Learners with work experience thrive at vocational schools, as do recent high school graduates who want an alternative pathway to a fulfilling career.
Vocational schools offer different diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees. Common programs include automotive technology, cosmetology, industrial technology and construction trades, and allied health. Graduates become mechanics, dental hygienists, and respiratory care therapists.
The length of time it takes to graduate varies. Diplomas and certificates take about one year to complete, while associate degrees require up to two years. Self-paced or accelerated programs may let students graduate more quickly.
Maryland's Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides funds to train students for in-demand careers. Search the Maryland Eligible Training Provider List to find eligible programs.
Read on to explore the best vocational schools in Maryland and the trades available to graduates.
|What is the difference between a trade school and a college?||Trade schools offer a direct path to a specialized occupation, focusing on certificates, diplomas, and degrees. Colleges award bachelor's and graduate degrees.|
|Can trade school credits transfer?||Credits earned from trade schools in Maryland can often transfer toward an associate degree or bachelor's degree. However, students must attend an accredited trade school to transfer credits.|
|What are examples of vocational jobs?||Tech schools in Maryland train students for trades in many different industries. Common trades include plumbers, cosmetologists, pharmacy technicians, and welders.|
|How much does a trade school cost?||The cost of trade school varies. However, trade schools generally cost less than four-year colleges and universities.|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Accreditation matters to students, employers, and other colleges. To receive federal financial aid, students must be enrolled at either a regionally or nationally accredited school recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Additionally, employers prefer well-trained candidates who received vocational training from accredited schools rather than a diploma mill. Hiring an employee from accredited vocational schools in Maryland offers a sense of assurance that a new hire can perform the job up to current standards.
Academic community colleges that offer vocational programs generally hold regional accreditation. Tech schools in Maryland tend to hold national accreditation, a less prestigious designation. Schools receive accreditation after they voluntarily submit to a review by a third-party agency such as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which accredits online schools.
Tech programs also receive accreditation from field-specific accreditors. For instance, programs for heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration may hold accreditation from the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society.
Trade schools in Maryland also must be licensed to issue certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. Learn more on this page about how to compare online schools and choose a trade.
Vocational Trade Schools in Maryland
Read on for our rankings of the best vocational schools in Maryland. We ranked the schools based on curriculum, accreditation, and learning outcomes.
|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||Carroll Community College Westminster, MD||Tuition $4,660||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Based in Westminster, Carroll Community College offers trade degrees guaranteed to transfer to Maryland public colleges and universities. To date, more than 880 Carroll Community College graduates have transferred to colleges and universities throughout the United States. The college maintains a 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring learners receive individual attention.
The college offers associate degrees and certificates. Students can pursue associate degrees in fields such as business, technology, social sciences, communication, and creative arts. The college's certificate programs prepare students for careers as home inspectors, commercial drone pilots, assisted living managers, nurses, and paralegals.
Carroll Community College offers more than 130 personal enrichment courses. Students can also take free GED and ESOL classes. Learners choose from flexible learning formats, including online, seated, evening, and day courses. According to Carroll Community College, the school maintains the highest student graduation, retention, and transfer rates of any community college in Maryland.
|2||Howard Community College Columbia, MD||Tuition $10,132||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Located in Columbia, near Baltimore, Howard Community College delivers on-campus and online learning options. Founded in 1966, HCC began hosting students in 1970. The college now enrolls more than 30,000 learners each year, including students from more than 100 countries.
HCC offers associate degrees and certificates in fields such as additive manufacturing technology, culinary management, diagnostic medical sonography, fire science and leadership, and computer-aided design technology.
According to HCC, every $1 a student invests in their education at the college can result in a return of $1.90 in increased future earnings. The college maintains a 20-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. HCC offers dual enrollment and study abroad opportunities, and students can enroll part time or full time.
|3||Cecil College North East, MD||Tuition $7,904||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 11%||Financial Aid 15%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Located in North East, Cecil College delivers trade degrees and certificates tailored to the economic needs of Maryland and the surrounding region. Founded in 1968, Cecil College currently enrolls 3,000 credit students and 4,000 continuing education students.
