Top Vocational Trade Schools in New York [2022 Guide]

Pursuing a technical education is a great opportunity to open up a new pathway in your career. Here, we list the best trade schools in New York.

May 27, 2022 • 6 Min Read

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Attend a Vocational Trade School in New York

Trade schools in New York provide career-focused training for in-demand fields like healthcare, industrial technology, the skilled trades, and legal services. Potential jobs for graduates include medical assistant, electrician, paralegal, and paramedic.

During a vocational program, students take classes in their field and complete clinical or laboratory requirements to build hands-on skills. For example, paramedic studies students apply classroom learning in an ambulance or hospital setting.

Many trade and technical schools offer self-paced or accelerated options to fit the schedule of busy students. Learners can also choose an online vocational program to complete their training in a flexible format.

Many trade and technical schools offer self-paced or accelerated options to fit the schedule of busy students. Learners can also choose an online vocational program to complete their training in a flexible format.

Vocational programs offer several benefits compared to four-year programs. For example, earning a vocational certificate or degree generally takes 1-2 years, meaning vocational students can graduate faster than students in four-year programs. 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.

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

FAQ on New York Vocational Trade Schools

Can I go to trade school online?

Yes, schools increasingly offer vocational programs online. Students can often complete courses online and meet any experiential learning requirements locally.

Do trade school scholarships exist?

Yes, many private foundations, government agencies, and professional associations offer scholarships for trade school students.

Can trade school credits transfer?

Yes, trade school credits can often transfer to other institutions. In general, credits earned from a regionally accredited institution are most likely to transfer.

When can I apply to trade school?

Many trade schools accept applications on a rolling basis, meaning students can apply at any time. Most trade schools also offer multiple start dates each year.

Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools

Prospective trade school students should research a school's accreditation and licensing status before submitting an application. Accredited schools meet high standards for educating students. Colleges and universities must undergo a rigorous review from an independent accrediting agency to earn accreditation. During the review, the accrediting agency evaluates the school's student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic mission. Learn more about the accreditation process here.

Accreditation benefits students in several important 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.

In New York, schools that offer vocational certificates and degrees may hold regional or national accreditation. Community colleges and four-year universities typically hold regional accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education grants regional accreditation to schools in New York.

Trade and vocational schools in New York often hold national accreditation from a specialized accrediting agency like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, which accredits over 650 trade and technical schools nationwide. Similarly, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits online schools.

In addition to accreditation, postsecondary institutions should hold a license to operate from the state. The New York State Office of Higher Education provides a list of approved schools in the state. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Vocational Trade Schools in New York

Trade schools in New York train students for the workforce through job-focused coursework and hands-on requirements. By attending a top-ranked vocational program, professionals can advance their education and increase their earning potential in just 1-2 years. This section ranks the best vocational schools in New York.

  1. Monroe Community College

    Rochester, NY



    MCC's online associate degrees include physics, human services, and mathematics. Many distance-education students at this trade school in New York select from numerous certificates. MCC offers four apprenticeship programs in automotive maintenance, with a focus on Toyota and GM automobiles.

    Career Services (CS) advisors offer numerous invaluable resources to online and hybrid learners including internships, virtual advising sessions, and counselors who work solely with veterans. The CS website also links students to Purple Briefcase, a networking platform that allows users to explore jobs and view career-preparation videos.

    Freshman applicants apply online or by mail and submit high school transcripts or GED scores. Full-time students benefit financially by paying a flat per-semester tuition rate. MCC's Our Opportunities website hosts multiple institutional scholarships, and most scholarships award $300-$1,000.

  2. Erie Community College

    Buffalo, NY



    ECC undergraduates select from nine online programs, including associate degrees in social science, liberal arts, and humanities. The business administration degree appeals to learners planning to transfer to a bachelor's-completion program. Many learners interested in an on-campus apprenticeship program choose from one of four on-campus options, including machine repair and millwright.

