2021 Best Online Trade Schools & Vocational Schools

Ready to start your journey?

To start your career off on the right foot, you may want to take a look at online trade schools. Through online classes, you can earn valuable career training for today’s workforce.

Online Trade Schools & Vocational Schools

Whether you’re interested in a job behind a desk or one that involves a lot of hands-on work, a certificate from an online trade school could be a strategic addition to your resume.

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You can take a look at the many vocational school options to find the program that matches your interests.

Online Trade Schools

Attending trade school online could help prepare you for work in the field of your choice. If vocational training is right for you—or you’re considering the possibility—here’s an extensive list of programs that are offered by online career schools.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Both of these fields offer plenty of opportunity for growth, a lot of different job prospects, and plenty of job security.

Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant

To help an organization run smoothly, you could work as an administrative assistant. You’d do clerical work and more. Your responsibilities might include arranging meetings, greeting visitors, keeping financial records, and carrying out research projects.

Administrative assistants should understand basic business principles. There can be courses on accounting and management. Other classes may address business communication and tips for dealing with customers.

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Today’s administrative assistants also need to understand office technology. You’ll learn about spreadsheets, word processors, desktop publishers, and other popular programs. Graduates from this trade program may hold job titles like administrative assistant, executive assistant, receptionist, secretary, or human resources assistant.

Auto Repair Technician

Auto Repair Technician

Most people don’t know how to work on their cars. Instead, they take them to a mechanic. If you gain automotive repair training, you might be the one they count on for maintenance and service.

During your studies, you’ll learn to work on many different parts of a vehicle, such as brakes, engines, and steering systems. You can also become more knowledgeable about electricity and electronics. Some tech schools help you qualify for certification from Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

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Auto technicians and mechanics often work for repair shops or car dealerships. Some are self-employed.

Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping

Do you like keeping records and working with numbers? If so, then a career in bookkeeping might be a good fit for you.

The classes in a bookkeeping program will cover a range of introductory accounting topics, such as tax accounting and wholesale accounting. You’ll also study payroll, office software, and business communication.

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The National Bookkeepers Association (NBA) administers the Bookkeeper Certification Exam. After completing your trade program, you might be eligible to sit for this test. Bookkeepers and accounting clerks work in many different industries, such as wholesale trade, finance, healthcare, and retail.

Caterer

Caterer

Catering professionals can provide food and drink service for large groups and special events. They often contribute to people’s most important days.

During a vocational program, you’ll study catering as a business so that you’re prepared to deal with clients and conduct yourself professionally. Food safety will be another important part of your program. In addition, you’ll learn to prepare many different types of foods and drinks. You’ll probably engage in hands-on practice, too.

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Many hospitality sectors—including hotels, restaurants, and cruise ships—hire caterers. With experience, you might become a food service manager.

Child Care Professional

Child Care Professional

People who work with young children help shape the future. If you take your child care responsibilities seriously, then a certificate in early childhood could help you be the best care provider you can be.

You’ll study human growth and development, safety, nutrition, and lesson planning. Other courses might improve your ability to communicate with parents or to work with children who have special needs. This program might involve observing or working with young children in local settings.

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After this course of study, child care professionals may work in a daycare or a preschool. Another option is becoming a school paraprofessional.

Computer Graphic Artist

Computer Graphic Artist

The field of graphic design involves both art and communication. If you are skilled in those areas, then you might consider getting started with a graphic art certificate.

Modern graphic work is often done on the computer, so this program can teach you how to use the most popular software programs for art and design. You can also learn about branding and advertising. As you go through the program, you’ll create a portfolio of your work.

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This diploma could help you qualify for an assistant role in a design firm or an ad company. Some even start their own graphic design service.

Construction Trades

Construction Trades

Do you like to work with your hands? If so, a career in construction might be a good fit. There are many different branches of the construction industry. In a general program, you might learn about blueprints, safety, measuring, materials, maintenance practices, and architecture.

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You could also earn a certificate in a specialty area, such as carpentry, masonry, or bricklaying. There are many different jobs in this field, such as carpenter, ironworker, masonry worker, and drywall installer. Another option is to be a general construction laborer. Experience may lead to a job as a building inspector or a construction foreman.

Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant

Everyone wants a healthy, happy smile. As a dental assistant, you could help make that happen. For this vocational training program, you’ll study oral health and hygiene. Your classes will teach you how to operate X-ray equipment, sterilize tools, and assist with dental procedures. You can also study office administration.

