Trade schools offer affordable career training to all different types of students across a broad range of fields and finally, they are on the rise again. In the past three years, more students have been turning to trade school, also known as vocational school or technical school, than before. There are a few things that contribute to its growing popularity. One of the most glaring reasons is that the cost of college is continuing to climb. The cost of college has increased by roughly 300% over the course of just forty years. In addition, jobs are becoming more competitive for those who pursue a traditional college degree and many fields now demand more academic credentials than ever before. These factors, along with several others, are causing people to turn back to non-traditional options like online colleges and trade schools.

Prior to this upswing, the popularity of vocational schools had been steadily declining over the past twenty years. Vocational programs were separated from high schools, there was increased pressure for higher education, and a stigma grew around the concept of career colleges. A lot of that stigma is still clinging to this great opportunity, but don’t let that fool you. Trade school is a very solid investment.

An ongoing reality in America is that there are more skilled jobs available than there are skilled workers to fill those positions. The shortage is almost inconceivable. For instance, in 2016 it was reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that 7.8 million Americans were unemployed. That same year, there were almost six million openings in the field of construction – and that is just one of many skilled trades. Vocational programs are available in fields like engineering, environmental science, healthcare, plumbing, and more. Last year in 2018, the number of people unemployed dropped below the number of available jobs for the first time in over a decade. Going to trade school can help you get into a lucrative career faster and more affordably than many traditional programs and it can help the country by tackling the labor shortage.

If you’re just considering a vocational program for the first time, you may not know where to start and if you’ve already picked a program, you may have no idea how many funding options there truly are. In this guide, we will walk you through the types of financial aid you can get if you go to trade school and show you the different trade school scholarships that you may qualify for.

Can You Get Financial Aid for Trade School?

The short answer is yes, you can get financial aid for trade school! When you are not following a traditional path in higher education, you can feel like the deck is stacked against you; however, the truth of the matter is that many trade school students are just as eligible for federal student aid.

Here is a look at what is available to you.

FAFSA

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This should always be your first step when you’re seeking help paying for any post-secondary education. Trade schools often accept federal student loans just like a traditional four-year university. Once you’ve selected a school, double-check on their website or with their Financial Aid department to make sure that it is accepted. You can even use this FAFSA Checklist to help things go more smoothly. It is highly likely that you will be able to qualify for federal student loans. But, this isn’t the only benefit of putting in an application.

Pell Grants

A Federal Pell Grant is a subsidy that the government provides for students that need extra money paying for college. In order to qualify for this grant, you can not have already earned your Bachelor’s degree and you must demonstrate financial need. Financial need is calculated by comparing your income to your expenses. The majority of Pell Grants are awarded to students whose families make less than $30,000 per year but it is possible to still be eligible if you happen to fall above that line. This type of grant does not need to be paid back. The maximum Pell Grant available for the 2019-2020 academic year is $6,195. Note: It is not guaranteed that this is the amount you will receive.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

This is a secondary type of grant that you can receive on top of your Pell Grant. Students that have an Estimated Family Contribution of zero are considered first for this award and grants are continually awarded based on financial need until all available funds are gone. These can be applied to trade school and like the Pell Grant, they do not need to be paid back. The amount can range from a couple hundred dollars up to $4,000 but the most commonly awarded amount is $1,000. All other sources of financial aid and funding are considered to determine your eligibility.

On top of typical financial aid, you can also receive scholarships for trade school, which we’ll go over in the next section.

Types of Scholarships for Trade School

Scholarships are awards that you can earn based on a variety of different factors and from a variety of different sources, and yes! You can get a scholarship for vocational school! Scholarships can be awarded from many different types of organization and each will have its own set of requirements. The majority of them are paid directly to the school that you select but some of them will payout to you. Scholarships can be used for tuition, fees, books, and sometimes even housing, childcare, transportation, or food. Regardless of what you may need it for, you could get free money for trade school. Below, you can familiarize yourself with the different types.

Need-Based Scholarships

Need-based scholarships are awarded based on your demonstrated financial need. The threshold is going to vary based on the individual scholarship but in order to be eligible, you will typically have to make under a certain amount of money each year.

Merit-Based Scholarships

As implied by the name, this type of scholarship is awarded based on merit. This could be your academic performance, community service, ACT/SAT scores, or extracurricular activities.

Field-Specific Scholarships

Many skilled jobs are seeing a shortage of skilled workers to fill those positions, as you read earlier. Because of that, and because some organizations seek to encourage growth in particular industries, there are scholarships available to students who are pursuing work in that particular industry. Some fields that are male-dominated may offer scholarships to women as an incentive. Marginalized groups in the country are also considered for some scholarships, to promote success in their communities and to diversify the workforce.

Company Scholarships

Companies big and small offer scholarships to students that are looking to enter relevant fields of work to grow their workforce and increase profitability. CVS, Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, and so many more companies award scholarships every year in varying amounts. Some companies offer them to employees only, some offer them to potential future employees, and some just give them widely.

Tuition Reimbursement Programs

This may or may not technically fall under the umbrella of a scholarship but it is worth pointing out, especially for trade school students. Some companies offer tuition reimbursement programs to their employees. This helps them to ensure that their employees are well-trained. It also incentivizes job seekers and helps boost morale in the company. Every company will have a different system and set of requirements. Usually, the vocational training you receive has to be related to your line of work. You may need to pay out of pocket at first, maintain certain grades, and possibly pay taxes on the money you receive.

Now that you’re a little more familiar, let’s talk about the trade school scholarships that you might be able to get.

Methodology

This piece is not a ranking. The scholarships featured here have not been ranked in any way; they are simply presented based on the vocational training you can pursue with each one and ordered based on award amount.

Our initial list of trade school scholarships that we compiled had nearly 2,000 different opportunities. We have excluded location-specific trade school scholarships. States like Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Florida, Iowa, and more have an abundance of trade school scholarships that students can win to help them pay for their vocational training. Scholarships.com is a great place to look for them. Note: You may need to register to look. Don’t worry, it’s free.

We have chosen to feature trade school scholarships that are widely available. All of the scholarships in this list are open to United States citizens in any state. However, there may be some additional specific requirements that do not apply broadly to everyone. They are also strictly for trade school, vocational school, or technical education. Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list! If you don’t see the right opportunity for you in this guide, don’t stop researching. You can even use this guide to Finding and Applying for College Scholarships.

You will need to make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements for each one and complete your application prior to the documented deadline.

