Why Choose Trade School?
Trade schools train students for careers in allied health, skilled trades, and other high-demand industries. Vocational programs in healthcare prepare students for opportunities as medical assistants, dental hygienists, respiratory therapists, and occupational therapy assistants. Many of these careers offer strong salary and growth potential.
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During a vocational program, students receive job-focused training in their field. Most programs combine classroom instruction with practical experiential learning. For example, paramedic students practice their skills in a medical setting, allied health students complete clinical requirements, and skilled trade students apply their learning through laboratories and practica. FIND PROGRAMS By Staff Writer Published on August 06, 2020
Trade schools offer several benefits over four-year academic programs. A vocational certificate or degree generally takes 1-2 years, meaning students finish their program and enter the workforce faster. As a result, trade school students often save money on their degree.
In addition, 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. Many trade schools also offer self-paced, accelerated, and online options for busy students who prefer a flexible schedule.
Our list introduces the top vocational schools in Maine. By researching top-ranked programs, students can find the best fit for their interests and professional goals.
This page also explores career and salary data for trade school professions, introduces popular vocational programs, and lists scholarship opportunities for trade school students.
|What is trade school?||Trade schools provide career-focused vocational programs that blend classroom and experiential learning. Trade programs prepare graduates for careers in skilled trades and healthcare.|
|Can I go to trade school online?||Yes. Many trade schools offer online programs. Online trade school students complete experiential learning requirements in their local area.|
|Can I get financial aid for trade school?||Yes. Accredited trade schools in Maine qualify for federal financial aid programs. Trade school students can also apply for grants and scholarships from private organizations.|
|When can I apply to trade school?||Many trade schools admit students on a rolling basis and offer multiple start dates throughout the year. As such, prospective students can often apply to trade school any time.|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Prospective trade school students should always check a school's accreditation and licensure status before applying. Attending an accredited and licensed trade school in Maine ensures that students receive the best education possible and enter the workforce prepared for career advancement.
Accreditation recognizes colleges and universities that meet high standards in educating students. Schools seeking accreditation must undergo a rigorous review, during which an independent accrediting agency evaluates the school's student learning outcomes, academic mission, and faculty qualifications. Accredited schools regularly repeat the review process to maintain their status.
Students benefit from accreditation in several ways. Credits earned at an accredited institution are more likely to transfer to other schools. An accredited degree meets more professional licensure and certification requirements, and students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid programs.
In Maine, several accrediting organizations grant accreditation to vocational programs. Community colleges and four-year universities typically hold regional accreditation. The New England Commission of Higher Education grants regional accreditation to Maine schools.
Trade and vocational schools in Maine often hold national accreditation. Agencies such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges grant national accreditation to career-focused schools. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission grants accreditation to online schools.
In addition to accreditation, trade schools in Maine should hold a license to offer higher education programs. The Maine Department of Education licenses postsecondary programs in the state. The department also maintains a list of non-accredited colleges and degree mills, which prospective students should avoid.
Learn more about the accreditation process.
Vocational Trade Schools in Maine
Trade schools in Maine train professionals for in-demand careers in healthcare, skilled trades, and other vocational fields. By choosing a top-ranked program, students can advance their education and increase their earning potential.
Our list ranks the best vocational schools in Maine to help prospective students find the right fit to reach their career goals.
One of the major trade schools in Maine, EMCC operates a 72-acre campus in Bangor and a flexible online learning program. Students can choose from several technical and professional programs, including options in automotive technology, digital graphic design, fine woodworking and cabinet making, restaurant management, and small business development. EMCC mostly offers associate degrees, though the school also offers some certificates, including medical assistant and substance abuse technician.
EMCC hosts a unique fire science live-in apprenticeship program that enables participants to study fire science while working and living in a Bangor-area firehouse. Apprentices earn a regular salary and respond to emergency calls while completing weekly fire science classes. The apprenticeship requires both pre-service training and a successful interview. EMCC encourages students to apply early for a live-in position. About 85% of students complete the fire science apprenticeship within three years.
