Kansas has generally low costs of living and a state legislature that works hard to promote the skilled labor economy. Not only that, but nearly all of the key industries in Kansas — fields such as alternative energy, aerospace, animal health and more — feature up-and-coming jobs for candidates with a trade school education.
Training at the best trade and vocational schools in Kansas can be even more valuable to students in certain areas of the state. Health care and health information technology training might go farther in the region around Kansas City, where the five largest employers include two hospital systems and a health IT firm. The state's second-largest city, Overland Park, showed more than 11 percent population growth between 2010 and 2018, suggesting a favorable job market for graduates of construction management programs.
Why is Kansas good for vocational/career schools?
Career technical education (CTE) training can offer a few advantages over a traditional bachelor's degree for Kansas students. One major upside is the difference in cost — university students paid an average of more than $8,700 for a year of study in 2018, while in-state students at community colleges and technical schools in Kansas were charged less than $3,400 in tuition and fees over the same time period.
Kansas CTE programs also tend to be much shorter than the four-year study plans that lead to a bachelor's degree. Most certificates from career and technical schools in Kansas can be earned in a year or less, and programs that lead to a career diploma or associate degree often take no more than two years of full-time study to complete.
If you're looking into Kansas CTE and vocational training, read on to learn what makes the top campus-based and online trade schools in Kansas stand out over the rest. We've also got some information about state career training initiatives a few tips on how to apply for financial aid in Kansas.
Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers in Kansas
How to Apply for Trade School Financial Aid in Kansas
Finding the right Kansas scholarships and other financial aid programs can go a long way toward helping you get the college-level job training you need. University students typically know to work with their financial aid advisors to find all the aid that's available to them, but students at trade and vocational schools also have access to a wide range of student aid programs.
If you're wondering how to apply for financial aid in Kansas, the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first document that should be on your checklist. A completed FAFSA is the only way to qualify for federal programs like the Pell Grant, and most Kansas scholarships and grants also require that you have one on file before your application can be accepted. We've put together a financial aid guide with more detail on the FAFSA and other general tips for getting all the aid you can.
Here's a short list of state-based financial aid programs that students at career and technical schools in Kansas might qualify for:
- Kansas Career Technical Workforce Grant - Students who earned their high school diploma or equivalency degree in Kansas can apply for this program, which awards between $500 and $1,000 per year.
- Kansas State Scholarship - Completing the required State Scholar curriculum at a Kansas high school qualifies you for this scholarship, which awards as much as $1,000 annually based on financial need.
- Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship - This program awards up to $4,500 in aid per year to students who pledge to work as a registered or licensed practical nurse for one of the scholarship's sponsors after graduating.
Initiatives for Vocational School Students in Kansas
Kansas policymakers understand the need for a well-trained workforce, and several initiatives are in place in the Sunflower State to help students get the knowledge and skills they need to contribute to the state's economy. Here's a short list of active initiatives for students at trade schools in Kansas:
Funding for vocational students in Kansas
- Active National Guard members in Kansas can apply for the Kansas National Guard Educational Assistance Program, which pays up to 15 credit hours per semester of assistance.
- Wichita residents can benefit from the Wichita Promise program, a scholarship initiative that pays tuition and fees for students studying specific high-wage, high-demand job fields.
Kansas policies that benefit vocational students
- Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas (AO-K) is a program designed to provide well-rounded training to vocational school students by delivering basic skills instruction alongside career education.
- Excel in CTE is a statewide program that works to provide incentives for school districts to provide high school students with training in high-need occupations in the state.
School-specific program initiatives in Kansas
- The President's Scholarship at Neosho County Community College provides $2,700 per academic year to Neosho County residents who enroll full-time and hold a cumulative GPA above 3.0.
- Labette Community College offers the Cardinal Scholarship, an award that pays the cost of tuition and books, to eligible students of all majors.
Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in Kansas
- The Kansas Board of Regents oversees public higher education in the state and can provide in-depth information about community colleges, trade schools and universities in Kansas.
- Kansas Works, whether you visit it on the Web or via the iOS and Android apps of the same name, is a one-stop shop for aspiring students, career changers and graduates ready to enter the workforce.
- It's important to look for accreditation when choosing among the trade and vocational schools in Kansas. Public two-year schools in Kansas are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, while private institutions are accredited by national groups like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
The career technical education portal Advance CTE also features some hard facts and figures about Kansas CTE, and students can find state-based and national information about the vocational landscape at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) site.