Vocational Trade Schools in Massachusetts

Why Choose Trade School?

Trade schools, sometimes referred to as vocational or tech schools, offer skills-based educational programs that prepare students for specific occupations in areas like plumbing, welding, cosmetology, and technology.

Trade school students enjoy many benefits compared to students in four-year programs. For instance, trade school programs take 1-2 years to complete, allowing students to enter the workforce faster than students in four-year programs. Additionally, professionals with an occupational credential enjoy higher employment rates than professionals with an academic credential, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Top 10 Vocational Trade Schools in Massachusetts

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Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

This guide ranks the best vocational schools in Massachusetts to help students find the right program for their needs. This page also provides information on potential careers and salaries for trade school graduates and lists scholarship opportunities for trade school students in Massachusetts.

FAQ

QuestionAnswer
What is the difference between a trade school and a college?Trade schools provide career-focused training in areas like allied health and technology, while colleges focus more on academic training.
What can you learn at a trade school?Trade schools offer career-focused programs that prepare students for jobs in areas like cosmetology, technology, and allied health.
What are examples of vocational jobs?Potential jobs for vocational school graduates include paralegal, aircraft mechanic, computer technician, and cosmetologist.
How much does a trade school cost?Cost varies by school and program, but trade school programs cost an average of $33,000 for the entire program.

Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools

All schools need a state license to operate. Students should also check the accreditation status of their prospective schools. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like faculty qualifications, student learning outcomes, and academic rigor.

Students benefit from accreditation 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 may hold regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions. The New England Commission on Higher Education provides regional accreditation to Massachusetts schools. National accreditation applies to for-profit, vocational, and technical schools. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges grants national accreditation to over 650 trade and technical schools nationwide. Other specialized accrediting agencies include the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which accredits online schools.

Vocational Trade Schools in Massachusetts

The list below ranks the best vocational schools in Massachusetts to help students find the right program for their needs. Continue reading to learn more about each school, including accreditation status, available programs, and financial aid opportunities.

  1. Mount Wachusett Community College
    Location

    Gardner, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Mount Wachusett Community College enrolls recent high school graduates, nontraditional learners, and high school students pursuing dual enrollment. Based in Gardner, MWCC operates satellite campuses in Devens, Leominster, and Fitchburg. Students choose from more than 70 associate degrees and certificates. Programs cover many fields, including education, computer information systems, engineering and physics, and pharmacy science.

    Students interested in a technical career choose an associate degree such as automotive technology or veterinary technology. The liberal arts and sciences associate degree, with several tracks, provides learners with the general education they need for a four-year degree.

    Recognized as one of the best trade schools in Massachusetts, MWCC offers certificates transferable to associate programs. The dual-enrollment program allows participants to begin their college education early by earning college credits while still in high school. Another option allows students to earn while they learn in manufacturing apprenticeships. Support services include childcare subsidies, food stamps, peer mentoring, and counseling services.

  2. Middlesex County College
    Location

    Edison, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At Middlesex Community College, about 11,000 students from diverse backgrounds pursue certificates, degrees, and workplace skills on campuses in Lowell and Bedford. The catalog of 80 programs includes technical degrees such as aviation maintenance, radiologic, and energy utility technology. MCC administers a strong healthcare program that includes dental hygiene and nursing degrees.

    For more than 20 years, MCC has offered online learning to give students greater flexibility. Online options include associate degrees in business administration, criminal justice, and paralegal studies. Students interested in transferring to a bachelor's program choose the associate degree in liberal arts and sciences, which saves them time and money. Learners who want to gain skills quickly can earn a certificate in a field such as dental lab technology or IT cybersecurity in less than one year.

    MCC, one of the top trade schools in Massachusetts, provides academic support to build students' foundational skills for academic success.

  3. Bunker Hill Community College
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1973, Bunker Hill Community College is the state's largest community college. The Boston college operates campuses in Charleston, Chelsea, and satellites. BHCC's 19,000 students enroll in associate and certificate programs spanning the disciplines. All degrees require general education, liberal arts or career electives, and requirements in the major.

    BHCC's catalog includes associate degrees in accounting, computer information systems, and early childhood development. Several associate degrees offer a pathway to four-year programs at senior colleges. Options include an AS in electrical engineering, AS in criminal justice, and AS in biology. To prepare workers for jobs in biotechnology, one of the state's major sectors, BHCC offers an AS in biomedical engineering and AS in biotechnology.

    Students can pursue several unique two-year degrees, such as baking and pastry arts or cardiac sonography. Learners interested in acquiring skills quickly choose from a variety of certificates. One of the top vocational schools in Massachusetts, BHCC offers internship and career development opportunities accessible through a virtual or in-person career fair.

  4. Bristol Community College
    Location

    Fall River, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Bristol Community College continues a 50-year tradition of education and workforce development with programs on campuses in Fall River, Attleboro, Taunton, and New Bedford. The school's extensive catalog consists of more than 150 programs leading to degrees and certificates. Majors include traditional fields such as business administration, criminal justice, and a liberal arts and science transfer option with eight concentrations.

