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Passion to Career: 9 Tips on How to Apply for Trade School

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Did you know that going to trade school costs approximately $33,000 while a single bachelor’s degree could cost you an average of $127,000?

Deciding to go to trade school instead of a traditional college would save you $94,000

Most of us have never thought of learning a trade and pursuing a career in that area. High school students are trained, for the most part, to focus on college and pursuing what’s seen as a more traditional career. 

Whatever stage of your life you may be in, trade school might be on your mind. Where do you begin if you think this is the right path for your life and career goals?

Keep reading to learn how to apply for trade school and start the journey to an amazing career!

The Basics of Trade School

While many of you might already know what a trade school is, it’s important to go through everything a trade school has to offer and what it can do for you.

Trade school offers specialized coursework that teaches students the skills necessary to pursue very specific careers. A trade school degree can train you for jobs in many different fields including working as an HVAC technicianelectrical, or alcohol and drug counseling

The good thing about trade school programs is that because of their specialized nature they can be completed in less than a year and no more than two years. The hands-on training will prepare a student in trade school for a job directly related to their field of study upon completion of their program. 

1. Trade School Requirements for Admission

While the majority of trade schools do require a high school diploma, completing your GED is also an option. If you’re a high school student thinking about going to trade school, take some related classes if your school offers any.

Something like home economics or wood-shop class would be great options. 

While the ACT and SAT exams are typically requirements for college and not trade school, good scores can look good on your applications for apprenticeships. However, taking these exams is not required to get into most trade schools.

Trade schools won’t require any essays or extracurriculars to apply for a spot. A simple high school diploma or GED is the only degree you’ll need for enrolling.

InterCoast offers students an opportunity to obtain a high school diploma while attending the Electrical Programs! Call for more information at 1-877-227-3377! *some restrictions may apply*

2. Are You the Right Age?

Some students may feel it’s in their best interests to drop out of high school to complete their GED and then head straight into trade school. While this is a completely valid choice for someone who is sure of their career path, you have to make sure you’re aware of all the requirements before making any decisions. 

For the most part, trade schools require a student to be a minimum of 16-years-old. There are a couple of programs, many of the healthcare programs, that require students to be 17 or 18 when applying. So, dropping out at 15 to pursue a trade school career might not be the best option.

3. Find a School That Fits Your Goals 

When researching trade school career options it’s important to find schools that fit your career goals and needs.

Look for schools that offer the programs you’re interested in and specialized tracks to meet your career goals. InterCoast offers a variety of programs to help you pursue a successful career. 

Another good thing to look out for is the competitiveness of a program. You want to be challenged and learn as much as possible. This way you’ll enter the job market prepared to get the job you’ve been hoping for. 

If you aren’t exactly sure what type of program you’re looking for it’s a good idea to make a list of some possible options and reach out to schools that offer those programs. After speaking with the admissions team determine which school made you feel the most comfortable and which program interests you the most. 

4. Always Check Trade School Reviews 

It’s important to check reviews because this is something you’ll be investing time and money into. While a review shouldn’t be the ultimate factor in your decision, because everyone’s experience is different, it should carry some weight. 

Take into consideration what others have to say about the schools you’re interested in. Was the coursework challenging? Did the teachers teach the subject sufficiently? 

Did admissions counselors help them through the application process? You’ll get a pretty good picture of the school’s reputation based on how people answer some of these questions. Connect with some former students to see what their experience was like during the program and how they transitioned into the job market as well. 

It’s also important to research if your program and school are held in good regard. You wouldn’t want potential employers to question your credentials because your trade school has a negative reputation.

5. Check Local and State Requirements 

When you’ve looked into some trade school careers and made a decision on which one you want to pursue, it’s important to research your specific state requirements. While the general requirements for trade school are similar everywhere, there might be a couple of differences depending on which state you live in.  

Some states have a lower or higher minimum age requirement for enrolling in a trade program. You should also look into the requirements for in-state tuition. Some states might differ but for the most part, you must live in a state for an entire year in order to qualify for in-state tuition. 

6. Gather All Important Documents 

The process of applying and enrolling in a trade school is much simpler and less time-consuming than a college application. While a ton of documents aren’t required as part of the process, gathering and keeping them all together in case you need them is always a good idea. 

It’s important to have a copy of your high school diploma or completion of your GED readily available. You should also get a copy of your high school transcript or any additional schooling you’ve completed. 

Any ACT or SAT scores and letters of recommendation are great to have even if they aren’t required for your program. The extra initiative will look great on your application. 

7. Fill out the Right Paperwork

Once you’ve figured out what program and school you want to apply to the answer to that question is simply to look at the school’s website. 

Applications can usually be filled out online with no specific deadline, just make sure to submit any required documents. You will also be required to pay an application fee. 

A meeting with school representatives will usually be scheduled to discuss how your desired program will meet your career goals. The admissions counselor will help you figure this out by asking about your motivations for applying and your commitment to the program. 

8. Prepare for the Exams 

Like the ACT or SAT for college, trade schools have their own placement exams you must prepare for. Although, there are certain trade schools that will allow SAT or ACT scores to replace entrance exams if the scores are high enough. 

The schools that use their own placement exams will typically test for writing, reading, and math the same way that other standardized testing does. These exams will test what programs the student will fit into most. 

Preparing for these entrance exams is similar to preparing for other exams you’ve had to take during your schooling. There are a lot of great tips and online study materials to help you. 

9. Make a Plan for This New Step in Your Career

Going back to school whether it’s been a couple of months or a couple of years is a huge change. Making sure you plan for that change is a crucial step in what you should do when applying to trade school. 

Making a budget for the cost of your program is important. Setting aside what you’ll need to pay out of pocket and knowing what will be covered by aid or loans before enrolling will bring you peace of mind. 

It’s also important to work on how to be most productive and make sure you can handle a schedule that includes going to class and completing assignments. When you apply to your specific program, admissions counselors should be able to tell you the number of weekly hours you’ll need to set aside to study for exams and work on projects. Make sure you’re able to fully commit to this time before making a decision. 

The Best Tips for How to Apply for Trade School

Learning how to apply for trade school shouldn’t be a hassle.

The tips listed in this blog should help you navigate the process. Contact us with any additional questions you may have about trade school and the application process.

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