Why Choose Trade School?
Vocational schools teach students how to perform a specific trade. These schools commonly use practical learning methods like apprenticeships.
Data shows that 74% of students who earn an occupational credential gain employment in a job related to their field of study. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor found that enrollment in vocational schools increased by 56% between 2013 and 2018.
Trade school graduates typically enter the workforce quickly after completing their education in under two years. Prospective students who want to begin earning salaries even earlier can pursue an accelerated trade program or certificate.
Traditional programs do not serve everyone's needs. Students who prefer working with their hands rather than behind a desk typically benefit from attending trade school.
However, trade school students need a strong understanding of what career they want to pursue. If they decide to change careers later, they may need to complete additional education.
Read on to learn about different vocational programs, the importance of accreditation, and scholarships and financial aid.
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|Are scholarships available for trade school students?||Yes. Many organizations and private companies reserve funds specifically for vocational majors. Consult the scholarship section of this guide for more information.|
|Can trade school credits transfer?||Yes. Students can often transfer an entire associate degree to a four-year school and begin working on a bachelor's degree.|
|What is the difference between trade school and vocational school?||There is no difference. The terms trade school, vocational school, and tech school are interchangeable.|
|How long does trade school take?||It depends on the program. An associate degree takes about two years to complete, while a certificate usually takes up to one year.|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Vocational schools in Indiana can earn regional, national, and programmatic accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) works with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to oversee accreditation. These two organizations allow third-party organizations to grant certain types of accreditation. Prospective students can easily verify a school's accreditation status using the ED's database.
Schools that earn accreditation receive regular quality assessments from third-party organizations. Most employers, scholarship providers, and admissions departments prefer associate degrees from accredited schools.
When a school earns regional accreditation, it receives this status from an accrediting agency that can only grant accreditation in a specific region. National accrediting agencies can grant accreditation to colleges all across America.
Trade schools usually earn national accreditation from an organization like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Online schools can earn national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. The Higher Learning Commission grants regional accreditation to certain trade schools in Indiana.
Aside from regional and national accreditation, colleges and universities can also earn programmatic accreditation. For example, physical therapy programs can earn accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
Trade schools must also maintain licensure. Vocational schools in Indiana can earn a license from a state agency or from the ED. Applicants should check with their prospective school's admissions department to learn about accreditation and licensure status.
Vocational Trade Schools in Indiana
We create and regularly update this list of top trade schools in Indiana to help future students find the right program to fit their needs. We consider factors like affordability and graduate success rates. Prospective students beginning their vocational school search process can use this data as a starting point.
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Indiana
Career and technical education (CTE) programs in Indiana are designed to prepare students for entry-level jobs in their respective fields. These programs also prepare students to transfer to four-year universities if they choose to continue their education.
The Indiana Department of Education sets the standards for CTE in Indiana and encourages schools to create programs with connections to apprenticeship and on-the-job training that increase students' employability.
The search tool below helps users find vocational and trade schools in Indiana that meet their educational goals.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
Professionals who work in trades benefit from rewarding pay and a positive job outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual wage for all technical and trade school jobs is $55,270. However, salaries vary depending on industry, experience, and geographical location.
For example, construction managers earned a median annual salary of $95,260 in 2019, and the BLS projects the demand for this job to rise by 10% between 2018 and 2028. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters earned a $55,160 median annual wage in 2019, and the BLS projects a 14% growth rate for this field between 2018 and 2028.
Employers located in an area with a higher cost of living may also pay higher salaries. Professionals who work in high-need areas sometimes benefit from federal loan forgiveness.
Additionally, trade careers generally pay higher wages to professionals with more experience.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Below, we discuss five common vocational programs -- culinary, electrician, medical assistant, paramedic, and veterinary technician programs -- and the type of careers that students can pursue after graduation.
Culinary schools prepare graduates to work as private chefs, restaurant chefs, pastry chefs, and recipe developers. These programs typically take two years to complete.
Most culinary courses include practical learning opportunities. For example, learners get to prepare dishes and try out new baking and cooking techniques. However, these courses also require classroom learning and standardized tests.
According to the BLS, professionals who work in the food preparation and serving industry earn a median annual wage of $24,220 per year and benefit from an 11% projected job growth rate between 2018 and 2028. Chefs and head cooks earned a median annual salary of $51,530 in 2019.