General Trade School Scholarships

Second Chance Scholarship Contest

Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 08/31/2020

This scholarship is open to all students in the United States and it is a very easy one to apply to. You can use your prize towards any properly-accredited trade school program and winners are randomly selected through a computer drawing. Five people will be selected and the funds will be awarded directly to the trade school that you’re enrolling in. There is no essay, you just have to answer a few questions. You can apply for this scholarship in just a matter of minutes and get free money for trade school. If you’re a previous winner, you’re ineligible to apply again.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Women in Trades Scholarship

Amount: $1,500 | Deadline: Varies

Application deadlines for this scholarship fall on March 31st and November 15th. This opportunity is only open to women that are entering a trade school program in Appliance Repair, Electrical Repair, Fire and Flood Restoration, Glass Repair and Replacement, Handyman Services, HVAC, Landscaping, Plumbing, or Residential Cleaning. Six scholarships are available and they can be used to cover any trade school expenses. In order to apply, you have to answer 37 questions, write a 500-word essay on how the scholarship will impact you, and submit two letters of recommendation.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

High School Senior College Scholarship

Amount: $2,000 | Deadline: 04/06/2020

This scholarship is only open to high school seniors that are enrolling in a properly-accredited trade school program in the Fall 2020 session. A unique feature is that it is even open to homeschooled students as long as they are at an academically equivalent level. Winners are not selected based on need, merit, or any specific factor. Instead, ten winners are randomly selected through a computer-generated drawing. Because this is a random trade school scholarship, you only have to answer a few quick questions to apply.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund

Amount: $2,000 | Deadline: 03/18/2020

This scholarship is open to low-income women that are over the age of 35. In order to be eligible, you must be enrolled or accepted at a not-for-profit trade school that is accredited by one of the accrediting bodies detailed on the fund’s website. Selection is based on what your goals are, your outlined plan for reaching those goals, and your level of financial need. There are as many as 87 of these trade school scholarships awarded annually. The income requirements are outlined on the website and are based on the size of your household. Any trade is eligible.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

BigRentz Trade School Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 12/09/2019

There are two of these scholarships available to any student that is currently enrolled in high school or any level of college program. You must also have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and plan to pursue a skilled trade through an accredited trade school. In order to enter, you will be required to submit an essay that talks about someone whose work ethic inspired you to pursue your trade. Essays must be at least 750 words. There is also a questionnaire. This vocational scholarship is not field-specific.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

The Skylands Energy Scholarship

Amount: $10,000 | Deadline: 07/15/2020

This scholarship is awarded to one student per year that is pursuing a career related to any one of the following fields: Environment Science, HVAC, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Construction Management. Students must be enrolled on a full-time basis. This trade scholarship does not pay out all at once; instead, you are eligible to receive $2,500 per year for four years as long as you maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. To apply, you must submit an essay of at least 1,00 words and a two-minute video both discussing the benefits of biofuel and its ecological and economic impact.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Two Ten Higher Education Scholarship

Amount: $16,000 | Deadline: 04/19/2020

This is a unique scholarship because one of the principal requirements is that applicants or their parents have a minimum of two years of experience working in the footwear industry. Two of these scholarships are awarded each year to students that meet the above requirement and also demonstrate the financial need. As much as $4,000 per year is paid out over the course of four years to the winner. This trade scholarship only requires you to maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Mike Rowe Work Ethic Scholarship

Amount: Varies | Deadline: 05/01/2020

Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs created the Work Ethic Scholarship Program and it is awarded to any eligible student that is enrolling in a trade school program in Welding, Plumbing, Pipe Lifting, Marine Technology, Manufacturing, Machinery, HVAC, Heavy Equipment Operation, Fire Science/Technology, Farming/Agriculture, Electrical Technology, Diesel Technology, Construction, Commercial Driving, Carpentry, Aviation Technology, or Automotive Technology. You will need to write a short essay, make a video, and send two references to apply.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Trade School Scholarships for Construction

Construction trade programs famously offer one of the best ROIs in any postsecondary program. If you would like to secure a career in construction, construction management, or carpentry, these trade scholarships for construction can help you get the most out of your diploma without paying the sticker price.

Future Contractors Scholarship

Amount: $750 | Deadline: 07/31/2020

This is a nationwide trade school scholarship for construction. It is awarded to one student each year and this is not a repeating scholarship; past winners are not eligible to win again. The application process is fairly short and straight forward. You will have to complete a very short essay (only 250-500 words!) and answer a few basic questions about yourself and your chosen trade school program. Graduating high school seniors as well as students enrolled in a post-secondary program can apply.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Workforce Development Scholarship

Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 06/01/2020

Students that are entering into career and technical programs in the field of construction are eligible to receive this scholarship from the AGC Education and Research Foundation. The school that you choose must hold proper accreditation and you must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. There are some unique features of this scholarship. It is available to both part-time and full-time students and it pays directly to you via check rather than being sent to your chosen institution. If certain criteria are met, there is a renewal opportunity.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Tri-City Construction Council Scholarship Program

Amount: $2,000 | Deadline: 03/29/2020

This scholarship is available to any student that is planning to enroll or is already enrolled in a construction-related program. Other fields may be considered but a preference is given to construction. Factors like academic achievement, financial need, leadership qualities, community involvement, and extracurricular activities are all considered to determine the winners. Unfortunately, there is not much more information available but contact information for any questions you may have can be found on the scholarship’s website.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Lewis W. Newlan Scholarship

Amount: $2,500 | Deadline: 02/28/2020

This is a good scholarship opportunity for those of you who have completed some college but haven’t finished your degree and are considering entering a vocational or technical school program instead. This scholarship is awarded to those students who have a minimum of 24 college credits, a GPA of 2.75 or higher, and plans to enroll in a trade school program in construction, architecture, building sciences, or engineering. There are ten winners each year. In order to apply, you just have to submit your transcripts and most recent tax return.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Davis Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 04/12/2020

There are several of these scholarships awarded every academic year to students that are entering a construction program. There is no set limit but the most recent data shows that ten people were awarded last year. It is open to all students but priority is given to trade school students or those who plan to enroll in a trade school program. The main criteria considered for winner selection is the applicant’s past academic achievement and personal achievements as they relate to your goals. However, financial need can be the tipping point if two entries are close and there are no more scholarships available.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

National Housing Endowment Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 05/08/2020

This scholarship is offered in conjunction with the Dupree Construction Education Fund. It is unclear how many winners are selected but in order to be eligible to win you should have experience in the field of residential construction and eventual plans to work as an instructor (teaching construction or a related discipline) at a properly accredited facility. While you do have to have more long term goals in order to be eligible to win, you can apply this scholarship to a technical school program.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Robert W. Lyons Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 02/28/2020

This scholarship for trade school is awarded to up to four eligible students per year. In order to be eligible, you must be enrolled in a construction, architecture, engineering, or building sciences program. Similar to the Lewis W. Newlan Scholarship, this opportunity also requires you to have completed a minimum of 24 credits. The minimum GPA is requirement is lower than average at 2.75 cumulative. You can only receive this award one time. To apply, you only need to submit current tax documents and your official transcripts.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Trade School Scholarships for HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing

If you would like to help people keep cool and keep some money in your pockets, these HVAC vocational scholarships might help. Programs for electricians and plumbers have also been included in this section.

