Georgia vocational school students getting ready to hit the workforce are graduating into a favorable market. Forbes rated the Peach State No. 6 in its 2018 list of the best states for business, and the three top non-military employment sectors in the state each feature numerous opportunities for graduates of technical schools in Georgia.
Certain cities and metro areas in Georgia may be especially good destinations for technical school graduates in specific career fields, as well. There are two hospitals among the top employers in Sandy Springs, for example, which suggests that the city may be due for a heavy portion of the more than 60,000 healthcare jobs expected to emerge in the state by 2026. Graduates of construction and welding trade schools in Georgia might be best served to angle their job search toward Atlanta, which ranked No. 4 among fast-growing metro areas in the country in 2018.
Why is Georgia Good for Vocational/Career Schools?
Trade or vocational school training, also known as career technical education (CTE), offers a few things that four-year bachelor's degrees can't. For one thing, most programs at technical schools in Georgia can be completed in no more than two years of full-time study, and students hoping to hit the job market fast can earn a wide range of diplomas and career certificates in anywhere from three months to a year.
If students begin preparing early for their trade school education, their chances of success tend to rise. That's another reason that Georgia is a good place for technical school study -- 70 percent of students enrolled in public high schools take some form of CTE training before graduating. Georgia is also home to the Technical College System of Georgia (TCGS), which works to coordinate and optimize the efforts of individual trade school campuses.
Students looking to study top subjects like health care, business, welding, manufacturing and automotive technology at trade schools in Georgia should check out the list below. The best trade and vocational schools in Georgia may have more to offer than you think.
Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers in Georgia
Trade School Financial Aid in Georgia
If you want to train for a new career but aren't sure how you would pay for your program, don't hesitate to look into Georgia education grants for college students. There is substantial opportunity for financial aid from career schools in Georgia, provided you know where to look and what it takes to apply.
One of the most important parts of knowing how to apply for financial aid in Georgia is a document called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal grant and loan programs use the FAFSA as their main application document, and most aid programs at the state or institutional level use information from it when making their award decisions. Check out the financial aid guide we put together for more information on the FAFSA and other important first steps.
Here's a quick rundown of a few statewide grants and scholarships for college students in Georgia:
- HOPE Career Grant - Formerly known as the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant, this program is one of the most wide-reaching Georgia education grants. Qualifying students may be awarded up to $500 per semester to help offset the cost of their trade school education.
- Zell Miller Grant - This program aims to reduce the cost burden on high-achieving trade school students by covering 100 percent of tuition for eligible certificate or diploma programs at a TCSG or USG institution. Students must maintain a 3.5 GPA in college to qualify.
- HOPE Scholarship- Academic achievement is the primary qualifier for this statewide aid program. Up to $1,140 per semester might be available for students who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA or score in the 75th percentile on the SAT or ACT exam.
Initiatives for Vocational School Students in Georgia
Vocational school initiatives in Georgia come in a variety of styles and approaches. Whether they're used to help institutions develop new programs or create scholarships for undergraduates in Georgia, initiatives like these aim to increase opportunity for higher education statewide:
- The state budget for the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) is more than $320 million and increasing every year, while more than $760 million is allocated for the HOPE financial aid programs.
- The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) recently won nearly $5 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The money will go to further its mission of improving the state's employment and training opportunities for students with disabilities.
Georgia Policies That Benefit Vocational Students
- The Georgia Student Finance Commission supports a dual enrollment initiative that allows high school students to take college-level courses for both high school and college credit. Vocational students who participate in dual-enrollment programs are often able to finish college and enter the workforce sooner than expected.
- The Georgia Virtual Technical Connection (GVTC) is a distance education initiative of the TCSG that aims to bring increased flexibility to online trade schools in Georgia. If you're thinking about enrolling in an online program, you can check the GVTC database to see which schools in the state might offer it.
School-Specific Program Initiatives in Georgia
- Students at North Georgia Technical College can apply for scholarships designed to assist with the cost of tuition, fees or lending library materials.
- South Georgia Technical College offers multiple scholarship opportunities for high-achieving students who make the institution's President's List by earning a 4.0 grade point average.
Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in Georgia
- The career, technical and agricultural education section of the Georgia Department of Education site can give you a wide range of information on the state's career clusters, programs of study and Georgia CTE student certifications.
- The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) oversees all of the public career schools in Georgia and keeps a close eye on the quality of its institutions. If you have questions about trade schools in the state, you might find the answers at TCSG.
- Attending a school and program that have earned accreditation can give you confidence that your training will make an impact on the job market. The primary regional accrediting agency in Georgia is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Check with your individual school for program accreditation status.
For more info on the best trade and vocational schools in Georgia and elsewhere throughout the country, as well as more detailed explorations of career education in general, check the state-specific resources at Advance CTE and browse the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) site.