Students who are looking for an alternative to traditional college can prepare themselves for employment after graduation may benefit from online vocational school enrollment.

With hands-on learning techniques and study areas including auto mechanic, HVAC, dental hygiene, pipefitting, and many more. Many schools now offer vocational programs to meet the rising demand for trade professionals.

To help students choose the right school for them, we analyzed each school with an online vocational school and created a list of top schools based on factors like tuition cost, class size, and graduation rates.

What Are Trade Schools

A commercial school sometimes referred to as a vocational school, technical school, or trade school, is a post-secondary institution designed to give students the technical skills to prepare them for a specific job.

Trade schools are in general for profit institutes, however some are affiliated with non-profit schools. You can graduate in fields like information technology, nursing and health sciences, automotive technician training, and medical assistance at a trade school.

Program lengths vary but typically range from eight months to two years. Unlike a four-year college, you don’t graduate from a bachelor’s degree trade school. Usually, upon completion of the program, you will receive a diploma or trade certificate.

You can earn an associate degree for some programs, the degree you get from a two-year college.

Popular Trades

Dental hygienist
Graphic Designer
Computer technician
Aircraft mechanic
Marine mechanic
Construction manager
Massage therapist
Pharmacy technician

Benefits Of Trade Schools

The clearest benefit of going to a trade school is that school takes less time to finish. Nearly all trade school programs can be achieved in less than two years.

Meanwhile, graduating from community college typically takes 2 years or more, and bachelors degrees take at minimum 4 years to complete, and often 5 or 6, depending on the degree program.

Less school time allows you to gain more work and improve your career more quickly. Furthermore, you won’t have to pay those additional years of university study if you are not in school and may have to take less student loans.

The practical preparation you get for a particular job is another benefit of the trade schools. Many four-year colleges and 4-year colleges concentrate more on learning than on preparing jobs. You might have trouble finding a job directly related to your major if, for example, you graduate in philosophy or theater.

At a trade school, the focus is on learning the skills you need for a specific career. Similarly, because a school’s goal is to help you acquire the qualifications for a specific job, it may be easier to find a job in that field initially.
Also, many trade school programs are geared to areas where there is high demand for workers. Additionally, you can get high paying jobs with a trade school degree. According to the Labor Statistics Bureau, the 2017 median pay for dental hygienists was $74,070.

In the meantime, four-year college graduates received an initial salary of $52,000 in 2018. Also you won’t have to stress about the traditional admissions process to get into a trade school. Almost all applicants are accepted.

  1. Pamlico Community College
    Average Cost:

    Pamlico Community College (PCC) provides online students with many resources to ensure success, including an introductory computer course to familiarize students with technology, and a virtual student success center providing tutoring and other assistance.

    PCC online courses are identical to those offered on campus and are accredited by Southern Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Although the campus is in North Carolina, reciprocity agreements allow students living in other states to pursue distance education through Pamlico.
    Depending on the program, additional online coursework may require some on-campus participation. The range programs include topics such as accounting, cosmetology, medical assistance, criminal justice, electrical systems technology, and business administration.

    Each program has its own completion requirements, affecting the overall study length. Graduation requires a minimum of 2.0 GPA.

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  2. Utica College
    Average Cost:

    Physically located in New York, Utica College reaches students worldwide through its online learning system. Students may obtain a bachelor’s or certificate in areas such as health care, physical therapy, cybersecurity, computer forensics, and financial crimes.

    Some of Utica’s online programs are approved for residents of other states.
    Students receive job placement assistance from faculty, alumni, and academic advisors. Also, a student blog and a small student-to-teacher ratio are designed to help online students.

    Some programs may require students to travel for in-person experiences. The requirements of the program vary depending on how many classes students take each semester. Students are expected to dedicate 12-15 hours per week for each course.

    Utica College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Education Commission.

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  3. Liberty University
    Average Cost:

    Liberty University offers faith-based education, its best-known online programs are highly respected. Online school offers over 250 degrees and certificates, making it one of the nation’s largest.

    Despite the size of its distance education department, the school still offers high-quality degrees, typically resulting in a specific career. The online partner degree as a medical office assistant is a rolling admissions program that takes 3 years to complete.

    But transfer students can transfer up to 75% of their required credits so this program can take much less time. Requiring 64 credits in total, courses are offered in 8-week periods, allowing students to study at their own pace.

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  4. University of Florida
    Average Cost:

    Located in Gainesville, the University of Florida is an integral part of the local community. Not only is it a top producer of career-ready students, but its graduates also continue to create their own businesses, fueling local and state economies.

    While most of her students are studying on campus in Gainesville, online college has become a popular choice for those in need of flexibility.
    Florida offers degrees that lead to high-demand careers, such as the bachelor’s in health education and behavior.

    This four-year program can lead to different careers, ranging from emergency response to environmental health technician.

    Because the local ecosystem is important, many students are likely to end up in an environmental health career if they choose to live in the area.

