Why Choose Trade School?
Vocational schools offer associate degrees and certifications to learners studying a trade. Students confident in their future career choice who want to enter the workforce quickly typically benefit from trade schools.
Anyone who wants to make a career switch can apply to trade school at any age. After earning their degrees, graduates become professionals like electricians, welders, medical assistants, physical therapists, and dental hygienists.
Trade schools differ from traditional four-year colleges. Trade programs focus on one subject, while a bachelor's degree covers multiple subjects and requires general education courses.
Associate degrees from trade schools take about two years to complete, while certificates from these institutions often take one year. Students who want to graduate as soon as possible can pursue accelerated or self-paced options.
The number of students attending trade school is on the rise. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor reveals that trade school enrollment increased by 56% between 2013 and 2018. Additionally, the National Center for Education Statistics found that 74% of students who earn an occupational credential find a job directly related to their major.
Read on to learn more about types of trade degrees, career and salary information, the importance of accreditation, and the top vocational schools in Vermont.
|Can I get financial aid for trade school?
|Yes. Accredited trade schools in Vermont typically accept financial aid from the FAFSA
|Are scholarships available for vocational students?
|Yes. Many private companies and foundations offer scholarships specifically for vocational students.
|Can trade school credits transfer?
|Most four-year colleges and universities accept a limited number of transfer credits from accredited vocational schools. Many schools also accept accredited associate degrees.
|When can I apply to trade school?
|Students can apply to vocational school during their final years of high school. Adults who want to learn a new trade can go back to school at any point during their lives.
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Prospective students should research a school's accreditation status before applying. If a school earns accreditation, it means it receives quality evaluations from a third-party organization that the U.S. Department of Higher Education (ED) oversees. To check a school or program's accreditation status, prospective students can use the ED's database.
The accreditation process ensures that schools uphold academic integrity and provide learners with quality education. Trade schools can earn programmatic, regional, and national accreditation. Many vocational schools earn national accreditation through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission also provides online vocational programs with national accreditation.
Some regionally accredited schools offer trade degrees. The New England Commission of Higher Education grants accreditation to vocational schools in Vermont. Some employers prioritize job candidates with degrees from regionally accredited schools, and certain scholarships reserve funds exclusively for students attending a regionally accredited school.
Programs can also earn accreditation. For example, respiratory therapy programs can earn accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.
In addition to accreditation, vocational schools must have a license from a state agency or the ED. For more information about accreditation and licensure, applicants should contact their prospective school's admissions department.
Vocational Trade Schools in Vermont
With so many tech schools in Vermont, finding the right one takes time. To help in the research process, we create and regularly update this list of top vocational schools in the state. We consider data like tuition cost and graduate success rates.
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Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for technical and trade school occupations is $55,270. Individual salaries vary based on industry, location, and experience.
For example, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters earned a median annual wage of $55,160 in 2019, and the BLS projects the field to grow 14% between 2018 and 2028. Meanwhile, physical therapists earned a median annual salary of $89,440 in 2019 and benefit from a projected career growth rate of 22% between 2018 and 2028.
In Vermont, employers in large cities like Burlington may pay more than employers in smaller cities like Rutland. However, professionals who work in high-need locations, like rural towns, may qualify for federal loan forgiveness.
Seasoned professionals often earn more than entry-level professionals. For example, welders with less than one year of experience earn an average hourly rate of $15.32, according to PayScale. Welders with more than 20 years of experience earn $21.69 per hour on average.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
Most trade schools provide programs in healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, and maintenance. Most trade programs take two years for associate degrees and one year for certificates.
See below for four common programs at vocational schools in Vermont.
Paralegal programs teach students how to complete administrative tasks for lawyers. Paralegals must use investigative skills to collect facts, research laws, take notes during trials, and communicate with clients and witnesses.
These professionals need an associate degree to practice. Paralegal programs require research projects, standardized tests, and case study reviews. Some students may also complete a paid internship during their studies.
