According to projections released by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES), the job market in the Magnolia State is set to expand in the next several years. On top of that, some of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy -- construction, automotive, transportation, healthcare and education -- feature numerous jobs for graduates of trade and vocational schools in Mississippi.
Specific cities and regions have even more potential upside for trade school graduates in certain fields. Automotive service technicians and mechanics in the area around Jackson earn around $3,600 more per year than the statewide average, for example, and the Gulfport-Biloxi area has reported a steady upswing in the availability of manufacturing jobs since the beginning of 2019.
Why is Mississippi Good for Vocational/Career Schools?
Career technical education (CTE) can increase graduation rates at both the high school and the college level, and the benefits don't stop there. Students pursuing CTE certification in Mississippi also spend less time in college before they're ready to hit the workforce -- even an associate degree, the highest level of strictly vocational training, typically takes around half the time of a four-year bachelor's degree.
There are also cost savings available for students at trade and vocational schools in Mississippi. The average cost of tuition and fees at a Mississippi university was more than $8,400 for the year in 2018, while the average cost of attendance at a public trade school came in at under $3,200 the same year.
Whether you're looking for campus-based or online trade schools in Mississippi, we've got a rundown of the state's best schools and some resources for students and job seekers. Read on to learn about some programs available in the state and how to apply for financial aid in Mississippi.
Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers in Mississippi
How to Apply for Trade School Financial Aid in Mississippi
Paying for college is often one of the biggest challenges that that aspiring students face. Even though career and technical schools in Mississippi charge less than half of the average university tuition, many students could still use a little help paying for school.
Anyone looking into Mississippi scholarships and grants for college should become familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. The FAFSA is probably the most important document in the financial aid process, using income numbers and other information to determine your eligibility for need-based aid programs.
Not only is the FAFSA often requested in the application process for Mississippi scholarships and grants, it's the only way to see if you qualify for federal programs like Pell Grants and Stafford Loans. Take a look at our financial aid guide for more details about the FAFSA and general info on how to apply for financial aid in Mississippi.
Here's a short list of state-based financial aid programs that may be available for students at trade schools in Mississippi:
- Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant (MEGS) - This merit-based program awards up to $2,500 per year to Mississippi high school graduates with at least a 3.5 GPA and an ACT score of 29 or above.
- Higher Education Legislative Plan (HELP) - Students who complete a special HELP curriculum in high school can qualify for tuition and fees assistance up to the average amount of public college tuition in the state.
- Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) - This program can provide an award of up to $500 per year for Mississippi trade school students who miss the cutoff for federal need-based aid.
Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in Mississippi
- Students looking for some hard data and administrative information about career and technical schools in Mississippi can check out the Mississippi Community College Board Web portal.
- For info on the state of the career market, available jobs for college graduates and the locations of job centers throughout the state, visit the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
- Regional accreditation assures that career and technical schools in Mississippi provide an education that meets or exceeds a set of quality standards. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) provides regional accreditation for Mississippi institutions, while program accreditation typically comes from industry associations such as the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC) and the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
You can also learn more about the career and technical education landscape at the state page for Mississippi at info portal Advance CTE. For more information on the national CTE scene, check with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).