Best Trade Schools in Texas

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by Kasia Kovacs

Published on June 14, 2022

Edited by Madison Hoehn
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Best Trade Schools in Texas
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Attending a trade school in Texas is a great way to get started in your career with low-cost training and less debt. Trade programs offer training for highly skilled workers in growing industries. Some programs even prepare people for jobs with comparable salaries to positions that require a college education.

If attending trade school appeals to you, this guide offers a list of the best trade schools in Texas, along with career and financial advice.

Trade Jobs and Salaries in Texas

While industries in Texas offer a variety of trade jobs, the careers below are some of the highest-employed trade jobs in the state. You can also gain insight into how salary and projected employment data compare to similar jobs in these fields. All of the data points come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians


Cooks


Electrical Installers and Repairers


Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics


Wind Turbine Service Technicians

Trade Schools in Texas

Trade schools, sometimes called vocational schools, offer training for high-skilled industries, like welding, plumbing, and mechanical work. Other industries include healthcare, food preparation, and cosmetology. Trade school programs often last less than two years. They're also typically more affordable than traditional college degrees.

Trade schools in Texas prepare students for jobs that are especially large industries in the state. For example, according to the BLS, Texas has the highest employment level of electrical power-line installers and repairers. On top of that, Houston is the metro area with the highest employment level for these professionals.

Average Cost of Trade School in Texas

The average trade school cost in Texas is about $17,450, according to the cost of trade schools listed on this page.

In comparison, the average in-state tuition for four-year public schools was $9,400 in the 2020-2021 school year, according to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). Multiplied for the full four years, that's about double the net cost of the average trade school.

The return on investment depends on the industry. The mechanical and electrical industries that people enter after trade school tend to come with salaries in the $50,000-$70,000 range. Some bachelor's degrees may lead to jobs with higher salaries —but some can come with lower salaries and a not-so-impressive return on investment.

Financial Aid for Trade Schools in Texas

Students at trade schools can apply for financial aid to help with the cost. Many apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines how much they can take out in federal student loans. Other students find scholarship opportunities or grant programs.

The list below includes scholarships for trade schools in Texas. You can find many other opportunities for vocational education financial aid as well.

High School Scholarships for Trade Schools in Texas

People who wish to attend one of these three Texas trade schools can apply for this scholarship: Lincoln Technical Institute, Tulsa Welding School & Technology Center, and the Universal Technical Institute.


Austin Community College Career Scholars

Applicants for this scholarship should aim to obtain an associate degree in the following areas: business, computer sciences, and education. Other areas include engineering, healthcare, manufacturing, applied tech, and skilled trades.


Automotive Aftermarket Scholarships

Applicants for this scholarship must enroll in one of the following areas of study: automotive mechanical, collision, or heavy-duty training.


COMTO North Texas Scholarship

Minority students hoping to pursue a career in the transportation field may apply for this scholarship. They can enroll in programs in logistics, transportation management, and information technology.

Accreditations in Texas

The accreditation process evaluates schools to ensure that students receive a quality education. Employers often look for individuals with training from accredited schools, and certain certifications may require accredited training as well.

Some common accrediting bodies for trade schools in Texas include the Council on Occupational Education and the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training. Two other options include the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences.

Apprenticeships in Texas

Individuals can also find on-the-job training through apprenticeship programs in Texas. These apprenticeships give students the opportunity to learn through supervised work in construction and industrial trades, like plumbing and carpentry. Sometimes vocational high schools offer these apprenticeships, which allow graduates to go straight into their careers after high school without additional postsecondary training.

Frequently Asked Questions About Technical Schools in Texas

true How many trade schools are in Texas?

There are about 260 two-year and postsecondary trade schools in Texas, according to the NCES. This guide lists almost 70 trade schools that meet the requirements listed within our Methodology.

With so many trade schools to choose from, students have many options to consider to find the best fit for their goals. Trade schools offer programs in a variety of careers, including cosmetology, welding, vocational nursing, and medical assisting.

