Vocational Trade Schools in South Dakota

ASO Staff Writers
by
Updated September 5, 2023
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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.

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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.

FAQ

question-mark-circleWhat 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.

question-mark-circleHow 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.

question-mark-circleWhat are examples of vocational jobs?

Examples of vocational jobs include paramedic, cosmetologist, auto mechanic, carpenter, and electrician.

question-mark-circleWhat 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.

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.

#1 Vocational Trade Schools in South Dakota

Lake Area Technical College

  • Location-markerWatertown, SD
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,904
  • Out-of-state$2,904
  • Retention Rate84%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled2,228
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment46%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Vocational Trade Schools in South Dakota

Southeast Technical Institute

  • Location-markerSioux Falls, SD
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,146
  • Out-of-state$3,146
  • Retention Rate66%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled2,380
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment38%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Vocational Trade Schools in South Dakota

Mitchell Technical Institute

  • Location-markerMitchell, SD
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,872
  • Out-of-state$3,872
  • Retention Rate83%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled1,162
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment23%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Vocational Trade Schools in South Dakota

Sisseton Wahpeton College

  • Location-markerSisseton, SD
  • 2 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,850
  • Out-of-state$3,850
  • Retention Rate34%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled119
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Vocational Trade Schools in South Dakota

Western Dakota Technical Institute

  • Location-markerRapid City, SD
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,630
  • Out-of-state$3,630
  • Retention Rate63%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled1,214
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment41%
  • AccreditationYes

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.

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.

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