Why Choose Trade School?
Many career-minded students enroll in trade schools in West Virginia to gain skills for in-demand careers in hospitals, administrative and support services, and scientific and technical services.
Vocational schools in West Virginia offer a faster path to stable careers for a fraction of the cost of a four-year college. Certificates and diplomas at trade schools in West Virginia take about one year. Associate degrees require up to two years. However, self-paced and accelerated programs may speed up the graduation process.
Tech schools in West Virginia focus on a specific skill and offer fieldwork opportunities through internships and clinical. Flexible online programs give students freedom not enjoyed by on-campus learners who often face long commutes.
Vocational programs usually cost less than a four-year college, especially since West Virginia offers on-the-job training. This program reimburses employers who help pay for students to finish school while they continue to work.
Read on to learn more about the best tech schools in West Virginia.
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
Accrediting agencies serve as the gatekeepers to vocational schools in West Virginia. The accreditation process protects students to ensure that they receive a quality education for their money. Accreditation, especially regional accreditation, is also prestigious. Colleges can earn regional or national accreditation.
Earning accreditation means that a school completed a review and met educational standards set by independent accrediting agencies. The U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee accrediting agencies qualified to accredit schools and programs.
Recognized accrediting agencies include the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which accredits schools that primarily offer distance learning.
Students cannot receive federal financial aid if they attend an unaccredited college. Attending an unaccredited school can negatively impact graduates' career prospects.
Vocational schools in West Virginia must also earn licensure. State licensure of tech schools involves a similar quality control process in which creditors assess a school's academic mission, faculty performance, and curriculum standards.
Students can save time and money by attending accredited online schools. Learn more about the benefits of an online education and read our tips on how to find an online college on this page.
AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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Vocational Trade Schools in West Virginia
The vocational schools listed below offer flexible and affordable programs geared toward working students.
A two-year college in Martinsburg near the Virginia border, BRCTC ranks among the top vocational schools in West Virginia. Emphasizing affordability and career training, BRCTC offers trade and professional programs in several fields, including business, culinary, engineering, health sciences, and technology. Students can choose from programs such as plastics engineering technology, applied laboratory technician, catering and hospitality management, and physical therapy assisting.
BRCTC also offers an electrical distribution engineering technology apprenticeship, which trains students for careers in electrical line work. The program enables apprentices to earn an associate of applied science degree while working with Allegheny Energy. It combines classroom instruction, hands-on labs, and on-the-job training. Apprentices gain technical skills and learn professional safety techniques of electric line working, such as overhead line maintenance, solar thermal energy, and renewable energy technology.
Operating a main campus in Wheeling along with branch campuses in Weirton and New Martinsville, WVNCC serves six counties in the Northern Panhandle region of West Virginia. Students can pursue associate and certificate programs in fields such as business, healthcare professions, manufacturing and applied technology, public service, and tourism and hospitality. The school also offers apprenticeships in professions including plumbing and pipefitting, ironworking, and roofing.
WVNCC ranks among the most affordable vocational schools in West Virginia, with 83% of applicants receiving financial aid. Students save an average of 36% on tuition at WVNCC compared to four-year schools, and the college provides more than $280,000 in annual scholarship funding. The WV Invests Grant program funds education for eligible students, enabling grant recipients to graduate debt-free. WVNCC also offers several student resources, including academic support, career counseling, and tutoring.
Based in Williamson, Southern also maintains campuses in Foster, Hamlin, Mount Gay, and Saulsville. As one of the top trade schools in West Virginia, Southern hosts many technical and vocational programs in fields including agriculture, business, electrical engineering, and healthcare.
Southern also hosts the Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies, which trains students for mining industry careers. The academy's programs combine classroom learning, equipment labs and simulations, and on-the-job apprenticeship training. Southern offers apprenticeships in both surface and underground mining, with certification available both for West Virginia and Kentucky. The surface mining certification requires 40 hours of training, while the underground certification requires 80 hours.
Southern also offers an electrician apprenticeship certification, which includes eight hours of training on electrical hazards for miners. Applicants must be at least age 18 and already hold coal miner certification. Miners can also recertify through the school's continuing education programs.
Serving six counties in Potomac Highlands regions, Eastern operates a main campus in Moorefield. Ranked as one of the top vocational schools in West Virginia, this two-year college hosts a varied selection of technical degree and certificate programs, with options including accounting, biological and environmental technology, early childhood development, nursing, and wind energy technology.
Eastern offers comprehensive career services, which can help students determine career paths and identify job opportunities. The school partners with many employment organizations, such as WorkForce West Virginia and the American Job Center.
