Vocational programs offer several benefits compared to four-year academic programs. Earning a vocational certificate or degree generally takes 1-2 years, meaning students finish their program and enter the workforce faster. As a result, vocational training typically costs less than a bachelor's degree.
In addition, professionals with an occupational credential benefit from a higher employment rate than those with an academic credential, according to 2009 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Many trade schools offer self-paced or accelerated options designed for busy students, and a growing number provide online vocational programs that maximize flexibility.
Our ranking lists the best vocational schools in Pennsylvania to help prospective students find the right fit to reach their career goals. This page also provides career and salary data for trade school occupations, introduces popular vocational programs, and lists scholarship opportunities for trade students in Pennsylvania.
|What is the difference between a trade school and a college?||Trade schools provide job-oriented training for careers in healthcare, the skilled trades, construction, and other fields. Colleges generally focus on academic programs, although many also offer vocational programs.|
|What can you learn at a trade school?||Trade schools educate students in areas like allied health, technology, and the skilled trades. Specialized trade schools offer training in cosmetology and the culinary arts.|
|What are examples of vocational jobs?||Vocational jobs include careers in the skilled trades like electrician, HVAC technician, and mechanic. In the allied health field, vocational jobs include medical assistant, occupational therapy assistant, and respiratory therapist. Other occupational jobs include paralegal, cosmetologist, and paramedic.|
|How much does a trade school cost?||The cost of vocational programs varies depending on the program length and school. Trade school students can research the most affordable vocational programs, including public community colleges with vocational programs.|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Prospective trade school students should always check a school's accreditation and licensure status before applying. By avoiding non-accredited, non-licensed schools, also known as diploma mills, students can make sure their vocational training prepares them for the workforce.
Accredited schools meet high standards for educating students. To earn accreditation, colleges and universities voluntarily submit to a rigorous review from an independent, nonprofit accrediting agency. During the review, the accrediting agency measures the school's student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and graduation requirements.
Even after earning accreditation, schools must repeat the review process to maintain their status. Learn more about the accreditation process.
Choosing an accredited school helps students. Credits earned from an accredited institution are more likely to transfer, and only students at accredited schools can receive federal financial aid. Accreditation continues to matter after graduation. Many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree.
In Pennsylvania, schools that offer vocational programs may hold regional or national accreditation. Community colleges and four-year universities often hold regional accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education grants regional accreditation in Pennsylvania.
Trade and vocational schools in Pennsylvania often pursue national accreditation from specialized accrediting agencies like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, which awards accreditation to over 650 trade and technical schools. Similarly, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission grants accreditation to online schools. Accrediting agencies should always hold approval from the Department of Education.
In addition to accreditation, postsecondary institutions should hold a license to operate in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Education approves technical schools, community colleges, and universities in the state.
Vocational Trade Schools in Pennsylvania
Trade schools in Pennsylvania offer vocational training for careers in high-demand fields. By choosing a top-ranked vocational program, professionals can advance their education and increase their earning potential, often in under two years. The following list ranks the best vocational schools in Pennsylvania.
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
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|1||Bucks County Community College Newtown, PA||Tuition $6,908||# of Online Programs 10||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 12%||Financial Aid 10%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Founded in 1964, Bucks County Community College currently enrolls about 7,500 students and offers more than 90 associate, occupational, and certificate programs. Areas of study include cinema video production, health science, business analytics, and biotechnology. This vocational school in Pennsylvania also offers Educational Enrichment Programs that keep students informed about matters such as diversity and women's issues.
Many students take advantage of tutoring services, peer mentorship, and academic counseling at the Academic Success Center. Other student services include career exploration and advising, disability resources, and IT assistance for online and on-campus enrollees. Many students who plan to transfer to four-year institutions request assistance from personnel trained to help with course selection, class scheduling, and internship or workplace training opportunities.
Many students interested in becoming electricians explore the college's electrical apprenticeship program. The four-year program offers online and on-campus classes and focuses on solar and other renewable energies. Bucks also offers a culinary apprenticeship with an emphasis in either foods or pastry.
|2||Lehigh Carbon Community College Schnecksville, PA||Tuition $5,700||# of Online Programs 15||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 14%||Financial Aid 2%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Established in 1966, Lehigh Carbon Community College enrolls an average of 10,000 credit-seeking students each year, with an additional 4,500 more noncredit enrollees. LCCC offers more than 90 programs of study across seven academic areas. Students pursue an associate degree, occupational certificate, or specialized diploma in fields like science and engineering, manufacturing, and design.