Cecil College offers 47 associate degrees and 30 certificate programs. Students can prepare to become nurses, business professionals, skilled trade workers, and behavioral specialists. Prospective students try out course formats by taking non-credit personal enrichment or job-skills classes before enrolling.
Cecil College maintains an 18-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and membership with the Maryland Association of Community Colleges. Unlike most trade schools in Maryland, Cecil College provides athletic opportunities, with four women's teams and three men's teams.
|4||College of Southern Maryland La Plata, MD||Tuition $7,376||# of Online Programs 18||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 14%||Financial Aid 7%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Located in La Plata, the College of Southern Maryland offers flexible learning options. Students can complete degrees online or in person. Additionally, CSM offers study abroad and service-learning opportunities, helping students explore their field of study outside the classroom. High school students can get a head start by taking dual enrollment courses through CSM.
The college offers associate degrees in fields including science and engineering, health sciences, arts and humanities, and business. CSM also delivers certificate programs that prepare students to become interior decorators, early childhood professionals, veterinary assistants, and real estate agents.
The college boasts an 18-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. In 2017, more than 1,778 of CSM students transferred to four-year schools. Enrolling more than 23,000 students per year, CSM is one of the largest Maryland technical colleges.
|5||Hagerstown Community College Hagerstown, MD||Tuition $6,747||# of Online Programs 15||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 22%||Financial Aid 17%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Hagerstown Community College is located on a 319-acre campus with 18 buildings. Learners can also study remotely. HCC maintains more than 20 student organizations and offers an on-campus cafe, grill, and eatery.
On-campus students can exercise in the fitness center, run on trails and the indoor and outdoor tracks, and utilize the volleyball and tennis courts. HCC features 14 intercollegiate sports teams, including baseball, basketball, and cross-country teams.
HCC vocational degrees and certificates in fields including emergency medical services, business, alternative energy technology, marketing, medical assisting, and advanced manufacturing systems.
According to the college, two out of three students receive financial aid. The HCC Foundation awards $500,000 in student scholarships each year. Learners can study party time or full time.
|6||Harford Community College Bel Air, MD||Tuition $7,243||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 19%||Financial Aid 14%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Based on a 350-acre campus in Bel Air, Harford Community College offers vocational degrees and certificates. The college was founded in 1953 and enrolled 8,145 students in 2019. HCC offers scholarships and work-study programs.
HCC delivers associate degree and certificate programs. Graduates often work in the behavioral and social sciences, nursing, paralegal, and medical assisting fields. The college publishes fall and summer catalogs that provide accurate course availability information for prospective students.
The school's monthly newsletter, Harford Highlights, provides details about the school's culture and accolades. The publication covers campus events, important dates such as enrollment deadlines, and remote learning sessions.
|7||Montgomery College Rockville, MD||Tuition $8,748||# of Online Programs 19||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 21%||Financial Aid 16%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Rockville-based Montgomery College offers associate degrees and certificates for learners pursuing a trade. The college also provides 130 special interest clubs, mobile food markets, athletic teams, and volunteer opportunities.
MC's degree and certificate programs prepare students to work in fields such as emergency and fire services, nursing, applied technologies, and digital design. Students can benefit from the school's mentoring network, which connects learners with peers and faculty members. Mentors provide encouragement, expertise, and advice.
The college encourages community involvement through service learning, leadership development programs, and a student senate board. MC delivers 231 online classes and five fully online majors. The college also offers blended courses, which combine in-person and online learning.
|8||Frederick Community College Frederick, MD||Tuition $6,866||# of Online Programs 16||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 21%||Financial Aid 16%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Since 1957, Frederick Community College has offered flexible learning opportunities. The campus is located less than four hours from the beach and one hour from the District of Columbia. Learners can study online or in person, and FCC offers day and evening classes. High school students in Frederick can take dual enrollment courses through the college.