Students who attend electrician programs learn how to decipher blueprints, use testing devices to diagnose electricity issues, and repair wiring. Courses focus on state regulations, elements of circuit breakers, and power tool safety. Students conduct fieldwork to learn how to work on job sites. Most electrician programs include an apprenticeship.
According to the BLS, electricians earned a median annual salary of $56,180 in 2019 and benefit from a projected job growth of 10% between 2018 and 2028.
Medical assistant schools teach students how to perform clinical services in healthcare settings. These professionals work in hospitals, doctors' offices, and outpatient clinics. They assist doctors and nurses in recording patient information, administering medications, and drawing blood.
Some medical assistants also help doctors with physical examinations by taking a patient's weight, vitals, and blood pressure. Medical assistants at ophthalmologist offices may also teach patients how to insert and clean contacts. Others take on more of an administrative role and assist patients with scheduling appointments, completing insurance forms, and filing for financial assistance.
According to the BLS, medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $34,800 in 2019. The BLS projects a 23% growth rate in this field between 2018 and 2028.
Students who attend paramedic schools learn how to become first responders in emergency situations. A paramedic program teaches students how to provide life support, assess a patient, create a short-term treatment plan, and communicate observations to other healthcare providers.
Paramedics respond to 911 calls and monitor patients during transportation to the hospital. They also perform medical services like supplying oxygen and administering first aid treatments. Paramedics must be able to work quickly and think well under pressure to save lives. Some paramedics also receive training to operate an ambulance.
According to the BLS, EMTs and paramedics earned a median annual salary of $35,400 in 2019. The BLS projects the need for these professionals to rise by 7% between 2018 and 2028. Paramedics typically work full time.
Veterinary technician programs teach students how to provide first aid to animals, safely restrain them during examinations, take x-rays, and sterilize surgical utensils. Some programs also cover basic grooming care, like nail trimming.
Some of these programs allow students to gain practical experience working with animals. However, clinical experiences vary by school. Veterinary technicians may need to complete supervised hours through an apprenticeship or internship before graduating.
According to the BLS, veterinary technologists and technicians earned a median annual salary of $35,320 in 2019. The BLS projects the field to grow by 19% between 2018 and 2028. These professionals sometimes work evenings, nights, and weekends.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
The federal and state governments provide scholarships to students through the FAFSA. The FAFSA takes first-time applicants about 55 minutes to complete and returning applicants 45 minutes.
Most accredited vocational schools in Indiana accept FAFSA funds. However, prospective students should check before enrolling. The application opens on October 1 and closes on June 30 each year.
Applicants who file their taxes under dependent status must enter their guardian's tax information from the past two years. The government awards grants and subsidized loans based on financial need and unsubsidized loans based on availability. Students do not need to pay back grants. Some graduates who work in a high-need field or geographical location for a set number of years may qualify for loan forgiveness.
Subsidized and unsubsidized loans require repayment following a six-month grace period after graduation. Unlike unsubsidized loans, subsidized loans do not begin accruing interest until after graduation.
Additionally, trade school students can supplement financial aid with scholarships from foundations and private companies.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
Students can lower future student loan payments by applying for scholarships. Unlike most types of federal aid, not all scholarships require financial need. Below, we highlight five scholarships specifically for trade school students studying in Indiana.
Who Can Apply: Students pursuing a career in the restaurant or hospitality industry may apply for this scholarship. Applicants must attend a community college in certain regions,
Who Can Apply: The American Welding Society offers scholarships to students attending schools in each of its districts. Each district receives $10,000 in scholarship funds to
distribute to learners studying welding.
Who Can Apply: The Imagine America Foundation has awarded more than 3,500 scholarships to date. The foundation reserves this award for learners studying trades like automotive
technology, diesel technology, welding, and manufacturing.
Who Can Apply: Indiana residents who volunteer for an organization in firefighting, law enforcement, emergency management, or emergency medical services may apply. Applicants
must write a 500-word essay about why volunteering is important.
Who Can Apply: The Indiana government awards this grant to students attending tech schools in the Hoosier State. Qualifying majors include advanced manufacturing, building and
construction, health sciences, IT and business services, and transportation and logistics.