PTAC Crew Scholarship for HVAC Students

Amount: $1,500 | Deadline: 08/01/2020

This scholarship is one of the ones with the fewest requirements. It is awarded to one student per year that is either planning to attend or already enrolled in a vocational or technical school. In order to be eligible, you must be pursuing a program in HVAC or peripherally related to HVAC. If you have received any academic scholarships that cover tuition in full, you may not enter to win this award. To apply, you just need to submit an essay between 500 and 1,000 words that covers two of the following topics:

  • Do you think PTACS will still be the primary heating and cooling device in hotel rooms nationwide by the year 2069? Why or why not?
  • How would this scholarship impact you and what would it mean for your career?
  • What are some of the core values that you believe in and why?

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

RMEL

Amount: $1,500 | Deadline: 02/08/2020

This scholarship is open to baccalaureate students as well as those entering craft or certificate programs, which means you can apply to get some help paying for trade school. You must be a high school senior or currently enrolled in your trade program. If you have already earned a bachelor’s degree, you are no longer eligible to apply. This scholarship is awarded to students that want to enter the electric energy industry upon completion of their program. Four of them are made available each year to qualifying students.

There are specific awards for different categories of students. High school seniors, bachelor’s degree seeking students, trade school students, and previous recipients of the scholarship. This means that even though several different groups are considered, that won’t dilute your chances as much as if all applicants fell into a single pool. This is a renewable scholarship as well, providing you meet the requirements in your second application year.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

DEED Lineworker and Technical Education Scholarship

Amount: $2,000 | Deadline: Varies

This is one of four different types of scholarships that are offered by DEED. In order to be eligible, you must be accepted or actively enrolled in a vocational school and working towards a career in the electric utilities field. Lineworkers and similar technical disciplines are included. There are two awards given out each year, in the Fall semester and the Spring semester. The application deadlines are February 15th to be awarded by Fall and; October 15th to be awarded by Spring. Funds are paid directly to your trade school.

You can only be awarded one DEED scholarship at a time and you can not combine the scholarship with tuition reimbursement from an employer. Your vocational school must be properly accredited. Winners are selected based on a variety of factors like your goals, motivation, school and community service, academic ability, and how in-demand your chosen career is.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Henry Adams Scholarship

Amount: $3,000 | Deadline: 12/21/2019

The Henry Adams Scholarship is one of several ASHRAE Scholarships that are featured in this category. In 1959, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers was formed and today, it offers a range of scholarships for trade school students. Each of the scholarships that we point as being offered by ASHRAE will all follow the same set of requirements and application process unless otherwise specified.

This category of scholarships is available to undergraduate-level and trade school students that are planning to enroll in an HVAC/R program in the coming Fall semester. Students must be enrolled at a full-time pace, have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0m as well as being in the top 30% of their class. ABET accreditation or an ASHRAE Student Branch is required at your institution in order to win.

The application is fairly involved. You have to fill out a form with basic information about yourself, your education, and your professional experience. You must also describe your professional goals, your involvement in the HVAC & Refrigeration industry, your community service, and extracurricular activities, and level of financial need. You will need to provide three references along with letters of recommendation, and you will be asked to list any clubs, societies, organizations, or similar groups that you participate in. Again, this will be the process for all ASHRAE scholarships.

The Henry Adams Scholarship is a one time award of $3,000. It is granted to one student per year.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

AC Pro Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: Varies

The AC Pro Scholarship is essentially one half of a scholarship opportunity that is available to veterans. First, there is a program called Troops to Trades. It seeks to ease the transition back into civilian life and help veterans find good, steady jobs in skilled trades. It provides scholarship opportunities in the following industries: HVAC, electrical, and plumbing.

The Troops to Trades program is a grant that covers enrollment and training fees to help veterans get started at NexTech Academy. The AC Pro Scholarship is awarded to one Troops to Trades student every year that is pursuing an HVAC program. Application requirements are not widely available. If you are a Troops to Trades student, you can talk to your coordinator for additional details.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Alwin B. Newton Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 12/21/2019

Alwin B. Newton was a pioneer in the HVAC industry that was granted an impressive 219 patents over the course of his lifetime. This ASHRAE scholarship is named in his honor. It is a one time award of $5,000 and there is one of these scholarships made available each year. As with all other ASHRAE Scholarships for trade school, students must meet the outlined requirements described towards the beginning of this section under the Henry Adams Scholarship header.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

ASHRAE General Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 12/21/2019

There is one ASHRAE General Scholarship awarded each year to a qualified student that meets the previously described criteria. It is a one-year nonrenewable scholarship to be used for HVAC/R related education.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

DEED Technical Design Projects

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 10/15/2019

DEED offers a total of four types of scholarships, as you may have read about above. This is one is open to full-time students at vocational schools or colleges that are in their final year and are working on completing a technical project to finish their diploma, certificate, or degree.

In order to be eligible for this scholarship, you must be completing a program that will lead to a career in the electric utilities industry. There is only one of these scholarships awarded annually. This scholarship is designed to help you with financial support as you complete your project. To apply, you will need to discuss your technical project in detail in your application.

