What Are Online Trade Schools?

Online trade schools offer degree and certificate programs that concentrate on career-specific education and training without excessive electives and general studies requirements. Graduates are prepared for immediate entry-level placement in their field. Schools offering Automobile Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Online Trade School Overview

A trade school, or vocational school, is a school that teaches students how to perform a specific task with practical applications. An online trade school is simply a trade school that offers its curriculum exclusively through distance-learning methods by utilizing the Internet.

Important Facts About Trade Schools

Programs Automotive, electrical, heating & air conditioning, medical
Online AvailabilityFully available
Possible Careers Medical office assistant, pharmacy technician, locksmith
Degree LevelsProfessional certificate, associate degree
Median Salary (2018) $64,330 (for all Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians)*
Job Growth (2016-2026) 2% (for all Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Programs Do Online Trade Schools Offer?

Trade schools may either house numerous unrelated programs or focus on one field of training, such as culinary arts, cosmetology, technology, auto repair or allied healthcare. Areas of study within an umbrella school may include criminal justice, education, graphic design, interior design, nursing, photography, computer animation or computer technology.

Online trade school degree programs are becoming more popular due to accessibility and schedule flexibility. Although programs are primarily hosted online, some courses may require experiential elements. The requirements to satisfy such hands-on elements vary by school and program; students may be able to pursue local internships or work with an approved mentor. Students prepare to immediately enter the workforce upon graduation.

How Do Trade School Degrees Compare to College and University Degrees?

There are several differences between trade school degree programs and those found at traditional colleges and universities. Variables include pricing, length and subject matter. Achieving a trade school degree may take from 30 weeks to two years, which is less time than it takes to acquire a stand 4-year bachelor's degree. Because online school programs allow more flexibility in scheduling and pacing, students may be able to achieve a degree faster or slower than they would through a campus-based program. Public trade schools (such as those associated with community colleges) often have lower tuition costs than private trade schools.

The quality of trade school degrees is not considered lower than the quality of other types of degrees. The major difference between trade schools and traditional 2- or 4-year degrees is the specificity of the subject matter being learned by the student. Graduates are considered more specialized and highly trained; however, they are less prepared to traverse industries, and may be overlooked by employers seeking interdisciplinary perspective.

Other Factors to Consider

Like their on-campus counterparts, not all online trade and vocational schools are reputable, so prospective students should research the accreditation and reputation of a school before enrolling. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recommends students learn about the educational requirements for a career to verify that the trade school provides suitable training. This could include asking prospective employers about recommending schools, contacting a state Attorney General or Department of Education for complaints or researching professional organizations to see if they have a list of recommended schools.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools