Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

Updated November 11, 2022

North Dakota has many options for people who want to trade. Find the best trade schools for you! Trade school differs from a traditional four-year college

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Why Choose Trade School?

According to the United States Department of Labor, enrollment in trade apprenticeship programs has grown by 56% since 2013. Trade school differs from a traditional four-year college, but the basic goal remains the same: to prepare students to enter the workforce.

Trade schools offer certificates and associate degrees. Vocational programs focus more on technical skills for one specific job, while programs at traditional four-year colleges cover theories and multiple subjects. An associate degree from a vocational school takes about two years to complete, while a bachelor's from a university takes four years to complete.

Students who want to enter the workforce sooner and specialize in a trade can benefit from attending tech school. Trade schools offer programs in fields like physical therapy, welding, respiratory care, and plumbing.

Trade schools generally require a high school or GED diploma. However, some vocational schools offer programs that allow students to earn credits while completing high school.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 74% of graduates with vocational credits work in a job in a field related to their degree. With multiple trade schools in North Dakota to choose from, finding the right one takes research. Read on to learn more about the top trade schools in this state, salary potential, job growth, common vocational programs, and financial aid.

FAQ on Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

What is trade school?

Trade schools teach learners the technical skills required for vocational jobs. Most trade schools offer associate degrees and certificates.

Are scholarships available for vocational students?

Most accredited trade schools offer scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need. Private companies and nonprofit foundations also offer scholarships to vocational students.

Can trade school credits transfer?

Many four-year colleges and universities accept transfer credits from accredited trade schools. Some schools allow graduates with associate degrees to earn a bachelor's degree with two additional years of study.

When can I apply to trade school?

Prospective students can apply to trade school during their senior year of high school. High school graduates can also apply during any open enrollment period.

Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools

Before selecting a trade school program, research its accreditation status. Colleges can earn regional, national, and programmatic accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee third-party accrediting agencies.

The accreditation process benefits students by ensuring they receive a quality education. When a school earns accreditation, it means an accrediting agency regularly reviews its programs to ensure certain standards. Students can check a school's accreditation status using the ED's searchable database.

Trade schools commonly earn national accreditation. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges is one of the top accrediting agencies for vocational schools. Schools that offer online programs can earn national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

Some tech schools in North Dakota earn regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Certain scholarships only award students attending a regionally accredited college or university, and some employers may prefer degrees from regionally accredited schools.

Degrees can also earn programmatic accreditation. For example, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education oversees accreditation for physical therapy programs, and the American Council for Construction Education accredits construction management programs.

Vocational schools in North Dakota must maintain a license. A state agency typically offers licensure to these schools, but private trade schools may earn a license from the ED. Prospective students can check with a school's admissions office concerning questions about licensing and accreditation status.

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Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

Finding the right vocational trade school to meet your academic, financial, and personal needs takes time. To help aid the search, we created this list of top vocational schools in North Dakota. We rank these schools based on factors like affordability and graduate success rates.

#1 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

Bismarck State College

  • Bismarck, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Bismarck State College enrolls students in 42 associate programs and 51 certificate programs. From its North Dakota campus, the public institution lets learners choose from online and on-campus enrollment options. These flexible options help students work while in school.

In the school's career-focused programs, enrollees gain specialized skills for a defined career path or field. Associate programs incorporate general education courses to build transferable skills like critical thinking and writing. Certificate candidates complete courses in their field of study without general education requirements.

Professionals with a certificate can enter the workforce and apply for jobs in their field. After earning an associate degree, graduates enter the workforce or transfer into a bachelor's program.

Bismarck State College at a Glance:

Total Online Associate Programs: 16

Total Online Certificate Programs: 23

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,320

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $4,980

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,320
Out-of-state
$4,980
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,739
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

North Dakota State College of Science

  • Wahpeton, ND
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

North Dakota State College of Science lets learners choose from 36 associate programs and 32 certificate programs. The public institution, located in Wahpeton, offers online and on-campus enrollment options, which appeal to a variety of learners. Working professionals benefit from the flexibility to attend school without leaving their job.

Many of the school's programs strengthen career-focused skills and train learners for a particular role. In general education courses, associate degree-seekers strengthen critical thinking, communication, and writing skills. Certificate candidates complete a focused curriculum with no general education requirements.

With a certificate, graduates enter the workforce prepared for many entry-level roles. With an associate degree, graduates can enter the job market or apply to four-year colleges as a transfer student.