Student support services at LCCC include one-on-one tutoring, supplemental instruction, multimedia learning tutorials, and various resources for students with learning or physical disabilities. The Career Development Center provides an online database of internship and job opportunities exclusively for LCCC students. LCCC operates the Cougar Cabinet Food Pantry for students dealing with food insecurity issues.
This technical school in Pennsylvania offers a tool and die machinist apprenticeship certificate. The two-year program includes coursework and training in drafting and design, manufacturing processes, and various tooling elements.
|3||Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh, PA||Tuition $8,377||# of Online Programs 51||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 9%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Classes began at the Community College of Allegheny County in 1966 with an initial enrollment of 1,505 students. Today, CCAC admits more than 25,000 credit-seeking students each year and offers over 160 programs across six academic areas. Students can pursue an associate degree or occupational credential in fields like industrial art and design, data analytics, radiation therapy technology, and facilities maintenance.
Student services include academic, career, and personal counseling, individual and group tutoring, job search assistance, and accommodations and other resources for students with a learning or physical disability.
This Pennsylvania technical college maintains articulation agreements with several senior institutions throughout the region to help CCAC graduates transfer smoothly to four-year programs. CCAC also offers 30 certificate and degree programs entirely online and an additional 39 programs mostly online. CCAC currently offers apprenticeships in fields like carpentry, ironworking, and plumbing.
|4||Community College of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA||Tuition $6,072||# of Online Programs 17||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 10%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Community College of Philadelphia enrolls over 23,000 students pursuing associate degrees and occupational credentials across six fields of study. CCP offers online programs in several fields including business, technical studies, and entrepreneurship.
This trade school in Pennsylvania helps students pay for their education through scholarships and various tuition assistance programs. Students returning to college after a two-year absence with a minimum of 30 transferable credits from another accredited institution meet the criteria to apply to the My Degree Now scholarship, which covers tuition and fees.
Community College of Philadelphia offers an apprenticeship in early childhood education. Many full-time childcare workers with a certificate in child development apply to the two-year program, which leads to an associate degree in early childhood education.
|5||Butler County Community College Butler, PA||Tuition $3,938||# of Online Programs 13||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 19%||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Founded in 1965, Butler County Community College offers more than 75 career, transfer, and certificate programs. Fields of study include nursing and allied health, machine tool technology, and human resource management. Approximately 70% of BC3 students enroll in associate degrees for transfer. The college serves more than 3,100 students each year.
In addition to articulation agreements that facilitate the transfer of BC3 graduates to four-year institutions, the college maintains degree completion partnerships with several senior colleges and universities. Partnership agreements allow BC3 students to earn a bachelor's degree while remaining on campus.
BC3 offers an apprenticeship technology program designed primarily for industrial workers in the metalworking trades. Students who complete the program earn a workplace certificate from the college.
|6||Northampton County Area Community College Bethlehem, PA||Tuition $7,981||# of Online Programs 17||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 17%||Financial Aid 4%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Northampton County Area Community College enrolled 846 students when it opened in 1967. Today, more than 35,000 students enroll in credit and noncredit programs at NCC's three campuses. The college awards associate degrees, occupational certificates, and professional diplomas in over 100 fields of study. Unique among trade schools in Pennsylvania, NCC offers on-campus student housing.
The Center for Career Development helps students with course and major selection, career exploration, and job searches after graduation. The center provides information on internship and apprenticeship opportunities within the community and prepares students for workplace requirements and responsibilities. The Learning Center at NCC provides online and in-person tutoring, academic coaching, and research assistance. Trained professionals offer academic, career, and personal counseling. NCC offers a variety of accommodation and assistive services for students with learning or physical disabilities.
|7||Montgomery County Community College Blue Bell, PA||Tuition $8,525||# of Online Programs 15||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 16%||Financial Aid 3%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Montgomery County Community College began in 1964 and currently offers a comprehensive curriculum that includes over 100 associate and certificate programs. Many students pursue an associate degree or occupational credential in 59 areas of study including creative arts, engineering and technology, and organizational leadership. Montco also offers career training programs, adult and continuing education classes, and personal enrichment opportunities.
