From Baton Rouge to New Orleans, Louisiana has a number of large metros that cater to students -- and many have flocked to the state to take advantage of the great jobs offered there. Those who live in the state enjoy lower costs of living than the national average, including lower costs for housing and rent; even the commute time for those employed in the state is slightly lower than the national average. These perks are just one more reason why students should look to vocational and trade schools in Louisiana to help them enter the workforce faster.
Vocational education trends and opportunities in Louisiana
Louisiana takes vocational education seriously, and that commitment is obvious: The Lumina Foundation ranks Louisiana first in the nation for the percentage of working age adults holding a postsecondary certificate. The impressive increase of attainment over the course of a few years is a tribute to the efforts of the state to get more high school students and college-age adults interested in industry-specific certificates and what the eventual jobs might have to offer.
Where are students focusing their efforts? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the highest number of credentials were awarded in the field of manufacturing, construction, repair and transportation. That was followed closely by health sciences. Consumer services, business management, business support, and engineering, architecture and science technologies also had a strong showing of graduates in 2013, the last year for which data was available.
Careers for Louisiana trade school grads
When it comes to landing great jobs, some industries stand out in the state. According to the State of Louisiana's Division of Administration, the largest industries in The Pelican State include:
- Agribusiness: The state is home to wide-ranging farms and agricultural businesses, fueled by excellent geographical location, research centers and raw materials and resources.
- Entertainment: Advantageous tax incentives aside, the sheer charm and personality of the state has brought in many production companies. "Django Unchained" and the hit TV show "True Detective" are a few recent standouts filmed in Louisiana.
- Manufacturing: A strong infrastructure is one of the key selling points for the state, which has long been home to a large number of manufacturing companies.
- Energy: Louisiana has long been a hub of energy manufacturing, especially oil and gas; however, other energy players are making their way to the state, including solar power.
- Software Development: Louisiana boasts some of the strongest incentives for software companies in the nation, and they are flocking to the state, creating a wealth of jobs.
To get an idea of what vocational careers are available in Louisiana, check out some of these jobs with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Median Wage|
|Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians||860||39,750|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||1,670||40,880|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||3,530||41,380|
Financial Aid in Louisiana
How can students at vocational and trade schools in Louisiana pay for their education? There are numerous options available, including grants, scholarships and loans. Some of these funding opportunities are unique to the state; however, all of them begin with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA is required in order to receive federal aid consideration, and the state uses the information from it to determine other financial aid options that might be available to students.
Here are a few financial aid opportunities unique to the state:
- Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS): This program taps into tax funds to provide full tuition and some fees for Louisiana residents who qualify.
- TOPS Tech Early Start Program: Awarded to high school students who want to earn vocational credit before graduation, this program allows students to get a jump-start on higher education.
- Chafee Educational and Training Voucher Program: Designed for those who are or have been in the foster care system in Louisiana, this program awards up to $5,000 annually, based on financial need.
- Go Grant: This program kicks in for those students who have already received as much financial aid as possible from other sources but find themselves still owing more tuition than they can afford.
For information on these programs and others in the state, visit the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance.
- Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance, http://www.osfa.la.gov/
- Number of subbaccalaureate occupational education credentials awarded by Title IV postsecondary institutions, by field of study and state: United States, 2013, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ctes/tables/S128.asp
- Quick Facts: Louisiana, U.S Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/22,00
- "Report: Louisiana leading the way in certificates," The News Star, May 24, 2016, Leigh Guidry, http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/news/local/2016/05/24/report-louisiana-leading-way-certificates/84886032/
- "State of Louisiana Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Year Ended June 30, 2013," Division of Administration, http://www.doa.la.gov/osrap/library/Publications/CAFR2013.pdf