Eastern also offers several customized programs that combine cooperative learning, apprenticeships, and other hands-on training opportunities. Offered in conjunction between the college, local businesses, and other organizations, these programs typically award college credit for vocational training. Eastern offers approved technical studies partnerships in several professions, including certified nursing assistant, child development associate, cosmetology and hair stylist, medical assistant, and residential care specialist for the deaf and blind.
Located in Charleston, Carver offers career and technical education in several professional fields, including cosmetology, culinary arts, HVAC technician, respiratory therapy, and veterinary technology. The school's programs result in professional certificates, rather than associate degrees.
Carver offers concurrent enrollment for high school students, enabling eligible candidates to begin their professional education. Some of the college's high school concurrent programs include allied health sciences, collision repair technology, emergency and firefighting management, and integrated production technology.
Carver hosts a barbering apprenticeship designed by the West Virginia Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. Requiring 1,200 hours of training, the program explores the history and general concepts of barbering, along with sanitation practices, clipper-cutting techniques, facial shaving, beard trimming, and West Virginia state law related to barbering. Carver also offers a crossover program for licensed cosmetologists, which may enable candidates to complete the barbering apprenticeship with fewer required hours.
A two-year college based in Huntington, MCTC ranks among the top vocational schools in West Virginia. The school offers a sizable selection of technical and vocational programs in major fields, including allied health, applied technology, business, culinary and hospitality, and information technology. Students can choose from dozens of professional degree and certificate programs, including railway transit, multimedia design, event management, network systems administration, and pharmacy technician.
MCTC provides a strong selection of resources for students, including advising and counseling services, career services, disabled student services, and veterans and military services. Academic advisors and counselors help students identify academic and career goals, adjust to the college experience, and connect to other campus resources.
The school's Career Services office provides career coaching, resume assistance, and skills development. Students can also take advantage of mock interview sessions, career fairs, job search assistance, and transfer assistance.
Serving a 13-county region, Pierpont operates a main campus in Fairmont along with several satellite campuses. The main campus shares space with Fairmont State University, enabling Pierpont to offer a wider selection of campus resources than most other vocational schools in West Virginia. Students can pursue several technical and vocational programs at the associate and certificate level.
Pierpont also offers an associate of applied science in technical studies that emphasizes cooperative education by combining vocational courses with hands-on learning. This program primarily serves students who work in skilled trades such as automotive, building construction, carpentry, electrical, and masonry. Students can develop their professional skills while simultaneously earning an associate degree, enabling them to widen their career options.
Candidates can complete general education courses, technical classroom courses, and additional on-the-job training for a total of 60 credits. The program enables students to earn up to 39 credits for technical or occupational specialty training and up to 12 credits for on-the-job training or supervised work-based learning.
New River CTC serves a nine-county area in southern West Virginia, with campus locations in Greenbrier Valley, Mercer County, Nicholas County, and Raleigh County. The school offers technical and vocational programs in four major areas: business and computers, nursing and health professions, social and behavioral sciences, and technology and trade. Students choose from dozens of associate degrees and certificates, such as diesel service technology, general welding, legal office assistant, nail care technician, and retail department manager.
Students receive personalized support from an assigned academic advisor who assists with course selection, degree planning, and transfer counseling. Advisors can also help students identify and connect to other college resources, including career counseling.
New River CTC offers comprehensive career preparation through its Career Services office, including advising and counseling, occupation information, employment services, job referrals, and career workshops. Students can also access resources for resume review and interview training.
Affiliated with West Virginia University, the two-year Potomac State is one of the only residential vocational schools in West Virginia. The college offers dozens of associate degrees in a variety of professional fields, including business, information technology, health sciences, manufacturing and construction, and education. Students can choose from programs such as aerospace engineering, exercise physiology, wildlife and fisheries resources, wood science and technology, and agribusiness management.
Potomac State's connection to the West Virginia University System makes it easy for students to transfer into bachelor's programs at other member institutions, such as WVU Morgantown or WVU Beckley. The school offers several pre-professional degrees that prepare students to transfer directly into four-year programs, including pre-dentistry, pre-occupational therapy, pre-veterinary medicine, pre-nursing, and pre-pharmacy.
Potomac State students benefit from the resources of the West Virginia University System, with extensive academic advising and career services available. Students can also access free tutoring through the school's Academic Success Center.
A technical college that functions as part of the Mercer County School District, MCTEC primarily serves high school students, but the school also hosts some adult education programs. Based in Princeton, MCTEC offers four vocational education programs for adults: cosmetology, dental assisting, electrical technician, and practical nursing. The college also hosts a variety of pre-professional dual-enrollment programs for high school students, including automotive technology, collision repair, machine tool technology, and masonry.
