Vocational Trade Schools in Nebraska

May 26, 2022 • 6 Min Read

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Why Choose Trade School?

Trade schools in Nebraska provide career-focused training in high-demand industries like healthcare, skilled trades, and technology. With a vocational certificate or degree, graduates can find work as medical assistants, occupational therapy assistants, and dental hygienists. They can also pursue careers as electricians, paralegals, paramedics, and HVAC technicians.

During a vocational program, students complete fieldwork in addition to their coursework. For example, paramedic studies learners train in ambulances and hospitals, while electricians build career-ready skills through a practicum.

Vocational programs offer several benefits over four-year academic degrees. A vocational certificate or degree generally takes 1-2 years, meaning students complete their program and enter the workforce in less time. As a result, vocational training generally costs less than a bachelor's degree.

Professionals with an occupational credential also benefit from a higher employment rate than those with an academic credential, according to 2009 data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Many vocational programs offer self-paced or accelerated options to fit the schedule of busy students. Learners can also choose an online vocational program for the most flexible schedule.

Our list ranks the best vocational schools in Nebraska to help prospective students find the right fit to reach their career goals. This page also provides career and salary data for vocational occupations, introduces popular vocational programs, and lists scholarship opportunities for trade school students in Nebraska.

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What do trade schools offer? Trade schools offer job-oriented training that blends classroom and experiential learning. A vocational program prepares students for a specific career path after graduation.
How much does a trade school cost? The cost of trade school varies depending on the program and school. In Nebraska, public community colleges charge an average of $3,200 per year in tuition and fees.
What are examples of vocational jobs? Vocational jobs include allied health professions like medical assistant, physical therapist assistant, and dental hygienist. Careers like electrician, paralegal, cosmetologist and HVAC technician are also vocational jobs.
Can trade school credits transfer? Yes. Credits earned at a trade school can transfer to other institutions. In general, credits earned from a regionally accredited school are more likely to transfer than those earned at a nationally accredited school.

Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools

Prospective trade school students should always check a school's accreditation and licensure status before submitting an application. An unaccredited degree does not meet the requirements for many professional licenses.

Accredited schools meet high standards for educating students. Colleges and universities earn accreditation by undergoing an extensive review by an independent accrediting agency. During the review, the accrediting agency evaluates the institution's student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic mission.

Students benefit from accreditation in several important ways. First, credits earned at an accredited school are more likely to transfer to other institutions. Second, accredited degrees meet the requirements for more professional licensure and certification requirements. Finally, only students attending accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid programs.

Many schools offer vocational programs, including trade schools, technical colleges, community colleges, and four-year universities. These schools may hold regional or national accreditation. Most community colleges and four-year universities hold regional accreditation. In Wisconsin, the Higher Learning Commission grants regional accreditation to schools.

Vocational and trade schools often hold national accreditation from a specialized agency such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, which accredits more than 650 trade and technical schools. Other specialized accrediting agencies include the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which accredits online schools.

Postsecondary schools also need a license to operate. In Nebraska, the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education provides a directory of approved schools.

Learn more about the accreditation process.

Vocational Trade Schools in Nebraska

Trade schools in Nebraska provide career-oriented training for industries like healthcare, the skilled trades, and personal services. By choosing a top-ranked vocational program, professionals can advance their education and increase their earning potential in 1-2 years.

The following list ranks the best vocational schools in Nebraska.

  1. Central Community College

    Grand Island, NE



    One of the largest trade schools in Nebraska, CCC operates three campuses in Grand Island, Columbus, and Hastings. The college serves a 25-county area, offering degree and technical programs both on campus and online. CCC students can choose from multiple program offerings, including hospitality management and culinary arts, energy technology, heavy equipment operator technician, and dental hygiene.

    CCC offers a comprehensive electrical technology program that includes professional internship opportunities. Candidates can study the field at all levels, with diplomas, certificates, and an associate of applied science degree available. Students who enroll in these programs can complete a concurrent electrical technology apprenticeship, which prepares graduates to become journeyman electricians. Program graduates go on to careers as industrial electricians, construction electricians, and electric motor service persons.

  2. Metropolitan Community College

    Omaha, NE



    A comprehensive two-year college based out of Omaha, MCC serves residents of Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. The school offers several technical and vocational programs, including ones in accounting, front end web development, and medical office management.

    MCC offers two apprenticeships in electrical and plumbing, along with a pre-apprenticeship in plumbing. Apprentices can earn up to 56 credits toward an associate degree while working full time, with courses offered in the evenings at MCC's Construction Education Center. Both apprenticeship programs last four years and prepare students for journeyman licensure exams.

