How Much Does Trade School Cost?

Trade school costs vary depending on the trade you are looking to learn. For example, HVAC technician training can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 for a full-time program. 

Trade School Program Length

Trade schools offer a thorough education in an affordable, comprehensive format. These programs are usually 12 months in length, with at least 1 day per week of class time and 2 days per week of lab time. It is not just for blue-collar workers anymore. In the ever-changing job market, trade school has provided students with new opportunities. These days, it might be just what you need to advance your career or start fresh with a new one.

Trade School focuses on teaching a specific field, and often it will provide you with the tools necessary to begin working in that field upon completion. Some of the more common trades taught at a trade school include plumbing, HVAC technician, electrician, and automotive service. Many of these programs offer an Associate’s degree upon completing the program.

Trade School Profession


Between $3000 and $15000 on average depending on where you live (cost of living). These programs usually take about 18 months or longer to complete due to all of the required hands-on training.


Expect to spend around $5000 for an electrician program, though this varies considerably based on the institution you attend and your home state. These programs typically last between 18 and 24 months.

Automotive Service Technician

The cost of automotive service technician schooling ranges from about $2000 to as much as $6000. Programs generally last anywhere from six to twelve months, though some more extended options are also available.

HVAC Technician 

A certificate program can cost anywhere from $3000 or $15000 for an Associate’s degree. These programs are typically 12 months in length, though some variation depends on the school you attend and your home state.

Trade School Financial Aid

These schools also offer financial aid options that may be available to you during your studies. Another option would be taking out loans through federal student loan options (such as FAFSA). 

While this requires patience before you see results, it will reduce how much money has come out of pocket at once. Furthermore, these programs provide students with job placement assistance, which can be extremely helpful when starting a new career.

Financing options

Refinance student loans – trade school tuition can be expensive, primarily if you rely on loans to pay for it. If your interest rates are double digits, consider refinancing them with a new loan.-Trade schools offer financial aid and scholarships. 

Start early. You don’t want to pay for your auto maintenance or sewing classes when you’re in your later years. Refinancing might lower your monthly payments and save you money in interest over the life of the loan. 

How Can You Save Money on Your Trade School Tuition?

Save up a bit of cash and put it in an emergency fund. An emergency fund of six months to a year can be enough to avoid going into debt when you fall behind on your school costs, and it will also give you extra money to have fun with during your free time. 

Apply for scholarships 

Many trade schools offer scholarships and grants, which can significantly reduce your tuition. Apply for scholarships and grants, college, employer, and even banks.

Enroll in a prep class 

Prep classes will help you save money by getting you through your first few semesters. You might even pass up on a year of college if you can get yourself up to speed with the trade school coursework first. 

Compare multiple schools. Research different schools before choosing one that fits both your needs and budget. Examples of research can be cost, tuition, requirements of the program, and how much accreditation they have.

Keep your eyes open for deals

Check out the internet and community college websites first, and then visit on campus to check out their resources. Ask about school supply discounts and get in the know with their financial aid office.

Community College As An Option

You might be disappointed to learn that trade school isn’t free. But you should remember that trade school is usually much more affordable than a four-year degree.

For example, tuition can range from $9,000 per year at one-year trade school up to $22,000 at a four-year college or university. You’ll pay less for your education if you choose a community college instead of going to an expensive private university; community colleges are much cheaper. The average student pays around $1000 per year.

But if you decide to attend a community college, it’s a good idea to find out what your tuition will be before you start looking at schools. Some people fail to budget for their expenses as they move forward with their studies, but it’s important to avoid sticker shock at the end of the four years.

Not only do you need to pay for your tuition, but you also have to think about the cost of textbooks, supplies, and maybe even living expenses. For example, if you’re going through a culinary arts program, you’ll need to buy all the utensils yourself or you may have to pay for housing if it isn’t included in your tuition costs.

Online Trade School As An Option

Those of you who intend to enroll in online trade schools, community colleges, or technical schools that offer trade programs, instead of regular college courses. The cost is going to be much lower than traditional universities and even some online private schools. 

This is because online trade schools don’t charge for room and board, which can cost up to $10,000 depending on where you live. Also, some community colleges will offer credit for your trade school classes to count towards your college degree.

Additionally, public high schools often use a trade-oriented curriculum in the classroom, so you’ll already have a foundation even if you didn’t go to a trade school. If you went to a university or took private classes or attended a state or local college, however, you probably won’t be as prepared for your career as someone who had a trade program.

This is because different institutions teach different subjects and use different methods of teaching. Shop around – trade schools are regionally based, so you should be able to find one close to you. If there are differences in tuition costs, shop around until you find a good deal.

In Conclusion

Before choosing a trade school, make sure you do your research. Make sure you understand the cost of the program, what is included in that cost, and the time frame to complete the program.  Also, be sure to ask alot questions about job placement rates or what type of career you can expect after completing the program. Trade school can be a great opportunity for those who are looking to learn specific trade education.

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