Many students earn college credits for professional knowledge, military training, and other types of learning outside the classroom. Montco offers eight associate programs that students complete without any campus visits. Online programs offer several starting dates throughout the year and include asynchronous and synchronous classes.
The college maintains transfer partnerships with over 30 four-year public and private institutions throughout the region including La Salle, Temple, and Villanova universities. Many graduates of a Montco associate degree program begin their study at these schools as third-year students.
|8||Luzerne County Community College Nanticoke, PA||Tuition $7,026||# of Online Programs 27||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 18%||Financial Aid 3%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Luzerne County Community College enrolled 836 students when it formally opened in 1967. Today, LCCC admits close to 5,000 students annually and offers over 95 associate and certificate programs. LCC offers 25 associate degrees for transfer. Approximately 62% of LCCC students enroll in transfer programs, while the remaining 38% enroll in occupational programs.
Students pursue a transfer or occupational program in one of 12 areas of study including mathematics, computer science, and pre-engineering; culinary arts and pastry; and applied technology. The college currently offers 11 online associate degree programs in fields such as computer information systems, business management technology, and criminal justice.
The Counseling and Advising Center at the college offers academic, career, crisis, and personal counseling. Additional student resources include tutoring services, career exploration, course and major selection, and job search assistance.
|9||Harrisburg Area Community College Harrisburg, PA||Tuition $11,305||# of Online Programs 53||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 11%||Financial Aid 5%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
The oldest community college in Pennsylvania, Harrisburg Area Community College admits over 17,400 students to for-credit programs and an additional 8,300 enrollees to noncredit programs. HACC offers more than 100 programs in 11 fields of study, including legal and public safety, trades and technology, business and hospitality, and engineering technology.
This technical school in Pennsylvania maintains articulation agreements with over 65 senior colleges and universities throughout the state, which helps students to transfer to a four-year institution where they pursue a bachelor's degree. Many transfer students with an associate degree in a STEM discipline apply for a $20,000 scholarship opportunity at East Stroudsburg University.
Students enjoy access to an array of support resources, including academic advisement, career exploration, tutoring services, and job search and application assistance.
|10||Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Johnstown, PA||Tuition $4,754||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Opening in 1993 as Cambria County Area Community College, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College enrolls close to 2,800 students and offers associate, certificate, and diploma programs across seven areas of study. Students pursue a degree for transfer or occupational credential in fields like sustainable agriculture, information security and analysis, and medical coding and billing. This trade school in Pennsylvania also offers workforce development courses, adult and continuing education classes, and personal enrichment programs for students and members of the larger community.
The college maintains several online programs in business management, entrepreneurship, and paralegal studies. PHCC maintains articulation agreements with over 36 four-year colleges and universities throughout the state. These agreements facilitate the transfer process for PHCC graduates. Some of these institutions include Penn State, Geneva College, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The college holds a Transfer Fair every year when representatives of four-year colleges and universities come to the campus to discuss their transfer requirements with students.
|11||Community College of Beaver County Monaca, PA||Tuition $8,350||# of Online Programs 9||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 23%||Financial Aid 6%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Founded in 1966, Community College of Beaver County currently enrolls close to 7,000 students. The college offers more than 75 associate, certificate, and diploma programs in aviation science, health science, and industrial technology. CCBC maintains a partnership with Beaver County Career and Technology Center that allows them to offer an applied technologies degree in fields like business, computer information systems, and visual communications.
This technical school in Pennsylvania maintains articulation agreements with several two- and four-year institutions in the region to ensure the transfer of CCBC credits to corresponding programs. Many four-year colleges and universities accept graduates with associate degrees from CCBC as junior students.
Academic coaches work with students to ensure that they stay on track by providing assistance with course and major selection as well as study, writing, and research skills. The Career Services Center at CBCC helps students explore different career pathways, search and apply for jobs and internships, and build their professional network.
|12||Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Lancaster, PA||Tuition $5,742||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 52%||Financial Aid 51%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology began in 1905 with an initial enrollment of 15 students. Today, the college serves over 1,300 students and offers 22 programs in fields such as computer science engineering, water and environmental technology, and masonry construction. TSCT only admits Pennsylvania residents. However, the college does accept veterans from other states.
