Best Trade Schools in Indiana

Trade schools teach high-demand skills and cost less than most four-year colleges. Learn about the best trade schools in Indiana and their programs.

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by Marisa Upson

Updated July 29, 2022

Edited by Madison Hoehn
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Best Trade Schools in Indiana
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Trade schools provide hands-on, career-focused instruction for specific highly-skilled positions. Also known as technical colleges or vocational schools, these schools usually cost far less than traditional four-year colleges and can result in little to no student debt.

Additionally, these schools provide needed skill sets, access to higher-paying jobs, and quicker entry into the workforce compared to four-year colleges.

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Trade schools in Indiana offer programs in auto repair, plumbing, cosmetology, culinary arts, computer coding, and many more subjects. Unlike college, which covers general education for the first two years, these schools teach applied knowledge that prepares students for entry into the workforce and their chosen field. Programs may range from about two months to two years in length.

Trade Jobs and Salaries in Indiana

The following represent some of the highest-employed trade jobs in Indiana that only require postsecondary non-degree education. Additionally, some of these jobs require on-the-job training and certification.

Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics


Court Reporters


Electrical Repairers (Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay)


Health Information Technologists


Nursing Assistants

Trade Schools in Indiana

According to the NCES, about 88 schools in Indiana award certificates and associate degrees. These programs span many industries and careers, including electricians, cosmetologists, and wind turbine service technicians.

Additionally, some trade schools provide meet-ups with industry professionals, which may lead to job placement or mentorship opportunities. Online trade schools also cover various fields, including healthcare, law, auto mechanics, information technology (IT), and construction.

The BLS reports that over half of the nation's 20 fastest-growing occupations between 2020-2030 do not require a bachelor's degree. A few of these include solar photovoltaic installers, exercise trainers, motion picture projectionists, and makeup artists.

Average Cost of Trade School in Indiana

While price varies based on the program, the average two-year college in Indiana costs $4,500 a year, according to the NCES. In the list below, costs range from $8,400 to $16,724 and average about $12,820.

This type of education offers considerably lower costs than a four-year school. According to the NCES, the average annual total cost of a four-year college in Indiana was $19,755 for public schools and $45,383 for private schools in the 2019-20 school year.

Financial Aid for Trade Schools in Indiana

Fortunately, trade schools offer a relatively affordable option for continuing education after high school. Additionally, professional organizations and schools may provide grants and scholarships that do not require paying back. These may be need-based or awarded on academic achievement.

The federal and state government may also award grants as well as subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Check if your school accepts FAFSA funds and fill out the FAFSA application.

The following represent a few of the many available scholarships for students considering enrolling in vocational schools.

Scholarships for Trade Programs in Indiana

Imagine America Foundation

Indianapolis Chapter CSI Education Foundation

IFMA Foundation Scholarship Program

Accreditations in Indiana

When researching trade schools, choose one that is accredited. Accreditation ensures the highest quality of education and is an eligibility requirement for federal financial aid. Additionally, some trades require that students attend an accredited school to sit for licensure and certification exams.

Some agencies accrediting Indiana trade schools include the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, and the Higher Learning Commission. Keep in mind that programs can also earn industry-specific accreditation. For example, the Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation accredits automotive service programs. Also, make sure an Indiana state agency licenses the trade school you're considering.

Apprenticeships in Indiana

Trade schools in Indiana may also help students obtain apprenticeships in their field. Several trade apprenticeship programs provide classroom instruction and on-the-job training under the guidance of a master practitioner in their field. Students can find apprenticeship programs in many building and construction trades and manufacturing.

Several Indianapolis public high schools offer career and technical education pathways. These allow students to choose a school based on their interests and provide real-world skills in numerous fields, including construction, automotive service, computer science, cosmetology, and the culinary arts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Technical Schools in Indiana

Do technical schools accept scholarships?

Yes, most accredited technical schools accept scholarships and grants. These may be need-based and offered to individuals who demonstrate the greatest level of financial hardship. They may also be merit-based and awarded to students based on grades or other academic achievements.

Many scholarships are awarded by organizations based on a student's area of interest. A few industries offering trade school grants and scholarships include cosmetology, culinary, skilled trades, and healthcare.

Unlike federal loans, these scholarships and grants are gifted and do not require repayment. Students attending accredited vocational schools may also qualify for federal and state financial aid, including the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.

How do I get a scholarship in Indiana?

Several organizations offer scholarships in Indiana, including Imagine America, the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, and the Karmin Professional Cosmetology School Scholarship. Students may find scholarships that range from $250-$5,000.

One of the largest scholarships comes from the James Beard Foundation, which offers scholarships up to $20,000 for students pursuing careers in the culinary arts, agriculture, hospitality management, and more. While some scholarship programs require students to attend school in Indiana, many are national organizations that do not require state-specific enrollment.

How many trade schools are there in Indianapolis?

According to the NCES, there are about 88 schools that award certificates and associate degrees in Indiana. Many of these are in Indianapolis. These programs include training as dental assistants, electricians, mechanics, cosmetologists, and more.

When searching for your perfect vocational school, ensure it is accredited and licensed by the appropriate state authority. Many trade schools lead to licensure and certification, which may require accreditation and the completion of a set number of instruction hours.

What are the best trade jobs?

Some of the best trade jobs are in high-demand fields offering above-average pay. A few of the highest-paying trade jobs include elevator installer and repairer, radiation therapist, web developer, and electrician. That said, pursuing a role that you're passionate about can lead to a rewarding and fulfilling career.

