High school graduates make up the bulk of trade school enrollees. Increasingly, however, professionals seeking a mid-career change enroll in vocational and tech schools. The affordability, brevity, and quality of trade school programs draw students from diverse backgrounds.
This guide provides general information about vocational education with a focus on trade and tech schools in Utah. Continue reading to learn more about relevant factors such as accreditation, career and salary for graduates, and financial aid.
|What do trade schools offer?||Trade schools offer programs that train students for specific occupations in a variety of skilled-trade fields.|
|How much does a trade school cost?||Trade school programs currently average $33,000 for an entire program, or approximately one year of tuition at a four-year college or university.|
|What are examples of vocational jobs?||Examples of vocational occupations include beauticians, mechanics, electricians, and occupational therapy assistants.|
|Can trade school credits transfer?||Some trade school credits transfer to two-year community colleges. However, this often depends on the trade school's program type and accreditation status.|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
In the United States, school accreditation refers to the review process that postsecondary institutions voluntarily undergo to determine the quality of their academic programs. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee the accreditation process.
Degree-granting nonprofit institutions seek regional accreditation. ED and CHEA recognize six regional accreditors, each responsible for accrediting schools within a specific region of the country. For-profit, career-centered institutions (including trade and sectarian schools) seek national accreditation. Programmatic accreditors evaluate specific programs instead of entire schools. National and programmatic accrediting agencies also fall under the oversight of ED and CHEA.
ED channels financial aid only through regionally or nationally accredited schools. The same applies to most private organizations managing scholarship and grant programs. Additionally, accreditation simplifies the credit transfer process.
The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges accredits vocational and trade schools throughout the country. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits colleges and universities in the northwest, including Utah. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits online schools and programs.
All states require schools to obtain a license before they accept students. A license demonstrates that a school meets the basic requirements to offer academic programs. Accreditation evaluates the quality and rigor of a school's educational programs.
Vocational Trade Schools in Utah
The following list includes vocational schools in Utah. Continue reading to find out more about each school's accreditation status, program offerings, and financial aid.
|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||Salt Lake Community College Salt Lake City, UT||Tuition $7,378||# of Online Programs 31||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 23%||Financial Aid 6%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
By far the largest of all trade schools in Utah, SLCC serves more than 60,000 students across 10 campuses throughout the Salt Lake City area. As a major center of trade education in the state, SLCC offers many technical and vocational programs, encompassing fields such as aviation, culinary arts, and electronics. Some of the school's numerous degree and certificate programs include graphic technician, web programming, medical scribe, and sustainable building construction.
SLCC hosts several apprenticeship training programs, including options in brick mason, HVAC, plumber/pipefitter, refrigeration, and stagehand. Apprenticeships build professional skills through on-the-job training supplemented with weekly classroom sessions. Requirements for SLCC's apprenticeships vary. The brick mason program, for example, requires 6,000 hours of on-the-job training along with 432 hours of classroom instruction. Alternatively, the HVAC program requires 8,000 on-the-job hours and 576 classroom hours.
|2||Dixie State University Saint George, UT||Tuition $14,458||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Dixie offers a selection of professional and technical programs at the associate and certificate level. Some of the school's trade programs include nursing, engineering, surgical technology, and sustainability.
Dixie also hosts a 21-credit biotechnology certificate program that features a professional apprenticeship component. This certificate prepares students for entry-level lab positions in biotechnology firms, building foundational knowledge in chemistry, math, computer science, and biology. After completing several certificate courses, candidates apprentice at a local biotech firm, applying their learning to professional practice and gaining valuable connections in the field.
The certificate program generally lasts two semesters. Credits also apply toward Dixie's bachelor's program in biotechnology, enabling candidates to easily continue their studies after completing the apprenticeship. Qualified high school students may begin working toward the certificate through Dixie's concurrent enrollment program.
|3||Weber State University Ogden, UT||Tuition $10,951||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Serving more than 28,000 students, WSU offers career-focused associate and certificate programs, ranking it among the top Utah technical colleges. WSU operates multiple campuses in Ogden, along with satellite campuses and learning centers in Roy, Clearfield, Layton, Farmington, and Morgan. The school's vocational offerings cover fields such as engineering, applied science, and technology; health professions; and education.
