Why Choose Trade School?
Trade schools in Ohio offer career-focused training in healthcare, the skilled trades, legal services, and technology. In these growing industries, trade school graduates can earn strong salaries by working as medical assistants, dental hygienists, mechanics, paralegals, and occupational therapy assistants.
During a vocational program, students take courses in their field and apply their training through clinical, laboratory, and practicum requirements. For example, paramedic studies learners practice their skills in an ambulance or hospital setting and automotive technology students learn in a shop.
Vocational programs offer several advantages over four-year academic programs. Earning a vocational certificate or degree generally takes 1-2 years, meaning students complete their program faster. 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 the National Center for Education Statistics.
Many vocational schools offer self-paced or accelerated programs to fit the schedule of busy students. A growing number also offer online vocational programs, which maximize flexibility.
Our list ranks the best vocational schools in Ohio to help prospective students find the right fit to reach their career goals. This page also provides career and salary data on trade school occupations, introduces popular vocational programs, and lists scholarship opportunities for Ohio trade school students.
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FAQ on Vocational Trade Schools in Ohio
Can I go to trade school online?
Yes. A growing number of schools offer online vocational programs.
Do trade school scholarships exist?
Yes. Private foundations and government agencies award scholarships to trade school students.
Can trade school credits transfer?
Yes. Credits earned from a regionally accredited institution are more likely to transfer.
When can I apply to trade school?
Many trade schools accept applications on a rolling basis, meaning students can apply any time. Most trade schools also offer multiple start dates each year.
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Prospective trade school students should always check a school's accreditation and licensing status before applying. Attending an unaccredited or unlicensed school can shape a student's education and their job prospects. Many career paths require an accredited degree to qualify for jobs.
Accredited schools meet high standards for educating students. Colleges and universities submit to a voluntary review to earn accreditation. During the review, an independent accrediting agency evaluates the school's student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic mission. Learn more about the accreditation process here.
Students benefit from accreditation in several important ways. First, credits earned at an accredited school will more likely transfer to other institutions. Second, only accredited schools meet the requirements to distribute federal financial aid to students. Finally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree.
Ohio schools that offer vocational programs may hold regional or national accreditation. Community colleges and four-year universities typically pursue regional accreditation. In Ohio, the Higher Learning Commission grants regional accreditation to colleges and universities.
Vocational and trade schools often hold national accreditation from a specialized agency like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, which accredits over 650 trade and technical schools. Similarly, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission grants accreditation to online schools. National and regional accrediting agencies must hold approval from the U.S. Department of Education.
In addition to accreditation, postsecondary schools need a license from the state. The Ohio Department of Higher Education provides a list of approved schools in the state.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
The career and salary outlook for trade school graduates remains strong. Many trade school occupations offer strong salary and growth potential. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports much faster-than-average job growth for dental hygienists, paralegals, and HVAC technicians between 2018 and 2028.
The salary potential for trade school occupations varies depending on the location and industry. On average, trade school professionals earn around $55,000 per year, according to BLS data.
While some career paths, such as cosmetologist or chef, pay salaries below that average, others offer higher pay. For instance, management occupations earn over $96,000 per year.
Within industries, salaries also vary. Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations earn around $55,000 per year, while healthcare support occupations pay around $45,000 per year.
In Ohio, several trade school occupations pay more than the state's average annual wage of $49,430 per year. Occupational therapy assistants in Ohio make nearly $61,000 per year, for example, while electricians earn $53,500 annually. Dental hygienists earn close to $68,000 per year on average. Physical therapist assistants make around $59,500 per year.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Vocational schools in Ohio prepare students for careers as dental hygienists, mechanics, paralegals, and radiology technicians. Vocational programs blend classroom learning and fieldwork to provide job-oriented training in industries like healthcare, technology, and the skilled trades.
This section introduces some popular trade school programs, including salary data and licensing requirements. In addition to the following programs, prospective students can research trade school programs for paramedics, cosmetologists, electricians, and other allied health careers.
