Trade Schools: What Are They?

Skillful Futures

If attending a traditional college isn’t for you, why not consider signing up for a course at a trade school? Read on to learn what trade schools are, the different types of trade schools available and why you should consider getting trade school degrees and the best trade schools in the U.S. today.

What Are Trade Schools?

Trade schools, or vocational programs, exist to train interested students in specific professions and skilled trades. They are for students who have graduated from high school and are open to anyone above the age of 16, though there are slight variations in entry age across different schools. Trade schools tend to be separate from traditional college institutions but are sometimes housed within one.

Trade schools aren’t simply for those people who can’t attend college as they’re not better or worse. They are for students who want to hone a specific craft. There is a huge range of trade school types in the U.S., each offering the chance to develop a specific skill. Building these skills in a trade can secure huge benefits, including good career prospects and high pay.

What Are the Different Types of Trade Schools?

There are dozens of different types of trade schools in the U.S., each designed to focus on a specific skill area. Here are some examples of trade school careers you could consider.


Carpentry trade schools specialize in woodwork and are ideal for those who want to design furniture, build doors or install wooden flooring.


If you dream of becoming the head chef at your favorite restaurant or simply want to learn more about nutrition, a cooking trade school is perfect for you. This course teaches you how to cook and bake, along with an education on the rules for keeping your kitchen clean.


Cosmetology trade schools are aimed at students who want to perfect the art of makeup and hairstyling. This is a great choice if you want to open a hair salon or become a makeup artist on television sets.


Becoming an electrician is a lucrative career these days, and for many, the best route to becoming one is by attending an electrical trade school. Here, you’ll learn how to wire safely and install electrical appliances.


Trade schools better serve those who want to become mechanics than traditional college institutions. That’s because you’ll be able to engage with hands-on learning, understanding how to identify and fix car failures.

Why Attend a Trade School?

There are many great reasons to attend a trade school, including lower pricing and more hands-on experience compared to traditional college environments.

Trade Schools Are Cheaper

Trade schools are significantly cheaper than their traditional college counterparts. And the savings don’t end there. Trade school courses tend to be shorter than college courses, meaning that you can graduate and work more quickly. This means you’ll earn money quicker than your college friends.

Trade Schools Are More Flexible

Because trade schools focus on specific career paths such as electrical or culinary, they acknowledge that many attendees will have a job alongside their studies. While students at college often attend classes as their only major priority, those at trade schools will often be working alongside their studies. This means that trade schools need to be more flexible, often offering day and night classes.

Trade Schools Are More Hands-On

Trade schools offer more practical opportunities when compared with colleges. You will work with a skilled instructor who has experience in your desired career field. For example, if you want to be a car mechanic, you’ll spend more time under the bonnet of a car here than you would if you attended a traditional college to study mechanics.

Trade Schools Are Better for Networking

Being taught by skilled instructors from the field means you’ll have access to contacts who may have job opportunities. This isn’t always the case in standard colleges.

Which Are The Best Trade Schools?

There are many great trade schools in the U.S., and the best practice is to find one that’s near to your home, is affordable and receives a positive satisfaction score. Here are three of our favorites worthy of your consideration.

University Academy of Hair Design

Offering a trade school course in cosmetology, the University Academy of Hair Design in Alabama is a well-priced option for budding hair and beauty students.

Northwood Technical College

Northwood Technical College is a small trade school in Wisconsin open to 897 students every year. It offers trade school courses in welding, bookkeeping and accounting. They accept 100% of applications, and their students go on to enjoy well-paid jobs.

Electrical and HVAC/R Training Center

In New York, you’ll find the Electrical and HVAC/R Training Center. It's an ideal study solution for those wanting to become trained electricians. Offering multiple courses, including an Electrical Program, Fire Alarm Course and Site Safety Training, this is a fantastic option to consider.

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