    Of course, as this is an online program, students across the nation are eligible, and if they want, they can take their careers in a different direction.

    Another professional option is UF’s Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency services, which prepares students for various careers in emergency management agencies.

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  5. Temple University
    Average Cost:

    Temple University is a large traditional university with over 38,000 students on eight campuses. But they’ve recently launched Temple Online which is a flexible program for currently working students who are unable to travel to school.

    For those with a technical/vocational background, a degree in Bachelors of Science in Education In Career and Technical education may be of interest.

    This program allows you to take your career as a teacher into the classroom. By focusing on leveraging your industry experience, students can combine their knowledge of their industry with an educational degree.

    Graduates are prepared to teach grades 7-12 on career and technical subjects at 2-year college.

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  6. Siena Heights University
    Average Cost:

    A Dominican school with locations across Michigan, Siena Heights University is a 100-year-old institution that produces some of the top graduates in the state. While it has 9 different campuses to study at, some students choose to study through its online school. Currently in its 14th year of online education, Siena Heights’ online programs are considered to be among of the top.

    The school has one of the highest graduation rates for distance learning, and its graduates have a high job placement rate. The online bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree is a great option for those looking for career-oriented education to pursue employment in allied health, technical/industrial, public safety or specialized vocational areas. This is an “inverted major,” meaning students must have a qualifying associate of applied science degree which will serve as the foundation towards the BAS.

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  7. St Catherine University
    Average Cost:

    St. Catherine University, based in St. Paul with a second campus in Minneapolis, is one of Minnesota’s leading private institutions. One of the focuses of St. Kate’s is real-world experience, and many of its degree programs implement this. Because online programs don’t offer real-world experience, St. Kates uses hybrid formats, particularly for their vocational programs.

    For example, St. Kate’s radiography degree is a 2-year associate program that prepares students to take the certification exam after graduating. Designed for adult learners, this program is offered in a hybrid format, so students will have to take some of their courses at the Minneapolis campus. To be eligible for this program, students will first need to enroll in pre-radiography where they will complete the liberal arts courses they need to earn a degree. After finishing those, students enter the radiography program and will focus specifically on skills required in the field.

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  8. Louisiana State University
    Average Cost:

    As a top school in the south, Louisiana State University gets a lot of attention for their research and academics. However, its affordability is often overlooked. Over 90% of its students receive some type of financial aid, and most students graduate without any debt. Combine the high-quality education with affordability, and you can see why many students have been attracted to the school’s distance education.

    The online school, which is made up primarily of graduate degrees, but LSU does offer a handful of online undergraduate certificates for those without a college degree. One such example is the human services certificate. This 5 course, 15 semester credit program prepares students to work in a human services role within government, medical and nonprofit fields.

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  9. Alexandria Technical & Community College
    Average Cost:

    One of the top technical schools in the region, Alexandria Technical & Community College is a 2-year college that boasts a high graduation and job placement rate. While it primarily offers degrees that lead to local jobs, ATCC’s online school has opened its doors to students from across the nation. As a result, many of the online degree programs are meant to fill careers that are growing in demand across the nation. One of these degrees, the 2-year paralegal program, offers a wide-range of knowledge that can be applied to a paralegal job anywhere.

    While all the online degree programs are supposed to lead to careers right out of school, some Alex Tech grads choose to transfer into a four-year institution. Because ATCC’s 2-year program is widely acclaimed, these associate degrees transfer fairly easily. If students are looking for 2-year programs, ATCC also offers diplomas that can be earned in as little as 1 year.

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  10. Western Carolina University
    Average Cost:

    Located about an hour from Asheville, Western Carolina University is a local leader in offering career-oriented programs, some of which can be completed entirely online. Because the degree programs at WCU are meant for students looking for immediate employment, most popular options are technical programs.

    The online emergency medical care degree is one such program. It’s a degree completion program that requires students to have previous paramedic experience. The goal is to teach working paramedics who want to further their education and career.

    Another popular program, the bachelor’s in engineering technology – technical operations is a part-time degree program that requires some on campus study. Unlike the EMC degree, the ETO degree is 4-year, although non-working students should be able to complete their degree in less time. Along with their major, students can specialize their education with a minor or certificate.

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  11. University of Wisconsin-Stout
    Average Cost:

    The University of Wisconsin-Stout is a polytechnic school with the primary goal to make students prepared for a career after earning their degree. To prove their success, UW-Stout’s employment rate after graduation is an impressive 98.2%.

    Many of these positions are in the local community, although graduates – particularly from its online programs – find positions all over the nation. UW-Stout’s online bachelor’s degrees are all degree completion programs, so students should have the proper course credit/associate degree prior to applying.

    Because students are required to come in with previous credit, all the bachelor’s degree programs are accelerated. For example, the bachelor’s in career, technical education and training only requires 2 years of full-time, online study. It also requires 4,000 hours of work experience. After earning this degree, previous students have gone on to work in vocational fields such as automotive technology, building construction, machine technology and dental assistanting, to name a few examples.

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