WSU offers an associate of applied science apprenticeship program that enables current apprentices, or those who have recently completed an apprenticeship, to apply their learning toward an associate degree. While the program targets students enrolled in apprenticeships through WSU, any candidate with a State of Utah Journeyperson's License or a certificate of completion from the Office of Apprenticeship may apply. The program builds basic college skills to augment on-the-job training, such as writing, public speaking, and communication.
|4||Utah State University Logan, UT||Tuition $12,738||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A major public college in Logan, USU enrolls more than 27,000 students annually. Though not technically counted among the numerous trade schools in Utah, USU offers a large selection of technical and vocational programs, primarily at the associate level. Students can choose from several career programs, including agricultural machinery technology, diesel and heavy equipment mechanics, ornamental horticulture, and small business operations.
USU also hosts an electrical apprenticeship that trains students to advance to the role of journeyman electrician. This four-year program combines on-the-job training with evening classroom sessions that build industry-standard knowledge in areas such as electrical theory and National Electrical Code. The program curriculum operates in accordance with Department of Professional Licensing standards, requiring a total of 40 credits. Apprentices complete all work under the supervision of master and journeyman electricians.
|5||Utah Valley University Orem, UT||Tuition $6,760||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Serving more than 41,000 students, UVU is the largest college in Utah by enrollment. The school uses a unique dual-mission education model that combines the resources and academic offerings of a four-year college with the professional preparation of a community college. Emphasizing accessibility, engaged learning, and faculty mentoring, UVU ranks among the top trade schools in Utah.
UVU's trade and vocational programs encompass fields such as business, information technology, health sciences, and manufacturing and construction. Students can choose from dozens of associate degree and certificate programs, including aviation science, digital audio, exercise science and outdoor recreation, mechatronics technology, and wildland fire management. UVU also offers several pre-professional programs that prepare candidates to pursue bachelor's degrees, including in pre-elementary education, pre-engineering, and pre-business.
UVU offers significant flexibility for working students, including evening courses and online learning options. About 56% of students work at least part time while completing their education.
|6||Ogden-Weber Technical College Ogden, UT||Tuition $2,298||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Ranked among the best Utah technical colleges, Ogden-Weber serves around 6,000 students annually, offering a wide selection of career-focused programs. The school emphasizes on-the-job training, with connections to more than 200 local employers and 100 community organizations. Many students augment their professional education with internships or apprenticeships.
While Ogden-Weber does not offer associate degrees, the school hosts several technical certificate programs in professional fields including business and technology, construction, health professions, manufacturing, and service professions. Students can pursue certificate programs in areas such as real estate, software technology, and cosmetology. The college also offers apprenticeships in electrical and sheet metal working.
Ogden-Weber uses a competency-based model that enables students to work through courses at their own pace. Rather than completing a set curriculum schedule, students progress by demonstrating competency of various technical skills and concepts.
|7||LDS Business College Salt Lake City, UT||Tuition $8,198||# of Online Programs 7||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 31%||Financial Aid 51%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Sponsored and administered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDSBC ranks among the top trade schools in Utah for business students. Located in Salt Lake City, the college hosts a variety of associate degrees and certificates focused primarily on business topics, preparing graduates either to enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree at a four-year school.
LDSBC offers associate of applied science degrees in applied technology, cybersecurity, interior design, and paralegal studies. Students can also select from several professional certificates, with options including business analytics, hospitality and tourism management, and technical support engineer.
Certificate programs typically serve students who already possess a degree, building specialized skills for career advancement. However, some certificates may fulfill partial credit requirements toward an associate degree.
|8||Mountainland Technical College Lehi, UT||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Based in Lehi, MTECH also maintains campuses in Orem and Spanish Fork, serving residents of Utah, Summit, and Wasatch counties. As one of the best trade schools in Utah, the college hosts several technical and professional programs in fields including automotive, computer systems, culinary arts, and emergency healthcare. Students can choose from dozens of degree and certificate programs, such as precision machining, diesel technology, hair design, and digital media.