    The plumbing pre-apprenticeship prepares students to enter the apprenticeship program while gaining basic skills and certification. Students can earn either a certificate of achievement in pre-apprenticeship plumbing or a career certificate in plumbing fundamentals. These credentials prepare students to either continue their professional education or find a career in plumbing.

  3. Mid-Plains Community College

    North Platte, NE



    Based in North Platte and McCook, MPCC also operates several satellite campuses, and a distance education program. Serving an 18-county region, the school enrolls more than 16,000 students in credit and non-credit programs. MPCC offers an assortment of technical and occupational programs, including both associate degrees and professional certificates. Students can choose from career-focused programs such as event management, fire science technology, logistics and material management, medical lab technology, and dental assisting.

    MPCC students benefit from a comprehensive selection of academic resources, including extensive library facilities, advising, counseling, career services, and tutoring. The college's Student Success Centers provide tutoring, career counseling, proctored exams, study assistance, and free computer access. The Career Services office also offers vocational evaluations, career planning, specialized testing, and resume assistance.

  4. Southeast Community College

    Lincoln, NE



    A major community college system, SCC ranks among the top trade schools in the state. The college serves students throughout southeast Nebraska, with main campuses in Beatrice, Lincoln, and Milford. SCC also operates satellite learning centers in Falls City, Hebron, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, Wahoo and York. Students can choose from dozens of degree and certificate programs, including dental assisting, diesel technology, land surveying, livestock management and production, and long term care administration.

    As one of the largest Nebraska technical colleges, SCC offers broad advising and support services for students. The school's student affairs office provides assistance from enrollment through graduation, with services in admissions counseling, academic advising, transfer counseling, and scholarship advising. Advisors help students adjust to college life and develop key skills in time management, goal setting, and study habits. Advisors also connect students to other campus services.

  5. Northeast Community College

    Norfolk, NE



    A nationally ranked community college, NCC is one of the top trade schools in Nebraska. This Lincoln-based, two-year college serves around 13,000 students annually, divided evenly between credit and non-credit programs.

    NCC offers dozens of trade and vocational programs. While most programs offer associate degrees, students can also choose from several diploma and certificate programs. The school's program options include agronomy, animal science, athletic training, precision agriculture, and wind energy. Students can also pursue more traditional programs such as automotive technology, culinary arts, medical assisting, and radiologic technology.

    NCC offers a variety of career resources, including assessment and planning services, job boards, and connections to local employers. The school boasts strong career and academic outcomes, with 99% of recent graduates report either being currently employed or pursuing further education.

  6. Western Nebraska Community College

    Scottsbluff, NE



    Serving more than a dozen counties in the Nebraska panhandle, WNCC operates campuses in Alliance, Scottsbluff, and Sidney. The school's large selection of associate degrees and certificates includes options in exercise science, aviation maintenance, welding technology, surgical technology, and dietetics.

    WNCC also offers several pre-professional programs in fields such as chiropractic medicine, dental hygiene, dentistry, veterinary and comparative medicine, and radiologic technology. These enable students to earn a two-year associate degree before transferring to a four-year college.

    As one of the top vocational schools in Nebraska, WNCC provides varied support services for students through its Career Pathways and Advising office. Advisors and counselors support students through all stages of their education, including admissions counseling and transfer advising. The school's career services office also offers a wide selection of resources, including job shadowing opportunities, career fairs, job postings, resume assistance, and interview training.

  7. Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture

    Curtis, NE



    A two-year college located in Curtis, NCTA ranks among the top technical schools in Nebraska. The college also boasts a national reputation, winning praise from both Forbes and Business Week as one of the best trade schools in the country. Unlike many community colleges, NCTA offers the same tuition rate to Nebraska residents and non-residents, making the school an affordable choice regardless of residency.

    NCTA offers a varied selection of associate degrees and certificate programs, primarily focused on agriculture. Students can choose from unique programs including agricultural equipment management, livestock industry management, animal husbandry, veterinary assistant, and equine health.

    The college also offers several associate transfer programs that prepare students to pursue bachelor's degrees, including animal science, agronomy, mechanized systems management, and agricultural education. The school maintains an active relationship with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and its College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

  8. Clarkson College

    Omaha, NE



    Founded in 1888 as a nursing school, Clarkson College retains its focus on technical and professional education in the health sciences. As one of the top trade schools in Nebraska for healthcare professions, the college offers a wide selection of degrees and certificates in community health, health information management, healthcare administration and leadership, nursing, and radiography and medical imaging.