Dental Hygienist Schools
Dental hygienists conduct examinations and provide preventive dental care for patients in a dentist office. During an exam, they look for signs of oral diseases, apply treatments to protect teeth, and take dental X-rays. They also report findings to dentists and document treatment plans.
Most dental hygienists hold an associate degree with coursework in anatomy, periodontics, and oral hygiene. Programs also incorporate clinical training to strengthen patient care skills.
After earning a degree, dental hygienists need a license to practice. The Ohio State Dental Board licenses dental hygienists in the state. 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 between 2018 and 2028.
Learn more about dental hygienist programs.
Mechanics, also called automotive service technicians, inspect and repair vehicles. They use diagnostic equipment to identify problems, test parts to make sure they work correctly, and repair parts to keep cars and trucks running smoothly. Mechanics also perform basic care and explain repairs to clients.
Mechanics can benefit from an automotive technology certificate or degree. During these programs, students take courses in engine repair, brake systems, and electronic systems. Learners also complete fieldwork through laboratory or practicum requirements.
Mechanics can demonstrate their skills with a professional certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, which offers specialty certification in areas like automatic transmissions, engine performance, and diesel engines.
In 2019, mechanics earned an annual median salary of $42,090.
Learn more about mechanic programs.
Paralegals assist lawyers by conducting legal research and drafting documents like contracts and mortgages. They also investigate the facts of a case, gather evidence for attorney review, and help lawyers during trial. Paralegals may specialize in an area like corporate law or litigation.
A certificate or associate degree in paralegal studies prepares graduates for careers as a paralegal. During a paralegal studies program, students take courses in corporate law, legal research, contract law, and legal writing. Paralegals do not need a license, but some pursue professional certification to demonstrate their skills.
According to the BLS, paralegals earned a median annual salary of over $51,000 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 use medical equipment to take diagnostic images of patients. They maintain imaging equipment like X-ray machines, prepare patients for procedures, and position patients to capture the correct image. Radiology technicians also follow safety procedures to protect patients.
Most radiology technicians hold an associate degree with coursework in radiation physics, anatomy, and image evaluation. Programs also incorporate clinical training to build patient care experience. After earning a degree, many radiology technicians pursue certification from The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
In most states, radiology technicians need a license to practice. The Ohio Department of Health licenses radiology technicians in the Buckeye State. Radiology technicians earned a median annual salary of over $62,000 in 2019, with faster-than-average projected job growth between 2018 and 2028.
Learn more about radiology technician programs.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
Trade school students in Ohio can pay for their vocational certificate or program with financial aid. Federal financial aid opportunities include Pell Grants, loans, and work-study opportunities for trade school students. However, students must attend an accredited school to receive federal financial aid.
Unlike loans, scholarships and grants award funding to students without any obligation to repay the amount after graduation. As such, scholarships are the best form of financial aid.
Read on to learn more about scholarships for trade school students in Ohio.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
Students attending trade and tech schools in Ohio qualify for multiple scholarships and grants. Private foundations, government agencies, and professional associations support trade school students through scholarships. In addition to the opportunities listed below, prospective students can research scholarships based on their school or field of study.
Who Can Apply: The Ohio College Opportunity Grant supports Ohio students who demonstrate financial need and attend an Ohio public or private college. Recipients can use the grant to pay for an associate degree or nurse diploma program.
Who Can Apply: The Community Foundation of Shelby County grants nearly 200 scholarships every year. Requirements vary depending on the scholarship.
Who Can Apply: The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association awards three scholarships annually to students pursuing postsecondary education in parks, recreation, or leisure studies.
Who Can Apply: Students pursuing a career or technical certificate or degree at an accredited school can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate critical financial need.
Amount: Up to $2,500
Who Can Apply: The Richland County Foundation offers scholarships to county residents pursuing a career or technical program at an accredited school.
Additional Education and Career Resources
- Career Tech - Ohio Department of Education: Provides information about the state's CTE clusters, including course titles and descriptions.
- Career Technical Education & Ohio Technical Centers: This page of the Ohio Department of Higher Education's website includes a list of vocational schools around the state.
- Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education: This organization supports the educators who provide vocational education in Ohio.