The Idaho Department of Commerce lists food production, advanced manufacturing, technology, energy and aerospace among its key industries for the next several years, which is good news for potential trade school students. Programs at career and technical schools in Idaho can prepare you for entry-level jobs in all these fields and more.
Certain training programs might be extra valuable in specific regions of the state. Nearly 40 aerospace companies make their homes in northern Idaho, for example, so airframe mechanics and aspiring pilots should have numerous potential employers to choose from. Graduates of registered nurse (RN) programs might want to consider angling their job search toward the urban centers of Coeur D'Alene or Boise, where average wages for RNs were the highest in the state.
Why is Idaho Good for Vocational/Career Schools?
A career and technical education (CTE) program offers a few potential advantages over a four-year college program, especially if you're hoping to land one of the 54 percent of living wage jobs in Idaho that don't require a bachelor's degree.
CTE certification in Idaho is typically far less expensive than academic study at a university, for one. The average Idaho university student pays more than $7,200 in tuition and fees for one year of instruction, while students at public trade schools in Idaho are charged an average of less than $3,300 for a year of classes.
Bachelor's degrees also take four years of full-time study, in most cases, whereas vocational programs don't require such a large commitment of time. Associate degrees can usually be completed in around two years, and a wide range of career and technical certificate programs can help you train for a new position in a year or less.
Read on to find out about the best campus-based and online trade schools in Idaho, as well as get clued in to some Idaho scholarships and other resources that might help on your path to a stable career.
Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers in Idaho
How to Apply for Trade School Financial Aid in Idaho
If your main obstacle to entering a college training program is the cost, you'll be glad to know that Idaho scholarships and grants are almost as widely available at trade and vocational schools as they are at the state's four-year universities. If you're not sure how to apply for trade school financial aid in Idaho, then a document called the FAFSA should be your first step.
Short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA is your potential ticket to a wide range of student aid programs. Most Idaho scholarships and other state-based programs require applicants to have a completed FAFSA on file, and filling yours out is the only way to see if you qualify for helpful federal programs like the Pell Grant and low-interest Stafford Loans.
For more handy tips on financial aid in Idaho and some more detail about the type of information requested by the FAFSA, take a look at the financial aid guide on this site.
Here's a short list of Idaho scholarships and other aid programs that might be available to you:
- Idaho Opportunity Scholarship - This need-based scholarship program is open to Idaho residents who graduated from an Idaho high school and hold a cumulative GPA above 2.7.
- GEAR UP Idaho Scholarship - Restricted to applicants under 22 years old, this program is designed to provide a variable amount of financial aid to students who completed a GEAR UP program at an Idaho high school.
- Idaho Opportunity Scholarship for Adult Learners - Qualifying adult students who have at least 24 college credits to their name can apply for this program, which awards up to $3,500 in assistance per academic year.
Resources for Vocational Students and Job Seekers in Idaho
- Find out more about the Gem State's public and private institutions of higher education at the State of Idaho's colleges and universities portal.
- The Idaho State Board of Education has information about Idaho scholarships, public and private schools in the state and statewide initiatives aimed at promoting student success.
- Idaho Works, an initiative overseen by the Idaho Department of Labor, provides access to job postings, skills training opportunities, apprenticeships, assistance programs and other resources.
- Accreditation is a way to be sure that the training available at a given school will be up to the quality standards of employers and advanced instructors. Public trade schools in Idaho are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), while individual programs may be accredited by industry groups like the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Check out Idaho's state page at Advance CTE to learn more about the positive effect of CTE certification in Idaho, and learn more about career and technical education throughout the country at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).