According to the BLS, paralegals earned a median annual salary of $51,740 in 2019. The BLS projects the field to grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028. Paralegals typically work 40 hours per week, but sometimes more if they must meet a deadline. This job may also require travel.
Medical Assistant Schools
Medical assistant schools prepare graduates to work in clinical settings assisting doctors and nurses. Required courses teach students how to collect vital signs, draw blood, and record patient information.
Medical assistants must know how to perform basic administrative tasks. As such, some courses teach learners how to fill out insurance forms, successfully communicate with patients, and use appointment scheduling software.
According to the BLS, medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $34,800 in 2019, and this profession should experience a much faster-than-average 23% growth rate between 2018 and 2028.
Dental Hygienist Schools
Students who attend dental hygienist schools learn how to remove stains and plaque from teeth, conduct preliminary exams for dentists, and take x-rays. Required courses also teach students how to keep detailed records of patients' dental work. Dental hygienists must also educate patients on flossing and proper brushing techniques.
Most dental hygienist schools conduct performance exams in which students must demonstrate their skills. These courses also include textbook readings and traditional exams. All states require dental hygienists to earn a license, so most associate programs prepare graduates for the licensure exam.
According to the BLS, dental hygienists earned a median annual pay of $76,220 in 2019. The demand for these professionals is projected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028.
Medical Billing and Coding Schools
Medical billing and coding schools teach students how to record and maintain records for patients. Courses cover topics like how to review records for accuracy and ways to track patient outcomes.
Most medical billing technicians work in offices, but some work remotely. They must have strong interpersonal skills and knowledge of medical terminology so they can effectively communicate with registered nurses and doctors.
Medical coding technicians must know how to assign a diagnosis for billing purposes. They serve as liaisons between medical offices and insurance companies.
According to the BLS, medical records and health information technicians earned a median annual salary of $40,350 in 2019, and the need for these professionals is projected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
Trade school costs less than most four-year colleges. Students can lower the cost even further by finding financial aid. Learners can apply for financial aid through one form by completing the FAFSA.
The FAFSA provides students with federal grants and loans. Students do not need to repay grants. The federal government provides subsidized loans to applicants who demonstrate financial need. Subsidized loans require payment following a six-month grace period after graduation.
Students can also accept unsubsidized loans through the FAFSA. These loans are not need-based, but they begin accruing interest as soon as the recipient accepts the funds. Interest rates vary by loan and typically follow a 10-year repayment schedule.
Unfortunately, not all trade schools in Vermont may accept FAFSA. Prospective students can find out which schools accept the FAFSA.
The FAFSA takes first-time applicants around 55 minutes to complete. Students must reapply each year, which takes about 45 minutes. Applicants who file their taxes as dependents must submit their guardian's tax information.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
Although trade school presents an affordable education option, students can lower their future student loan payments even further by applying for scholarships. Read below for five scholarships reserved exclusively for learners studying a trade in Vermont.
Carol A. Hurley Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Vermont students who attend Randolph Area Vocational Center, Whitcomb, Windsor, or Woodstock Union High School can apply for this scholarship. The recipient must
plan to attend an accredited school.
Vermont Dental Hygiene Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Vermont residents preparing to work as dental hygienists may apply for this scholarship. The Vermont Dental Society awards this scholarship to students who
demonstrate financial need and academic achievement.
Vermont Incentive Grant
Who Can Apply: Vermont residents attending the Advanced Welding Institute may apply for this scholarship. The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation oversees this scholarship,
so individuals must apply directly through this organization.
Vermont Occupational Therapy Association Book Fund Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Vermont Occupational Therapy Association awards this scholarship to students completing an accredited occupational therapy assistant program. The recipient
must use the award to pay for books.
Vermont State Grange Educational Aid Fund VO/TECH Scholarship
Who Can Apply: High school students who plan on attending a vocational or technical school in Vermont may apply for this scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate financial
need and academic achievement.