What is unique about this scholarship is that the funds will be paid directly to you in a one-time payment of $5,000. You will also have the chance to present your project and results at the Engineering & Operations Technical Conference. This scholarship includes travel funds to help you get to the conference in the amount of up to $3,000.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Duane Hanson Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 12/21/2019

The Duane Hanson Scholarship is a one-year scholarship that is awarded to one student each year. It is an ASHRAE scholarship that was named after the president of Gayner Engineers, a California-based consulting mechanical/electrical engineering firm.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Frank M. Coda Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 12/21/2019

The Frank M. Coda Scholarship is an ASHRAE scholarship that was established to memorialize the former Executive Vice President of the association. It is a one time award of $5,000 that is granted to one student each year.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Gordon V. R. Holness Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 12/21/2019

Another ASHRAE scholarship, the Gordon V. R. Holness Scholarship was also named for a former president. The student that wins this award displays excellence in areas related to Mr. Holness’ theme as president of the association, which was “Sustaining Our Future by Rebuilding Our Past.” This is a nonrenewable scholarship with one winner chosen annually.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Lynn G. Bellenger Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 12/21/2019

This is an ASHRAE scholarship that is specifically offered to women that meet the criteria outlined above. It is named in memory of the association’s first-ever female president who served in the years 2010 and 2011. Women who are awarded this scholarship should display excellence in the theme that Mrs. Bellenger served under, which was “Modeling a Sustainable World.” This scholarship is not eligible for renewal and there is one recipient per year.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Reuben Trane Scholarship

Amount: $10,000 | Deadline: 12/21/2019

The Reuben Trane Scholarship is an ASHRAE scholarship that was established in memory of Reuben Trane. He founded The Trane Company which still ranks among the largest manufacturing enterprises in the field of HVAC and Refrigeration. This is a multi-year scholarship that is awarded to three students every year. Students can receive $5,000 per year to use towards their trade school program.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Willis H. Carrier Scholarship

Amount: $10,000 | Deadline: 12/21/2019

Willis H. Carrier may sound familiar because he founded The Carrier Corporation, which is one of the largest air conditioning manufacturers in the world and truly pioneered the industry as a whole. Mr. Carrier installed the first-ever scientifically designed air conditioning system over a hundred years ago and his memory lives on through this ASHRAE scholarship. This opportunity is specifically reserved for students entering an engineering-related program and there are two awarded every year. It is a one-time award of $10,000 and it can not be renewed.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Trade School Scholarships in Automotive and Aviation

Trade School Scholarships in Automotive and Aviation

Mechanics in aviation as well as the automotive industry are way more important than people realize. In essence, they keep the world moving. If you would like to step into that career path, these automotive trade school scholarships could help you pay for it.

The Future Mechanic Grant

Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 12/01/2019

This scholarship is one that has very sweeping criteria so it is one that you should definitely apply for if you want an automotive scholarship for trade school. There is only one of these scholarships awarded each year and it is nonrenewable. This opportunity is open to any United States student that is planning on enrolling in a trade school program in an automotive field sometime in the next twelve months. To apply, you must write a 500-word essay on why you plan to pursue a career in the automotive industry and what you will do with your degree. That is all you need to do other than provide contact information so that Trade School Future can let you know if you’ve been selected as the winner.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation Education Scholarship

Amount: $2,500 | Deadline: 06/20/2020

This is a women’s-only trade school scholarship opportunity. If you are a woman that is planning to pursue a career in the automotive industry by going to vocational school, you could win this scholarship. There are four awards available each academic year. In order to apply, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. In order to apply, you will need to fill out the printable form at the link below. You will need to provide some basic information about who you are, where you live, the school and program you are attending, and a few other details. You will need to provide transcripts, or proof of your acceptance into your vocational program if you have yet to enroll.

The application also requires a cover letter describing your career aspirations; a resume that includes work, volunteering, and extracurricular activities and; any recommendation letters you have (these are optional). Winners are selected based on their demonstrated passion for the field. If your GPA drops below the requirement, you may need to pay back what you were awarded.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund

Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 03/01/2020

There are as many as fifty of these scholarships awarded every year. There are a variety of career paths that are eligible to win as long as they are within the automotive industry. Some examples are accounting, engineering, race car crew, manufacturing, sales, design, transportation, and technician, among a few others that may surprise you. As long as you are pursuing a trade school program related to the automotive field, passionate about it, and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher, you could win this vocational scholarship. To apply, you will need to submit your transcripts, one letter of recommendation, and submit a 500-word statement of purpose. There is also a questionnaire to determine how dedicated you are to the discipline.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

Automotive Hall of Fame Scholarship

Amount: Varies | Deadline: 06/30/2020

There are a number of scholarships awarded by the Automotive Hall of Fame each year. They all share the same basic criteria. In order to apply, you must be enrolled in an undergraduate or technical school program seeking employment in the field of automotive. You must be a United States citizen, pursuing your program full-time, and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. All of these scholarships are awarded based on financial need. To apply, you must submit an official transcript, two letters of recommendation, and proof of your acceptance or enrollment in your automotive trade school program.

The income requirements are not detailed on the website, but you are free to contact the Award and Scholarships Programs office if you have any eligibility questions.

To learn more and submit an application, click here.

The Aircraft Electronics Association Scholarships

Amount: Varies | Deadline: Varies

The AEA Educational Foundation offers a broad selection of scholarships to students that are entering into a vocational or technical program in the field of aviation. Scholarships range from $1,000 all the way up to $35,000 and the foundation has awarded more than a million dollars in scholarships throughout its history. The requirements for each of these scholarships may vary slightly but, in general, to be eligible to receive an AEA scholarship, you must be a resident of the United States. High school seniors as well as college or trade school students are eligible to receive awards. All scholarships require that you are in a field related to avionics, aircraft maintenance, or another aviation-related discipline.

One time, $1,000 Scholarships: These scholarships are available to any high school, college, or trade school student that is currently enrolled or planning to enroll in a properly-accredited avionics, aircraft maintenance, or aircraft technician trade school program.

  • The Chuck Peacock Memorial Scholarship, named in memory of the founder of the AEA.
  • The David Arver Memorial Scholarship, named in memory of one of the former members of the AEA’s board of directors.
  • The Duncan Aviation Scholarship, which is available thanks to Duncan Aviation. It is the largest family-owned and operated aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility in the world.
  • The Dutch and Ginger Arver Scholarship.
  • The Field Aviation Co. Inc. Scholarship, which is offered in conjunction with the aircraft manufacturing company if the same name.
  • The Garmin–Jerry Smith Memorial Scholarship.
  • The Johnny Davis Memorial Scholarship, which is named in memory of the president of Dallas Avionics. He also served as an AEA board member.
  • The Marshall Temple Memorial Scholarship.
  • The Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics Scholarship.
  • The Stone Foundation Scholarship.

The Universal Avionics Scholarship is another trade school scholarship offered by the AEA in conjunction with Universal Avionics. This is a one-time award of $1,500.

One-time Scholarships in the $2,000 range: These scholarships are also available to any graduating high school student, as well as any college, or trade school student that is currently enrolled or planning to enroll in a properly-accredited avionics, aircraft maintenance, or aircraft technician trade school program.

  • The Garmin Scholarship, which is $2,000.
  • The Gogo Business Aviation Scholarship, which is $2,500.
  • The L3Harris Technologies Scholarship, also $2,500.
  • The Lee Tarbox Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded by Pacific Southwest Instruments, also $2,500.
  • The final scholarship we’re going to talk about that is offered by the Aircraft Electronics Association is the Pat Napolitano Memorial Scholarship for Aspiring Technicians. This is a $3,000 scholarship that is awarded once per year. Students that are enrolled in trade school in pursuit of their Aviation Technician Certification are eligible to apply.

