Why Choose Trade School?
Trade schools, also referred to as vocational or tech schools, offer skills-based educational programs. In addition to classroom instruction, students complete significant training in the field to develop the skills needed for specific occupations.
Trade schools often offer programs in auto repair, cosmetology, plumbing, and HVAC. However, shifting market forces and numerous socioeconomic factors have led vocational and trade schools to diversify their offerings. Many schools now offer programs in fields like industrial automation technology, multimedia animation, and web graphics.
Vocational school programs typically take under two years to complete. Students save time and also money, since they only have to pay tuition for two years (at the most) rather than four years at a regular college or university.
Shorter programs also mean students enter the workforce sooner. They gain valuable experience and start receiving a salary two years ahead of their counterparts pursuing four-year degrees.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 74% of students with an occupational credential from a trade or vocational school end up working in the professional arena directly related to their field of study. Meanwhile, only 53% of students with academic credentials from four-year colleges and universities find work in their major after graduation.
By offering career-focused programs, trade schools play a major role in meeting students' educational and professional needs.
Read on to learn more about vocational school programs in general and more specifically about trade schools in Wyoming.
Top 10 Vocational Trade Schools in Wyoming
|#1||Casper College Casper, WY|
|#2||Northwest College Powell, WY|
|#3||Central Wyoming College Riverton, WY|
|#4||Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY|
|#5||Eastern Wyoming College Torrington, WY|
Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools
A school's accreditation attests to the quality of its academic programs. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee the accreditation process in the United States.
Nonprofit degree-oriented private and public institutions seek regional accreditation from accreditors recognized by the ED and CHEA. For-profit career-focused trade and sectarian schools seek national accreditation. Programmatic accrediting agencies evaluate specific programs rather than entire institutions.
A school's accreditation matters for two main reasons. First, only accredited schools can administer federal financial aid packages from the ED, including scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Second, most accredited schools only accept transfer credits from other accredited institutions.
Never take a school's accreditation for granted. Diploma mills, which are not accredited, exist among schools offering vocational programs.
The Higher Learning Commission accredits postsecondary two-year and four-year colleges and universities in Wyoming. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges accredits vocational schools in Wyoming. Accreditation of online schools and programs falls under the authority of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
States require all schools to be licensed before they can offer any type of educational programs. Licensure is not the same as accreditation. Licensure means that a school meets the minimum requirements of the state to operate as a learning institution. Accreditation evaluates the quality of the academic programs offered by the school.
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Vocational Trade Schools in Wyoming
The following list includes some of the top vocational schools in Wyoming. We considered accreditation, financial aid, online options, and available programs to rank these schools.
Find Vocational and Trade Schools in Wyoming
Wyoming contains several schools and programs that offer vocational and trade certificates in different areas of study. Use the search tool below to find the best vocational and trade schools in Wyoming for your career goals.
Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for all trade school occupations is $59,370. Many trade school graduates command higher salaries. Elevator installers and repairers ($84,990), aircraft mechanics ($64,310), and electrical line installers ($65,700) all earn strong average salaries.
Job growth and career prospects for several trade school occupations remain healthy. According to the BLS, electricians, HVAC technicians, and plumbers benefit from high projected growth rates in jobs in their sector between 2018 and 2028. However, some trade school occupations such as air traffic controllers and automotive service technicians face little to no change at all in growth rates for jobs in their sector.
Vocational school graduates have an easier time finding work in states with industries that require their skills and training. Job location significantly impacts career options. The following states hire the highest number of trade school graduates: Indiana (196,740), Tennessee (190,390), Alabama (130,840), Louisiana (129,370), and Iowa (108,690).
What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?
The list below includes four of the most common trade and technical programs.
Dental hygienist programs typically require students to complete extensive practical training in addition to courses in radiology, pharmacology, microbiology, and dental materials.
States require dental hygienists to obtain a license prior to practicing. Students must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as part of the licensure process. Only graduates of a dental hygiene program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation can sit for the exam.
According to the BLS, dental hygienists benefit from an 11% projected growth rate for jobs in the sector from 2018 to 2028. They earned a median annual salary of $76,220 in 2019.
Most trade school mechanic programs take no longer than 12 months to complete. Students often receive significant practical instruction through an internship or practicum.
Students can also enroll in an apprenticeship program through local trade organizations or automotive companies. Apprenticeships can last up to three years and come with a salary.
States do not require mechanics to be licensed or certified before they can work. However, mechanics typically take at least one of the certification exams administered by the National Automotive Education Foundation. Students who pass the exam earn the automotive service excellence certification.
According to the BLS, automotive service technicians and mechanics earned a median annual salary of $42,090 in 2019.
Vocational schools typically offer paralegal certificate programs that include 18-30 credits and usually require one year to finish. Graduates qualify for entry-level jobs in law.
According to the BLS, paralegals earned a median annual salary of $51,740 in 2019. The BLS projects a 12% growth rate for this field between 2018 and 2028.
Employers in the legal field are beginning to prefer paralegals with an associate degree, which some vocational schools offer. However, these programs are more common at community colleges. In lieu of two-year programs, some vocational schools offer a paralegal curriculum with courses that transfer easily to similar programs in community colleges.
Many radiology technicians work in medical and surgical hospitals, but they are also hired by outpatient care clinics and diagnostic laboratories. Many vocational schools offer one-year radiology technician certificate programs. Radiology technician programs at community colleges typically take two years to complete and lead to an associate degree.
Some states require licensure for radiology technicians. These states often rely on the exams administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Radiologic technologists earned a median annual salary of $62,280 in 2019. The BLS projects a 9% growth rate for jobs in this sector between 2018 and 2028.
Financial Aid for Trade School Students
For most students, the search for financial aid begins by completing the FAFSA. Public and private postsecondary institutions, including vocational and tech schools, use FAFSA information to determine an applicant's eligibility for their programs. Many private nonprofits and professional trade associations that administer scholarships and grants also rely on FAFSA information.
Federal programs such as Pell Grants and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants accept applications from trade school students based on their FAFSA information.
Vocational students who need additional aid should consider taking out a student loan from the government before private lenders. Private lenders typically charge higher interest rates and do not offer payment deferment options like federal student loans.
Scholarship for Trade School Students
Students enrolled in trade schools in Wyoming can take advantage of the following scholarship and grant opportunities.
Who Can Apply: Students must apply through their local AWS district. Applicants must be accepted to a welding training program at a community college or trade school.
Who Can Apply: Adult learners facing significant socioeconomic or physical hardships can apply to this program, which serves trade school students. Local EWI chapters accept and
process applications, but the final determination is made at the national level.
Who Can Apply: Specifically earmarked for vocational or technical school learners, this scholarship accepts applications from students who have overcome major obstacles and
adversity in their life. Applicants must be under 30 years old with demonstrable financial need.
Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in a plumbing and heating/cooling program at an accredited trade school or community college can apply for this scholarship. Plumbing apprentices can also apply.
Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in a college or career school agriculture program can apply for one of five scholarships administered by the Future Farmers of America
Foundation. Applicants must be current FFA members.