Vocational Trade
Schools in South Carolina

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South Carolina’s economy is fueled by industries such as aerospace and automotive manufacturing, alternative energy development, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, and transportation and distribution of goods. Companies in these sectors need employees with the skills gained through vocational and trade programs in areas such as engineering, manufacturing and transportation. Learn more about South Carolina’s economy and the various career opportunities available to those with vocational and trade certificates or associate degrees.

Methodology +

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Our data analysis team and higher education experts have worked together to create a scoring system that includes key qualitative and quantitative measures. The data attributes are then weighted based on relevance.

The scoring methodology includes factors such as:

  • Cost & financial aid
  • Number of programs and program offerings
  • Student-teacher ratios
  • Graduation rates
  • Placement and support services offered
  • Academic/Career counseling services
  • Employment services
  • And many others

These factors are assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.

Top Ranked Trade Schools in South Carolina

Students interested in attending any one of South Carolina's trade and vocational schools might find the following rankings useful. Construction and healthcare are two major growth areas in South Carolina, and the many trade schools or career and community colleges in the state are poised to meet the demand for skilled workers. Our rankings of accredited South Carolina schools focus on important criteria, such as tuition rates, financial aid and more, to better help students make an informed decision on their future.

Rank School Name Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
Trident Technical College
96.91 $$$$$ 4% 39 21:1 10%

At Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC, student success is facilitated by experienced faculty members who are experts in their fields and instruction, making education a partnership between instructors and students. Offering associate degrees in a variety of fields, the nursing, business and engineering programs are the most popular. Career development counselors are available in person and online to help students make educated decisions about choosing a major and being successful in a chosen field. With free academic help and an online student portal to manage your affairs, TTC works with students to start out in the world of higher education with the tools necessary to succeed.

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Aiken Technical College
96.22 $$$$$ 6% 16 16:1 9%

Aiken Technical College offers a wide array of two-year certificate and associates degree programs with a student-to-teacher ratio of 16:1. This allows students to learn in a more intimate classroom setting while engaging with their peers and mentors. Aiken Technical College offers traditional and online courses in order to best accommodate student scheduling needs. The Technical Scholars Initiative provides qualifying students with the opportunity to receive tuition reimbursement while they work part-time with participating companies. This helps students who are pursuing technical degrees receive on-site job experience and earn money towards their degrees.

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York Technical College
96.00 $$$$$ 4% 23 18:1 12%

Located just outside of Charlotte, NC, York Tech offers two-year programs in disciplines such as health services, mechanical certifications, information technology and other popular fields of study. For students seeking more flexibility in their studies, York Tech offers traditional, online, off-campus learning centers which give students the opportunity to attend courses at their convenience. Through their tuition reimbursement programs, eligible students can earn money towards their degrees while receiving on-site work experience. One of York Tech’s most notable programs include their board-certified nursing program while allows students to become certified nurses in just two years.

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Denmark Technical College
95.78 $$$$$ 17% 7 39:1 22%

For almost 70 years, Denmark Technical College in rural Bamberg County has been serving the students and community with a curriculum that is based on the latest technology, engaging and driven by personal attention. With small classroom sizes and access to flexible scheduling, students can tailor their academic experiences to fit their lifestyle. With student support services like the tutorial computer lab and the cultural enrichment program, DTC provides students with a well-rounded education that doesn’t end in the classroom. Whether individuals are looking to enter the field of nursing, engineering or to start your studies as a humanities major, DTC has a variety of programs to fit their needs.

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Piedmont Technical College
95.37 $$$$$ 4% 16 20:1 13%

Whether you’re looking to transfer to a 4-year program or start a new career, Piedmont Technical College in Greenwood, SC offers a wide range of associate degrees from veterinary technology to horticulture, at its seven campuses and online college. By offering low tuition and flexible scheduling, PTC makes higher education possible for anyone with an internet connection and a desire to learn. Transferring credits is simple for students who wish to complete a 4-year degree through the bridge programs with schools like USC, Clemson, Lander and more. High school students may also earn college credit through PTC's dual enrollment program.

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Horry-Georgetown Technical College
94.81 $$$$$ 1% 29 21:1 18%

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Williamsburg Technical College
94.64 $$$$$ 5% 6 14:1 8%

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Midlands Technical College
94.56 $$$$$ 1% 29 20:1 10%

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Spartanburg Community College
94.52 $$$$$ 3% 21 17:1 12%

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Technical College of the Lowcountry
94.50 $$$$$ 9% 14 17:1 10%

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Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College
94.47 $$$$$ 2% 17 16:1 10%

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Tri-County Technical College
94.02 $$$$$ 12% 10 20:1 13%

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Northeastern Technical College
93.97 $$$$$ N/A 5 17:1 14%

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Greenville Technical College
93.09 $$$$$ 6% 35 16:1 9%

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Florence-Darlington Technical College
93.04 $$$$$ N/A 25 26:1 12%

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Find Vocational & Trade Schools in South Carolina

Vocational and trade programs are available in South Carolina at the high school and community college levels, as well as through various career centers and technical colleges. Students can choose from numerous fields designed to prepare graduates for direct entry into jobs in the state’s key industries, or may use their training as a foundation for higher education. Search now to explore vocational schools and programs near you.