    Application information for any of these AEA-affiliated scholarships can be found at the link below beginning in October 2019.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Trade School Scholarships in Environmental Science and Sustainability

    Sustainability is a continually growing trade that offers careers that pay well and allow you to serve the planet. Parks and recreation management, hydroponics, wind turbine maintenance, geological technician, and a host of other career opportunities could be open to you if you go to trade school for environmental science.

    AEE Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 05/01/2020

    This scholarship is open to all academic levels including trade school programs. Students must be pursuing a program in energy engineering, energy management, or energy and sustainability. This is a fairly broad umbrella to work with and the application process is simple. You must submit your transcripts, an essay discussing the reason why you want a career in energy, your financial needs, and any relevant experience in the field that you want the committee to consider. You can also submit additional documents that discuss any awards, volunteering, or relevant experience that you want to be taken into account. You will also need one letter of recommendation. You must have a local AEE chapter to apply; however, there are over 70 local chapters nationwide.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Arborjet Taking Root Scholarship Program

    Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 06/14/2020

    This scholarship is awarded to ten students per year that are planning to enroll in a forestry-related discipline. Some examples could be Plant Sciences, Forestry, Environmental Science, and so many others. This is open to all undergraduate levels of study including trade schools as well as bachelor’s programs. Marine and Wildlife programs are not eligible. The school that you want to go to must be properly accredited. You must be a high school senior in order to apply. If you’re enrolled in a GED or high school diploma equivalency program, you may still be eligible. You can use the link below to find appropriate contact information if you’d like to discuss that further.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    CWEEL Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 05/01/2020

    This scholarship is jointly offered by the AEE Foundation and the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership, which falls underneath the foundation’s umbrella. The application does not specify that it is only available to women, just qualified students that are aspiring energy and sustainability technicians and engineers. The application process is similar to the other AEE Foundation scholarship. There is a brief information sheet to fill out that you must submit along with a personal recommendation from someone who works at your trade school, your transcripts, and a short statement describing your financial needs and career goals.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Ted Rollins Eco Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 06/01/2020

    This scholarship is awarded twice per year to different students that are pursuing a career in the field of sustainability. Water conservation, forestry, wind turbine technician, and several other vocational programs are covered by this scholarship. High school seniors and college students studying below the graduate level are eligible to apply. Funds can be used for tuition, books, or even living expenses. You must be enrolled in at least ten credits worth of courses during the Fall semester to qualify to win. To apply, you have to write an essay that discusses your experience and your vision for the advancement of sustainability in America. Business and marketing programs are also covered by this technical school scholarship.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Al Thurmann Scholarship

    Amount: $2,000+ | Deadline: 05/01/2020

    The Al Thurmann Scholarship is in the same family as the AEE Scholarship discussed above. There are multiple awards available for the AEE Scholarship, through local chapters and through the foundation itself. With over a hundred students potentially receiving funding, there are a lot of applicants that must be processed. This scholarship is awarded to the most outstanding among all AEE Scholarship applicants. There is only one of these awarded each year and the minimum is $2,000 but the award amount could be higher based on the funds and endowments in a given year. To be considered for this trade school scholarship, you must meet the requirements and submit an application to the AEE Foundation’s general scholarship program.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    William Mashburn Scholarship and the Walter Johnston Scholarship

    Amount: $2,000 | Deadline: 05/01/2020

    The William Mashburn Scholarship is awarded to the runner up to the Al Thurmann Scholarship detailed above. If a student comes in third place among the entire pool of applicants, they will receive the Walter Johnston Scholarship. These scholarships will be for the amount of $2,000 and only one of each is awarded annually.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    The Ike Foundation Scholarship

    Amount: $3,000 | Deadline: 04/01/2020

    This scholarship is only open to high school seniors and there are five of them made available each year. The field that you plan to pursue at trade school or a traditional college is not specifically important to win this award but it is focused on encouraging outdoor conservation and recreation. It is recommended that students interested in those areas specifically apply. You must be entering college or trade school in the upcoming Fall semester. Awards are based on a combination of factors, which are financial need, academic achievement, volunteer commitment in fishing or conservation, and more. One more thing, this scholarship is based on fishing. This doesn’t apply to everyone but it is certainly a unique and interesting opportunity for the right trade school student. To apply, you must submit a five-paragraph essay about how modern technology has impacted fishing.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    The Vildeus “Jules” Jean-Baptiste Service Award & Scholarship

    Amount: $4,000 | Deadline: 04/03/2020

    Vildeus Jean-Baptiste founded a Haitian Methodist ministry in New Jersey and is being immortalized through this scholarship because of his commitment to service, education, and affecting change. Students in the United States and Haiti that are planning to study an environmental or agricultural discipline can apply. You must be a high school senior with a GPA of at least 3.0. One of the unique things about this scholarship is that it is one of the very few scholarships for vocational school that allows students to maintain their funding even if they are studying part-time. In order to apply, you must submit some transcripts and other information along with a 500-word essay about why community service is important to you, how you have served your community, and how your degree will help you to continue to do so in the future.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Trade School Scholarships in Healthcare

    When people think of going to school for a career in healthcare, they often think of doctors or nurses. Of course, the truth is that there are a lot of people that work behind the scenes to keep medical facilities running and help them serve their patients effectively. You can go to trade school for a health career, and you can get a vocational scholarship to help offset the cost. Some career options include sonography, radiation therapy, dental hygiene, and so many more.