FCC delivers vocational associate degrees and certificates. Associate degree options include business administration, education, cybersecurity, surgical technology, and graphic design. Learners can pursue certificates in audio production, construction management, culinary arts, medical assisting, criminal justice, and early childhood development.
The college enrolls about 16,000 students in credit, continuing education, and workforce development courses. Currently, 34% of FCC students receive financial aid. Although 96% of students are from Frederick County, the student body includes learners from 75 countries.
|9||Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland, MD||Tuition $9,509||# of Online Programs 15||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 18%||Financial Aid 15%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Located in Cumberland, Allegany College of Maryland prepares learners to succeed in vocational careers. ACM offers small class sizes, boasting a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Founded in 1961, the school maintains membership with the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.
ACM offers associate degrees in fields including business economics, criminal justice, culinary arts, hotel and restaurant management, nursing, nanotechnology, and respiratory therapy. Students can also pursue certificates in graphic design, baking essentials, automotive technology, medical coding and billing, and massage therapy.
In 2018, 58% of ACM students enrolled part time. During the same year, 48% of students received loans, 38% received grants, and 12% earned scholarships.
|10||Prince George's Community College Largo, MD||Tuition $8,793||# of Online Programs 15||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 6%||Financial Aid 6%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Based in Largo, Prince George's Community College offers campus resources including a wellness center, a library, and a bookstore. PGCC also offers online degrees and certificates. Founded in 1958, the college enrolls 40,000 students each year.
Students can pursue associate degrees in fields including accounting, business management, computer engineering technology, and construction management. The school also offers certificates for vocational careers such as computer service technology, cybersecurity, media production, and nursing.
The school regularly invests in new buildings, with recent additions including a culinary arts center and a center for performing arts. PGCC offers scholarships and financial aid, and learners can participate in sports including baseball, basketball, softball, and track.
|11||Baltimore City Community College Baltimore, MD||Tuition $4,825||# of Online Programs 10||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 5%||Financial Aid 13%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Located in the largest city in Maryland, Baltimore City Community College delivers associate degrees and certificates to a diverse student body. BCCC boasts a 19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Founded in 1947 to provide continuing education to World War II veterans, BCCC still offers resources for veterans.
Students can pursue vocational associate degrees in the social sciences, business, pre-health professions, science, technology, and the arts. The school also offers certificates in the behavioral sciences, business, pre-health professions, science, and technology.
Each year, more than 8,000 students learn new skills through the college's workforce development and continuing education division. BCC also offers GED preparation and English as a second language resources.
|12||Wor-Wic Community College Salisbury, MD||Tuition $7,827||# of Online Programs 9||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 16%||Financial Aid 10%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Located in Salisbury, Wor-Wic Community College offers day, evening, and online classes. The 200-acre campus features trails, a bookstore, a cafe, and a childcare center. Prospective students can take a virtual tour of the campus. Each year, Wor-Wic students receive $7.7 million in financial aid.
The college offers certificates and associate degrees in various vocational fields. Degree options include business management, cybersecurity, full-stack web development, and radiology. Learners can pursue certificates in corrections technology, practical nursing, office technology, and computed tomography.
Wor-Wic enrolls about 10,000 students each year. Applicants receive enrollment coaching and academic advising, and they participate in an orientation. Wor-Wic also offers noncredit courses that help individuals develop new skills and fulfill continuing education requirements.
|13||Anne Arundel Community College Arnold, MD||Tuition $14,076||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Like many trade schools in Maryland, Anne Arundel Community College offers a variety of associate degrees. Learners can study fields such as interior design, visual arts, engineering, and math.
Established in 1961, AACC is located on the largest single-campus community college in Maryland. In 2019, the school enrolled more than 40,000 students in credit and noncredit courses. The campus features a performing arts center, two art galleries, and an event space.
