Best Trade Schools in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma state government projects strong growth in trade careers. Learn more about these jobs and trade schools in Oklahoma.

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by Thomas Broderick

Published September 7, 2022

Edited by Kelly Thomas
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Best Trade Schools in Oklahoma
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The Oklahoma state government projects growth in many trade professions between 2016 and 2026. A need for trade workers may translate to an easier job hunt and higher pay. Trade schools in Oklahoma can prepare residents with a high school or GED diploma for one of these jobs.

The best trade schools in Oklahoma provide educational and financial advantages over four-year colleges. Students pay less for their education and may avoid debt. Some graduates even enter a career offering more than the U.S. median salary.

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Trade Jobs and Salaries in Oklahoma

The best trade schools in Oklahoma help students qualify for a job not requiring a college degree. As of June 2022, commercial driver's license (CDL) drivers, licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and welders are some of Oklahoma's most common trade professions.

CDL Driver

Licensed Practical Nurse

Welder

Trade Schools in Oklahoma

Professions in different fields make up the skilled trades. Each requires hands-on training and practical knowledge. Various job opportunities make the career appealing to workers with different interests.

Top-paying jobs in the trades include elevator installer and repairer, radiation therapist, and web developer, according to the BLS. Workers prepare for these and other careers with a trade school education or apprenticeship.

Oklahoma residents may want to consider pursuing a career in the trades. Oklahoma Works labels many of these careers as critical occupations to the state's economic growth. CDL drivers, for example, rank at the top of the state's critical occupations list.

Average Cost of Trade School in Oklahoma

Prospective students should compare trade schools in Oklahoma to determine whether their programs offer a positive return on investment. Doing so requires research.

Oklahoma trade schools charge slightly less than community colleges offering two-year associate degrees. Aspiring welders, for example, should expect to pay around $17,500-$21,700 for a program. Veterans and active-duty service members may save on their costs at some schools.

Compare these figures to what undergraduates earning a four-year degree at the University of Oklahoma and other colleges pay. In addition to tuition and fees, many college students also pay for room, books, meal plans, and other hidden costs related to their education.

These expenses make a four-year college education more expensive. Also, attending trade school can get you into the workforce in less time than attending a four-year college or university.

Consider your short- and long-term financial goals when deciding between trade school and a traditional college education.

Financial Aid for Trade Schools in Oklahoma

Trade schools in Oklahoma can provide more affordable educational opportunities than a four-year college or university. However, some learners at trade schools still need financial aid to avoid debt.

Fortunately, scholarships, federal programs, and employer tuition reimbursement provide students with many options.

Typical eligibility requirements include financial need and an application.

Scholarships for Vocational Programs

Otha Grimes — Francis Tuttle Memorial Scholarship

The Smart Service Scholarship

Western Oklahoma Building Trades Scholarship

For more information on paying for trade school, research Vocational Education Financial Aid. This resource provides dozens of scholarship opportunities.

Accreditations in Oklahoma

The best trade schools in Oklahoma can earn institutional and/or programmatic accreditation through authorized agencies.

Accreditation helps ensure that a school or program is offering a quality education and meeting established standards. Schools typically show accreditation information on their homepage or a consumer information page.

Only consider trade schools that are accredited.

Schools that lack accreditation may offer a substandard education. Also, if you don't attend an accredited trade school, you may not qualify for an apprenticeship or be able to transfer to a four-year school. Many employers also only consider hiring job-seekers from an accredited school or program.

Learn more about how accreditation agencies review trade schools in Oklahoma:

Apprenticeships in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Works offers residents nearly 200 apprenticeship programs as of June 2022. Companies in different industries offer training opportunities, such as powerline installation, home care, and industrial manufacturing.

First-time visitors can start their journey toward a new career by reading Oklahoma Works' in-depth apprenticeship guides.

Middle and high school students interested in apprenticeships can take career and technical education (CTE) classes. Learners attending a public high school in Oklahoma City may take CTE classes in construction, horticulture, welding, and other subjects.

High school graduates can then further develop their skills by enrolling in a trade school.

Frequently Asked Questions About Trade Schools in Oklahoma

How many trade or tech schools are in Oklahoma?

The Oklahoma state government funds 29 schools throughout the state offering vocational training. These schools feature 59 separate campuses offering programs in approximately 90 subjects. This variety gives learners access to many educational opportunities.

Oklahoma features private trade schools, such as those focused solely on cosmetology or healthcare. Like public schools, private schools should hold accreditation. These schools may charge more than public Oklahoma trade schools.

Review tuition costs, classes, and graduate outcomes when comparing trade schools in Oklahoma. Doing so helps prospective students find the school aligned with their academic interests and professional goals.

What is the difference between a vocational school and a technical school?

No difference exists between vocational schools and technical schools. Programs in both require few general education classes. Instead, the coursework emphasizes practical knowledge that learners need to pursue a career. These schools also require extensive hands-on training.

Vocational and technical schools offer programs to adults and high school students. The latter can dual-enroll, taking college-level classes in the evenings or weekends as they complete their high school coursework. These programs help learners become more employable once they graduate high school.

Please note, vocational schools may also refer to trade schools. A typical trade school does not award associate degrees. Some other vocational and technical schools do.

What are the advantages of attending a career technical school?

Career technical schools offer advantages for learners wanting to start a new career. Classes focus on what learners need to know to enter the job market. Schools may feature smaller class sizes than traditional colleges, as well.