    The Pearl Mae Foundation Scholarship for Healthcare and First Responders

    Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 03/31/2020

    Priority is given to students that live in South Florida and in the Corpus Christi, Texas areas but this scholarship is nationally available to all students that are pursuing a career in a health-related discipline include first responders. There are as many as 20 awarded every year. This trade school scholarship for healthcare careers was created to help support students in getting the training they need to care for the increasing senior population nationwide. In addition, there are renewal opportunities for this scholarship so you could receive it year after year as you complete your career college program.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Save a Life Scholarship

    Amount: $1,500 | Deadline: 10/01/2019

    The American Academy of CPR and First Aid offers this scholarship and it is one that is kind of broadly available. Students that are pursuing a career in healthcare and education are eligible to win as long as they are currently enrolled in a properly accredited program. For trade school students, health administration, medical billing, and coding, or medical equipment repair are all eligible. Past winners are not eligible to win again. In order to apply, you have to send some basic information along with an essay explaining your career aspirations. This trade school scholarship is awarded in both Fall and Spring.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    AAMI Foundation Scholarship

    Amount: $3,000 | Deadline: 01/07/2020

    This scholarship is available for students who are aspiring biomedical equipment technicians, health systems engineers, or clinical engineers. It is awarded at all academic levels, so it’s not just a trade school scholarship; it is also available to traditional undergraduate and graduate students. There are multiple awards given in each of the field specifications. In order to apply, you will need to demonstrate academic excellence, commitment to your field, and technical aptitude; this is done through an essay that you write yourself. You will also need to submit a transcript and two letters of recommendation.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Mae & Mary Scholarship Fund

    Amount: Varies | Deadline: 04/30/2020

    This scholarship is specifically for black and African American students that are planning to attend a technical school or traditional college to pursue a career in medical and healthcare-related fields. It is typically open to high school seniors only. There are several factors that are considered when selecting a winner including creativity, academic performance, and more. You will need two letters of recommendation, current transcripts, a personal essay with a topic of your choosing, a cover letter, and a resume. This scholarship can be used towards any cost of attending trade school.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    TYLENOL Future Care Scholarship

    Amount: Varies | Deadline: To Be Announced

    There is not a lot of information available about this scholarship because the 2020 application window has not opened yet. In the most recent round of awards, there were 40 students that received this scholarship. In order to apply, you must be pursuing a career in healthcare and currently enrolled in the program. This scholarship is reserved for students that plan to work with patients directly, so trade school programs in nursing, pharmacy, or a similar discipline are the only ones can be paid for with this scholarship.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Trade School Scholarships for Engineering and Manufacturing

    This group of trade school scholarships features opportunities in manufacturing and engineering disciplines, including industrial maintenance, materials processing, and more.

    Toshiba Machine Co., America Scholarship Program

    Amount: $2,500 | Deadline: 02/28/2020

    This scholarship is open to students at all levels of education at a trade school, technical training program, college, or university. The scholarship is available to two students each year and is for those who are going into the field of industrial maintenance or plastics processing. High school seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher may apply as can college or trade school students with a minimum GPA of 2.5 You are eligible if you are already enrolled as well as if you are planning to enroll.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    The Refractories Institute Scholarship Program

    Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 04/13/2020

    Refractory is a ceramic material designed to withstand very high temperatures. This could include pieces ranging from brick linings to fire pits or furnaces, all the way up to very sophisticated heat shields for space shuttles, and more. Refractory manufacturing is a common trade program that seeks to bolster an expanding industry. Salaries in this line of work vary by position but are typically in the $65,000 range and above.

    This scholarship is open to students who are pursuing a refractory manufacturing discipline at a trade school or traditional college. This is a one-time grant that is not renewable and can not be awarded to the same student more than once. Residents of all states are eligible to win as long as they are enrolled at a full-time pace in their refractory manufacturing vocational program. To apply, you will need to submit a resume, an explanation of your interest in the field, and a letter of recommendation along with your transcripts. Winners are selected based on your demonstrated interest in refractories and your academic merit.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    BMW/SAE Engineering Scholarship

    Amount: $6,000 | Deadline: 03/15/2020

    This scholarship is open to any United States resident that is pursuing an engineering or science-related discipline. It does require that your program be ABET-accredited, which makes this a very accessible trade school scholarship as there are nearly a hundred eligible vocational programs nationwide. The scholarship is a total value of $6,000, with $1,500 being paid out over the course of four years. It pays directly to the school and if you complete the program in less than four years, you may not continue to collect funds. This is a merit-based scholarship that may not suit all students. You must have a GPA of 3.75 or higher on a cumulative scale and your SAT or ACT scores must rank in the 90th percentile.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Society of Plastics Engineers Foundation Scholarship

    Amount: $6,000 | Deadline: 04/01/2020

    There are 45 of these scholarships awarded each year to students enrolled in any program related to the plastics industry. Some examples of program disciplines that are eligible include plastics engineering, polymer science, chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial engineering. You must be a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers but registration is simple and completely free. There are different scholarships that fall under this category based on your field, where you live, level of education, and more. There is a significant list of awards available to trade school students and each will have different requirements. All of the specific awards and their requirements can be found at the link below.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    E. Wayne Kay High School Scholarship

    Amount: Varies | Deadline: Varies

    Despite what the name may suggest, this scholarship is open to all residents of the United States. You must be a graduating high school senior in order to apply for this award and you must be prepared to enroll as a full-time first-year student in a manufacturing engineering or technology program in the coming Fall semester. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    SME Education Foundation Technical School Scholarships

    Amount: Varies | Deadline: Varies

    SME is a student and professional organization that seeks to advance the manufacturing industry in America; it was founded as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers all the way back in 1932. In addition to the scholarship above that is geared specifically to graduating high school seniors, they also offer a total of seven scholarships that are specifically for trade school students. None of the scholarship amounts are disclosed. Some of them have very specific residency or affiliation requirements that did not align with our goals for this trade school scholarship resource guide; however, we will highlight the nationally available opportunity below.

    There is the E. Wayne Kay Community College Scholarship that is open to students enrolled in a manufacturing or related program. In order to be eligible, you must have fewer than 60 college credits and have a GPA of 3.0 or better. Financial need is not a deciding factor and this scholarship can be renewed through reapplication in succeeding years.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Trade School Scholarships in Science and Technology

    Novus Biologicals Scholarship Program

    Amount: $1,500 | Deadline: 12/13/2019

    This is a broad opportunity but it still makes for a great choice if you are applying for trade school scholarships. It is awarded to two students per year in the Fall semester and the Spring semester. The same student can not be awarded twice in one year. This is an international scholarship and it can be used for all levels of post-secondary education. You must be already enrolled in your program and pursuing a science-related discipline. There is no GPA requirement and the application is fairly short. You have to provide some information about yourself and your degree program, list your relevant extracurriculars, and write two 500-word pieces about how you want to make an impact in your field and why you chose the field that you did. This one has a broader pool so the odds of winning are slimmer but it’s worth a try!