Some trade schools offer just one program, while others facilitate several programs in different fields. You can also find schools that offer training, certificates, and associate degrees.

true What is the best trade to go to school for?

This depends on your own interests, salary goals, and career ambitions. If you would like to enter a fast-growing industry with good pay, then going to trade school to become a wind turbine service technician could be a good option. These professionals make median salaries of $56,260 and the industry is projected to grow by 68% from 2020-2030, according to the BLS.

However, if your interests lie elsewhere, you can attend school for different trades. People interested in cosmetology can study to become hairstylists or nail technicians. People who enjoy cooking can attend a culinary trade school, or those who enjoy working with cars can enroll in an automotive machining program.

Which skilled trade pays the most in Texas?

Aircraft mechanics and electrical power-line installers make relatively high wages in Texas. According to the BLS, aircraft mechanics and service technicians earned an annual mean wage of $71,440 in the state as of May 2021. In addition, electrical power-line installers and repairers earned mean salaries of $68,790 in May 2021, BLS figures show.

Keep in mind that these figures show the mean salaries. That means that specific wages vary based on location, years of experience, industry, and education level. For instance, an electrical power-line installer is likely to earn more in natural gas extraction than the mining industry.

Are trade schools better than college?

The answer to this question depends on your personal career goals. If you want to go into a career that doesn't need a bachelor's degree, then you can save a lot of time and money by attending trade school instead of college. If you'd like to become a chef, it makes sense to attend culinary school rather than earning a hospitality bachelor's degree.

That said, in some industries, a bachelor's degree can grant greater access to entry-level jobs and high-paying positions. Plus, some career paths require a bachelor's degree. For example, states require teachers to attend college to teach in public schools.

Best Texas 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-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio
  • Less than $35,000 in tuition costs
  • Over 50% graduation rate
Austin Career Institute true
  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Net Cost: $17,436
  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of coursework
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education

About the Program:

The Austin Career Institute's mission is to educate low-income people, veterans, laid-off workers, immigrants, and first-generation Americans and prepare them for in-demand careers. The programs train students for certificates in medical assistance, HVAC tech, and electrical tech. Students can graduate in 6.5-10 months, depending on their program.

Careers Institute of America true
  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Net Cost: $20,883
  • Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma; at least 17 years of age; interview with an admission representative
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of courses
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education

About the Program:

Established in 2013, the Careers Institute of America offers courses that train students in specific technical skills. Individuals can enroll in courses in Cisco networking, network administration, and basic and advanced welding. They can also take air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration classes. In addition, they can earn several certifications.

CyberText Institute of Technology true
  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Net Cost: $19,439
  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma; ability to read at basic eighth-grade level; nursing students must pass an assessment
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of courses
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education

About the Program:

CyberTex facilitates four areas of study, including medical assisting, network engineering, and vocational nursing. The final study area is heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The nursing program trains students to become licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). Students can take advantage of career services, and the school offers benefits for veterans as well.

Elite Welding Academy true
  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Net Cost: $19,660
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma; at least 18 years old; good physical condition including good eyesight
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of coursework
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training

About the Program:

Elite Welding Academy offers a training program in structural and pipe welding. It lasts 26 weeks, with students participating in courses for 40 hours a week. Learners can also choose evening classes. The second program in manufacturing welding only lasts 240 hours. A mechanical contractor that owns the academy employs many graduates directly after graduation.

Nuvani Institute true
  • Type: Private, for-profit
  • Net Cost: $14,067
  • Location: San Antonio, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma; at least 17 years of age
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of courses
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education

About the Program:

This small beauty institute teaches students how to become hairstylists, nail technicians, and cosmetology instructors. The programs teach skills such as hair coloring and manicuring procedures.