    ECC's One Stop Career Center (OSCC) helps students research and apply to jobs, learn interviewing skills, and join a virtual networking club. The OSCC also leads virtual workshops that online and on-campus students attend. Other vital resources include the latest job opportunities in the Buffalo and Erie County area.

    Prospective students interested in this vocational school in New York complete a six-step application process that involves applying for financial aid and taking a math and English placement test. ECC requires orientation for all new learners. Additionally, new and current students can check the SUNY Erie Foundation scholarship website to research the latest awards.

  3. Schenectady County Community College

    Schenectady, NY



    SUNY Schenectady features many online and hybrid associate degrees in computer science, criminal justice, and nutrition. The technical school in New York also offers four apprenticeship programs, one of which -- community health work -- allows students to finish in a hybrid format.

    This school's Career Services (CS) professionals provide learners and alumni with personal assessments, career planning and research tools, and resume assistance. The CS website also features links to top job-search engines and career preparation tools that include Indeed and My Next Move.

    SUNY Schenectady does not charge an admission fee, and prospective students start the application process by submitting a simple form. Schenectady County residents pay lower tuition rates. The Excelsior Scholarship covers all tuition expenses after students receive federal grants and loans.

  4. SUNY Broome Community College

    Binghamton, NY



    SUNY Broome students choose from one of four fully online associate degrees: business information management, computer security and forensics, human services, and web development and management. These programs also allow degree-seekers to learn in a hybrid format. This trade school in New York offers two apprenticeship programs that train students for an in-demand career in advanced manufacturing or healthcare.

    All students enjoy access to the Center for Career Development to explore careers, plan for transfer, and learn career-readiness skills. Like many excellent New York trade schools, SUNY Broome provides all learners with Purple Briefcase job-hunting software at no additional cost.

    Admission steps include submitting high school transcripts or GED scores, transfering credits, and submitting standardized test scores. New York state residents save approximately 50% on tuition compared to out-of-state students. Financial aid opportunities include the Presidential Honors Scholarship.

  5. Onondaga Community College

    Syracuse, NY



    OCC's online associate degrees include business administration, computer science, and human services. Many online students who live near Syracuse earn one of these degrees in a hybrid format by taking courses on weekends. This New York technical college also partners with 12 local companies to offer paid apprenticeships.

    Career Services (CS) provides learners with a career-exploration guide, interview preparation tips, and networking advice. Advisors also offer guidance on the transfer process. Additionally, CS runs a mentorship program in the spring semester that pairs students with a professional working in the local community.

    OCC allows prospective students to take one or more sample courses before applying and requires incoming learners to provide FAFSA results. The college also provides each applicant with an enrollment advisor. Finally, the Excelsior Scholarship covers full tuition for qualifying learners.

  6. Nassau Community College

    Garden City, NY



    NCC offers multiple hybrid degrees and certificates in areas such as Africana studies, economics and finance, and health information technology. Online courses feature an asynchronous curriculum, and NCC provides online content through Blackboard. Additionally, NCC's assistance professionals provide help every day of the week.

    When students visit NCC's Garden City campus, they meet with Career Services (CS) advisors and participate in a group counseling session. Session topics include personality types and choosing the right major. Online CS resources include the Career Guide, Candid Career videos, and Focus 2 Career software.

    Freshman applicants submit required documents, take placement tests, and provide other materials, depending on the degree or certificate they select. New York state residents who do not live in Nassau County pay the same tuition rate as out-of-state learners. NCC uses a general scholarship application for all institutional aid opportunities.

  7. Suffolk County Community College

    Selden, NY



    Suffolk's online and hybrid degrees include criminal justice, early childhood education, and general studies. Many distance-education students major in areas such as accounting and automotive business. Other flexible learning options at this vocational school in New York include on-campus evening courses for learners who work full time.

    Many students take advantage of Career Services' (CS) individualized counseling sessions, self-assessments, and workshops to find the best job as they approach graduation. On the MySCCC portal, learners explore job opportunities and discover additional success topics. Additionally, the CS website provides links to top job and self-exploration websites.