North Dakota State College of Science at a Glance:

Total Online Associate Programs: 1

Total Online Certificate Programs: 2

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,528

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $5,433

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,528
Out-of-state
$5,433
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,977
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

Lake Region State College

  • Devils Lake, ND
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Students choose from 16 associate programs and 12 certificate programs at Lake Region State College. Based in Devils Lake, North Dakota, this public college features both online and on-campus enrollment options, creating flexibility for all types of learners. Many students work while pursuing a degree or certificate.

Many of the school's programs encourage learners to train for a particular vocation. The general education courses in associate programs build transferable skills like critical thinking, communication, and writing. Certificate candidates complete courses related specifically to one area of study, with no general education courses required.

Certificate recipients can move directly into the workforce in entry-level positions. Associate degree graduates can either pursue employment or transfer into a bachelor's program.

Lake Region State College at a Glance:

Total Online Associate Programs: 6

Total Online Certificate Programs: 2

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,778

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $3,778

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,778
Out-of-state
$3,778
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,982
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

Sitting Bull College

  • Fort Yates, ND
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Sitting Bull College offers vocational and academic programs, with 17 associate programs and nine certificate programs. Located in Fort Yates, North Dakota, the public institution offers online and on-campus enrollment options, increasing flexibility for learners. Working students find the flexible options fit their busy schedules.

In the school's career-focused programs, enrollees strengthen industry-specific knowledge and skills. Associate programs include general education classes that strengthen critical thinking and writing skills. Certificate candidates complete a focused curriculum in their field with no general education requirements.

Professionals with a certificate qualify for entry-level roles in their field. An associate degree prepares graduates for entry-level careers or bachelor's programs.

Sitting Bull College at a Glance:

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,600

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $3,600

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,600
Out-of-state
$3,600
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
285
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

Turtle Mountain Community College

  • Belcourt, ND
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Students choose from 14 associate programs and 18 certificate programs at Turtle Mountain Community College. The private institution offers flexible enrollment options, including online classes and courses offered at the Belcourt, North Dakota campus. Students can sometimes work full time while in school.

The school's career-focused programs strengthen specialized skills and prepare graduates for the job market. General education classes in associate programs build key soft skills like communication, writing, and critical thinking. Instead of general education classes, certificate candidates complete a focused curriculum in their area of study.

With a certificate, graduates pursue entry-level positions in their field. After earning an associate degree, graduates pursue employment or apply to bachelor's programs as a transfer student.

Turtle Mountain Community College at a Glance:

Undergrad Tuition In State: $1,776

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $1,776

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,776
Out-of-state
$1,776
Retention Rate
56%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
531
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

Dakota College at Bottineau

  • Bottineau, ND
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

At Dakota College at Bottineau, learners can study in 23 associate programs and 19 certificate programs. The public institution, located in North Dakota, offers online and on-campus enrollment options, which appeal to a variety of learners. Working professionals benefit from the flexibility to attend school without leaving their job.

The school's career-focused programs train learners for specialized career paths. General education classes in associate programs strengthen transferable skills like critical thinking and writing. Certificate candidates take courses in their field with no required general education courses.

Professionals with a certificate can enter the workforce and apply for jobs in their field. After an associate degree, graduates enter the workforce or apply to bachelor's programs as a transfer student.

Dakota College at Bottineau at a Glance:

Total Online Associate Programs: 12

Total Online Certificate Programs: 12

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,066

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $6,100

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,066
Out-of-state
$6,100
Retention Rate
43%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,006
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

United Tribes Technical College

  • Bismarck, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students choose from 15 associate programs and five certificate programs at United Tribes Technical College. From its main campus in Bismarck, North Dakota, the private institution offers both online and on-campus enrollment options. Working students find the flexible options fit their busy schedules.

The school's career-focused programs provide cutting-edge training in specific career paths. General education classes in associate programs strengthen transferable skills like critical thinking and writing. Certificate candidates complete courses related specifically to one area of study, with no general education courses required.

Professionals apply for entry-level roles in their field after completing a certificate. With an associate degree, graduates either pursue employment or transfer into a bachelor's program.

United Tribes Technical College at a Glance:

Total Online Associate Programs: 2

Total Online Certificate Programs: 1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,220

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $3,220

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,220
Out-of-state
$3,220
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
434
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

Dickinson State University

  • Dickinson, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

At Dickinson State University, learners choose from four associate programs and four certificate programs. Learners select from online and on-campus courses offered by the public institution from its location in North Dakota. Many students work while pursuing a degree or certificate.

The school's career-focused programs emphasize industry-specific knowledge and skills. Associate programs include general education requirements that build broad, transferable skills. Certificate candidates complete a focused curriculum in their field with no general education requirements.