The college currently offers three short-term programs that give students the chance to quickly improve their skills and enter high-demand professional fields: metalcasting technology (three weeks), production welding (six weeks), and facilities maintenance technician (24 weeks).
The Academic Support Center offers peer and professional tutoring and English and math labs for students who need supplemental instruction. Many students take advantage of career planning, job search assistance, and internship options. TSCT supports students with learning or physical disabilities by providing reasonable accommodation and assistive resources.
|13||Delaware County Community College Media, PA||Tuition $9,813||# of Online Programs 25||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 14%||Financial Aid 2%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
With five locations in Delaware and Chester counties, Delaware County Community College enrolls more than 28,000 students each year. The college offers over 80 degree and certificate programs across 13 academic disciplines including law and public service, manufacturing, and business and finance. DCCC also provides continuing education opportunities for students and members of the larger community, including GED preparation classes and ESL courses.
Students choose from 23 associate degrees for transfer currently available at DCCC. Because of the college's special partnership with four senior universities, many graduates with an associate degree from DCCC complete a bachelor's while staying on campus. The institutions (Albright College, Drexel University, Delaware Valley College, West Chester University) offer bachelor-completion programs only in specific professional arenas. For example, Drexel University maintains a program for graduates with an associate in nursing, and West Chester University offers one for graduates with an associate in business administration.
|14||Manor College Jenkintown, PA||Tuition $16,325||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Founded in 1947, Manor College offers more than 50 programs across four divisions: allied health, arts and sciences, business and professional studies, and education. The college currently enrolls just under 800 students. In addition to associate degrees and occupational certificates, the college now offers four-year undergraduate programs. Students choose from 15 bachelor's programs in fields like veterinary practice management, childcare administration, and juvenile justice.
Manor College offers three online programs in healthcare, business administration, and liberal arts. Online students apply for financial assistance just like on-campus enrollees. Approximately 94% of Manor College students receive some type of financial aid.
Many students who plan to transfer to four-year institutions after receiving their associate degree take advantage of the Manor College's articulation agreements with schools like Temple, Delaware Valley, and Gwynedd-Mercy universities. Many students pursue a four-year program in various fields such as accounting, psychology, and international business.
|15||Peirce College Philadelphia, PA||Tuition $6,395||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Founded as Union Business College in 1865, Peirce College focuses on providing unique educational opportunities for working professionals. The college remains the state's only institute of higher learning catering exclusively to working students. Peirce enrolls approximately 2,000 students, with 92% over the age of 21.
Students choose from 36 certificate, associate, bachelor's, master's, and degree completion programs. Fields of study include organizational leadership, health information technology, and criminal justice.
The college offers accelerated online and on-campus courses with multiple starting dates. Students earn credits for prior learning experience including military training and professional credentials. Peirce College follows a liberal transfer policy with many programs accepting up to 90 transfer credits. Four bachelor's programs (liberal arts, organizational leadership, technology management, and human services leadership) accept up to 102 transfer credits.
|16||Reading Area Community College Reading, PA||Tuition $9,260||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Reading Area Community College offers associate, certificate, and diploma programs in 23 fields of study including mechatronics engineering technology, practical nursing, website development, and medical billing and coding.
The college provides an array of support services for students who plan to pursue a four-year program after graduation. Transfer counselors help students with course selection, admission requirements of senior colleges and universities, and registration. Many receiving institutions offer scholarships specifically for transfer students. RACC's counselors help students identify and apply to scholarship programs. Many students also take advantage of exploration trips to nearby colleges and universities and transfer workshops held at least once a semester.
Other student support resources include testing and placement services, individual and group tutoring, and academic planning. RACC also assists students with resume and cover letter writing, as well as interviewing skills.
|17||Lackawanna College Scranton, PA||Tuition $17,380||# of Online Programs 6||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 26%||Financial Aid 50%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Founded in 1894, Lackawanna College demonstrates a commitment to Scranton students and communities each year. The college enrolls about 2,000 students annually and maintains five satellite centers in addition to an environmental education center in Covington. Lackawanna offers seven bachelor's and 25 associate degrees as well as several specialized certificates and workplace development programs. Many students also pursue one of 14 completely online programs in fields such as restaurant and foodservice management, petroleum and natural gas technology, and sustainable leadership.