During the fall 2019 semester, 3,604 AACC students enrolled full time, while 9,051 learners studied part time. AACC has 12 athletic teams, and students can take advantage of study abroad and service-learning opportunities.
|14||Chesapeake College Wye Mills, MD||Tuition $5,428||# of Online Programs 13||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 13%||Financial Aid 30%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Chesapeake College is a public two-year community college based on a 170-acre campus in Wye Mills. Chesapeake's programs equip learners with the skills necessary to pursue vocational roles. The college enrolls more than 7,300 students in credit and noncredit courses.
Chesapeake offers associate degrees in areas including business, criminal justice, education, and healthcare fields. The college's certificate programs prepare learners to work in skilled trades, law enforcement, and business. Chesapeake also offers dual enrollment options and technical preparation for high school students.
Students receive assistance preparing for the GED exam, English as a second language tests, and various professional licensing exams. Campus facilities include a library, a fitness center, and a childcare facility.
|15||Garrett College McHenry, MD||Tuition $7,403||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Garrett College is located in McHenry, two hours from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and three hours from the District of Columbia. Unlike many vocational schools in Maryland, Garrett College provides on-campus housing. Student-athletes at the institution compete in baseball, basketball, bowling, cross-country, volleyball, and wrestling.
Garrett College offers associate degrees in fields including addictions counseling, adventure sports management, dental hygiene, early childhood development, nursing, radiology technology, and respiratory therapy. Learners can choose from vocational certificates in adventure sports management, cybersecurity, and paramedics.
The campus features a student center, a special events center, an aquatics and fitness center, and a career technology training center. Students can purchase meal plans for the campus cafe.
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Maryland
Career and technical education (CTE) programs are a valuable resource for students interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree or seeking to jump-start their professional careers. Several types of programs are offered in Maryland, including high school programs. Use the search tool below to find a school near you.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
Vocational schools offer large catalogs of career training programs. Potential salary differs in each field.
Location also influences salary potential. Different states and cities offer varying wages that generally correlate to the location's cost of living. Additionally, each professional's experience level and prior training also influence their paycheck.
The Baltimore Workforce Development Board identified the most in-demand fields in the city as hospitality and tourism, construction, healthcare and social assistance, and business services.
No school or program can guarantee a specific salary. Wages remain contingent on many factors. Students can get an idea of their earning potential by searching careers and salary information on the Occupational Outlook Handbook on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website. The page includes information about hundreds of careers, including salaries, growth rates, and job requirements.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Vocational schools in Maryland train students for in-demand jobs. The Statewide and Health Workforce Shortage Program trains workers for industries with workforce shortages, such as automotive technology, nursing, dental hygiene, medical assisting, and radiation therapy.
Take a closer look at popular programs at vocational schools in Maryland. Keep in mind this list does not encompass all offerings.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
Professionals need a master's degree to work as a certified registered nurse anesthetist. Students can begin working toward their career goals by first earning an associate degree in nursing from an accredited community college or vocational school in Maryland. An associate degree typically takes two years.
After graduating, nurses need a license to work. They can also transfer credits from an associate degree toward a bachelor's degree in nursing.
Certified registered nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia and conduct exams on patients. According to the BLS, they made a median annual salary of $115,800 in 2019. Nurses also must pass the National Council Licensure Exam.
Visit this page to learn more about what it takes to become a nurse anesthetist.
- Dental Hygienist Schools
Dental hygienist schools train students through labs, lectures, and clinical to perform their job. Learners take courses in dental hygiene instrumentation, radiology, periodontics, and pharmacology, and oral medicine.
Vocational schools in Maryland offer dental hygienist programs that take 15-36 months to complete. The exact length of each program depends on each student's prior school or work experience.
Dental hygienists work with dentists to perform cleanings, apply fluoride, and conduct x-rays. According to the BLS, these professionals made a median annual salary of $76,220 in 2019.
Employers require dental hygienists to obtain licensure. Each state's licensure requirements vary. In some cases, dental hygienists may need a bachelor's degree.
Find accredited dental hygienist schools in your area by visiting this page.