With a certificate, graduates pursue entry-level positions in their field. With an associate degree, graduates apply for jobs or pursue a bachelor's degree.

Dickinson State University at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 100%

Total Online Associate Programs: 2

Total Online Certificate Programs: 3

Undergrad Tuition In State: $6,522

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $9,782

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,522
Out-of-state
$9,782
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
100%
Students Enrolled
1,350
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

Cankdeska Cikana Community College

  • Fort Totten, ND
  • 2 years
  • Campus

At Cankdeska Cikana Community College, students advance their education in 15 associate programs and four certificate programs. From its Fort Totten, North Dakota, location, the public institution welcomes learners to online and on-campus classes. Working students find the flexible options fit their busy schedules.

The school's career-focused programs strengthen specialized skills that prepare graduates for the job market. Associate programs include general education requirements that build broad, transferable skills. Certificate candidates take courses in their field with no required general education courses.

A certificate prepares graduates for the workforce. An associate degree qualifies graduates for entry-level careers or bachelor's programs.

Cankdeska Cikana Community College at a Glance:

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,000

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $3,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,000
Out-of-state
$3,000
Retention Rate
25%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
160
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
1% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Vocational Trade Schools in North Dakota

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

At the University of North Dakota, learners can strengthen their skills in 13 certificate programs. Learners select from online and on-campus courses offered by the public institution from its location in Grand Forks. Working professionals benefit from the flexibility to attend school without leaving their job.

Many of the school's programs strengthen career-focused skills that train learners for a particular role. Associate degree-seekers also complete general education courses that build broad skills such as writing and critical thinking. Certificate candidates take courses in their field with no required general education courses.

A certificate helps graduates advance their career or move into a new role. With an associate degree, graduates can enter the job market or apply to four-year colleges as a transfer student.

University of North Dakota at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 81%

Total Online Certificate Programs: 6

Undergrad Tuition In State: $8,212

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $14,371

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,212
Out-of-state
$14,371
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
13,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates

Many trade school graduates enter fields with rewarding pay and a positive job outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for all technical and trade school jobs is $55,270. However, the exact pay a trade school graduate earns depends on factors like industry and experience.

Geographical location can also impact pay. For example, employers in rural towns in North Dakota may pay less than a city like Fargo due to the difference in the cost of living. However, some rural employers may offer incentives like higher pay for professionals who work in a high-need field.

According to the BLS, electricians earned a median annual salary of $56,180 in 2019 and benefit from a projected job growth of 10% between 2018 and 2028. Construction managers earned an annual median salary of $95,260 in 2019. The BLS projects the need for this job to rise by 10% between 2018 and 2028. Graduates can quickly begin working in one of these roles after finishing trade school.

Furthermore, plumbers earned a median annual salary of $55,160 in 2019 and benefit from a projected job growth of 14% between 2018 and 2028, which compares as much faster than average to other professions.

Read on to learn more about job outlook and salary for specific trade school programs.

What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?

Trade schools in North Dakota prepare individuals to become veterinarians, physical therapists, dental hygienists, occupational therapists, and radiologists. These vocational programs place emphasis on technical skills rather than theories. Some include an apprenticeship or internship component so students can gain supervised hands-on experience.

See below for five common vocational programs, including potential job growth and salary information.

Veterinary Technician Schools

Veterinarian technician programs teach students how to assist veterinarians in caring for animals. Courses allow students to gain practical experience administering medication, drawing blood, and placing catheters.

The curriculum focuses on topics like pharmaceuticals, safety when working with large and small animals, and animal anatomy and physiology. Two common courses include animal welfare and animal genetics.

The BLS reports that veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers earned a median annual salary of $28,590 in 2019. The BLS also projects a 19% job growth rate for this field. Veterinarian technicians typically work in clinics, animal hospitals, and research laboratories.

Physical Therapy Schools

Students in a physical therapy program learn how to use exercises to help patients regain mobility after an illness or accident. Due to the practical nature of this profession, many courses in a physical therapy program include a clinical component.

Common courses include types of physical therapy exercises, the patient diagnosis process, and how to create and implement treatment plans. Students also learn about neuroscience concepts and cardiopulmonary pathology.

Physical therapists work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and home health organizations. As baby boomers age, the BLS projects the need for these professionals to rise by 22% between 2018 and 2028. The BLS also reports an $89,440 median salary for this career, although this data also includes salary figures for doctoral degree-holders.