Serving almost 6,000 students annually, SMCC is Maine's oldest and largest college. The school operates a main campus in South Portland, a midcoast campus in Brunswick, and several satellite campuses in cities including Windham, Bonny Eagle, and Biddeford. As one of the top trade schools in Maine, SMCC hosts a large selection of career and technical programs, including options in architectural engineering and design; communications and new media, horticulture, precision machining and manufacturing; and early childhood education.
SMCC students benefit from the school's extensive professional resources, including a variety of paid and unpaid internships and co-op education. Internships allow students to build professional experience and connections while often earning academic credit. SMCC also offers some non-credit internships. Students can intern in various professional fields, including automotive, culinary arts, and emergency medical services.
Operating a main campus in Wells and an industrial trades instruction site in Sanford, YCCC serves around 1,600 students annually. Ranked among the top technical schools in Maine, YCCC hosts many associate degree and certificate programs in fields including accounting, animal care and management, and precision machining technology. The college offers generous financial support for students, including the annual YCCC Foundation Scholarships program.
YCCC provides various support services for students, including academic tutoring and career resources. The school's Student Success Commons offers tutoring in writing, math, science, and research, with services available both on campus and online. The Career & Transfer Services Office prepares students for life after graduation through employment and volunteer opportunities, internships, and an annual career fair. Students can also take advantage of specialized services including career exploration and interview coaching.
Based in Calais, WCCC ranks among the most affordable trade schools in Maine and in New England. This two-year college offers professional and technical programs in several professional fields, including adventure recreation and tourism, criminal justice conversation law, and welding technology. WCCC enrolls around 450 students annually, offering diploma, certificate, and associate programs that take 1-2 years to complete.
WCCC offers comprehensive resources to prepare graduates to enter the job market or transfer to a four-year college. The Calais CareerCenter maintains an office on the WCCC campus and provides employment and training services to jobseekers, including job listings, career recommendations, and connections to recruiters.
WCCC also maintains transfer agreements with several four-year colleges throughout New England, enabling students to transfer seamlessly from an associate program into a bachelor's program. Potential transfer schools include Husson University, St. Joseph's University, the University of Maine, and the New England College of Business.
A public two-year college based in Fairfield, KVCC also operates secondary campuses in Alfond, Buker, and Rockland. Serving around 2,500 students annually, the school offers technical and vocational education in subjects including energy services and technology, medical office specialist, physical therapist assistant, and precision machining technology. KVCC also hosts several programs online, including early childhood education, business administration, and mental health rehabilitation.
KVCC's office of Advising, Enrollment, and Transfer Services assists students throughout their education, including selecting courses for registration, understanding entrance requirements for different majors, developing an academic plan, and monitoring academic status. Advisors can also provide transfer counseling, help students identify transfer options, coordinate with admissions offices at other schools, prepare application materials, and obtain transcripts.
KVCC maintains articulation agreements with several four-year colleges in Maine and other states, including Husson University, Purdue University Global, the University of New England, and several members of the University of Maine System.
Located in south central Maine, CMCC serves students in the Lewiston-Auburn metro area, offering many career and technical programs. Some of the school's vocational offerings include associate degrees in architecture and civil engineering, network security and computer forensics, and physical fitness specialist. The college also offers several programs entirely online, including accounting, business administration, human services, and medical coding and electronic health records.
CMCC assigns all students an academic advisor depending on their program of study. Advisors assist students from enrollment through graduation, offering help with registration, degree planning, course selections, and connections to other college resources. Students can also receive both online and in-person tutoring in math, science, and writing through the school's Math and Science Center and Writing Center. CMCC emphasizes tuition affordability, and two-thirds of students receive grants or scholarships that require no repayment.
A comprehensive two-year college, NMCC operates a main campus in Presque Isle, along with off-campus learning centers in Houlton and the St. John Valley. The school offers degrees and certificates in the arts and sciences, business technology, emergency medical services, nursing and allied health, and trade and technical occupations. Students can pursue career programs such as business administration, building constructions technology, plumbing and heating, early childhood education, and wind power technology.
NMCC offers an assortment of career services for students, including workshops, counseling, and job boards. Students can also access the College Central Network, an online job resource that enables users to search for jobs, explore career paths, and post their resume for consideration by employers and recruiters. As one of the top trade schools in Maine, NMCC boasts strong career outcomes among graduates, with 90% of students finding work related to their area of study within six months of graduation.