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In addition to online classes, you will likely complete hands-on practice in an in-person setting. You might even complete a short internship in a local dentist’s office. After graduation, you may take a certification exam. Graduates usually support dentists and dental hygienists in dental offices.

Desktop Publishing and Design

Desktop Publishing and Design

If you have computer skills and an eye for design, then you might be an excellent candidate for a desktop publishing program. As you go through this program, you’ll learn what’s involved in designing documents, uploading them to the internet, and printing them.

Your work may start with simple one-page documents, but you’ll know how to complete multipage projects by the end of your studies. You can study artistic principles and become familiar with helpful software programs.

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Desktop publishing professionals often work for newspaper, magazine, or book publishers. Printing companies may hire for this role, too.

Drafting with AutoCAD

Drafting with AutoCAD

Technical and computer skills come together in the drafting field. Learning to work with AutoCAD software can get you ready for a career in this area. In this program, you’ll receive hands-on experience with design software. In addition, you’ll learn about drafting for specific industries, such as HVAC and civil engineering.

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After completing a basic program in AutoCAD, you may be ready to move into a more advanced course of study. The more training you receive, the more career opportunities you may have. Drafters often work in the construction, architecture, and manufacturing fields.

Dressmaking & Design

Dressmaking & Design

If curating incredible outfits is a passion for you, then you might want to search tech schools for a dressmaking and design program. This course of study could be the first step toward a career in fashion design.

Dressmaking and design classes will teach you how to use sewing machines and specialized attachments. You’ll study sewing materials, dressmaking patterns, and tailoring techniques. As you go through the courses, you’ll compile a portfolio of your work.

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With this certificate, you could make custom clothing or perform alterations. Possible employers include dry cleaners, clothing stores, or garment manufacturers.

Electronics Technician

Electronics Technician

These days, many devices and products include electronic components. Are you curious about how they work and interested in performing repairs? If so, you might consider a vocational program in electronics.

For this course of study, you’ll take classes about electricity, circuits, switches, sensors, and power supplies. You’ll learn to install electronic components and repair broken ones. The program may prepare you to earn a certificate from Electronics Technicians Association International (ETA-I).

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Professionals in this field tend to pursue jobs in manufacturing or work for a maintenance and repair service.

Furniture & Cabinet Maker

Furniture & Cabinet Maker

There’s nothing quite like a piece of handcrafted wooden furniture. In a furniture and cabinet program, you may learn to create beautiful, functional, and timeless pieces.

Through online classes, you can learn to work with wood and tools. Hands-on projects will help you practice the skills you’re learning. This course of study will also teach you how to use stains and other finishing products. In conjunction with learning how to build items from scratch, you’ll also explore refinishing methods.

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In addition to self-employment, this certificate could lead to jobs in repair companies, furniture stores, or manufacturing facilities.

Gunsmith

Gunsmith

People who own firearms often take great pride in them. When their guns need maintenance or service, they want to make sure they’re in good hands. With a gunsmithing certificate, you can show that you have the expertise to care for firearms.

Exploring different types of firearms is a key part of this program. You can learn to make modifications and perform repairs. You can also gain information on techniques like soldering and engraving.

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This program might help you earn a gunsmith license. Your job could involve caring for modern firearms or restoring historical ones.

Home Health Aide

Home Health Aide

Healthcare is a booming field. Many people need to receive medical and personal-care services right in their homes. If you’re caring and compassionate, you may be a good candidate for a career in home health.

To prepare for this job, you’ll learn about anatomy, illness, medication, and nutrition. Your classes can help you get better at communicating with clients, keeping people safe, and recording data.

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Before completing your program, you might gain in-person experience through a home health agency in your area. Afterward, you might find work in a similar agency or a residential facility.

Home Remodeling & Repair

Home Remodeling & Repair

When people want to change the look of their houses or fix troublesome areas, they often call a professional to do the job. Studying home remodeling and repair can equip you with skills for that role.

You’ll study blueprints, tools, and materials. Of course, you’ll learn about safety and preparedness, too. Your courses may cover specific types of home projects, such as plumbing, framing, and roofing.

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Completing a remodeling and repair program could help you find work in home construction or carpentry. Some professionals even run their own repair service.

Hotel and Restaurant Management

Hotel and Restaurant Management

Professionals in the hospitality industry create lasting memories for people. They play a role in celebrations and important events. With a hotel and restaurant training program, you can learn to provide leadership in this field.