Dental Hygienist Schools

Dental hygienist programs teach students how to examine teeth and identify oral health issues like decay and gum disease. These professionals can practice with a two-year associate degree. Most associate programs cover topics like medical ethics, dental anatomy, and elements of oral health.

Dental hygienist curricula often involve a fieldwork component. Students get to work in a clinical setting, where they practice administering cleanings and taking x-rays. Common courses include prevention of oral disease, oral pathology, and dental radiography.

According to the BLS, dental hygienists earned a median annual salary of $76,220 in 2019. The BLS also projects the need for dental hygienists to grow by 11% between 2018 and 2028. Dental hygienists typically work in dentist offices.

Occupational Therapy Schools

Occupational therapy programs teach students how to review patient medical history, evaluate patients' needs to create a treatment plan, lead exercises, and help individuals acquire take-home medical equipment. Common occupational therapy courses include analysis of human motion, kinesiology, neuroscience for occupational therapy, and ethical issues.

Occupational therapists help patients with injuries and disabilities gain as much mobility as possible to perform everyday activities. In addition to education, occupational therapists must earn a license to practice.

According to the BLS, occupational therapists earned a median salary of $84,950 per year. Jobs for these professionals are projected to grow 18% between 2018 and 2028.

Radiology Technician Schools

Radiology programs teach students how to create x-rays, complete ultrasounds, and safely administer nuclear medicine. Radiologist programs often allow students to select a specialty or earn additional certificates. Most programs prepare students to apply for state licensure.

An associate in radiology takes about two years to complete. Students learn about topics like sonography, radiation physics and safety, imaging evaluation, patient care, and nuclear medicine properties. Most radiation programs include a clinical component that allows students to practice creating medical imagery.

According to the BLS, radiologists earned a median annual income of $62,280 in 2019 and benefit from a projected job growth of 9% between 2018 and 2028. Graduates with a radiology degree work in healthcare facilities and hospitals.

Financial Aid for Trade School Students

While vocational school tends to cost less than a traditional four-year college or university, students can still earn financial aid to lower the cost. Some accredited trade schools in North Dakota accept FAFSA funds.

The FAFSA takes about 55 minutes for first-time applicants to complete. Students who want to continue receiving funds must reapply each year, which takes about 45 minutes. Dependents must use their guardian's tax information from two years prior to the current year. All other applicants must enter their own tax information.

The government uses this data to determine need-based awards like subsidized loans and grants. The FAFSA also qualifies students to receive unsubsidized loans. Unlike subsidized loans, these funds do not require the recipient to demonstrate financial need, but they begin accruing interest immediately.

Graduates must repay federal loans, but not federal grants. Most federal loans allow a six-month grace period after graduation and follow a 10-year payment schedule. Some individuals may qualify for loan forgiveness or an alternate payment plan.

Individuals check whether their prospective school accepts FAFSA funds.

Scholarship for Trade School Students

Trade school students can avoid large student loan payments by applying for scholarships. Most scholarships require an essay component and recommendation letters, so students should plan accordingly before the deadlines.

Below, we highlight five scholarships reserved specifically for students attending trade school in North Dakota.

Cass County Electric Cooperative Lineworkers Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students who live within the Cass County service area in Fargo can apply for this scholarship. The recipient must be pursuing an associate degree or an electrician certificate from a vocational school in North Dakota.
Amount: $1,000

Apply for Scholarship

Lynnes Welding Training Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Lynnes Welding Training, based in North Dakota, offers this scholarship in conjunction with the American Welding Society. Students who want to attend the 12-week welding training program hosted by Lynnes Welding Training may apply.
Amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship

Merit Shop Construction Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Associated Builders and Contractors of Minnesota and North Dakota provide this scholarship to its student members. However, students who are not members but either attend North Dakota State College of Science or classify as a veteran of the United States armed forces may apply. A scholarship committee selects a recipient based solely on merit.
Amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship

North Dakota Academic or Career and Technical Education Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students planning on attending a vocational school in North Dakota may apply for this scholarship during their senior year of high school. Individuals must earn a C grade or better in each course to maintain this scholarship.
Amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship

North Dakota Career Builders Scholarship & Loan Repayment

Who Can Apply: Students attending participating trade schools in North Dakota may apply. Recipients must maintain full-time enrollment and a 2.5 cumulative GPA during their studies and commit to working for at least three years in a profession related to the degree after graduation.
Up to $17,000

Apply for Scholarship

Additional Education and Career Resources

North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education

The agency oversees CTE education in the state.

North Dakota Workforce Intelligence Network

This site includes occupational profiles, labor market facts, and top companies in the state.

Learn More...

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