You don't need a four-year degree to get a good job in Maryland. In fact, 43 percent of good jobs in the state are held by people without bachelor's degrees, according to Advance CTE. The nonprofit association of career-technical education directors defines a good job as one with a median income of $55,000 and that pays at least $35,000 for those younger than age 45.
Construction, health services and professional and management services are among the industries in Maryland offering the most good jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree. These are also some of the fastest growing sectors in the state, according to the Maryland Department of Labor.
Dental hygienists, physical therapy assistants and medical assistants are among the occupations expected to see the most growth in coming years. However, just because you won't need a four-year degree for these jobs doesn't mean you don't need any training. Instead, many of the hot jobs in the state require specialized education that can be found at technical schools in Maryland.
Why is Maryland Good for Vocational Schools?
Business and education groups have placed an emphasis on middle skills in recent years. Middle skill jobs are those that require education or training past high school but not a four-year degree. The National Skills Coalition says nearly half of Maryland jobs require middle skills but only 38 percent of the state's workers have the right level of training for them.
To address this skills gap, many traditional and online trade schools in Maryland offer affordable training programs designed to meet the needs of area employers. These programs may include degrees and apprenticeships that lead to CTE certification. Maryland high schools may also have their own CTE curriculums, and students enrolled in these programs have a 99 percent graduation rate, according to Advance CTE.
Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers in Maryland
Financial Aid for Vocational Students in Maryland
If you're worried about how you'll pay for tuition, the good news is that vocational schools in Maryland are affordable. The average cost of tuition and fees at a Maryland community college is $3,722, according to the Maryland Association of Community Colleges. For comparison, you'd spend an average of $9,237 at a public four-year college and $39,372 at a private college.
You may even be able to attend one of the state's community colleges for free. Maryland has set aside $15 million a year to provide free tuition to low and middle-income students. Plus, there are other Maryland scholarships and grants, including one designed to help adults return to school to complete their degree.
Financial aid in Maryland may come from the government or schools, but both rely on information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to make award decisions. Check out our guide to financial aid for more information on the FAFSA and how to apply for financial aid in Maryland. Your application could make you eligible for one of these programs or other forms of financial aid:
- Community College Promise Scholarship: This scholarship will cover any tuition costs not covered by other financial aid programs. Eligible students must be enrolled in a program that results in a vocational certificate, certificate, associate degree, licensure or certification. Apprenticeship programs may also qualify. Income limits apply.
- Near Completer Grant: Adults who have earned at least 45 credits at a community college or 90 credits at a public four-year college but didn't graduate may be eligible for a Near Completer Grant. The grant is intended to help adults re-enroll and finish their education. It is worth up to one-third of a community college's in-county tuition charge.
- Part-Time Grant: Part-time students may be eligible for this special grant that ranges from $200 to $2,000.
Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in Maryland
Here's where you can learn more about the education and career options offered by traditional and online trade schools in Maryland.
- The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is the main accrediting body for Maryland, and you can search for accredited institutions on their website.
- The Maryland Higher Education Commission provides information about financial aid and state institutions of higher education.
- On the Maryland Workforce Exchange, you can create a resume, search jobs and learn more about education opportunities in the state.