3 Types of Trade Schools and What You’ll Learn There

Choosing your academic path after high school can be challenging. Many students feel pressured to pursue a bachelor’s degree but may not have the desire to spend four years studying. Others prefer hands-on learning opportunities and struggle with lectures and essays.

Attending a trade school’s vocational training program is a great option for individuals who want to prepare for a fulfilling career without earning a four-year degree. Trade schools offer training for a range of stable career options. Vocational schools enable graduates to enjoy job stability because of the demand for skilled tradespeople.

1. A trade school can prepare you to become a certified heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems heat and cool buildings. Today, new buildings are equipped with central air, and many older buildings have been upgraded with central air systems. Homeowners and building managers turn to certified heating and air conditioning techs to maintain their HVAC units. An HVAC system should be inspected every spring and fall, ensuring it’s clean and ready for regular use during the summer and winter.

Attending an HVAC technician program ensures you’ll recognize strange AC sounds and what they mean. The unit’s blower could be misaligned if you hear rattling, or the HVAC system may have loose bearings. Hissing could indicate a leak in a duct or that the air filter’s the wrong size. Squealing or screeching sounds typically occur if the belt’s frayed or there’s an issue with the bearings. Professional technicians can identify issues, replace worn parts, and install new systems when required.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that HVAC techs earned median annual salaries of $50,590 in 2020 and could expect to see a stable four-percent job growth rate from 2019 to 2029. While it’s possible for aspiring HVAC techs to pursue their career through an apprenticeship, employers favor applicants who’ve completed a trade school program.

2. Attending vocational school can lead to a career as an auto service tech or mechanic.

You can consider both a trade school and a college education if you’re interested in an automotive service technician or mechanic career. While some choose to earn an associate’s degree before entering this field, you can earn your credentials with less than two years of postsecondary instruction if you opt to attend a vocational school.

Automotive service techs and mechanics receive technical education from a trade school program that equips them with the knowledge and abilities needed to repair or replace brake systems, heating and cooling systems, engines, and electrical equipment installed in vehicles. These automotive professionals also replace tires, top off fluids, and perform routine vehicle maintenance.

The BLS reports that automotive techs and mechanics earned median annual salaries of $44,050 in 2020, while diesel service techs and mechanics took home $50,200 the same year.

3. A vocational program can equip you with the skills to become a solar photovoltaic installer.

Suppose you’re looking for a career with solid job prospects and care about the environment. Becoming a solar photovoltaic installer’s the perfect option. Solar photovoltaic installers assemble and maintain solar panels that produce energy from sunlight. Solar power’s popularity is rising, and homeowners who add solar panels can increase their property value.

The BLS reports that solar photovoltaic installers can expect jobs to increase by 51 percent between 2019 and 2029. The BLS also reports these skilled tradespeople took home median annual salaries of $46,470 in 2020.

Solar vocational programs educate students about solar panel design, photovoltaic technology, and workplace safety. Completing vocational training can help aspiring solar photovoltaic installers impress employers and advance in their careers.

Multiple vocational programs offer in-depth training for aspiring tradespeople. Some popular trade school programs offer training for HVAC technicians, auto service techs and mechanics, and solar photovoltaic installers.