MTECH also hosts several apprenticeship programs, including heavy equipment operator, plumbing, and HVAC. Combining classroom sessions and on-the-job training, apprenticeships prepare students for professional certification and licensure, typically at the level of journeyman. Programs vary in length and education requirements. HVAC students, for example, must complete 360 hours of training, while plumbing students must complete 720 hours.
|9||Southern Utah University Cedar City, UT||Tuition $14,702||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
A major public college in Cedar City, SUU is a four-year college. However, students can choose from associate degrees and certificates in professional fields. The school's associate offerings include agriculture, aviation, and construction management. Its certificates include computer science, management, and sports performance.
SUU plans to offer a professional cybersecurity apprenticeship focused initially on careers in the manufacturing industry. The apprenticeship program provides specialized training through classroom courses and employment with local manufacturing businesses. Students build core cybersecurity skills, receiving a professional certificate upon graduation.
SUU is certified as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. Apprentices can continue their studies through SUU's bachelor's program in information systems with a cybersecurity emphasis. The school also offers a fully online master's in cybersecurity.
|10||Snow College Ephraim, UT||Tuition $8,907||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience -||Placement Service -||Counseling Services -||
Originally affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Snow College operates as a public, state-funded institution. Based in Ephraim (about 120 miles south of Salt Lake City), the school also runs a campus in Richfield. Snow College offers many associate degrees, diplomas, proficiency certificates, and certificates of completion. Students can select from vocational programs in areas such as practical nursing, network administration, and cosmetology/barbering.
Snow College serves more than 5,100 undergraduate students. The school offers comprehensive advising resources through its Student Success Center. Success advisors assist with degree and transfer counseling, course selections, registration procedures, and course scheduling. Advisors also help students adjust to college life by building study skills and mapping long-term academic and professional goals. Snow College offers advising services both online and in person for increased flexibility.
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Utah
Utah's vocational and trade schools offer postsecondary programs, and many offer secondary programs. Comprehensive high schools allow students to earn credits toward a vocational certificate or transfer them towards a college or university education. At the postsecondary level, students can pursue certificates at state and community colleges, as well as through the state's eight Utah College of Applied Technology campuses. Search now to explore programs and learning institutions near you.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual mean wage of $59,370 for all trade school occupations in 2019. Tech and vocational school graduates working in industries where companies compete for trained workers earn higher salaries.
Some vocational school careers offer higher salaries than jobs that require a two-year associate degree. In 2018, electrical and electronics repairers earned a median annual salary of $78,410, while diagnostic medical sonographers, a position which typically requires an associate degree, earned $71,410. The BLS also projects faster-than-average growth rates for many trade school graduates, including HVAC technicians, electricians, and plumbers.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Trade schools often coordinate with local area businesses and large state industries to craft program curricula. Vocational schools serve students and workplaces by adapting their program offerings as job markets and industries shrink or expand. The following list includes four occupational fields commonly available in trade schools today.
- Dental Hygienist Schools
Most dental hygienist programs include extensive hands-on training to give students the chance to develop practical skills. Students enroll in classes that cover subjects like dental radiology, oral pathology, and oral disease prevention. Vocational schools typically offer 18-month dental hygienist programs.
States require dental hygienists to obtain a license. Licensure requirements include passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. You must graduate from an accredited program in order to take the test. TheCommission on Dental Accreditation serves as the main accrediting agency for programs in the dental field.
The BLS projects a faster-than-average growth rate of 11% for dental hygienist jobs between 2018 and 2028. Dental hygienists earned an annual median pay of $76,220 in 2019.
- Mechanic Schools
Most students complete a trade school mechanic program in one year. Mechanic programs include hands-on training in addition to classroom instruction. Students take courses in auto repair, safety protocols, electrical and mechanical systems, and vehicle performance. Some local trade unions and large automobile companies coordinate with trade schools to offer paid apprenticeship programs that normally last three years.