Learners may benefit from the more affordable tuition, reducing their reliance on student loans and putting them in a better financial position than their co-workers with college debt.

Although career technical schools differ from four-year colleges, they offer many of the same student services. Learners benefit from academic and career counselors. These counselors help students explore job and apprenticeship opportunities.

Best Oklahoma Trade Schools

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

How We Rank Schools

Rankings Methodology:

Clary Sage College

  • Private not-for-profit
  • Cost: Varies by program
  • Location: Tulsa
  • Admission/application requirements: High school or GED diploma
  • Accreditations: ACCSC

Clary Sage provides students with nine career-aligned programs, including barber, fashion design, and nail technician. The latter takes only five months and lets learners take classes in the evenings. New students may qualify for a $1,500 merit scholarship.

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Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center

  • Public nonprofit
  • Cost: Varies by program
  • Location: Choctaw
  • Admission/application requirements: High school or GED diploma; assessment test; interview
  • Graduation requirements: Maintaining satisfactory academic progress
  • Accreditations: Association of Early Learning Leaders

EOC Tech offers high school graduates over a dozen career-aligned programs, including digital media, graphic design, and HVAC. The school also features shorter career development classes open to learners 16 and older. EOC Tech helps students make the most of their education with transfer advising.

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Great Plains Technology Center

  • Public nonprofit
  • Cost: Varies
  • Location: Lawton and Frederick
  • Admission/application requirements: High school diploma or GED for adult programs
  • Accreditations: COE

Great Plains Technology Center appeals to high school students interested in dual enrollment, adults wanting to pass the GED exam, and high school graduates working toward a new career. Adult career programs include combination welder and culinary coordinator. Learners nearing graduation use the school's extensive career resources to prepare for a job hunt.

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Green Country Technology Center

  • Public nonprofit
  • Cost: $2.50 per hour in district; $5 per hour out of district
  • Location: Okmulgee; online
  • Admission/application requirements: Online application; high school or GED diploma
  • Accreditations: Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

Green Country Technology Center offers high school students and adult learners a mix of on-campus and online programs. Options include medical insurance coder, programming and video game development, and residential/light commercial HVAC technician. Students maintaining a minimum 2.75 GPA may qualify for an institutional scholarship.

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High Plains Technology Center

  • Public nonprofit
  • Cost: Free for in-district high school students; $22,083 per year for out-of-district adult learners
  • Location: Woodward
  • Admission/application requirements: High school diploma or GED or adult programs
  • Graduation requirements: Maintaining satisfactory academic progress
  • Accreditations: Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education; Oklahoma State Department of Education

HPTC offers in-district high school students 10 dual-enrollment programs, including construction trade, multimedia, and welding technology. Adult learners select from a dozen options, such as practical nursing and technical applications. The school features credit transfer agreements with Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Cowley County Community College.

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Indian Capital Technology Center

  • Public nonprofit
  • Cost: $2 per hour for full-time students in a career major
  • Location: Muskogee; online
  • Admission/application requirements: Varies by program
  • Graduation requirements: Maintaining satisfactory academic progress
  • Accreditations: Oklahoma Department of Education; Oklahoma State Approving Agency

ICTC-Muskogee features many full-time programs for adult learners, such as auto collision repair technician, electrician's assistant, and graphic designer. The campus also offers four programs in adult health careers. In-district high school students and graduates do not pay tuition for one program, a $2,100 value.

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Jenks Beauty College

  • Private for-profit
  • Cost: $3,025-$16,350 per program
  • Location: Jenks
  • Admission/application requirements: Earning a minimum 75% in all classes
  • Accreditations: NACCAS

JBC offers programs in cosmetology, esthetics, nail tech, and instruction. Cosmetology students master hair color techniques, client relationship skills, and eyelash tinting. Veterans may use GI Bill® funding at JBC.

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Pontotoc Technology Center

  • Public nonprofit
  • Cost: $7,980 per program
  • Location: Ada; online
  • Admission/application requirements: High school or GED diploma; interview; placement testing
  • Graduation requirements: Maintaining satisfactory academic progress
  • Accreditations: Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

Learners enroll in PTC to explore full-time programs, short-term classes, and online learning opportunities. Online classes train students in accounting fundamentals, computer software, and Spanish. Full-time on-campus learners prepare for a career as an automotive technician or paramedic.

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Southwest Technology Center

  • Public nonprofit
  • Cost: Varies by program
  • Location: Altus; online
  • Admission/application requirements: High school or GED diploma; interview; placement testing
  • Graduation requirements: Maintaining satisfactory academic progress
  • Accreditations: Oklahoma Department of Education; Oklahoma Board of Career Technology and Education

SWTC's full-time students select from 11 programs that include construction, health science technology, and teacher prep. The school's Just-4-Fun classes instruct short-term learners in computer fundamentals, cake decorating, and digital photography. The SWTC Foundation Scholarship awards $100-$600 to eligible students.

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Tulsa Technology Center

  • Public non-profit
  • Cost:Varies
  • Location: Tulsa; online
  • Admission/application requirements: High school or GED diploma; placement testing
  • Graduation requirements: Maintaining satisfactory academic progress
  • Accreditations: Oklahoma Department of Education; Oklahoma Board of Career and Technology Education

Tulsa Tech offers adult learners more than 80 on-campus and online programs. These full- and part-time options take 24 months or fewer. Students select a major from 12 career tracks, such as finance, health science, and human services.

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Other Notable Oklahoma Trade Schools

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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