A public four-year college, UMM ranks among the top trade schools in Maine. While the school offers no vocational associate degrees, students can pursue several professional certificate programs, including audio/media production, book arts, human resource management, geographic information systems applications, mental health and rehabilitation technician, and service learning. Several certificates, including geographic information systems and human resource management, offer online enrollment options.
Some certificate programs, such as audio/media production, serve students of all backgrounds and feature no prerequisites. Other programs, like service learning, serve professionals in specific fields, such as K-12 teachers and instructional designers. The mental health and rehabilitation technician program meets state certification requirements for adult mental health and rehabilitation services.
As a member of the University of Maine System, UMM offers comprehensive advising services for students. Advisors can help students determine career goals, connect to other college resources, and ensure they meet all graduation requirements.
A four-year college based in northern Maine, UMPI offers a small selection of associate degrees and certificates, including options in medical laboratory technology, special education, energy development and policy, physical therapy assistant, and mental health rehabilitation technician.
UMPI emphasizes practical, hands-on learning opportunities. The school offers a personalized learning program that enables students to complete coursework at their own pace. Stressing career preparation and problem-solving, personalized learning includes on-the-job training, mentorships, and other experiential learning activities.
Students in the personalized learning program often direct their own studies, demonstrating competency in various subject areas rather than completing a set course sequence. The program may include multiple course formats, such as online learning, classroom learning, and off-campus internships. Students typically gain significant professional experience, building a network of professional connections.
While not technically counted among the trade schools in Maine, MCHP offers several healthcare-focused vocational programs. Candidates can pursue two-year associate degrees in three areas: nursing, radiologic technology, and health sciences. The school also offers five certificate programs: certified nursing assistant, computed tomography, diagnostic medical sonography, mammography, and licensed practical nursing.
MCHP caters to the needs of working students, and many of the school's programs offer multiple start dates each year. Students can choose from day, evening, and weekend course options. Some programs, such as health sciences, offer a portion of courses online.
MCHP's location in the Lewiston-Auburn metro area offers varied clinical opportunities for students, and many programs include clinical, lab, and simulation components. This focus on professional preparation leads to strong career outcomes. The school's nursing program boasts a 100% job placement rate among graduates.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
Many career paths available to trade school graduates offer strong salaries and high demand.
Technical and trade school occupations pay around $55,000 per year on average. Earning potential for trade school graduates varies depending on industry, location, and experience.
Personal care and service jobs earn under $33,000 per year, while management occupations pay over $96,000 annually. Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations earn around $55,000 per year, while healthcare support occupations pay just over $45,000 per year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many trade school careers offer strong job growth. The BLS projects much faster-than-average job growth for respiratory therapists, HVAC technicians, and dental hygienists between 2018 and 2028.
Salaries for trade occupations vary by state. In Maine, prospective trade school students can research Maine wage data to learn about the earning potential for different fields. For instance, Maine's dental hygienists earn around $67,500 per year, while respiratory therapists make $60,000 per year on average. More experienced professionals often earn higher wages.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Trade and tech schools in Maine offer several career-focused certificates and degrees. Vocational programs train students for careers in emergency services, healthcare, skilled trades, and legal services. Graduates pursue careers as dental hygienists, HVAC technicians, cosmetologists, and respiratory therapists.
The following list introduces some of the most common trade school programs. In addition to these programs, prospective students can research certificates and degrees for paralegals, occupational therapy assistants, electricians, and other trade school careers.
Paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) provide emergency medical care for patients. They respond to emergency calls, assess patients, administer emergency medical treatments, and transport patients to medical facilities.
Many paramedics hold an associate degree in emergency medical technology or paramedic studies. During a paramedic studies program, students take courses in emergency care training, patient assessment, and field equipment. Students also complete specialized training in a hospital or ambulance practical experience.
BLS data shows that paramedics earned a median annual salary of over $35,000 in 2019. The field also reports faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028. Paramedics and EMTs must hold a license to practice. In Maine, the Board of EMS licenses paramedics.
Learn more about paramedic programs.
HVAC technicians specialize in installing and maintaining heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems in houses, businesses, and other buildings. They install electrical components, test HVAC systems, and repair defective parts. HVAC technicians also perform maintenance to improve system performance.