    Most programs offer multiple levels of study. For example, the health information technology field offers certificates in health informatics or health information coding, which take just 3-4 semesters to complete. Candidates interested in more advanced study can pursue either a two-year associate degree in health information technology or a four-year bachelor's degree in health information administration.

    Clarkson College also offers many of its courses online, and about 90% of students complete at least one online course each semester.

  9. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health

    Omaha, NE



    Another of the top trade schools in Nebraska for healthcare students, NMC serves around 1,100 students annually. The Omaha-based school offers 10 associate and certificate programs, including options in cardiovascular sonography, radiologic technology, respiratory care, physical therapy assistant, and surgical technology.

    Most NMC programs emphasize significant hands-on learning, including clinical experiences, laboratory training, and simulations. Programs typically include supervised clinical training at hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities. While most of the school's associate degrees take place mainly on campus, NMC does offer some certificates primarily online, including computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and mammography.

    NMC students benefit from a fully functional campus with dedicated facilities for various fields, including a physical therapist assistant lab, a phlebotomy lab, and radiography lab. The campus also hosts a nursing skills laboratory equipped with 12 beds and two simulation rooms.

  10. Creighton University

    Omaha, NE



    A private Jesuit college based in Omaha, Creighton is not technically a Nebraska trade school. However, the college does offer several professional certificate programs. Students can pursue undergraduate certificates in areas such as business analytics, healthcare administration and policy, healthcare management, lifestyle medicine, and project management. Creighton also offers a professionally focused associate degree in emergency medical services.

    Creighton serves more than 8,900 students annually, and the school provides student support and resources typical of a major private institution, including academic advising and career services. Students benefit from academic coaching, individual tutoring, peer mentorship, and workshops.

    Creighton's John P. Fahey Career Center offers support for both students and alumni, including career exploration, resume assistance, counseling, job listings, and internships. Students in healthcare programs can also take advantage of specialized, pre-professional advising services.

Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Nebraska

Community colleges, career training centers, and trade schools throughout Nebraska all offer vocational and trade education. Many programs include internship and apprenticeship opportunities so that students can get the practical training they need to take on specialized jobs.

The state is committed to educating its workforce, and provides career and technical education (CTE) as early as high school. Several high schools in Nebraska offer vocational programs in which students concentrate on CTE classes. Data shows that students who participate in CTE courses are 7.5 times more likely to stay in school.

Use the search tool below to find accredited trade schools in Nebraska that meet your needs.

Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates

The career and salary outlook for trade school graduates remains strong. In many fields, trade school occupations pay high salaries and offer strong growth potential. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects much faster-than-average job growth for HVAC technicians, dental hygienists, and paralegals between 2018 and 2028.

The earning potential for trade school graduates varies depending on the industry and location. Overall, trade school occupations pay an average salary of around $55,000 per year.

On the high end, management occupations earn over $96,000 per year. In the healthcare field, practitioners and technicians with vocational training make around $55,000 per year, while healthcare support occupations earn $45,000 per year. With experience, many trade school professionals see their income increase.

In Nebraska, multiple trade school careers pay above the state's mean annual wage of $48,000. Occupational therapy assistants and paralegals both earn around $53,000 per year. Dental hygienists in Nebraska make over $66,000 annually on average, while electricians earn nearly $53,000 per year.

What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?

Trade school programs train students for careers as dental hygienists, mechanics, paralegals, and radiology technicians. Through classroom and fieldwork requirements, students gain the skills needed for the workforce. Vocational training prepares graduates for high-demand industries like healthcare, technology, and skilled trades.

This section introduces popular trade school programs, including their earning potential and licensing requirements.

Dental Hygienist Schools

Dental hygienists examine patients and provide preventive dental care. During a dental exam, they look for signs of oral diseases, apply treatments to protect teeth, and take dental X-rays. Dental hygienists also educate patients about oral hygiene.

An associate degree prepares dental hygienists for the workforce. During associate programs, students take courses in anatomy, periodontics, and oral health. Dental hygienists also complete clinical training to work on their patient care skills and perfect their techniques.

According to the BLS, dental hygienists earned a median annual salary of over $76,000 in 2019 with much faster than average projected job growth. Dental hygienists must hold a license to practice. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services licenses dental hygienists in the Cornhusker State.

Learn more about dental hygienist programs.

