The exact nature of Michigan's vocational economy may have changed over the last century or so, but the value of a trade school education in the Wolverine State could be higher than ever. Manufacturing -- in aerospace and military defense as well as automobiles and electronics -- is one of the state's top industries, and vocations in sectors like agribusiness and cybersecurity have made their way into the state's economic core.
Job markets differ from city to city, so certain vocational and trade schools in Michigan may provide their students with especially good job prospects after graduation. Two Michigan cities, Ann Arbor and Jackson, were recently named among the top 10 cities in the U.S. for healthcare workers, and graduates of HVAC trade schools in Michigan can find wages above the state average in cities like Battle Creek, Monroe and Kalamazoo.
Why is Michigan Good for Vocational or Technical Schools?
Michigan has one of the widest cost gaps between its two-year schools and four-year universities. Students at community colleges and career and vocational schools in Michigan paid an average of around $3,900 for the year in 2018-19, while universities charged an average of more than $13,400. That's a cost increase of nearly $10,000 -- almost 350 percent more.
Michigan also works with young students to raise awareness of the value of career technical education (CTE) at the college level. One out of four high school students in the state take at least some of their coursework through Michigan CTE programs, and close to 40 percent of the total community college student body is seeking some type of Michigan CTE certification.
Michigan is a great place for career education, and we've got a rundown of the specific schools that stand out above the rest. Check out this list of the best trade and vocational schools in Michigan and keep reading to the bottom of the page for info on how to apply for financial aid in Michigan, as well as other helpful resources.
Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers in Michigan
Financial Aid for Students in Michigan Trade Schools
The average cost of tuition at trade and vocational schools in Michigan might be around $10,000 less per year than the university average, but certain programs may take longer than others or have additional fees. Fortunately, vocational students in Michigan can earn college grants and Michigan state scholarships to help pay for school.
One document you should know about from the very beginning is the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA collects information about your income and other factors that help determine whether or not you qualify for certain aid programs. It's also your main route to federal grants and loans. Learn more about the FAFSA and other important financial aid concepts in our financial aid guide.
Here's a short list of scholarships and grants available exclusively to Michigan students:
- Michigan Competitive Scholarship (MCS) - Michigan residents who score over 1200 on the SAT can apply for this statewide award of up to $1,000 while they're pursuing their first degree on at least a half-time schedule.
- Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) - Recent high school graduates who meet the Michigan Medicaid eligibility requirement may qualify to have their tuition and most mandatory fees covered during their certificate or associate degree program.
- Children of Veterans Tuition Grant - This program is available to Michigan undergraduates between the ages of 16 and 26 whose parent was either killed or disabled as a result of their military service. It provides up to $2,800 per year for qualifying full-time students.
Initiatives for Vocational School Students in Michigan
Several programs exist at the state and institutional levels to help expand access to career education. Whether they help create scholarships for undergraduates in Michigan or college grants that help schools improve their training programs, initiatives like these work to keep Michigan trade school programs available and affordable:
Funding for vocational students in Michigan
- The Michigan College Access Network provides a variety of funding opportunities for career and technical schools in Michigan, including grants designed assist with the development of programs to increase college readiness and help students stay in school until graduation.
- The Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Grant (CCSTEP)is offered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to help Michigan vocational schools afford the equipment they need to provide cutting-edge technical education.
Michigan policies that benefit vocational students
- The Michigan legislature passed a bill in 2016 that allows vocational and community colleges in the state to expand their in-district tuition areas to decrease college costs for students in nearby counties.
- The Michigan Community College NETwork (MCCNET) functions as a one-stop shop for students looking for hard data and other information about potential destinations for their trade school training.
School-specific program initiatives in Michigan
- High-achieving students at Kellogg Community College (KCC) might qualify for one of the KCC Foundation Gold Key Scholarships, which award $2,500 each year for two years with an additional $1,000 available for continued education after they complete their program.
- Glen Oaks Community College provides numerous scholarships through its institutional foundation, including the Dr. David H. & Patricia A. Devier Scholarship available to all full-time, first-generation students.
Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in Michigan
- Check the career and technical education section of the Michigan Department of Education website for info on the state's approach to advancing vocational school training and career readiness.
- The Michigan Community College Association works to advocate on behalf of the state's community and vocational schools and their students and provides news and updates on advocacy and legislative policies.
- Most career and technical schools in Michigan are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Individual programs may also be accredited by agencies like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
There's also some high-level data on Michigan vocational schools available through the state's page at national career technical education portal Advance CTE. If you're looking for national trade school info for comparison, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is a great place to start.