Accredited Online Trades Schools and Degree Programs

Students entering fields like construction management, electronics, and agriculture will find that these programs can often be completed in less time than many other college degrees. Trade schools generally host 1-4 year programs for certificates, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees that place a heavy emphasis on vocational work and experiential learning. The following guide will help students understand trade school accreditation and find noteworthy online or campus-based colleges. Common career options for trade school graduates will also be covered. Don’t forget to check out our database of online trade degrees, which can help during your college search.

  • Accreditation Agencies
  • Career Options
  • Notable Schools

Accreditation Agencies

Since trade schools cover a broad array of professions – from automotive restoration to web design – students should examine their specializations and make sure their trade studies program prepares them for certification and licensure within their state of residence. Some trade programs are accredited by the organizations that administer state exams, as is the case with the American Bar Association, which accredits paralegal programs and tests program graduates. The following organizations provide trade schools accreditation for a broad range of specialties:

Career Options

Since trade schools cover an array of professions, the following table will only depict a small sampling of what students can do with a vocational certificate or degree. Job options will rely heavily on a student’s chosen specialization and their state certification or licensing status.

Carpenters 567,820 $21.41 $44,520
Electricians 519,850 $25.50 $53,030
Roofers 97,650 $18.63 $38,760
Helpers, Construction Trades 20,980 $13.18 $27,420
Plumbers, Pipelayers, and Steamfitters 340,370 $25.46 $52,950

Figures from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

Notable Schools

Picking a school can be a daunting task, especially when considering the sheer number of accredited colleges there are across the nation. Our database below can help with narrowing down your options for your specific program. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable online and campus-based schools offering degrees in this subject to help you begin your school search.


The following organizations offer students career training exclusively online. Upon graduation, participants generally earn a certificate or undergraduate degree.

Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant, Michigan / Online

CMU’s online Global Campus has earned the school a first place ranking from the U.S. News & World Report for offering the best online undergraduate degree programs. Students at CMU can explore certificate and degree programs in trades such as building code administration, health systems leadership, and social media use.

Kaplan University

Davenport, Iowa / Online

The U.S. News and World Report regards Kaplan University as one of the as one of the top colleges for online undergraduate degrees. Online participation is extremely high at this college, with 90% of active students taking digital courses. Students can explore applied vocational training in trades like accounting, IT, and medical transcription at Kaplan University.

Campus Only

These colleges are ideal for students who wish to gain hands on experience and learn in a traditional classroom atmosphere. While some of these colleges might offer online courses, the majority of their trade programs will be exclusively on campus.

University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

When it comes to colleges that specialize in vocational training, students will be hard pressed to find a better campus-oriented college than the University of Georgia. This academic institution is ranked at first place amongst technical and vocational schools in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report. It has also received acclaim from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which places it at 52nd amongst the top business programs in the nation.

Ohio State University

Columbus, Pennsylvania

The U.S. News & World Report has listed this college 3rd amongst the top vocational and technical colleges in the nation. Their professional degree programs and certificates emphasize trades like optometry, veterinary medicine, and rehabilitation sciences. This school has also appeared on Forbes as one of the leading schools in the Midwest.

Vermont Technical College

Randolph Center, Vermont

This public college has received favorable rankings from the U.S News and World Report for being one of the top regional colleges in the North. Students can explore career-oriented programs like automotive technology, mechanical engineering technology, and dental hygiene at this institution. VT Tech has also developed significant inroads amongst electrician and plumbing trade communities, offering exam preparation for students who wish to take the Vermont State Journeyman Exam.