    To prepare workers for the state's high-tech industries, BCC offers associate degrees in biomedical manufacturing technology, electro-mechanical, and offshore wind power technology. The school's unique deaf studies associate degree offers four emphasis areas, including interpreter and deaf studies transfer. BCC manages a strong healthcare program that trains nurses, dental hygienists, and veterinary techs. Dozens of standalone or add-on certificates include gerontology or A+ certification. Bristol Online operates one of the state's largest digital learning platforms. Online students at BCC, one of the best technical schools in Massachusetts, receive 24/7 online tutoring and access to on-campus resources.

  5. Springfield Technical Community College
    Location

    Springfield, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located on the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Springfield Technical Community College is officially the state's only technical community college. STCC offers 76 degrees and certificates in fields as diverse as nursing, IT security, and optics and photonics. Students interested in getting a head start on a four-year degree save time and money by enrolling in degrees designed specifically for transfer. Options include business, liberal arts, and engineering. The general studies option allows undecided students to explore classes and careers and tailor the degree to meet their needs.

    Certificates include the unique one-year Internet of Things (IoT) option to prepare workers for jobs in IoT networking/security and infrastructure. Other one-year programs include medical coding and billing specialist and microcomputer specialist. One of the best Massachusetts technical colleges, STCC offers the College Now program for high school students to complete a free college course each semester.

  6. North Shore Community College
    Location

    Danvers, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    In 1965, North Shore Community College opened its doors to serve residents of the North Shore. Today, almost 11,000 students benefit from high-quality programming delivered in state-of-the-art facilities on three campuses. Students earn degrees that prepare them for the workforce or to transfer to a four-year college. About 75 programs cover an array of pathways, including business administration, nursing and allied health, and science and math.

    Transfer options include an AA in liberal arts with a comprehensive suite of concentrations. Learners interested in a technical degree can pursue majors such as engineering, computer programming, or aviation management. A newer program, the AS in aviation science professional pilot, includes classroom instruction and flight training to prepare enrollees for a professional career as a pilot.

    Certificates at NSCC, one of the best trade schools in Massachusetts, empower learners with the skills they need for a new career such as computer-aided design, medical assisting, or healthcare technician. Affordability remains a centerpiece of the school's mission.

  7. Cape Cod Community College
    Location

    Barnstable, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Cape Cod Community College serves about 6,000 students each year. The West Barnstable-based school offers 40 degrees and 45 certificate programs. Students can pursue an AA in several concentrations, including liberal arts, psychology, and education. The AA serves as the best pathway for those planning to transfer to a four-year college. The school's technical programs include aviation maintenance technology, funeral science, and IT with three concentrations. Certificates cover fields as diverse as aviation and bookkeeping.

    AT CCCC, students can earn advanced degrees not available at many vocational schools in Massachusetts. Through CCCC's agreements with the University of Massachusetts-Boston, learners may earn an RN-to-BSN or master of clinical social work. Other students may begin their studies at CCCC leading to a master's in clinical mental health counseling from Lesley University. Every semester, CCCC offers online programs to give learners flexibility. All students receive access to 24/7 online tutoring.

  8. Quinsigamond Community College
    Location

    Worcester, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Since the 1960s, learners in central Massachusetts have turned to Quinsigamond Community College for workforce development and continuing education. The Worcester college administers 120 programs to 13,000 students. Learners choose associate degrees in traditional fields such as automotive technology, hospitality and recreation management, and small business management. Certificates develop students' clerical and office skills, or their technical proficiency such as HVAC or energy utility technology.

    QCC manages a strong IT program with associate degrees in domains such as web development/programming and interactive media-digital design. Several transfer options provide learners with the first two years of a four-year degree. QCC's emphasis on flexible scheduling includes online options and night and weekend classes. The school charges among the region's lowest tuition, enabling students to graduate with limited debt. As one of the best trade schools in Massachusetts, QCC provides support services such as a children's school, food pantry, and counseling services.

  9. Quincy College
    Location

    Quincy, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Quincy College enrolls students on campuses in Quincy and Plymouth. About 4,000 students from greater Boston and 100 countries receive the training they need for careers and further education. QC's 37 associate degrees cover fields such as accounting, computer science, and paralegal studies. Students can pursue degrees in high-demand fields such as surgical technology or EMT.

    QC's professional programs include options that require just a few months to a year of enrollment. The phlebotomy technician certificate requires one semester and prepares graduates to sit for the national certification examination as a phlebotomist. The 18-credit certificate in gerontology trains workers to address the needs of an aging population. The one- or two-year web and mobile development certificate teaches programming languages, webpage design, and client- and server-side scripting.

    As one of the best vocational schools in Massachusetts, QC maintains strong transfer arrangements with four-year institutions such as UMass Boston and Northeastern University.

  10. Holyoke Community College
    Location

    Holyoke, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established as the first two-year college in Massachusetts,Holyoke Community Collegeoffers affordable, high-quality education. About 9,000 students attend classes on a 135-acre green campus. Students short on time and money can earn in-demand credentials in just a few months. The options include certificates in growing fields such as medical assistant, veterinary assistant, and computer networking. Associate degrees require two years and cover diverse fields, including IT management, nursing, clean energy, and criminal justice.