Mechanic Schools

Mechanics inspect and repair cars and trucks. They identify problems with diagnostic tools, plan work procedures, and conduct repairs. Mechanics also perform basic maintenance and explain automotive problems to clients.

A vocational certificate or degree in automotive service technology prepares graduates for careers as a mechanic. Many schools offer specialized certificates in areas like brake systems, electronic systems, and engine repair. Students complete coursework in automotive service techniques while practicing their skills through laboratory and practicum hours.

Mechanics can demonstrate their skills with a professional certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, which awards certifications in specialty areas like engine performance, heating and AC systems, and suspensions.

Mechanics earned a median annual salary of around $42,000 in 2019.

Learn more about mechanic programs.

Paralegal Schools

Paralegals support lawyers by conducting legal research, drafting documents like contracts, and obtaining affidavits for court cases. They also investigate the facts of cases and assist lawyers during trial. As trained legal professionals, paralegals may specialize in areas like corporate law or litigation.

Many vocational schools in Nebraska offer paralegal studies programs. During these programs, students learn about legal writing, contract law, and legal research.

While paralegals do not need a license, they can pursue professional certification to demonstrate their skills. Paralegals earned a median annual salary of nearly $52,000 in 2019 with much faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.

Learn more about paralegal studies programs.

Radiology Technician Schools

Radiology technicians, also called radiographers, take diagnostic images like X-rays. They position patients to capture images, operate diagnostic imaging equipment, and evaluate the image quality. Radiology technicians also follow safety procedures to protect patients.

During an associate program in radiology, learners study patient care, image evaluation, and radiation physics. These programs also incorporate clinical and laboratory training. After completing their degree, radiology technicians typically pursue certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

The BLS reports that radiology technicians earned a median annual salary of over $62,000 in 2019 with faster than average projected job growth. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services licenses radiology technicians in the Cornhusker State.

Learn more about radiology technician programs.

Financial Aid for Trade School Students

Trade school students can pay for their certificate or degree using loans, scholarships, or grants. Students attending accredited schools can receive federal financial aid, which includes grants, loans, and work-study programs, by completing the FAFSA. Prospective students can check with specific schools to learn whether they meet the eligibility requirements for federal financial aid.

Unlike loans, which recipients must pay back, scholarships and grants decrease the cost of a vocational program with no repayment obligation. As a result, they are the best form of financial aid. Many Nebraska organizations offer scholarships for trade school students.

The following section introduces scholarship opportunities for students at vocational schools in Nebraska.

Scholarship for Trade School Students

Students attending vocational schools in Nebraska qualify for multiple scholarship opportunities. Private foundations, community organizations, and professional associations all support trade school students through scholarships. In addition to the following opportunities, students can research scholarships based on their school or field of study.

Lincoln Community Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Lincoln Community Foundation awards more than 80 scholarships for students in Nebraska. In 2019, the organization awarded more than 270 scholarships totalling $440,000.
Amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship
Susan T. Buffett Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The foundation offers scholarships to Nebraska residents with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants must plan to attend a Nebraska public college, including a community college in Nebraska.
Amount: Up to $5,750

Apply for Scholarship
Sowers Club of Nebraska Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Sowers Club of Nebraska awards scholarships to Nebraska residents with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Recipients must attend a college in Nebraska.
Amount: $1,000

Apply for Scholarship
Wubbena C. Rand Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Offered by an affiliate of the Omaha Community Foundation, this scholarship funds two students from Blair, Nebraska pursuing medical or health education at the postsecondary level, including at tech schools in Nebraska.
Amount: $1,000

Apply for Scholarship
Horatio Alger Career & Technical Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students attending a career or technical program at an accredited, nonprofit institution qualify for this scholarship. Recipients must demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Up to $2,500

Apply for Scholarship

Additional Education and Career Resources

Nebraska Career Clusters - Career Tours Virtual industry tours for students interested in pursuing vocational and skilled trades careers. Includes interviews with working professionals, work requirements for different positions, and information about salary and job prospects.
Nebraska Career Connections For students and parents interested in exploring CTE programs in Nebraska. Provides tools for planning life after high school, creating a portfolio for the job search, and resources for connecting with employers.
Nebraska Department of Economic Development Provides information about the economy in Nebraska, housing and community updates, and resources for businesses.
Nebraska Department of Education - Career Education Comprehensive guide to career and education programs in the state, education standards, and student organizations.
Nebraska Department of Labor Provides information on the state’s employment trends and offers resources for both businesses and individuals.

Learn More...

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