Why Choose Trade School?
Trade schools in South Dakota prepare students for in-demand careers in a relatively short period of time. South Dakota created the South Dakota Future Fund to support workforce development in the state, particularly in manufacturing, bioscience, and agriculture. Additionally, the South Dakota: Dream it. Do it. campaign supports career awareness for students as young as middle school.
Top 10 Vocational Trade Schools in South Dakota
|#1||Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown, SD|
|#2||Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls, SD|
|#3||Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell, SD|
|#4||Sisseton Wahpeton College Sisseton, SD|
|#5||Western Dakota Technical Institute Rapid City, SD|
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Vocational schools in South Dakota often take 1-2 years to complete, focusing on career-relevant skills in areas like healthcare, construction, and technology. These programs typically incorporate coursework with experiential learning components, giving students hands-on experience in the field.
This guide covers important information for prospective trade school students in South Dakota, including potential careers and salaries for graduates.
|What is the difference between a trade school and a college?||Vocational schools in South Dakota offer career-focused training that prepares students for particular careers. Colleges focus more on academic training in a variety of disciplines. Trade programs typically require fewer credits and take less time to complete than a college degree.|
|How much does a trade school cost?||Cost varies by program and school, but public technical schools in South Dakota typically cost around $120-$320 per credit.|
|What are examples of vocational jobs?||Examples of vocational jobs include paramedic, cosmetologist, auto mechanic, carpenter, and electrician.|
|What are the different types of trade schools?||Both public and private schools offer trade programs. Some schools may focus on a specific industry, while others may offer diverse programs tailored to a variety of industries.|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
When researching prospective trade schools in South Dakota, students should verify a school's accreditation and licensure status. The South Dakota Secretary of State licenses vocational and trade schools in the state. Additionally, the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements allows out-of-state educational providers to offer distance-learning opportunities for South Dakota students.
Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to faculty qualifications, student learning outcomes, and academic rigor. Schools may hold regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation generally applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions.
The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits South Dakota schools. National accreditation typically applies to vocational and trade schools. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges grants national accreditation to 650 vocational and trade schools nationwide.
Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For example, only students at accredited institutions qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree. Students can learn more about accreditation at Accredited Schools Online.
Vocational Trade Schools in South Dakota
This guide ranks the best vocational schools in South Dakota to help students find the right program for their needs.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
According to the U.S. Census, more than 359,000 South Dakota residents reported working in 2018, with the labor force comprising 68.1% of the population 16 years old and older. Manufacturing, bioscience, and value-added agriculture comprise the top industries in the state.
Vocational schools in South Dakota often tailor their programs to the needs of regional employers. Many schools use the expertise of industry leaders to refine their curriculum. This input ensures graduates attain the skills that prospective employers are looking for.
Trade school students in South Dakota can choose from a variety of in-demand careers. For example, Projections Central projects jobs for paramedics and emergency medical technicians in South Dakota to grow more than 7% between 2018 and 2028. Meanwhile, jobs for dental hygienists in the state are projected to grow more than 10% in the same time period.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Students can choose from a variety of trade and vocational schools that prepare them for roles in areas such as allied health, technology, and the skilled trades. The following list outlines several of many types of trade schools in South Dakota.
Dental Hygienist Schools
Dental hygienists work under the supervision of dentists, cleaning teeth, assessing oral health, and educating patients on dental hygiene. Projections Central projects jobs for dental hygienists in South Dakota to grow 10.6% between 2018 and 2028. These professionals earn an annual mean wage of $62,560 in South Dakota.
Dental hygienists typically need an associate degree. During a dental hygienist program, learners study topics like dental anatomy, radiography, and oral pathology. They also complete clinical training to gain hands-on experience in the field.
After graduation, students must apply for licensure from the South Dakota Board of Dentistry. To receive licensure, students must have attended a program accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Find accredited dental hygienist schools at Accredited Schools Online.
Auto mechanics provide maintenance and repair services to keep cars and trucks operating at peak efficiency. Projections Central projects jobs for auto mechanics in South Dakota to grow 5.2% between 2018 and 2028. These professionals earn a mean salary of $41,240 in the state.
Mechanic schools combine theoretical knowledge with hands-on skills. Many schools set their program up to mirror a real-world work setting. Students learn how each of the automotive systems function, such as the transmission and drivelines, HVAC system, and suspension and braking. Students also learn to diagnose issues using both observational skills and technology. Most programs require one year to complete.
Many employers seek mechanics with industry certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Learn more about accredited mechanic programs here.
Paralegals work under the supervision of licensed attorneys. They conduct legal research, file court documents, interview clients and witnesses, and assist with case management. Jobs for paralegals in South Dakota are projected to grow 9.6% between 2018 and 2028. Paralegals in the state earned a mean annual salary of $49,130 in 2019.
Paralegals must earn a relevant associate degree and complete on-the-job training. Though South Dakota does not require licensing for paralegals, numerous professional organizations offer professional credentials that certify paralegal knowledge and experience, such as the National Association of Legal Assistants, National Federation of Paralegal Associations, National Association for Legal Professionals, and American Alliance of Paralegals.
Learn more about accredited paralegal schools here.
Radiology Technician Schools
Radiology technicians operate medical imaging equipment. Jobs for radiology technicians in South Dakota are projected to grow 8.7% between 2018 and 2028. These professionals earn a mean salary of $53,210 in the state. They may work in hospitals, ancillary imaging centers, or physicians' offices.
These professionals typically need an associate degree. Some radiology technician schools offer specializations in areas such as mammography, bone densitometry, magnetic resonance, and computed tomography.
Many professionals seek national certification from the American Registry of Radiology Technicians, which requires an exam and skills assessment. Learn more about accredited radiology technician programs here.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
Vocational schools in South Dakota typically cost much less than four-year programs, but they still require a significant financial investment. Students can take advantage of a variety of financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of their education, such as loans, scholarships, and grants.
To qualify for federal financial aid, students must submit the FAFSA every year. The application opens each October, and students should complete it as soon as possible to maximize their financial assistance. However, only students at accredited programs qualify for federal aid.
Unlike loans, grants and scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. Students can take advantage of a variety of federal grants, such as the Federal Pell Grant, which determines awards based on financial need and enrollment status. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant assists students who need additional help beyond the Pell Grant.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
The list below offers a sample of scholarships available to trade school students in South Dakota. Students can research additional scholarship opportunities based on factors like industry, identity, and financial need.
Who Can Apply: Students pursuing training in high-need fields may apply for the Build Dakota program, which provides full funding for tuition, books, and other required
education expenses. Recipients must commit to working in South Dakota for at least three years after graduation.
Construction Industry Center
Who Can Apply: Dependents of owners or employees of Construction Industry Center member firms planning to attend an accredited college or trade school qualify for this award.
The committee considers community service, school activities, and academic achievement when determining recipients.
South Dakota Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors
Who Can Apply: High school seniors and college freshmen planning to pursue a career in plumbing, heating, and cooling may apply for this annual award. A member of the association
must sponsor the applicant. Applicants must submit an essay.
South Dakota Telecommunications Association
Who Can Apply: High school seniors and postsecondary students currently enrolled in any field related to the telecommunications or broadband industry qualify for the award.
Applicants must be a customer or member of a company in the association.
South Dakota Association for Career & Technical Education
Who Can Apply: High school and postsecondary students active in career and technical education student organizations may apply for this award. The award supports study at any
South Dakota technical institute or college.