Topics covered in this trade school program can include customer service, marketing, budgeting, and staffing. A course on housekeeping can train you to create pleasant guest environments. You can also explore the food service industry and study menu planning, cooking techniques, and food safety.

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Training in the hospitality industry could help prepare you for management roles in hotels, resorts, campgrounds, restaurants, or cafeterias.

HVACR Technician

HVACR Technician

The acronym “HVACR” stands for “heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration.” Going through a training course could help you become certified as a technician who can install, maintain, and repair such systems.

The curriculum typically includes classes on electricity, technical schematics, and safety. There may be math classes, too. You can study how to repair heating and cooling systems and also how to design and install new ones. The classes can cover both residential and commercial systems.

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Common job titles for professionals in this field include HVAC technician, HVAC installer, and refrigeration mechanic.

Legal Secretary

Legal secretaries perform clerical and administrative duties in a law office. If the idea of working in the legal field is exciting to you, then this program could help you get started.

Like many office administration students, you’ll study business software, office organization, and professional communication. To get ready for a career in the legal field, you’ll also study legal terminology and procedures.

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After completing this program, you may be a step closer to earning certification from the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). Most legal assistants work in law offices.

Medical Administrative Assistant

Medical Administrative Assistant

Doctors and nurses aren’t the only essential workers in medical practices. Administrative assistants keep facilities running smoothly.

Modern healthcare organizations use electronic systems for organizing patient data, so administrative assistants need to know how to input information and access records. Other important things to learn in a medical administration program include healthcare reimbursement, patient privacy, and medical terms.

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Some vocational programs can even help prepare you to take a certification exam from the National Healthcare Association. Medical secretaries and administrative assistants often work in doctor’s offices. Hospitals and outpatient facilities also hire for this role.

Medical Billing & Coding

Medical Billing & Coding

Health insurance and medical billing can be complicated, but professionals in healthcare coding know how to handle the job. They play an essential role in medical offices.

If you choose to go to trade school for medical billing, you’ll study the ICD-10 coding system for diagnoses and procedures. In addition, you can learn about healthcare laws, medical terminology, and professional practices.

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Completing this course of study could help you meet the qualifications for a variety of certifications in the medical-coding industry. Professionals in this field are often known as medical technicians or health information specialists.

Paralegal

Paralegal

Lawyers depend on the assistance of paralegals. They are trained professionals who can handle a variety of responsibilities in a law office. Their tasks might include drafting legal documents and organizing evidence.

As you go through paralegal training, you’ll study matters of civil and criminal law. Your courses can teach you how to use business software, communicate clearly, and conduct legal research.

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Rules about certification for paralegals vary from state to state, but a vocational school program can often help you meet the requirements. Paralegals often hold positions in law offices, but they can also take jobs in government or business.

Pet Grooming

Pet Grooming

Are you passionate about furry friends? You can help both animals and their owners by working as a pet groomer. You’ll learn the essential skills in a pet grooming trade program.

As you take classes, you’ll become more familiar with various breeds of dogs and cats. Your studies can introduce you to care practices like bathing, nail clipping, and hair trimming. You’ll learn different skills for different breeds.

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Animal care workers may find jobs with vet clinics or pet stores. Some work at shelters or boarding facilities, and some groomers run their own businesses.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technician

When people pick up prescriptions, they often interact with pharmacy technicians. Techs perform behind-the-scenes jobs in pharmacies, too. As a professional in this field, you can help people meet their medical needs.

To prepare for this career, you’ll study pharmacology and safe pharmacy practices. There will likely be math exercises involved, too. You can also learn about the business side of pharmacy operations. This could include courses on insurance and software.

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By the end of your studies, you might be ready to take an industry certification exam. Pharmacy technicians usually work in retail or hospital settings.

Physical Therapy Aide

Physical Therapy Aide

As the population ages, the need for physical therapy aides is growing. By going to technical school, you may be able to position yourself as a top candidate for one of those roles.

You’ll study the human body and various physical problems that can arise. In addition, you can learn techniques that physical therapists use to treat pain or mobility issues. This program can also teach you about an aide’s role in a physical therapy practice.

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Aides work alongside physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. Their work settings can include private offices, hospitals, residential care homes, and doctor’s offices.

Plumber

Plumber

Plumbing professionals can install or repair pipes and fixtures. They often work in residential settings, but there are many jobs for commercial plumbers, too.

To get ready for this line of work, you’ll often study construction, piping materials, and safety. You can become familiar with the International Plumbing Code, learn how to read diagrams, and get tips for troubleshooting problems.