MCTEC maintains articulation agreements with several four-year colleges, enabling high school students to complete coursework through MCTEC and earn up to six credits to apply toward other West Virginia public colleges. MCTEC offers designated transfer pathways to three schools: Concord University, Bluefield State University, and the University of Northwestern Ohio. Transfer program options include automotive technology, pre-engineering, architecture and construction/drafting, therapeutic services, and education.
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in West Virginia
Several trade schools in West Virginia offer degrees and certificates. Use the search tool below to find the right match for you.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
Employers in West Virginia need skilled workers in mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and hospitality.
Many of the top industries in West Virginia offer strong salaries and stability. However, wages vary, even in the same field and occupation. Factors such as region, company standards, experience, and industry all influence salary potential.
Education influences salary potential more than any other factor. Vocational schools in West Virginia teach many trades, some of which pay better than others. Before students commit to a program, they can explore careers on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website, which provides median annual salary information, job growth, and on-the-job duties for different trades.
According to the BLS, graduates of technical and trade schools earn a mean annual salary of $55,270.
Salaries differ among trades. Air traffic controllers, for example, made a median annual salary of $122,990 in 2019, while welders made a median annual salary of $42,490.
To earn higher salaries, professionals can gain more experience and earn professional certifications.
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
The following section includes more information about four types of trade schools in West Virginia.
Dental hygienists usually need an associate degree and a license. Students can earn either an associate or certificate in dental hygiene from vocational schools in West Virginia. An associate degree takes 1-2 years. Certificates take up to one year.
During dental hygiene programs, students participate in dental clinics and labs. They learn to use equipment, conduct X-rays, and identify oral diseases.
Dental hygienists earned a median annual wage of $76,220 in 2019, according to the BLS. The BLS projects an 11% job growth rate for these professionals between 2018 and 2028.
Learn more about dental hygiene programs on this page.
Mechanic schools train students to become mechanics, service technicians, and auto shop managers. Students can earn a certificate in automotive systems repairs in one year or an associate degree in two years. Vocational schools in West Virginia also offer specialized degrees in diesel power technology and diesel mechanics.
Mechanics make inspections and repairs to help people get their cars and trucks running on the road. They work full time in automobile dealerships and private repair shops.
Mechanics earned a median annual salary of $42,090 in 2019, according to the BLS.
Learn more about the top auto mechanic programs.
Paralegals assist lawyers with every aspect of the legal process, including organizing files, speaking with witnesses and clients, and writing legal documents. They work on trials, hearings, and depositions.
These professionals need a minimum of an associate degree, but many hold bachelor's degrees and certificates. Paralegals earned a median annual salary of $51,470 in 2019, according to the BLS.
Visit this page to learn more about paralegal programs.
Radiology technicians prepare patients for X-rays and imaging exams, working with doctors to review results. Most technicians work in state, local, and private hospitals.
According to the BLS, radiology technicians made a median annual salary of $73,410 in 2019. The BLS projects a 9% growth rate for these professionals between 2018 and 2028.
All radiology technicians need an associate degree at minimum. In most states, radiology technicians must have a state-issued license to practice.
Read more about the radiology technician programs on this page.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
Overall, students can expect to pay less for vocational schools in West Virginia than four-year colleges. Federal loans allow students to borrow funds to pay for tuition and then repay them after college. However, students should be careful about taking out more loans than they need. Additionally, some programs and schools cannot receive federal financial aid because they do not meet eligibility requirements or hold accreditation.
To determine how much federal financial aid they can receive, prospective students must submit their financial information by completing the FAFSA.
Scholarships can also help students pay for college. Read on to learn more about scholarships available to trade students.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
Trade school students can find state, institutional, and private scholarships. Scholarships provide students with money for tuition, books, and other college-related expenses.
Students do not need to repay scholarships. As such, scholarships are the best form of financial aid. To apply, students must submit application materials and meet academic and financial eligibility requirements.
See below for some scholarships for students at trade schools in West Virginia.
Who Can Apply:
As its name suggests, this scholarship does not require applicants to submit an essay. Applicants must be 18 years or older and enrolled in a school listed on niche.com.
Amount: $2,000 Apply for Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in certificate and associate programs in high-demand fields can receive funding for tuition and fees through this grant.
Who Can Apply: West Virginia residents attending community college can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have a high school or GED
diploma. Exact award amounts depend on the legislature's budget.
Who Can Apply: This grant assists high school graduates who demonstrate financial need and high academic achievement. Applicants must be enrolled in an eligible school in West
Virginia or Pennsylvania.