Pipo Academy of Hair Design
  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Net Cost: $3,901
  • Location: El Paso, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of coursework; pass an exam; finish required amount of practical procedures
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences

About the Program:

The operator in the cosmetology program at the Pipo Academy of Hair Design lasts 14 months. Over half of the coursework includes hands-on training, and students can take courses in English and Spanish. Course material covers hair cutting, hair styling, and hair design. The academy offers job search assistance for up to a year after students graduate.

Quest College
  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Net Cost: $16,849
  • Location: San Antonio, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of courses
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education

About the Program:

Founded in 1995, Quest College offers several programs, including associate degrees and career training courses. The college focuses on the healthcare and business fields, with programs in medical assisting, patient care, and business administration. Quest's students can enroll in both daytime and evening classes.

School of Automotive Machinists & Technology
  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Net Cost: $28,669
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma; at least 18 years old; some programs require scores on the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test and CNC Math Entrance Exam
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of required courses, with a different number of credit hours depending on the program; the associate of applied science degree in automotive engine/block and cylinder head machining requires 90 hours
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

About the Program:

This school offers postsecondary training in the automotive trade. It also provides one certificate program and one associate degree. The school's students can learn automotive engine machining, CNC machining, and EFI calibration. Many graduates go on to work in the racing industry, and the school provides career assistance to help with the job search.

Sebring Career Schools - Houston
  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Net Cost: $17,413
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma; at least 17 years of age
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of 600-1,000 hours of coursework, depending on the program
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education

About the Program:

Students can enroll in three cosmetology programs at Sebring Career Schools in Houston, including operator, facial specialist (esthetician), and manicurist. The operator program teaches students how to become a hairstylist. Classes last all day, and learners can complete their programs in 5-8 months.

Vogue International Academy
  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Net Cost: $9,900
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Admission/application Requirements: High school or GED diploma
  • Graduation Requirements: Successful completion of 1,000 hours of coursework
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

About the Program:

The Vogue International Academy offers a cosmetology operator course that aspiring cosmetologists can complete in nine months. Students participate in 1,000 hours of instruction, including 50 field trip hours.

Other Notable Texas Trade Schools

Alamo City Barber College

Alterius Career College

American Medical Institute Inc.

Arlington Career Institute

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts-Austin

Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute-San Antonio

Avenue Five Institute

Aviation Institute of Maintenance-Houston

Baldwin Beauty School-North Austin

Baldwin Beauty School-South Austin

CET-El Paso

Champion Beauty College

Culinary Institute Lenotre Inc.

Del Mar College

El Paso Community College

Fort Worth Beauty School

Fortis College

Fortis Institute

Houston Community College

Houston Training Schools

Houston Training School-Main Campus

Jay's Technical Institute

Lamson Institute

Laredo Beauty College Inc.

Laredo CHI Academy Beauty School

Northwest Educational Center

Ogle School Hair Skin Nails-Arlington

Ogle School Hair Skin Nails-Dallas

Ogle School Hair Skin Nails-Ft Worth

Ogle School Hair Skin Nails-North Dallas

Ogle School Hair Skin Nails-San Antonio

Palo Alto College

Paul Mitchell the School-Arlington

Paul Mitchell the School-Austin

Paul Mitchell the School-Houston

Paul Mitchell the School-San Antonio

Pima Medical Institute-El Paso

Pima Medical Institute-Houston

STVT-Corpus Christi

STVT-San Antonio

Remington College-Fort Worth Campus

Salon Professional Academy of San Antonio

San Antonio College

St. Philip's College

Southern Careers Institute-Austin

Southern Careers Institute-Corpus Christi

Southern Careers Institute-San Antonio

Tarrant County College

Texas Health School

The Professional Cosmetology Academy

Tint School of Makeup and Cosmetology-Dallas

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy

Tri-State Cosmetology Institute

Tulsa Welding School-Houston

UCAS University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences

Vet Tech Institute

Vogue College of Cosmetology

Vogue College of Cosmetology-San Antonio Fredericksburg

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