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A technical program can help you begin a career in plumbing, pipefitting, or steamfitting. Your state may require licensure, and you can gain experience as you work alongside others in your field.

Private Investigator

Private Investigator

If you love mysteries, then a career in investigation might be right up your alley. You may also be a good fit for a private investigator trade program if you are detail-oriented and analytical.

Investigation students start by studying the legal issues associated with this field. Other courses will cover evidence collection, witness interviews, security, and surveillance. You’ll also study investigation tools and business practices.

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Private detectives may own their own investigation businesses. They can also go into the security field. This might involve a job with a bodyguard firm or an armored car service.

Residential Electrician

Residential Electrician

Electricity is a broad field. You can focus on one aspect of electrical studies by earning a residential electrician diploma.

You’ll study the fundamentals of the electrical field, including important safety practices. The classes will teach you to work with wire and conduit. As you study, you can become more familiar with electrical diagrams, system repair, and household electrical needs.

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This course of study can help you prepare for an apprenticeship so that you can become an electrician who practices independently. You could also consider a career as a line installer or repairer.

Retail Supervisor

Retail Supervisor

Store managers juggle many different tasks every day. Studying retail management in a trade program could provide the foundational skills needed for this role.

One aspect of your program will likely center around retail operations. You can learn about concepts like inventory management and customer service. Team leadership will be another focus of your program. You’ll study how to staff a store, distribute work assignments, and follow employment laws.

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Retail supervisors can work in many different types of stores, such as department stores, clothing shops, gas stations, and supermarkets.

Security Guard

Security Guard

To get started with a career in security services, you might consider enrolling in a vocational program for security guard training.

Criminal justice and emergency response are some of the subjects covered in this program. You might learn about theft prevention and surveillance, and there can be courses on the legal rights and responsibilities of security officers. You can get to know various tools and equipment that could help in your line of work.

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Security guards may protect buildings, equipment, merchandise, or people. Many guards work for security services. Other potential employers include schools, hospitals, stadiums, casinos, and hotels.

Small Business Management

Small Business Management

Have you always dreamed of owning your own business? A program focused on small business management could equip you with essential skills.

You can learn to set business goals, create a plan, and work within legal parameters. Additionally, you’ll study marketing, staffing, and budgeting. You may also take classes that focus on the online business sector.

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A diploma in small business could be useful for many career paths. Whether you want to open a store or run a service business, you can draw on the skills that you learned in vocational school.

Small Engine Repair

Small Engine Repair

If you’re good at working with your hands, you might think about a career as a small engine mechanic. You can learn to repair and rebuild gas engines.

In your classes, you can learn about the parts of an engine and how they work together. You may study fuel, transmission, and electrical systems. After completing this course of study, you may be ready to take the Outdoor Power Equipment Association (OPE) exam for national certification.

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Small engine mechanics often work on motorboats, motorcycles, and outdoor power equipment. Potential employers include vehicle dealerships, lawn and garden stores, and repair companies. Some mechanics even own small businesses.

Tax Preparation

Tax Preparation

Most people are daunted by the idea of preparing their own taxes. If you, on the other hand, enjoy math, numbers, and details, then you might be interested in building a career in tax preparation.

As you learn about tax preparation, you can study different types of income, such as rental or business income. You can also take classes about healthcare and retirement plans that are subject to special taxation rules.

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Professionals in this field can work as tax preparers for individuals or small businesses. Tax preparers often work for tax, payroll, or bookkeeping services.

Travel and Tourism Specialist

Travel and Tourism Specialist

If you want to play a role in encouraging people to explore the world, then a tourism vocational program could equip you with applicable skills.

Your curriculum could include classes on places to visit and modes of transportation. There will also be courses on software for managing business records and booking reservations.

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By the end of your program, you may be able to earn Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) certification. Travel and tourism specialists may be self-employed or work for a travel agency. You could also look for a job in a reservation call center.

Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary assistants can help doctors care for cats, dogs, and other animals. For this program, you’ll learn about animals’ body systems and how they function. You will study diseases, injuries, and treatment options. There will also be classes that help you know what to do during an exam or in an emergency.

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Some coursework may also provide information about veterinary business practices. In addition to taking online classes, you may also complete an internship at a clinic near you. Veterinary assistants usually work in vet practices.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant

Not all administrative assistants work in offices. Many work from home as virtual assistants. You can get ready for this unique branch of administrative work by earning a virtual assistant diploma.