    The school, a designated Hispanic-serving institution, offers a unique associate degree in Latinx Studies. HCC also maintains distinction as the state's largest community college feeder to Westfield State and UMass. Other schools high on HCC students' transfer list include Smith, Amherst, and Cornell. Support services such as tutoring and disability and deaf services help learners achieve their academic goals. HCC's tuition and fees make it among the most affordable trade schools in Massachusetts.Scholarships and grantsadd to the school's affordability.

Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates

Salary varies by factors like industry, location, and role, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that trade school occupations pay an average of $59,370 per year. Trade school graduates in certain industries can earn significantly higher salaries. For example, elevator repair professionals earned a median annual salary of $84,990 in 2019. The BLS also projects faster-than-average job growth for many trade school occupations, such as electrician (10%), HVAC technician (13%), and plumber (14%).

Job location also impacts salary and career potential. The states that hire the highest number of trade school graduates include Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, and Iowa. Students should research the salary potential and projected job growth for their intended career.

What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?

Trade school graduates can pursue diverse careers in areas like allied health, technology, legal services, and cosmetology. The following list outlines some potential careers for trade school graduates.Dental Hygienist Schools

Dental hygienists conduct dental exams to protect patients’ teeth and educate patients about oral health. These professionals typically need an associate degree. Dental hygienists need a state license to practice, so dental hygienist programs typically prepare students to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, which is part of the licensure process. Only students who complete an accredited program can sit for the exam. The Commission on Dental Accreditation serves as the main accrediting agency for these programs.

Dental hygienists earned an annual median pay of $76,220 in 2019, which is much higher than the annual median pay for all occupations. In addition, the BLS projects an 11% growth rate for jobs in this sector between 2018 and 2028.Mechanic SchoolsParalegal SchoolsRadiology Technician Schools

Financial Aid for Trade School Students

Students can take advantage of many financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of their education, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. To qualify for federal financial aid, students must submit the FAFSA every year. However, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal aid. Postsecondary institutions, private organizations, and professional associations also offer financial aid opportunities.

Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following section outlines several scholarship opportunities for trade school students in Massachusetts.

Scholarship for Trade School Students

Students at trade schools in Massachusetts can take advantage of many scholarship opportunities. The following list outlines several scholarships for vocational students in the state, but students can research additional opportunities based on factors like their field, school, and identity.


  • Dental Hygienist Schools

    Dental hygienists conduct dental exams to protect patients’ teeth and educate patients about oral health. These professionals typically need an associate degree. Dental hygienists need a state
    license to practice, so dental hygienist programs typically prepare students to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination,
    which is part of the licensure process. Only students who complete an accredited program can sit for the exam. The Commission on Dental Accreditation
    serves as the main accrediting agency for these programs.

    Dental hygienists earned an annual median pay of $76,220 in 2019, which is much higher than the annual
    median pay for all occupations. In addition, the BLS projects an 11% growth rate for jobs in this sector between 2018 and 2028.


  • Mechanic Schools

    Mechanic programs offered at trade schools typically take around one year to complete.
    Many programs include classes in areas like automotive powertrains and transmissions, vehicle brake systems, and hybrid vehicle system maintenance. Students can also explore mechanic apprenticeships
    offered by trade unions and large automotive companies. Apprenticeships take longer to complete but provide compensation, allowing students to earn money as they learn their trade.

    States do not require mechanics to hold licensure or certification, but mechanics can pursue certification in various specialties from the
    National Automotive Education Foundation to stand out in the job market.

    According to the BLS, automotive service technicians and mechanics
    earned an annual median salary of $42,090 in 2019.


  • Paralegal Schools

    Paralegals assist lawyers by conducting research on relevant laws, drafting legal documents, fact-checking cases, and filing briefs and appeals with courts. Many of these professionals
    specialize in an area of law, such as litigation.

    Some paralegal certificate programs take around one year to complete, but many employers prefer paralegals to hold a two-year associate degree in the field. The
    BLS projects jobs for paralegals to grow 12% between 2018 and 2028. These professionals
    earned an annual median salary of $51,740 in 2019.


  • Radiology Technician Schools

    Radiology technicians work in healthcare settings, creating diagnostic images like x-rays. These professionals typically hold a radiologic technology associate degree. During an associate
    program, learners study topics like radiation physics, radiobiology, and principles of imaging.

    Most states require radiology technicians to hold a license to practice. The American Registry of Radiologic Technicians administers several
    tests that many states use as a basis for granting licensure to applicants. According to the BLS, radiology technicians earned an
    annual median salary of $62,280 in 2019, with faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and
    2028.


Additional Education and Career Resources


  • Career and Technical Student Organizations

    These organizations ensure strong CTE programs through innovation, community and business partnerships, and leadership experiences for students.

  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Career Development Education)

    Provides an overview of what career development education offers students, and works to ensure that programs throughout the state offer quality activities.

  • Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

    Offers Information for prospective students and parents about colleges and university options, financial aid, and the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Partnership.

  • Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development – Job Services

    Resources for Massachusetts residents to find jobs, connect with employers and learn more about the local labor market.

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