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    R&D Systems Scholarship

    Amount: $1,500 | Deadline: 07/31/2020

    This scholarship is awarded by a company that falls under the same brand umbrella as the one above. For that reason, they are very similar. It is also awarded to one student in the Fall and one in the Spring and is open to international applicants. This scholarship for trade school is for students that are pursuing a science-related program. Science is used very broadly for the purpose of this scholarship and includes social sciences, environmental sciences, engineering, and more. The application process is the same as that of the Novus Biologicals Scholarship Program described right above.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Powerline Prodigies Student Scholarship

    Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: 05/01/2020

    There are two iterations of the Powerline Prodigies Student Scholarship. One is awarded to students that are going to school specifically in Long Island, New York and the other is open nationwide. In light of that, we will say that it is only awarded nationally once per year to one student. In order to apply, you must be currently enrolled in a trade school program that is related to the fields of computer science, technology, or software development. There is no documented GPA requirement but in order to be eligible, you must show a strong academic history and passion for your field. Along with your academic record, you must also write a short essay about what inspired you to pursue a future in your chosen industry.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Other Vocational Scholarships

    This last group of scholarships features some more unique or specific trade school scholarships, as well as those that did not have a large enough number of awards available to substantiate their own category.

    The Walter J. Travis Memorial Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 06/01/2020

    This scholarship is for students that want to pursue a career in parks and recreation management or in landscaping architecture. This is a commonly offered trade school pathway and can lead to careers in forestry, landscaping, and more. If you are pursuing a career as a park ranger, this could also be for you. In order to apply, you must be enrolled in an accredited school and pursuing a program in one of the following areas.

    • Landscape Architecture
    • Journalism and Public Relations
    • Sport Management
    • Park and Recreation Management

    You must be enrolled full time and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher to receive this award. You can also have this scholarship annually renewed as long as you apply within the appropriate time frame and continue to meet the criteria. There are four of these awards available. Preference is given to golfers for this scholarship. In fact, many of the application components are centered around golfing, your experience and dedication to the sport, and so on. If that sounds like you, you might be able to get free money for trade school if you apply.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Viceroy Auto Trans Scholarship Program

    Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: 03/08/2020

    This scholarship is for those of you who want to go to trade school to become a truck driver. If you are in trade school, a truck driver academy, or another type of transportation logistics program, you could use this scholarship to help cover your out of pocket costs. You must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher but there is no minimum age requirement for application. This is a very unique opportunity because you can receive this award if you are a part-time or full-time student and even if your institution is not accredited. There are five awards ranging from $100 all the way up to $1,000 available each year.

    To apply, you must submit an essay or article that is 1,000 words or more discussing a topic related to the auto transportation industry. Example topics and more information can be found on the Viceroy Auto Transport company site linked below.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    One AWWA Operator Scholarship

    Amount: $2,000 | Deadline: 02/09/2020

    This is a very flexible scholarship that is available to multiple students each year by the American Water Works Association. This award can be used for a water related associate degree, technical school program, professional training program, certification, licensure, or operator related conferences. If you are a current water operator seeking professional development opportunities, or a trade school student pursuing a career in water operation or a related area, you are eligible to win. The funds pay directly to the winner. Application details will be available at the website linked below when the application window opens for the coming year.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    The Vocational (Bettinger, Holden & Perry) Scholarship

    Amount: $4,000 | Deadline: 05/01/2020

    This generous scholarship is just one of many that is offered by the American Floral Endowment. You may have not known that there were horticultural trade programs, but there are! And you could use this trade school scholarship to enroll. If you are in a technical school program or planning to enroll in one that will lead to a career as a grower or greenhouse technician, you may be eligible for this scholarship. In order to apply, you will need to submit the online application form that explains who you are, where you live, your school and program, and other basic information. Along with that, you will need your current transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and you will need to write a statement about your aspirations in the industry. Factors like extracurriculars, employment, academic excellence, and more are all considered to select the winner.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Sealant, Waterproofing, and Restoration (SWR) Foundation Scholarship

    Amount: $5,000 | Deadline: Varies

    The SWR Foundation Scholarship is open to any student that is pursuing a career in the SWR industry through an appropriately accredited program. Community college, trade school, and traditional universities are all sufficient for this scholarship as long as your plan of study is directly relevant to SWR. These scholarships are awarded until funds are exhausted. They typically pay out in amounts of $1,000 to $1,500 per semester to the winner. You must be enrolled full-time. This is also a renewable opportunity and you are welcome to reapply as long as you are studying. The maximum payout over the academic lifetime of a winner is capped at $5,000.

    The application is short and entirely digital. You can find it at the link below.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Julie Keil Memorial Scholarship

    Amount: Varies | Deadline: 03/02/2020

    This scholarship is only available to women. There are several awards and grants available for women that are trade school students pursuing a career in the hydropower industry. Your program must hold proper accreditation for you to be eligible. The amount awarded varies and it can be used to help fund your hydropower vocational program. You could also be eligible to receive travel grants that allow you to attend industry events held nationwide. Winners are selected based on academic merit and financial need.

    To learn more and submit an application, click here.

    Is Vocational School the Same as College?

    Vocational school goes by quite a few other names. It is sometimes called trade school, technical school, or career school. No matter what you call it, it is a career-focused school that will provide training for specific occupations. Because of that, they are very different from college.

    A college will offer programs that lead to bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees. At a vocational school or trade school, students typically earn a diploma or certificate. In some cases, you could also finish with an associate’s degree. Colleges also have general education requirements, such as math and english. Trade schools do not have any general education classes. Instead, every class that you take at a trade school will be highly-specialized to help you gain the technical skills you need for a particular job. Some trade schools offer online programs and the majority of them feature a lot of hands-on training. Instead of sitting in a classroom, you will likely be learning in an environment that is very similar to the one you will end up working in every day.

    At a traditional college, you might see assignments like papers, or readings. Trade school programs may have some assignments to make sure you understand certain components of the job but they will be significantly fewer. Trade schools also offer programs that can sometimes be completed in just a few months as opposed to spending several years in school. The accelerated pace coupled with the way programs are presented results in significantly lower costs compared to a college degree.

    When you graduate from trade school, it is likely that you won’t need any on-the-job training to get started. Going to trade school can also make finding a job easier; many institutions partner with employers to help secure job opportunities for their graduates. The ancillary services offered at a trade school with be different as well. You may have better access to help to create a resume, applying for jobs, and things of that nature. However, the college experience of clubs, extracurricular activities, and things of that nature is not usually the same experience you will have at a trade school. Instead, you will be enrolled in a fast-paced and perfectly-tailored program for that job that you want to do.

    This is not a direct difference between vocational school and a four-year college but in many cases, vocational training does have the added benefit of job security. A traditional degree can offer job security as well; however, the training you can get at a trade school is usually for fields with a high demand. There are millions of skilled trade jobs available out there and a trade school program will qualify you to fill those positions.

    What Trades Pay the Most?

    As we’ve mentioned a few times, skilled workers are at a premium in America. Because of that, many skilled trades are offering higher pay to incentivize growth in their industries. It’s also worth noting that many of them just pay well and the return on investment for a vocational program is incredible. Here are a few of the highest paying trade jobs.