Taking classes about business communication, software, and digital media can help you develop skills and gain tools in this field. You can also learn about running your own business, working as an independent contractor, and maintaining professional practices.

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Virtual assistants often run their own businesses. They may have professional clients from a variety of industries.

Wildlife and Forestry Conservation

Wildlife and Forestry Conservation

Do you love to be outside and in touch with nature? If so, you may want to think about starting a career in wildlife or forestry conservation.

Many of your classes will be about caring for wildlife. You can study large and small mammals as well as a variety of birds and fish. There are typically classes about land management, too. This can include both rangelands and forested areas. Some of your courses will address conservation law as well.

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Wildlife and conservation professionals often work for state or local governments. They can also look for jobs with forestry services.

List of Online Trade or Vocational Schools

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Central Community College

Central Community College campus

Central Community College offers an online schooling option for those interested in receiving certificates or diplomas. Students may study Business, Technology, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Medical Assisting, and more. Students enrolled in the programs may complete classes on their own time.

Central Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Clovis Community College

Clovis Community College campus

Clovis Community College offers online programs for students interested in receiving degrees or certificates in a number of different fields.

Program options include Behavioral Science, Early Childhood Education, Industrial Technology, Welding, Cosmetology, Emergency Medical Services, and more. Applicants must submit official transcripts when applying to any programs.

Clovis Community College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Lake Area Technical College

Lake Area Technical College campus

Lake Area Technical College offers a number of E-Degrees that blend both online and on-campus learning options. Options include Agri-Business, Photography, Electronic Systems, Law Enforcement, Practical Nursing, Robotics, Precision Machining, and many others. Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT test scores.

Lake Area Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Madison Area Technical College

Madison Area Technical College campus

Madison Area Technical College offers 21 different certificate programs for students.

Program options include Ethnic Studies, Supervision in Business, Retail Management, Early Childhood Education Administrator, and Business Plan. Application requirements vary based on the student’s program of choice. The school offers more than 140 options for students looking to transfer.

Madison Area Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Metropolitan Community College

metropolitan community college campus

Metropolitan Community College offers a number of different Certificates of Achievements, Career Certifications, and Special Certifications.

Students may choose to study Information Technology, Business, Bookkeeping, Financial Studies, General Management, Global Perspectives, and more. Online students may choose to start studying in September, December, March, or June.

Metropolitan Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northcentral Technical College

Northcentral Technical College campus

Northcentral Technical College offers a number of different Technical Diplomas and Certificates for students to earn. Some program options are Hospitality Specialist, Office Assistant, Communication, Data Analysis Specialist, Critical Care Paramedic, and Mathematics. The school offers transfer options with more than 50 different schools.

NTC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northwood Technical College

Northwood Technical College campus

Northwood Technical College offers 26 different online programs for Certificates and Technical Diplomas. Some program options are Accounting Assistant, Customer Service, Drafting Technician, Group Child Care Essentials, Management, and Nonprofit Essentials. The school offers admissions advisors to help those interested in applying.

Northwood Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

State Fair Community College

State Fair Community College campus

State Fair Community College offers professional and skill certificates. Some programs include Medical Coding, Medical Assistant, Nurse Aide, and Pharmacy Technicians.

Many of the programs require students to complete Clinical Rotations to graduate. Students at the school may receive a Personal Student Success Navigator to help plan their academic journey.

State Fair Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College

West Kentucky Community and Technical College campus

West Kentucky Community and Technical College offers certificate and diploma programs.

Some program options are Business Administration Systems, Computer Aided Drafting and Design, and Computer and Information Technologies. Other options are Logistics & Operations Management, Marine Technology, and Medical Information Technology. Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores to apply.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College campus

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College offers programs for students interested in receiving a Diploma or TCC.

Programs of study include Accounting, Fire Science Technology, Entrepreneurship, Payroll Accounting Specialist, Quality Assurance Professional, and more. Those interested in attending the school may submit an online application through the school’s website.

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Vocational Degree Online

Vocational Degree Online

An exciting career in an in-demand industry could be waiting for you. Tech schools can help prepare students to work in skilled trades. Vocational programs are typically designed to enhance your expertise in an area that’s of interest to you.

Trade studies are often designed to be quick so that you can gain the education you need and start working in the field right away. Another way you can complete your schooling in a fast, flexible format is to attend school online. You can often work through distance programs at your own pace.

The sooner you check out accredited online trade schools, the sooner you may find the vocational program that interests you.

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Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.