    Applicants who recently graduated high school select a campus and submit transcripts and standardized test scores. Suffolk considers applicants who earned a high school diploma or transfer credit in a foreign country.

  8. Mohawk Valley Community College

    Utica, NY



    MVCC offers two 100% online associate degrees: health information technology and school facilities management. Hybrid degrees include accounting, criminal justice, and human services. Online learners at this technical school in New York use Blackboard to submit assignments and collaborate with peers. Hybrid programs require some coursework on MVCC's Utica or Rome campus.

    Online learners enjoy access to three vital software suites that help them plan for career success -- Career Coach, Optimal Resume, and CareerWorks. Students in a hybrid program also use on-campus resources that include career panels and networking sessions. Additionally, Career Services professionals offer free cover letter and resume assistance.

    MVCC does not charge an application fee. Applicants attend a virtual information session that introduces them to the school's academic programs and campus life. The college awards dozens of institutional scholarships, and students submit only one application to apply for every award.

  9. CUNY New York City College of Technology

    Brooklyn, NY



    Many prospective online learners who want an asynchronous learning experience consider City Tech's online and hybrid programs. Many learners who live near City Tech's Brooklyn campus participate in the college's Success Via Apprenticeship program, a five-year program that trains future New York state teachers.

    This trade school in New York's Career Development Services department helps students and alumni explore careers, learn job-search strategies, and develop ways to hone in-demand skills. Other essential support includes the annual on-campus career fair and vocational assessments.

    Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED score. City TECH also accepts High School Equivalency scores. Eligible transfer students possess a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA and a letter grade of at least a C in introductory English and math courses. Financial aid requires a separate application. Only New York state residents enjoy access to institutional scholarships.

  10. Fulton-Montgomery Community College

    Johnstown, NY



    FM's three online associate degrees include an AS and AAS in business administration, as well as an AA in liberal arts and sciences: general studies. Many of FM's programs feature a hybrid curriculum with some courses at the Johnstown campus. FM also offers learners two rigorous apprenticeship programs that prepare graduates for a career in advanced manufacturing or healthcare.

    The Student Development Center (SDC) works with students planning to transfer to a four-year school. SDC offers three career-planning courses that emphasize exploration and success. Other resources include employment opportunities in the surrounding community.

    FM does not charge an admission fee and offers guaranteed admission to applicants who possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent. In addition to federal grants and loans, many students apply for Foundation Scholarships. Most Foundation Scholarships award $500-$1,000.

Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that trade school occupations pay an average wage of $55,000 per year. However, salary varies by factors like industry, experience, and location. For example, in New York, paralegals earn around $58,000 per year, on average, while electricians make $79,500 annually, according to the BLS.

The demand for many trade school occupations continues to grow. For example, the BLS projects much faster-than-average job growth for dental hygienists, paralegals, and HVAC technicians between 2018 and 2028.

Students considering vocational schools in New York can research the earning potential and job growth in their specific field for more information.

What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?

Trade school programs blend classroom and hands-on learning to prepare students for specific career paths. Many vocational and trade schools offer programs in high-demand fields like healthcare, the skilled trades, industrial technology, and legal services.

This section introduces popular trade school programs. In addition to the programs below, prospective students can research vocational programs in other areas.

  • Dental Hygienist Schools

    Dental hygienists clean patients' teeth and educate patients about oral health. They also look for signs of oral disease, take dental X-rays, and apply treatments to protect teeth. Dental hygienists then report their findings to dentists.

    Most dental hygienists hold an associate degree. During an associate program, students complete coursework in anatomy, periodontics, and oral hygiene. Students also complete clinical training to gain hands-on experience in the field.

    Dental hygienists must hold a license from the state to practice. In New York, the Office of the Professions licenses dental hygienists. The BLS reports that dental hygienists earned a median annual salary of $76,220 in 2019, with much faster-than average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.