Many HVAC technicians complete vocational programs with coursework in refrigeration systems, electrical systems, and mechanical maintenance. They also gain training through an HVAC technology practicum.
HVAC technicians earn a median income of nearly $49,000 per year with much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028. In Maine, HVAC technicians do not need a license. However, specialists in oil burner or solid fuel heating systems must apply for a license from the Maine Fuel Board.
For more information, visit our page on HVAC training programs.
Dental hygienists clean teeth and look for signs of oral diseases. They typically work in a dentist's office where they take dental x-rays, assess patients' oral health, and educate patients about oral hygiene.
Dental hygienists generally hold an associate degree with coursework in anatomy, oral diseases, and periodontics. Programs also incorporate clinical training through which students strengthen patient care skills.
BLS data reports that dental hygienists earned a median annual pay of over $76,000 in 2019. The field also benefits from much faster-than-average job growth projections between 2018 and 2028.
Dental hygienists must hold a license to practice in every state. The Maine Board of Dental Practice licenses dental hygienists who meet dental hygiene education requirements and pass the National Dental Hygiene examination.
Learn more about dental hygienist programs.
Beauty and cosmetology professionals provide beauty services to clients, including haircutting and styling, facial treatments, and makeup analysis. To work in Maine, cosmetologists must meet training requirements, which many professionals complete through a vocational program. During cosmetology programs, students take courses in hairstyling and skincare.
The earning potential for beauty and cosmetology graduates varies depending on their career path. Barbers, hair stylists, and cosmetologists earned annual salaries of around $26,000 in 2019, according to the BLS, while skincare specialists earned around $34,000. These career paths report strong projected job growth.
In Maine, the Office of Professional and Financial Regulation grants barbering and cosmetology licenses.
For more, visit our page on beauty and cosmetology programs.
Respiratory therapists treat patients with breathing or cardiopulmonary disorders. They perform diagnostic tests, develop treatments, and monitor patients' progress. Respiratory therapists also teach patients to use equipment like ventilators.
Vocational schools in Maine offer associate programs to train respiratory therapists. During a respiratory therapy program, students take courses in therapeutic procedures, diagnostic tests, patient assessment, and respiratory equipment. Programs also incorporate clinical requirements to help students gain supervised experience with patient treatment.
The BLS reports that respiratory therapists earned a median annual income of over $61,000 in 2019 and benefit from much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028. In Maine, the Board of Respiratory Care Practitioners licenses respiratory therapists. Applicants must complete an accredited educational program and pass an exam.
Learn more about respiratory therapy programs.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
Trade school students often save money on their program compared with students pursuing academic credentials.
For example, Maine's public universities cost over $9,000 per year in tuition and fees, while private universities cost more than $37,000 per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In contrast, Maine's public community colleges charge around $3,700 per year in tuition and fees.
In addition to choosing a more affordable school, students can also pay for their vocational program through financial aid. Students attending accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid programs, including grants and loans.
Applicants must complete the FAFSA every year to receive federal financial aid. However, not all schools meet the requirements for federal aid programs. Students can check with specific schools to learn whether they qualify.
Grants and scholarships remain one of the best forms of financial aid. Unlike loans, which students must pay back, scholarships and grants offer financial support at no cost to the student.
The following section covers scholarships for students at vocational schools in Maine.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
Students attending trade and vocational schools in Maine qualify for multiple scholarship opportunities. For example, the Maine Community Foundation awards over $4 million per year in scholarship funds to Maine students. In addition to the following scholarships, trade school students can research opportunities based on their field.
Who Can Apply: The Maine Community Foundation offers scholarships to Maine residents attending accredited colleges and tech schools in Maine. Eligibility requirements vary
depending on the scholarship.
Who Can Apply: Maine residents attending an accredited two-year or four-year college can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation and a
Who Can Apply: Offered by the Island Institute, this scholarship supports students from Maine's islands with financial need. Recipients must enroll at a postsecondary education
Who Can Apply: The Futurama Foundation offers several scholarships to Maine women who demonstrate financial need. Recipients must attend an accredited college or postsecondary
Who Can Apply: Maine residents studying a construction-related field at an accredited Maine school qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must submit an essay and