The college participates in the Academic Passport program with the 14 institutions that make up the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The program guarantees transfer to any participating school for Lackawanna students who graduate with an associate degree and meet other college and program requirements. In addition, Lackawanna maintains articulation agreements with other senior colleges and universities in the area to give graduates more transfer options. Some of these schools include East Stroudsburg University, Penn State University, and Temple University.
|18||Rosedale Technical College Pittsburgh, PA||Tuition $14,891||# of Online Programs 7||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 78%||Financial Aid 5%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Rosedale Technical College began admitting students in 1949 and currently serves an average of 400 enrollees each year. The college offers associate and certificate programs in various technology areas including diesel, collision repair, HVAC, and welding technologies.
Rosedale administers several grant programs that help qualified students pay for their education or training. For example, the Women in the Trades Grant awards $2,000 to female students enrolled in a trade program. Many Rosedale students receive some type of financial assistance from federal programs or private organizations.
The Career Placement Department offers career preparation courses that help students in their job search after graduation. Students receive assistance with resume and cover letter writing, job interviewing tips, and career exploration. While not guaranteeing employment, the department arranges job interviews for graduates. Many Rosedale alumni take advantage of ongoing support services throughout their careers.
|19||Mercyhurst University - North East Instructional Site North East, PA||Tuition $18,424||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Located just 20 minutes from the Mercyhurst University campus in Erie, Pennsylvania, the North East instructional site houses the university's nursing and allied healthcare programs and Municipal Police Academy.
North East offers eight associate degrees and a certificate in practical nursing. Nursing students master a variety of patient care skills in laboratories equipped with the latest technology. Features include computerized wireless mannequins, high-fidelity simulators (for pediatric and maternity classes), and a state-of-the-art cadaver lab. North East also maintains advanced facilities for allied health students including hydrotherapy tanks, assistive devices, and electrical stimulation units for physical therapy students.
The program at Mercyhurst Municipal Police Academy satisfies the minimum requirements for entry-level law enforcement officers set by the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officer's Education and Training Commission. The full-time program provides cadets with comprehensive hands-on training in defensive driving, weapons use, self-defense, arresting procedures, and other policing skills.
|20||Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus Indiana, PA||Tuition $19,646||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Indiana University of Pennsylvania enrolls more than 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students. IUP offers over 130 programs across eight schools and colleges.
Students pursue an associate degree at IUP in one of three fields -- hospitality management, general studies, and culinary arts or baking and pastry arts. Five out of the university's eight schools and colleges offer close to 50 certificate programs in professional arenas like special education, geospatial intelligence analysis, cell and molecular biology, and athletic coaching.
IUP students and alumni enjoy access to a free Handshake account to assist them in their job search immediately after graduation and throughout their careers. The website lists nationwide job opportunities posted by over 200,000 companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. While at IUP, many students make use of support services such as career counseling, resume writing, and internship opportunities.
|21||Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus University Park, PA||Tuition $26,151||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
The Penn State main campus, located in University Park in central Pennsylvania, enrolls more than 40,000 undergraduate students and offers over 160 majors and 100 certificate programs. Students pursue an associate in one of four areas: information sciences and technology; labor and human resources; letters, arts, and sciences; and workforce education and development. Penn State offers certificate programs in diverse occupational fields including industrial engineering, geospatial big data analytics, and earth sustainability.
The university supports students through services like academic counseling, tutoring, and job search assistance. Penn state offers accommodation and assistive resources such as sign language interpreters, computer assisted real-time translation, and video captioning for students with learning or physical disabilities.
Penn State hosts career fairs and workshops to help students build their professional network even before they graduate from their program. Online students access many of the university's academic and career support services without making a campus visit.
|22||Johnson College Scranton, PA||Tuition $17,589||# of Online Programs 6||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 61%||Financial Aid 23%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Starting out in 1912 as a trade school, Johnson College offers associate and certificate programs in six fields: health sciences, transportation, logistics, building trades and technology, electrical and industrial, and animal science. The college enrolls just under 500 students each year. Students pursue an associate degree or occupational credential in fields like architectural drafting and design, electrical construction and maintenance, and physical therapy.
Student support services include academic and personal counseling, peer and professional tutoring, and IT assistance. Johnson College helps students and alumni in their search for part-time or full-time employment while enrolled, after graduation, and throughout their careers. Students receive assistance with resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation, and job search techniques. The college hosts job fairs on campus to give students the chance to explore employment options, follow up on a job application, and build their professional network.
Each year, 94-97% of enrollees at Johnson College receive some type of financial assistance.
|23||Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, PA||Tuition $21,242||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Founded in 1914, Penn College currently enrolls over 5,000 students. The college offers certificate, associate, and bachelor's programs in more than 100 areas of study. Six schools make up Penn College: business and hospitality; construction and design technologies; nursing and health sciences; sciences, humanities, and visual communications; industrial computing and engineering; and transportation and natural resources. Although an autonomous institution, the college maintains a close affiliation with Penn State.
The college maintains several partnerships with local industries and businesses to increase the educational and professional options of its students. For example, the Welding Expansion Project resulted from the joint cooperation of Penn College with its corporate partners, alumni, and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. Students now enjoy access to a center comprising 55,000 square feet complete with state-of-the-art welding equipment and technology.
|24||Pennsylvania Institute of Technology Media, PA||Tuition $17,239||# of Online Programs 6||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 44%||Financial Aid 34%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Founded in 1953, Pennsylvania Institute of Technology operated in Upper Darby for over 30 years before moving to the current 14-acre campus in Media, Pennsylvania. PIT currently enrolls around 800 students each year. The institute offers 18 two-year associate programs in fields like allied health, biomedical equipment engineering, and healthcare management. Many students earn a career certificate in one of three fields: medical assisting, practical nursing, and medical billing and coding.
PIT provides a variety of support resources including professional and peer tutoring, testing and placement services, and financial aid programs. Students enjoy access to job search services including help with resume writing and interviewing skills. PIT provides free job placement services for students and alumni.
More than 97% of full-time students at PIT receive some type of financial assistance.
|25||Mercyhurst University Erie, PA||Tuition $23,841||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Mercyhurst University serves approximately 3,200 students each year and offers over 80 undergraduate and graduate programs, including two-year associate degrees and several occupational certificates.
Students who wish to pursue an associate or certificate program choose from 20 fields of study, including health studies, business administration, and occupational therapy. Mercyhurst offers the same academic support and career services to students enrolled in associate, certificate, and four-year programs. Services include academic and personal counseling, career planning, and technical assistance for online and on-campus students.
Each year, about 99% of students at Mercyhurst receive some type of financial assistance. Many online enrollees and students pursuing associate degrees apply for the scholarship opportunities at Mercyhurst.
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Pennsylvania
With 686 public high schools and 31 community colleges that offer vocational training, Pennsylvania presents many opportunities to prospective students. However, not every school is a good fit for every student who wants vocational training.
Students should compare schools to find one that best suits their needs. By using the search tool below, learners who want a vocational education can find the right school.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
Many trade school careers provide strong salaries and job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports much faster-than-average projected job growth for dental hygienists, paralegals, and HVAC technicians between 2018 and 2028.
The salary for trade school careers varies depending on the industry and location. Overall, technical and trade school occupations pay an average annual salary of around $55,000.
On the lower end, personal service occupations pay under $33,000 per year, while on the high end, management occupations earn over $96,000 annually. In the healthcare field, healthcare practitioners with vocational training make $55,000 per year and healthcare support occupations earn $45,000 per year.
Location also influences salaries. In Pennsylvania, BLS wage estimates report that electricians earn $68,000 per year and paralegals make over $55,000 annually. In the allied health field, occupational therapy assistants earn around $57,000 per year, dental hygienists earn just under $68,000 per year, and physical therapist assistants make around $55,000 per year.
Students considering trade schools in Pennsylvania can research salary and job growth data for their specific field.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Trade school programs prepare students for in-demand careers in allied health, skilled trades, legal services, and emergency services. For example, graduates work as dental hygienists, paralegals, and radiology technicians. A vocational certificate or degree combines classroom learning and fieldwork to prepare graduates for the workforce.
This section introduces some popular trade school programs. In addition to these programs, prospective students can research vocational programs for electricians, cosmetologists, engineering technologists, and construction managers.
- Dental Hygienist Schools
Dental hygienists provide preventive dental care and examine patients for signs of oral diseases. They apply treatments to protect teeth, take dental X-rays, and report findings to dentists. Dental hygienists also educate patients about oral hygiene.