Mechanics do not need licensure to work in most states. However, many graduates opt to earn the Automotive Service Excellence certification by taking an exam administered by the National Automotive Education Foundation. The exam only accepts applicants from an accredited mechanic program or apprenticeship recognized by the industry.
Automotive service technicians and mechanics earned an annual median salary of $42,090 in 2019.
- Paralegal Schools
A paralegal certificate program often consists of 18-30 credits and typically takes 12 months to complete. Students who earn the certificate usually qualify for entry-level jobs in the legal field. Coursework covers fundamental subjects such as estates and trusts, contracts, and legal software.
Employers prefer to hire graduates from at least a two-year associate program in paralegal studies at a community college. Many vocational schools offer two-year paralegal programs or include courses that easily transfer to community colleges.
The BLS projects a 12% growth rate for paralegals between 2018 and 2028. Paralegals earned an annual median salary of $51,740 in 2019.
- Radiology Technician Schools
Most radiology technicians work in hospitals, and many work directly with patients undergoing a variety of tests. Radiology technician programs often include classes in patient care procedures as well as radiobiology, radiation physics, and biochemistry.
Most states require radiologic technicians to obtain a license before beginning their professional practice. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists administers several widely recognized tests that many states use as the basis for granting licensure to applicants.
Radiology technicians earned an annual median salary of $62,280 in 2019. The BLS projects a faster-than-average job growth rate of 9% for radiology technicians and the addition of 23,300 jobs between 2018 and 2028.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
The postsecondary journey for many American students begins by completing theFAFSA. Institutions of higher education including vocational and tech schools rely on the information students provide on the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for scholarships and grants. Several professional associations and private organizations that administer financial assistance programs for students also rely on FAFSA information to disburse funds.
Although trade school education costs less than four-year bachelor's degrees, many students still apply for financial aid from need-based federal programs like Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. For students that do not qualify for need-based grants, the government offers low-interest student loans that come with payment deferment options. Although a private lender, Sallie Mae administers the Career Training Smart Option Loans, a program earmarked specifically for vocational school students.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
In 2019, a total of 163,690 students enrolled in various career and technical programs at trade schools in Utah. Some 95% of students completed the trade school programs in which they enrolled, higher than the 87% completion rate for students enrolled in four-year institutions. The scholarships in the list below comprise a small segment of available financial assistance programs for trade school students in Utah.
- American Welding Society Welder Training Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Applicants provide proof of enrollment or acceptance to a welding training program at an accredited trade school or community college. Local AWS districts accept applications, which they then forward to the national chapter.Apply for Scholarship
- Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractor National Association Educational Foundation Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: The program accepts applications from students pursuing a plumbing and heating/cooling program at a community college or vocational institution, as well as professional plumbers seeking to refresh their skills.Apply for Scholarship
- Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute Technical Scholarship
Who Can Apply: RMCMI accepts applications from students pursuing a technical school program related to the coal mining industry. Eligible applicants reside in one of the eight member states, including Utah.Apply for Scholarship
- Southern Utah Home Builders Association
Who Can Apply: SUHBA invites students pursuing a postsecondary program in a construction-related field to apply for funding. Applicants do not need to maintain membership with SUHBA to apply, although the organization gives preference to members.Apply for Scholarship
- Utah Energy Workforce Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The program accepts applications from students enrolled in an energy-related technical certification at an accredited Utah postsecondary institution. Applicants submit their answers to the prompts included in the application form.Apply for Scholarship
Additional Education and Career Resources
See and compare recent growth trends in major industries, view employment and unemployment rates in the state, compare cost of living and view compensation rates.
A resource for prospective CTE students and their parents with program details, scholarships, schools and career opportunities.
A resource provided through the State of Utah, job seekers can find information about career opportunities, training resources, assistance services and the latest information about the state's labor market.
A trade association that supports legislation and provides industry news and opportunities.
Members gain access to legislative news, education, and career opportunities in Utah.