    Construction Manager

    • Average Hourly Rate: $49.57
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $78.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 10%

    Avionics Technician

    • Average Hourly Rate: $31.41
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $46.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 5%

    Aircraft Mechanic

    • Average Hourly Rate: $31.36
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $48.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 5%

    Pile-Driver Operator

    • Average Hourly Rate: $30.94
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $49.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 15%

    Boilermaker

    • Average Hourly Rate: $30.41
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $44.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 6%

    Commercial Diver

    • Average Hourly Rate: $28.59
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $53.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 37%

    Electrician

    • Average Hourly Rate: $28.46
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $46.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 9%

    Plumber

    • Average Hourly Rate: $27.96
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $46.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 14%

    Crane Operator

    • Average Hourly Rate: $27.96
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $42.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 8%

    Wind Turbine Technician

    • Average Hourly Rate: $27.88
    • Top-End Hourly Rate: $41.00
    • Projected Industry Growth: 57%

    Most trade jobs are incredibly well-paying, even if the one that you’re interested in didn’t make the list of the top-paying. Statistics show that college graduates are still earning more than those who did not graduate but those results can be skewed based on the inclusion of entry-level jobs in industries such as retail or hospitality. You also have to consider the cost of attending college and student loan debt, which doesn’t apply to trade schools. Some blue-collar jobs earn a lot more than white-collar jobs; in fact, many trade school jobs pay more than those you could get with a bachelor’s degree.

    This isn’t to discourage those who are interested in a bachelor’s degree; instead, we’re just illustrating that you can be just as financially secure if you choose to enter a skilled trade instead.

    Are Trade Schools Accredited?

    Accreditation is the most important thing that you should look for when it comes to any school that you’re considering so it is just as important to make sure that the trade school you choose to enroll in is accredited. Trade schools get accredited and they are held to the same standards as traditional schools in that regard. They must provide relevant, high-quality education opportunities to their students. The main accrediting body for trade schools and vocational schools is the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    Private education agencies evaluate programs to make sure that they meet certain requirements. If you go to a trade school that isn’t accredited, you may not be able to get a job in your field. In addition, many states issue licenses in certain skilled trades and if you don’t choose an accredited institution, you may be ineligible for a license. Accreditation also comes into play with trade school scholarships. Many scholarships, especially those that are field-specific, will only fund programs that have been vetted by the relevant accrediting body in the field.

    Another risk when it comes to going to a trade school that isn’t accredited comes in if you should even want to continue your education. A lot of trade school programs will not transfer to a four-year college or university because of the significant differences in structure. However, some trade programs do transfer, especially those that you take at a community college. If you got your diploma or certificate from an institution that wasn’t properly vetted, there is no chance of the credits being eligible. Note: It might be frustrating that trade school credits don’t typically transfer well, but you still have options. Many colleges offer credit for prior learning in alternative ways.

    If you want to make sure the trade school you are interested in is accredited, you can always look to the school’s website or the websites of accrediting agencies. The United States Department of Education also offers a Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs and you can use the College Navigator tool offered by the National Center for Education Statistics.

    Another thing to keep an eye out for when considering trade schools is licensing. Licensing is similar to accreditation in that it ensures that the training you receive will be applicable to your desired job, as well as if you need any additional certifications or licensure to work in your industry in the state you live in. As an example, if you are going to trade school for truck driving, the school should likely be licensed by your state’s Department of Transportation.

    Are Trade Schools Expensive?

    When it is time for you to take the next step in your academic journey, the cost can be a huge factor that you need to consider. It’s often when people worry about the most when it comes time to continue their education because the costs associated with traditional colleges is sky high and continuing to climb. Trade school might be the breath of fresh air you’re looking for, though, because it is significantly less expensive than a four-year college or university.

    The average cost of vocational school in America comes in around $33,000 according to the most recent data. That is a significant expense; however, it is more than 70% cheaper than the average cost of a bachelor’s degree, which is $127,000. That’s not to say that there aren’t affordable bachelor’s degrees, but you can bank on paying significantly less for trade school.

    This cost difference makes trade school a lot more accessible and often a lot more attractive. The reason trade schools are cheaper, in general, is because there is less of all of the extras you experience at a traditional college. You will not have general education courses, you will not have electives, and you won’t typically experience the extra fees like lab fees, technology fees, and so on. On top of that, trade school has other benefits that help drive the overall cost down without the price tag changing.

    You can take a lot of vocational programs online; online college offers a lot of savings in most cases. The careers you train for are in high demand and they offer high pay rates, and there is increased job security because skilled workers are desperately needed. There is less student debt associated with trade schools and there is a high ROI in almost every skilled trade.

    Of course, if you want to see the price tag move, there are an abundance of trade school scholarships that you can apply for. Some states, like Michigan and Georgia, even offer completely free trade school programs.

    How Long Do Trade Schools Take?

    You already know that trade school is faster than a traditional college degree, but how fast? The amount of time it will take you to complete your trade school program depends on a few things. The trade school you go to might only offer part-time study or it could go as far as offering accelerated programs to get you through even faster. Your chosen vocational school might allow you to test out of certain classes or give you credit for relevant work experience. You could be enrolled at a physical campus or taking your program entirely online. Because there are a lot of different options, and hundreds of trade school programs nationwide, the amount of time it takes you might not line up perfectly with the average. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look.

    In a trade school program, you are only going to take the classes that you need. The curriculum is specialized based on your chosen field and you don’t learn about anything else. That is one way that these programs can propel students through at a quick pace. In some cases, you could be completely done with your vocational training in just a few months.

    Programs in certain fields will also be quicker to complete because there is less to master. There are some Occupational Therapy Aide programs that can be completed in four weeks. Paralegal programs usually span eight to ten months; web design programs average around six months. The best practice for any trade school program is to allow yourself two years to finish. Some of them will take up to 18 months and there may be some bumps in the road that disrupt your pace. In addition, you may need to complete externships or apprenticeships to supplement your courses, which also vary in length and from program to program.

    The national average across all trade programs is ten months. One of the perks of trade programs is that, because they are so short, there are usually more start dates to choose from throughout the year. Technical education is designed to be flexible and to get you working.

    Other Resources

    Now that you’re aware of all of the great scholarships for trade school, it’s time to get applying! If you’d like to do some more research, these resources are a great place to get started.

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    You can also check out our entire database of online college rankings if you want to see some advanced educational opportunities in skilled trades like construction, computer science, engineering, and more.

Trade School Scholarships