000 students each year. The nation's oldest community college, JJC continues to offer academic and occupational credentials today, as it has since its inception.

JJC organizes its academic offerings along nine customized pathways, each with career clusters that help students decide on a program of study that supports their educational and professional plans. Students can choose from more than 180 degree and certificate programs in fields like business, finance, and information technology; health, public safety, and human services; workforce and training; and science, technology, engineering, and math.

Students can explore several support services, including career advising, academic and personal counseling, tutoring sessions, and health and wellness resources. JJC administers several scholarship opportunities for students continuing on to four-year institutions as well as for career and technical students entering the workforce.

21 Black Hawk College Moline, IL Tuition $5,663 # of Online Programs 20 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 19% Financial Aid 24% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

BHC opened in 1946 as Moline Community College and adopted its current name only in 1961. The college offers associate, transfer, and certificate programs across 11 academic fields of study including business, computer, and engineering technology; health and human services; nursing; and arts, design, and performing arts. BHC also offers professional development courses, adult education, and community classes.

The college maintains a variety of support services for students, including individual and group tutoring, career exploration and advisement, academic counseling, and transfer resources. Students with disabilities can take advantage of resources such as assistive technology, books and classroom materials on alternative formats, and sign language interpreters. Some of BHC's trade and technical programs prepare students for apprenticeship opportunities.

The Black Hawk College Foundation administers more than 200 scholarship programs for BHC enrollees. Students can apply for scholarships which are based on academic performance, area of study, and financial need.

22 Rock Valley College Rockford, IL Tuition $8,419 # of Online Programs 19 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 22% Financial Aid 4% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

RVC began in 1964 and currently comprises a 217-acre campus in Rockford. The college enrolls an average of 6,000 students each semester. RVC offers transfer degrees, career and technical education, and certificate programs across 11 academic fields of study. Students can pursue an associate degree or occupational credential in fields such as allied health, computer and information systems, nursing, and communication.

Student support resources include individual and group tutoring sessions, academic advising, career exploration and counseling, and testing and placement services. RVC maintains the Eagle's Nest Food Pantry, which collects and distributes food to RVC students without charge. Students with disabilities can request for media captioning, sign language interpreters, and access to assistive technology.

RVC offers a tool and die precision/machinist apprenticeship program through the Rock River Valley Tooling & Machining Association. The college also offers an electrician apprenticeship through the Rockford Area Electricians Joint Apprenticeship Committee.

23 Shawnee Community College Ullin, IL Tuition $10,682 # of Online Programs 21 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 28% Financial Aid 44% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Established in 1967, SCC consists of 153 acres in southern Illinois at the foothills of the Appalachian and Ozark mountains. SCC admits approximately 3,300 students each year. The college offers associate, transfer, and certificate programs across four academic divisions: business, occupational, and technical; humanities; math and science; and allied health. In addition, SCC maintains community training programs and offers various workforce development classes.

SCC participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiative to help facilitate the transfer of its graduates to four-year institutions within the state. The college also offers a three-year construction craft laborer apprenticeship program that comprises 61 credits. Apprentices earn a certificate after their first year in the program.

Students gain access to tutoring, placement, and assessment services from the Student Success Center. The center also offers academic and career counseling, resources for students with disabilities, and a Writing Lab to help students with academic research and writing.

24 Moraine Valley Community College Palos Hills, IL Tuition $4,668 # of Online Programs 26 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 20% Financial Aid 6% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Founded in 1967, MVCC admitted 1,218 enrollees during its first year. Today, the college serves approximately 26,400 students annually and offers more than 130 associate and certificate programs across 16 academic fields of study. The college also offers basic adult education, professional development courses, GED preparation classes, and other community-based programs.

MVCC currently maintains more than 30 transfer agreements with private and public four-year institutions within the state and the surrounding region. Many receiving schools accept graduates who have completed an associate degree for transfer. However, some universities only accept transfer applications from graduates of specific programs. For example, Lewis University only considers applicants with an associate of applied science degree in nursing.

Students gain access to various support services including academic and career counseling, group and individual tutoring sessions, and a job resource center. MVCC maintains a Women in Technology Mentoring Program to support female students who wish to pursue a technology career.

25 McHenry County College Crystal Lake, IL Tuition $5,497 # of Online Programs 14 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 24% Financial Aid - Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

MCC welcomed 312 full-time students when it opened in 1967. Today, the college enrolls approximately 6,600 students each semester and offers associate and certificate programs across 19 academic disciplines. Students can select from six associate and 29 applied science degrees in addition to 61 occupational certificate programs. MCC also offers free adult education classes, workforce and economic development programs, and career training courses.

MCC offers several academic resources for students, including computer labs, access and disability services, and technology resources. The Sage Learning Center offers tutoring services, a writing lab, and a Bio Open Lab where students can view lab video tutorials. MCC's Career Services Office assists graduates in locating internship opportunities and in their job search after graduation.

The college currently offers an apprenticeship program in engineering technology leading to an associate in applied science degree. Students can choose from two specializations: CNC machining professional or industrial maintenance technician.

Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Illinois

Illinois students can pursue a variety of career and technical education programs. Use this search tool to find accredited vocational and trade schools in Illinois.

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Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates

Salaries for trade school occupations vary depending on the industry, location, and experience, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that technical and trade school occupations pay an average salary of $55,000 per year.

Personal care and service occupations offer around $33,000 per year, on average, while management occupations pay over $96,000 annually. Meanwhile, healthcare practitioner and technical occupations offer an average salary of $55,000.

Location also impacts salary. In Illinois, occupational wage data shows that radiation therapists earn over $84,000 per year, on average, and paralegals make nearly $60,000 per year.

Trade school graduates often benefit from strong demand. For example, the BLS reports much faster-than-average job growth for dental hygienists, paralegals, and HVAC technicians between 2018 and 2028.