  • Mechanic Schools

    Mechanics, also called automotive service technicians, inspect and repair cars. They use diagnostic equipment to identify problems, test parts to make sure they work properly, and repair parts to keep cars and trucks running smoothly. Mechanics also explain repairs to clients.

    Automotive technology certificate and degree programs prepare students for careers as mechanics. During the program, students take classes in areas like engine repair, electronic systems, and brake systems. They also complete hands-on training through laboratory or practicum requirements.

    Mechanics can pursue a certificate from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence to demonstrate skills in a specialty like automatic transmissions, engine maintenance, or diesel engines. In 2019, the median annual pay for mechanics exceeded $42,000.

  • Paralegal Schools

    Paralegals support lawyers by conducting legal research and drafting documents like contracts. They may investigate the facts of a case, gather evidence for case preparation, and take affidavits for use during trial. Paralegals can also file briefs and appeals with the court.

    Vocational schools in New York offer paralegal studies certificates and degrees to train paralegals. During the program, students take classes in areas like legal research, contract law, legal writing, and corporate law. Some programs provide specialized courses in litigation or business law.

    Paralegals do not need a license to practice, but some pursue professional certification to demonstrate their skills. The BLS reports that paralegals earned a median annual salary of over $51,000 in 2019, with much faster-than average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.

  • Radiology Technician Schools

    Radiology technicians create diagnostic images of patients in healthcare settings. They maintain imaging equipment, prepare patients for procedures, and capture images with medical equipment like X-ray machines. Radiology technicians must follow safety procedures to protect patients.

    An associate degree is the typical education requirement for radiology technician jobs. During the program, students take classes in areas like radiation physics, anatomy, pathology, and image evaluation. Programs also incorporate clinical training to strengthen students' patient care skills.

    Most radiology technicians pursue professional certification from The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists after earning their degree. Radiology technicians must also hold a license from the state to practice. The New York State Department of Labor licenses radiology technicians. The BLS reports that radiology technicians earned a median annual pay of over $62,000 in 2019, with faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.

Financial Aid for Trade School Students

Trade school students can help pay for their vocational training through financial aid opportunities, including loans, grants, and scholarships. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. To determine their eligibility for federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants, students must submit the FAFSA every year. However, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal aid.

Students can also make their education more affordable by choosing an affordable school. In New York, public universities charge nearly $8,000 per year in tuition and fees, on average, while private universities cost around $39,000 per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In contrast, New York community colleges charge around $5,000 per year in tuition and fees.

Scholarship for Trade School Students

Many private foundations, government agencies, and professional organizations offer scholarship opportunities to help students pay for vocational training. In addition to the following opportunities, students can research scholarships based on factors like their school or field.

New York State Tuition Assistance Program

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports New York residents attending approved colleges and universities in the state. The tuition assistance program includes income limits.

Amount: Up to $5,165

Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley Scholarships

Who Can Apply: This foundation offers multiple scholarship awards to students living in the Hudson Valley area. Requirements vary depending on the scholarship.

Amount: Varies

New York Farm Bureau Agricultural Youth Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Learners involved in agriculture can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must submit an essay on the issues facing agriculture in their county.

Amount: $1,000-$1,500

Horatio Alger Career and Technical Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Students attending a career or technical program at an accredited, nonprofit school can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate critical financial need.

Amount: $2,500

AEF Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Offered by the Ascend Educational Fund, this scholarship supports immigrant students and children of immigrants who graduated from a high school in New York City.

Amount: Up to $20,000

Additional Education and Career Resources

An association for the promotion, support and development of CTE throughout New York. Provides an overview of New York's vocational and trade education and information on meetings, news and other resources related to CTE in New York. State labor and workforce website. Provides data and research on New York's labor market, economy and employment projections as well as resources and information for jobseekers and employers. Job openings and advice for New York City residents seeking vocational careers in the city.

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