Online Vocational Trade Schools and Degrees 2021

November 17, 2021 • 6 Min Read

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Online vocational trade schools train learners for diverse careers. Graduates may work as dental hygienists, cardiovascular technologists, or mechanics. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma. Students can enroll in a certificate, diploma, or associate program. Learners pursuing an associate degree must complete general education courses. They can then transfer to a bachelor's-completion program.

This page provides information on online vocational trade schools. Read on to learn about common courses and fees.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Vocational Trade Schools

true Q. Is a vocational school the same as a trade school?

No. A vocational school offers trade and technical majors. Trade schools limit programs to those in the skilled trades.

true Q. What are vocational trades?

Vocational trades require learners to complete hands-on experience. Students gain experience in schools or professional settings. Many vocational careers require physical labor.

true Q. What programs do vocational schools offer?

Online vocational trade schools offer programs in fields such as healthcare and public safety. Learners can also pursue programs in the culinary field. Online and hybrid program offerings vary by school. 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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Why Earn a Vocational Degree?

Online vocational trade schools prepare learners for many careers. Students learn from teachers and experienced professionals. They hone their skills and network with potential employers.

Many vocational school careers pay more than the median U.S. salary. For example, respiratory therapists earn a median annual salary of $62,810, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Electricians make a median salary of $56,900 annually. This figure exceeds the median annual wage of $41,950 for all occupations.

How Much Does a Vocational Degree Cost?

Trade schools cost less than two- and four-year colleges. Learners save money by not paying for on-campus housing. Students can complete many vocational programs in 3-18 months. Full-time learners can earn an associate degree in two years.

Program and lab fees vary by school. Learners can make their degree more affordable by applying for financial aid. Students may not qualify for some types of aid, depending on the number of credits they attempt each semester.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online learners need a computer with a microphone and camera. Prospective students should check their school's technology requirements. Online students should also budget for internet, textbooks, and course materials. Many schools charge a one-time graduation fee. Learners can reduce their out-of-pocket costs by researching companies offering discounts to college students.

Learners should also save money for professional certification. Career advisors can help students explore and budget for certifications.

Example Courses at an Online Vocational Trade School

Online trade schools emphasize career skills for entry-level positions. Some programs include courses that focus on different skill sets. Learners hone these skills through in-person, hands-on experiences.

See below for sample courses in an online pharmacy technician program. Course titles and descriptions may vary by school. Prospective students can check a program's website for more information.

  • Pharmacy Law

    State and federal laws regulate how pharmacies operate. This course introduces students to relevant agencies and pharmacy technicians' job duties. Enrollees also study the profession's legal responsibilities. The course covers pharmacists' roles and how they interact with the public. Most pharmacy law courses appear first in the curriculum.
  • Drug Distribution

    Pharmacy technicians must interpret the abbreviations medical professionals use when referring to different medications. Learners master these abbreviations through classroom and lab exercises. Other lab activities include converting mathematical units when working with medication. Learners can apply their knowledge in clinical and retail pharmacy settings.
  • Retail Pharmacy

    Many grocery stores and other retail settings offer a pharmacy. These locations attract recent graduates. Coursework teaches students customer service skills. Learners also study how to process billing statements and maintain paperwork. Students grow their skills in measuring and dispensing medication.

Example Degrees at an Online Vocational Trade School

Online vocational trade schools offer diplomas and certificates. Most programs require some in-person coursework and hands-on experiences. Enrollees may need to schedule their work and family responsibilities around school. Students can request accommodations by speaking with a professor or support services advisor.

Learners can complete the degrees below in about a year. Prospective students unsure about their future profession should consider schools with many options. This provides the academic flexibility for students to change their mind.

  • HVAC

    HVAC programs train students to install and maintain heating and air conditioning systems. Learners use diagnostic tools to assess and repair malfunctioning hardware. Full-time learners can complete a 720-hour program in 40 weeks. Graduates may work as air conditioning installers or HVAC specialists.
  • Medical Assisting

    Learners study different body systems and master laboratory procedures. They also learn how to sterilize hospital settings. Enrollees must complete a clinical internship lasting over 150 hours. Most learners graduate in 12 months. Graduates may work as EKG technicians or medical office managers.
  • Electrical Technician

    Electrical technician programs cover power distribution fundamentals. Learners study national electrical codes and different structures' wiring requirements. Coursework covers safety standards and organizations. Students explore the field's latest trends, including solar panel installation and maintenance. Most students graduate in 12 months.

