According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Show-Me State has low costs of living and an economic situation that ranks fourth in the nation for employment diversity. Top industries in the state such as advanced manufacturing, defense and health sciences all have a need for the type of skilled workers that training programs at career and technical schools in Missouri can provide.
Getting a trade education in a specific region or city can bring even more advantages to your job search. Aviation technology students in St. Louis have a prime target for employment after graduation — aircraft maker Boeing recently opened a facility in the city and was recognized by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry as one of the fastest-growing companies in the region. Tech-focused workers might want to think about Kansas City, where tech jobs grew by more than 150 percent in 2017.
Why is Missouri Good for Vocational/Career Schools?
Training at career technical education (CTE) schools in Missouri can provide career-ready skills as well as a few advantages over a university bachelor's degree program. One big one is that university catalogs tend to be fairly light on occupational programs, so you're more likely to have access to the specific training you're looking for.
Missouri CTE certification is also a significantly more cost-effective option for students hoping to use college as a springboard to a career. University students in Missouri paid an average of nearly $8,400 in tuition and fees in 2018, while students at public trade schools and community colleges were charged an average of less than $3,300 for a full year of training.
If you're thinking about attending campus-based or online trade schools in Missouri, it can help to know which schools are the best in the state how you can find help paying for your training. Read on for our list of the top trade schools in the state and tips on how to apply for financial aid in Missouri.
Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers in Missouri
How to Apply for Trade School Financial Aid in Missouri
Trade school programs may be less costly than university degrees, but paying for college can still be a burden on your personal finances. Student aid is available for most career training programs at eligible schools, and it can make a big difference in a student's quality of life.
If you're planning to seek financial aid for your degree or certificate, you'll need to know about the Free Application for Student Financial Aid. Better known around campus as the FAFSA, this document serves as an all-purpose application to programs like federal work-study and the Pell Grant. It's also a necessary part of the application process for many Missouri scholarships at the state and institutional levels.
To learn more about the FAFSA and pick up some other helpful tips on student aid, check out the financial aid guide on this site. Here's a quick list of Missouri scholarships that you may be able to use to help offset the cost of college:
- Access Missouri - This need-based aid program awards eligible trade school students between $300 and $1,300 toward their studies at a public 2-year school or between $1,500 and $2,850 at the State Technical College of Missouri.
- Bright Flight Program - Also known as the Missouri Higher Education Academic Scholarship Program, this merit-based award presents up to $3,000 in aid to students with ACT or SAT scores in the 95th percentile statewide.
- Marguerite Ross Barnett Memorial Scholarship - Part-time students who remain employed while enrolled in school can qualify for an award worth up to nine credit hours of tuition through this need-based program.
Initiatives for Vocational School Students in Missouri
A skilled and well-trained workforce brings a lot of benefits to a state's economy, so it should come as no surprise that Missouri provides access to several initiatives for aspiring trade school students. Here's some detail about a few such programs:
Funding for vocational students in Missouri
- The Missouri Education and Training Voucher Program seeks to provide up to $5,000 per year in school-related expenses to eligible students who were once or are currently in foster care.
- The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is a new initiative designed to help adult students pursue an approved training program in designated high-need employment areas. Recipients must work in Missouri for at least three years after graduation or become responsible for repaying the grant amount.
Missouri policies that benefit vocational students
- 15 to Finish is an initiative that aims to help full-time students stay on track to finish their associate degrees in two years or less. It focuses on giving students the resources they need to complete 15 credit hours of coursework and training each semester.
- The MoExcels Workforce Initiative is a $55 million program that works to facilitate the creation and expansion of employer-based programs designed to ensure that workers get the training they need.
Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in Missouri
- For information about the public and private nonprofit trade schools and community colleges in Missouri, check out the Web portal of the Missouri Department of Higher Education.
- The Missouri Department of Workforce Development maintains an employment resources site called MoJobs where trade school graduates can search job postings, look for career skills workshops and more.
- It's important to make sure your trade school is accredited if you want to be sure that your education will meet the general workforce standard for your profession. Public institutions in Missouri are typically accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, while private career colleges may be accredited by non-regional groups like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
You can learn some hard facts about career education in Missouri on the state's dedicated page at Advance CTE. If you want to know more about how vocational training is changing the lives of students nationwide, browse the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) site.