Wind turbine technicians have one of the highest in-demand trade jobs. The BLS projects a 68% job growth for these professionals from 2020-to 2030. These technicians earned a median wage of $53,260 as of May 2021. Occupational therapy assistants are also in high demand, with 34% projected job growth and a median salary of $61,520.

Best Indiana Trade Schools

Each program on the list will meet our criteria, being:

Rankings Methodology:

  • Must offer less than one-year certifications
  • Accredited
  • Less than 18:1 faculty to student ratio
  • Less than $35,000 in tuition costs
  • Over 50% graduation rate

Christina and Company Education Center

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $8,401
  • Location: Lafayette, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must be at least 16 years old and hold a high school diploma or GED.
  • Graduation requirements: Students must complete 1500 hours of training and pass all written tests and practical exams with a minimum grade of 75% or higher.
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences

In addition to their primary program in cosmetology, Cristina and Company Education Center also offers programs in esthetics and manicuring. The general cosmetology program takes 10 months to complete.

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Denmark College

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $13,010
  • Location: Merrillville, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or recognized equivalent such as a GED. Additional requirements include an on-campus tour and interview.
  • Graduation requirements: Students must complete 1500 hours of training, pass all tests with a minimum grade of 75%, pass a pre-state final exam with a minimum grade of 80%, and complete a practical test.
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education

In addition to its well-known barbering program, the school offers cosmetology and medical assistance programs. The school reported that their 2021 barber and cosmetology state exam pass rates were 83% and 80%, respectively.

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Don Roberts School of Hair Design

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $16,724
  • Location: Schererville, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, they must complete an orientation and a class observation.
  • Graduation requirements: Students must complete 1500 hours of training, with full-time and part-time options available.
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences

Don Roberts School of Hair Design has served northwest Indiana since 1978. In addition to cosmetology, they also offer programs in barber, esthetics, and manicure. The school reports a placement rate of 75% in 2019 and offers internships and off-campus job shadowing placement.

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International Business College-Indianapolis

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $14,672
  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: Prospective students must tour the school and meet with an admissions representative. Additionally, they must graduate from high school or earn their GED before classes start.
  • Graduation requirements: Students must attain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and pass all courses.
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

IBC offers seven 16-month programs: accounting, computer programming, dental assisting, graphic design, medical assistant, paralegal studies, and veterinary technology. All programs lead to an associate of applied science degree. Some include 8-week externships.

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Paul Mitchell the School Indianapolis

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $15,684
  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: High school or GED graduates may apply. The application requirements include an entrance essay, a personal interview, and the submission of two photos.
  • Graduation requirements: Students must complete the 1500-hour program.
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences

The 13,000-square-feet state-of-the-art beauty school offers the latest trends and techniques in cosmetology. The school reported 74% graduation and 79% placement rates in 2019. Students give back through annual fundraising campaigns that have contributed over $22 million to charities.

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PJ's College of Cosmetology Clarksville

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $14,479
  • Location: Clarksville, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must be at least 16.5 years old for the cosmetology program, hold a high school diploma or a GED, and complete an interview.
  • Graduation requirements: Complete 1500 hours of training and receive a satisfactory passing grade on all exams.
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of the Council on Occupational Education

PJ's College of Cosmetology offers eight locations throughout Indiana and three in Kentucky. In addition to their cosmetology program, they offer esthetics, nail technology, and instructor training.

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Rogers Academy of Hair Design

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $12,103
  • Location: Evansville, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must be at least 16 and hold a high school diploma or GED.
  • Graduation requirements: Must complete 1500 hours of training, receive at least a 70% average on all exams, and attend an exit interview.
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences

Rogers Academy of Hair Design offers full-time and part-time, 10-12 month programs in barbering and cosmetology. Their campus consists of separate classrooms for training in skincare and nail technology.

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Summit Salon Academy

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $14,117
  • Location: Anderson, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: Students must turn 18 by the contracted graduation date and hold a high school diploma, GED, or HSE certificate.
  • Graduation requirements: Graduates must complete the required number of hours for training and receive a minimum score of 75% on the final written exam and practical procedures.
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Science

Summit Salon Academy offers cosmetology, esthetics, and nail technology programs. Students may complete the 1500-hour cosmetology program in 11 or 15 months. The school reports an 83% job placement for those completing the program in June 2018.

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Textures Institute of Cosmetology

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $8,921
  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must be at least 16, hold a high school diploma or GED, and complete an orientation before their start date.
  • Graduation requirements: Graduates must complete 1500 hours of training for the cosmetology program and pass the final written and practical examination.
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Science

In addition to the technical side of cosmetology, Textures Institute of Cosmetology offers instruction on the business aspect of the profession, including banking, finance, and investing. Students also experience real-world opportunities, providing hair and makeup for participants in fashion shows and photoshoots.

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The Salon Professional Academy Evansville

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $10,109
  • Location: Evansville, Indiana
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and schedule a tour with admissions.
  • Graduation requirements: Students must be 18 at graduation and complete the 1,500 hours of training with passing scores.
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Science

The Salon Professional Academy's Redken-based full-time cosmetology program includes training in integrating social media and mobile devices for the salon professional. It partners with thousands of Redken salons throughout the nation for job placement

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Other Notable Trade Schools in Indiana

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