Vocational schools in Pennsylvania train dental hygienists in associate programs. During these programs, students take courses in dental health, periodontics, and oral pathology. Dental hygienists also complete clinical and laboratory training.
The BLS reports that 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. In every state, dental hygienists need a license. The Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry licenses dental hygienists.
Learn more about dental hygienist programs.
- Mechanic Schools
Mechanics inspect and repair cars and trucks. Mechanics use computerized diagnostic equipment to identify problems, examine critical parts in a vehicle, and repair or replace worn parts. They also perform basic maintenance and explain automotive problems to clients.
An automotive service technology certificate or associate degree prepares graduates for mechanic jobs. During these programs, students take courses in engine performance, automotive repair, and electronic systems. They also complete fieldwork.
In 2019, mechanics earned a median annual salary of around $42,000. Pursuing certification from an organization like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence can help mechanics demonstrate specialized training in areas like automatic transmissions, diesel engines, and brakes.
Learn more about mechanic programs.
- Paralegal Schools
Paralegals help lawyers prepare for trials and manage cases. They conduct legal research, write legal documents such as contracts, and assist lawyers during trials. Paralegals can also file briefs and appeals with the court. Some paralegals specialize in an area like corporate law or litigation.
Many paralegals earn a vocational certificate or degree in paralegal studies. During these programs, students take courses in legal writing, contract law, legal research, and corporate law. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who complete professional certification.
Paralegals benefit from strong job growth. The BLS projects much faster-than-average job growth in the field from 2018 to 2028. In 2019, paralegals earned a median annual salary of over $51,000.
Learn more about paralegal programs.
- Radiology Technician Schools
Radiology technicians, also called radiologic technologists, use diagnostic imaging equipment like X-rays to take images. They prepare patients for procedures, position patients to capture the correct image, and evaluate images for quality. Radiology technicians must also follow safety procedures to protect patients.
Most positions require an associate degree in radiography. During these programs, students take courses in patient care, anatomy, radiation physics, and image evaluation. Most programs also incorporate clinical work.
Pennsylvania does not require a professional license for radiologic technicians. However, most radiology technicians earn certification from The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. BLS data shows that radiology technologists 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
Financial aid in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs helps trade school students pay for their certificate or degree.
The federal financial aid program awards loans and grants to qualifying students. Applicants must complete the FAFSA to receive federal financial aid, and only certain schools meet Department of Education requirements to distribute federal aid.
Unlike loans, scholarships and grants support students financially with no obligation to repay the award. Students pursuing career and technical training can apply for scholarships to make their program more affordable. The following section introduces scholarships for trade school students.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
Students attending trade schools in Pennsylvania qualify for multiple scholarship opportunities. Private foundations, government agencies, and professional organizations support trade school students through scholarships, grants, and other awards.
See below for five scholarships for Pennsylvania's trade school students.
- Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program
Who Can Apply: The Pennsylvania General Assembly offers awards for students pursuing career and technical training in high-demand fields like energy, health, manufacturing, and agriculture. Applicants must attend an approved institution.Apply for Scholarship
Amount: Up to $4,123
- Pennsylvania State Grant
Who Can Apply: Pennsylvania offers a state-funded grant for students attending approved postsecondary schools. Applicants must enroll in at least six credits per term and attend an approved program.Apply for Scholarship
Amount: Up to $4,123
- The Foundation for Enhancing Communities Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The Foundation for Enhancing Communities offers over 120 scholarships for graduating high school seniors and current college students in the Harrisburg area. Requirements vary depending on the scholarship.Apply for Scholarship
- Hope Through Learning Award
Who Can Apply: This award funds students living in Allegheny County who have experienced homelessness. Recipients can attend any higher education or career training program, including at vocational and tech schools in Pennsylvania.Apply for Scholarship
- Horatio Alger Career & Technical Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Horatio Alger Endowment Fund supports students enrolled in a career or technical program at an accredited nonprofit school. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.Apply for Scholarship
Additional Education and Career Resources
Comprehensive job search database for Pennsylvania residents. Search by location, company, job title, or category.
PACTA promotes quality CTE in the state by providing support to vocational educators.
Includes information on the vocational programs that students can enroll in, careers that graduates can pursue, and the instructional methodologies used by those who provide CTE in the state.
This site has information on the main industries in Pittsburg.