What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?

Vocational and tech schools in Illinois offer programs in many high-demand areas, such as allied health, the skilled trades, and technology. This section introduces popular trade school programs. In addition to these options, students can research programs for other trade school jobs, like HVAC technician, cosmetologist, and occupational therapy assistant.

Dental Hygienist Schools

Dental hygienists clean patients' teeth and look for signs of oral diseases. They examine patients, take dental x-rays, apply dental treatments, and report their findings to dentists. Dental hygienists also educate patients about oral hygiene.

Most dental hygienists hold an associate degree. During a dental hygiene program, students take classes in anatomy, periodontics, and dental care. Programs also incorporate clinical and laboratory training.

In every state, dental hygienists need a license. In Illinois, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation licenses dental hygienists. In 2019 dental hygienists earned a median annual salary of over $76,000, with much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.

Learn more about dental hygienist programs.

Mechanic Schools

Mechanics, also known as service technicians, inspect and repair cars and trucks. They use diagnostic equipment to identify problems, repair worn parts, and perform maintenance to keep cars running smoothly. Mechanics must also explain mechanical problems and repairs to clients.

Vocational programs train students in automotive repair, electronic systems, and transmission repair. Students also complete hands-on training to build their skills. After completing a vocational program, professionals can earn certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence to demonstrate expertise in areas like brakes, electronic systems, and engine repair.

Nationally, mechanics earn a median pay of $42,000 per year. In Illinois, mechanics do not need a license to practice, but some employers may prefer to hire certified mechanics.

Learn more about mechanic programs.

Paralegal Schools

Paralegals help lawyers by conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, and assisting lawyers during trial. Paralegals may also investigate cases and arrange evidence for attorney review. They may specialize in areas like corporate law or litigation.

Many paralegals complete a certificate or associate degree in paralegal studies. During a paralegal studies program, students complete coursework on topics like legal research, corporate law, contract law, and legal writing. Paralegals do not need to hold a license to practice.

BLS data shows that paralegals earned a median annual pay of nearly $52,000 in 2019, with much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.

Learn more about paralegal programs.

Radiology Technician Schools

Radiology technicians perform diagnostic imaging examinations on patients. They prepare patients for procedures and use imaging equipment to take images for physicians. Radiology technicians must follow safety procedures and keep detailed records.

Vocational schools in Illinois offer associate programs for radiology technicians. During these programs, students take classes on topics like anatomy, patient care, radiation protection, and image evaluation. They also complete clinical training to strengthen their skills.

After completing an associate degree, graduates often pursue certification from an organization like the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency licenses radiology technicians in the state. Radiology technicians earned a median annual income of over $62,000 in 2019, with faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.

Learn more about radiology technician programs.

Financial Aid for Trade School Students

Trade school students can pursue financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of their education, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. To receive federal financial aid, students must submit the FAFSA every year. However, only students at accredited institutions qualify for federal financial aid programs.

Choosing an affordable trade school can also help lower the cost of a vocational certificate or degree. Illinois public universities charge nearly $14,000 per year in tuition and fees, on average, while private universities cost over $32,000 per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In contrast, Illinois community colleges cost under $4,000 per year.

Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The next section introduces scholarship opportunities for trade school students.

Scholarship for Trade School Students

Students attending trade and vocational schools in Illinois can take advantage of many scholarship opportunities. Private foundations, government agencies, and professional organizations all offer scholarships for students pursuing a vocational certificate or degree. In addition to the following scholarships, students can research opportunities based on their field or school.

Community Foundation of Northern Illinois Scholarships

Who Can Apply: This foundation offers more than 90 scholarships, including scholarships for trade school students. Eligibility requirements vary by scholarship.
Amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship
REEF Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation grants scholarships to students pursuing real estate training. Applicants must be Illinois residents.
Amount: Up to $2,000

Apply for Scholarship
Dream Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Offered by the Anhelo Project, this scholarship funds undocumented students attending a university or vocational training program in Illinois. Students must be enrolled full time at an accredited school with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship
Edwardsville Community Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Edwardsville Community Foundation awards over 50 scholarships each year to students in the school district. Many scholarships support students attending trade schools in Illinois.
Amount: Up to $1,500

Apply for Scholarship
Kinnett Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Offered by the Northern Suburban Special Education District Foundation, this scholarship funds students who receive special education services. Recipients can use the scholarship to attend vocational schools in Illinois.
Amount: $1,000

Apply for Scholarship

Additional Education and Career Resources

Business Professionals of America - Illinois

Helps students develop sound business and professional skills for their future careers. The Illinois chapter hosts conferences and other events for members and elects officers each year.

Future Business Leaders of America - Illinois Chapter

Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) is the oldest business student organization in the world. The Illinois chapter hosts a number of events and activities specifically for business students and leaders throughout the year.

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) - Illinois Chapter

Partnered with STEM premier to provide resources for those involved in healthcare and related fields. Supports the objectives of health professionals, including nurses and nurse assistants.

Illinois Association of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

Formerly known as the future homemakers of America, this organization helps students become better leaders within their families and communities. Students learn invaluable life skills to manage a household effectively and contribute to their community in positive ways.

Illinois Community College Board

State coordinating board for all community colleges in Illinois and also administers the Public Community College Act to ensure area community colleges are best serving the community. Features resources for students, including financial aid information and events.

Illinois Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA)

This state-approved organization helps students become academically prepared, professionally responsible, and community oriented with skills development opportunities, conferences, and other special events.

Illinois State Board of Education

Features a comprehensive listing of Illinois schools, learning standards, and agency programs. Also lists news updates about results from statewide assessments and other information affecting educational programs throughout the state.

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Trade and Vocational Schools