Online Vocational Trade Schools and Degrees 2021

West Kentucky Community and Technical College true View School Profile $ Paducah, KY 45% 14% 40% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Located in Paducah, WKCTC offers online vocational trade degrees, diplomas, and certificates in several in-demand fields.

The school offers several associate degrees in fields like computer and information technology, logistics and operations management, and medical information technology. The school also offers a unique degree or certificate in marine technology, preparing students for life on the water. Students seeking other certificate programs for fast employment can choose from the same fields as those above but graduate from the program in just a few months.

Most students complete the school's 39- to 43-credit diploma programs in about one year. Notable choices include medical information technology, computer-aided drafting and design, and business administration systems.

Students applying to associate programs ideally possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Diploma and certificate choices require students to submit a completed application for the college.

WKCTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Clovis Community College true View School Profile $ Clovis, NM 53% 5% 52% Higher Learning Commission

Located in Clovis, New Mexico, CCC offers several online vocational trade degrees and certificates. Students can complete course requirements 100% online with no residency requirements.

Online degree and certification options include several in business administration, paralegal studies, behavioral science, and computer information systems. Associate degree programs require about 60 credits each to complete. Students can complete the certificate of completion programs in about a few months to a year of study. Notable choices include a certificate of achievement in income tax preparation, certificate of achievement in fundamentals of game design, and certificate of completion in legal assistant studies.

The school prefers students to possess a high school diploma to apply for associate degree programs. For certificate of achievement choices, students must submit a completed application and take placement tests. The school offers counseling and advising services for online students and does not require standardized tests to begin the admission process.

CCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Central Community College true View School Profile $ Grand Island, NE 41% 17% 45% Higher Learning Commission

Serving students in Grand Island, Nebraska, CCC offers several online certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs. Students outside of Nebraska must reside in an authorization reciprocity state to attend.

Students can complete associate degrees in a variety of fields such as business administration, health information technology, and early childhood education. In addition, the school offers information technology certificates like Cisco networking and business-related certificates like logistics or entrepreneurship. The school also offers year-long diploma programs for students exploring career choices in similar fields.

Students do not need a high school diploma or GED to apply, but the school prefers students to submit them for placement purposes. Standardized tests or placement exams can help students that need to complete general education courses.

CCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College true View School Profile $ Shell Lake, WI 55% 35% 70% Higher Learning Commission

Located in Shell Lake, WITC offers 37 online associate degrees, certificates, and technical diplomas, offering students a jumpstart in in-demand fields.

Students can choose one of 11 associate degrees, including accounting, early childhood education, health information technology, and medical and administrative professional. The school also offers certificates in customer service, management, group childcare essentials, and tax preparer assistant. Learners can also participate in technical diplomas with concentrations such as drafting technician, medical billing specialist, office technology assistant, or office support technician. Students wanting to work in childcare settings can choose a one-year technical diploma in childcare services, completing the first year of the associate degree for fast employment.

The school offers credit for prior learning and a generous transfer credit policy. Applicants do not need a high school diploma, but possessing one makes the placement process easier.

WITC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College true View School Profile Valdosta, GA 43% 28% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Located in Valdosta, Wiregrass offers online degrees, diplomas, and technical certificates, allowing students to complete courses without coming to campus.

Students can begin with certificates in fields like child development specialist, technical specialist, and fire officer. Students can complete most certificates in a matter of months. Some departments also offer diploma choices — including fire science technology and accounting — allowing students to specialize further with a one-year program. Full associate degrees include fire science technology, accounting, business management, and criminal justice technology. The programs follow the same structure as on-campus classes, but most happen asynchronously.

Students do not need a high school diploma or GED to apply but need to send transcripts of any completed school work. Wiregrass is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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