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Paying for Career Training: Cost of Career Training and Trade Schools

How many trade schools are there in the United States?

In the United States, there are about 4,500 licensed post-secondary career training schools (excluding community colleges).

What types of career certificate programs are there?1

Career Paths Percent of Total
Animal services
2%
Architecture, design, visual arts, and performing arts
3%
Audio and film production
1%
Aviation and aviation maintenance
8%
Beauty, cosmetology, and esthetics
10%
Business training (marketing, sales, finance, leadership)
7%
Computer sciences (excl. IT/cybersecurity)
4%
Culinary arts and hospitality
2%
Education and teacher training
2%
Fitness, wellness, and recreation
7%
Healthcare and medical services
35%
Heavy equipment operations
1%
Installation, maintenance, and repair
4%
Internships and experiences
2%
IT/cybersecurity
2%
Language and linguistics
2%
Legal professions
1%
Truck driving
5%
Welding and underwater diving
2%
Total
100%

How much does trade school cost?2

On average, trade schools cost ~$7,900, but there’s a lot of variation in different career paths. For example, some schools — like truck driver training — cost less than $5K on average, while others — like aviation and aviation maintenance — cost upward of $20K on average.

School Types Avg Tuition Cost Per Student
Animal services
$5,693.69
Architecture, design, visual arts, and performing arts
$9,952.51
Audio and film production
$10,918.33
Aviation and aviation maintenance
$21,044.05
Beauty, cosmetology, and esthetics
$7,968.87
Business training (marketing, sales, finance, leadership)
$7,577.37
Computer sciences (excl. IT/cybersecurity)
$7,618.85
Culinary arts and hospitality
$5,586.25
Education and teacher training
$7,061.75
Fitness, wellness, and recreation
$5,609.47
Healthcare and medical services
$7,091.38
Heavy equipment operations
$5,802.93
Installation, maintenance, and repair
$9,250.53
Internships and experiences
$3,840.93
IT/cybersecurity
$11,381.21
Language and linguistics
$5,030.92
Legal professions
$4,849.71
Truck driving
$4,777.79
Diving and underwater welding
$9,033.86
Overall average
$7,899.49

Can you get student loans for trade school?3

Only about 10% of trade schools and career training programs (excluding community colleges) offer federal financial aid. Some career paths are more likely to offer federal aid than others — like cosmetology, audio and film production, and education and teacher training.

Percent of schools that offer Title IV funding:

Cosmetology
26%

Audio and film production
24%

Education and teacher training
14%

Schools Percent Title IV
Animal services
5%
Architecture, design, visual arts, and performing arts
18%
Audio and film production
24%
Aviation and aviation maintenance
1%
Beauty, cosmetology, and esthetics
26%
Business training (marketing, sales, finance, leadership)
16%
Computer sciences (excl. IT/cybersecurity)
4%
Culinary arts and hospitality
7%
Education and teacher training
14%
Fitness, wellness, and recreation
5%
Healthcare and medical services
9%
Heavy equipment operations
4%
Installation, maintenance, and repair
10%
Internships and experiences
1%
IT/cybersecurity
9%
Language and linguistics
1%
Legal professions
18%
Truck driving
3%
Diving and underwater welding
26%
Percent of all schools
10%

While federal student loans may not be available for all trade schools, other payment options are often available.

1Career certificate program types based on an analysis of 4,433 post-secondary career training schools across the United States — excluding traditional universities and community colleges.
2Average tuition cost based on an analysis of 2,056 available data points from post-secondary career training schools across the United States — excluding traditional universities and community colleges.
3Federal funding availability based on an analysis of 4,433 post-secondary career training schools across the United States — excluding traditional universities and community colleges.

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