Degree Level
School Type

Fast Facts: South Carolina Trade Schools

Career and technical education (CTE) students in South Carolina exceeded both the state’s target performance levels and the national average in the attainment of technical skills.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the 2013-2014 year more than 225,000 students were enrolled in CTE programs in South Carolina, with more than 47,000 at the post-secondary level.

Of those who graduate from the South Carolina Technical College System, 86 percent go on to find jobs in their fields or to pursue further education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Carolina jobs in construction and professional and business services saw the highest percentage of growth during the second half of 2015, with health and education and hospitality also showing steady gains.

Vocational Certificates and Diplomas in South Carolina

Vocational certificates and associate degrees can be earned at comprehensive high schools, career centers, and community colleges located throughout South Carolina. Many of the state’s high school students choose to get a head start on their college careers by pursuing dual enrollment in CTE courses that allow them to earn both high school and college credit. In general, South Carolina students tend to either earn certificates that take less than a year, allowing for faster entry into the workforce, or to pursue a longer, more intensive education at the associate or bachelor’s level.

Distribution of Undergraduate Certificates & Degrees

Credential South Carolina National
<1-year certificate 17.4% 14.7%
1-year certificate 5.8% 12.6%
Associate Degree 21.9% 24.7%
Bachelor’s Degree 54.9% 48.0%

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2010)

Finding a Job: Vocational Career Opportunities in South Carolina

South Carolina’s geographic position on the Atlantic coast makes it an ideal point for the distribution of goods. The city of Charleston has the second-largest container port on the east coast, and large retail companies such as Target, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and QVC all take advantage of the state’s facilities for shipping operations. These businesses continue to create demand for truck drivers and commercial vehicle operators, the occupation with the highest number of projected job openings in South Carolina.

See how career opportunities for those with vocational certificates and associate degrees compare in terms of projected job openings, growth rates and salaries.

Careers with the Most Job Openings in South Carolina

Occupation 2012 Employment Projected Annual Job Openings Percent Growth
Median Annual Wage (South Carolina, 2014) Median Annual Wage (National, 2014)
Postsecondary, Non-Degree (Some College)
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 22,960 800 19% $38,600 $39,500
Nursing Assistants 19,030 780 22% $22,000 $25,100
Licensed Practical Nurses 9,780 470 24% $39,000 $42,500
Teacher Assistants 13,750 440 9% $20,000 $24,400
Medical Assistants 8,140 380 28% $28,100 $30,000
Two-Year Associate Degree
Registered Nurses 43,690 1,670 19% $58,300 $66,600
Preschool Teachers 3,970 180 17% $21,900 $28,100
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 4,370 160 20% $40,700 $48,300
Dental Hygienists 2,520 150 35% $54,000 $71,500
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians 2,450 140 29% $37,300 $38,400

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Career One Stop

In the Spotlight: Trade Schools & Careers in Charleston

Aerospace, automotive manufacturing, and high-tech jobs at the city’s biomedical and pharmaceutical labs dominate the economy of Charleston. The city’s rich history and coastal location also attract visitors, and the tourism sector generates a significant amount of revenue and jobs. Skilled workers in the fields of manufacturing, science and human services are in high demand. Charleston’s vocational and trade programs offer several certificates and associate degrees that prepare students for key jobs both in Charleston and throughout the state.

Trident Technical College is a public college offering more than 20 programs of study in areas such as business management, computer science, and the health and legal professions, with various specialties within those areas. Private institutions like Southeastern Institute - Charleston and Centura College – North Charleston offer certificates in healthcare professions including emergency medical technicians, medical assistants, massage therapists, and administrative positions.

Students can earn their associate degrees in computer science, electrical and communication engineering, legal studies, and graphic design at ITT Technical Institute – North Charleston. Private colleges in Charleston include Virginia College – Charleston, Miller-Motte Technical College - Charleston, and The Art Institute of Charleston, each offering various programs of study.

Resources for Students and Skilled Workers

Information and resources for career and technical education students including available career clusters, financial aid, and types of programs.

A one-stop-shop for job seekers to connect with employers in South Carolina. Includes a job search database, resume help, and information on training and education services.

Members have access to professional development resources, news and information, and networking opportunities.

Offers information on continuing education and professional development, and provides job postings from throughout the state.

A network of colleges that provides students with education targeted to meet the needs of the state’s industries.

An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants, this organization provides professional development, networking, and educational opportunities in South Carolina and throughout the southeast.

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