- Mechanic Schools
Mechanic schools prepare students to become brake specialists, general mechanics, and auto shop managers.
Vocational schools in Maryland offer automotive technology certificates and associate degrees. Students can complete a certificate in 12-15 months or an associate degree in a specialized field such as light-duty diesel technology in 2-3 years.
Employers often prefer employees who hold industry certification. Service technicians inspect and repair vehicles. To keep up with the growing complicated auto systems mechanics also need to become familiar with current electronic systems. Automotive service technicians and mechanics made a median annual salary of $42,090 in 2019, according to the BLS.
Learn more about how to find mechanic schools by exploring this page.
- Paralegal Schools
Paralegals provide essential administrative services to help lawyers perform their jobs. They investigate cases and maintain files. They also write summaries and handle correspondence over the phone and through email.
Paralegals have varying academic backgrounds. They hold associate degrees and bachelor's degrees in paralegal studies. In some cases, paralegals have bachelor's degrees in other majors, and some also hold certificates.
According to the BLS, paralegals and legal assistants made a median annual salary of $51,740 in 2019.
Visit this page to learn about how to pick the right paralegal program.
- Radiology Technician Schools
Radiology technicians work with doctors to read x-rays and computed tomography imaging scans. Radiology technicians often specialize in specific areas such as mammography or magnetic resonance imaging scanners.
Radiology technicians need at least an associate degree. According to the BLS, radiologic technicians earned a median annual salary of $62,280 in 2019 and benefit from a projected growth rate of 9% between 2018 and 2028.
Most states require radiologic technologists to earn licensure. Some students use credits earned in an associate degree to pursue a bachelor's degree in radiologic therapy.
Read more about radiology programs on this page.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
Cost remains a huge influence on students who opt for vocational schools in Maryland. Tech schools often offer a less expensive education than a four-year degree.
Despite the cost advantages, many students still need assistance to pay for tech schools in Maryland. Students often turn to federal financial aid to help pay for tuition, books, and fees.
To receive aid, prospective students must complete the FAFSA form online to determine how much money they can receive. Depending on their financial need, applicants may receive a Federal Pell Grant or a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. The federal government also provides Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans for undergraduates with a financial need. Learners should check with their school's financial aid office to determine their options.
Loans often require repayment, with interest and stipulations that increase the borrowed amount. To learn more about financial aid that does not require repayment, consult the following section on scholarships.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
See below for five of the many scholarships available to trade school students.
- Artemis Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Female students in their senior year of high school can earn this scholarship. They need a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Applicants must have plans to attend either a two-year or four-year program.Apply for Scholarship
Amount: Up to $500
- Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant
Who Can Apply: Maryland senior high school students or GED diploma recipients under 26 years old can receive this award. Students pursuing two-year and four-year degrees receive funds based on their financial need.Apply for Scholarship
- Jack F. Tolbert Memorial Student Grant Program
Who Can Apply: Working professionals enrolled in private tech schools in Maryland can apply for this award. They must reside in Maryland, work at least 18 hours a week, and demonstrate financial need. All majors can apply.Apply for Scholarship
- Part-Time Grant
Who Can Apply: Part-time college students enrolled in two-year and four-year degrees can receive this grant. Eligible candidates must be Maryland residents. They must complete a FAFSA or Maryland State Financial Aid Application.Apply for Scholarship
- Maryland Automobile Dealers Association Foundation
Who Can Apply: The Maryland Automobile Dealers Association Foundation offers scholarships to students pursuing careers in the automotive industry. Candidates need a member sponsorship to apply.Apply for Scholarship
Additional Education and Career Resources
A resource for students, parents and staff that provides an overview of CTE programs available through the county's high schools.
Offers opportunities for continuing education, legislative advocacy, and networking for registered nurses.
Provides a comprehensive explanation of the state's educational opportunities, including CTE and other degree programs. Prospective students can also find additional resources for specific areas of study such as business or agriculture.
Comprehensive job resource for Maryland residents. Offers job search database, employment training opportunities and labor market information for those seeking employment.