The Nebraska Department of Economic Development names nearly a dozen industries targeted for growth in the coming years, and nearly all of them offer entry-level jobs that are accessible to candidates with training from career and technical schools in Nebraska. If you've ever considered a career in fields like renewable energy, health care, information technology and advanced manufacturing, trade school training can help you get there.
Matching your training to the job market demands in your area can go a long way toward finding secure, well-paid employment. For example, the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation lists manufacturing and alternative energy among its key industries, and the Omaha metro area offers some of the state's highest wages for welders and carpenters.
Why is Nebraska Good for Vocational/Career Schools?
There are a few reasons that Nebraska students might pursue a career technical education (CTE) credential instead of a four-year bachelor's degree at a university. Time to completion is a key factor for many career-focused students, and many CTE certification programs in Nebraska can be completed in less than a year.
There's also a significant difference in cost between universities and career and technical schools. In Nebraska, university students paid an average of nearly $8,200 for a year of tuition and fees in 2018. In-state trade school and community college students paid less than half that amount, averaging just over $3,200 for a full year of instruction.
Whether you're considering your first CTE certification in Nebraska or want to go back to school to advance in your career, we've got information that can help. Read on to learn about the best two-year schools in the state and get some guidance on how to apply for financial aid in Nebraska.
Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers
How to Apply for Trade School Financial Aid in Nebraska
Even though trade school training is relatively inexpensive when compared with a university degree, not everybody has enough cash on hand to afford their tuition out of pocket. Fortunately, financial aid programs are available to take some of the sting out of your college bills.
If you're not sure how to apply for financial aid in Nebraska, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the first document you'll want to know about. The FAFSA the key that unlocks valuable federal aid programs like Stafford Loans and the Pell Grant, and most state-funded Nebraska scholarships and grants also include it in their list of required documents when you apply.
To learn more about the FAFSA and other important financial aid concepts, check out our comprehensive guide to financial aid. Here's a short list of Nebraska scholarships and other programs that might be able to help you pay for your college training:
- Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG) - Roughly 33 percent of Nebraska community college and career school students receive this grant each year, with an average funding amount of around $1,350.
- Community College Gap Assistance Program - Designed to close the skilled labor gap in the Nebraska workforce, this program helps low-income students earn degrees in high-demand vocational subjects.
- Access College Early (ACE) Scholarship Program - This need-based program provides funding to Nebraska high school students who want to get a head start on their college education by taking early- or dual-enrollment classes.
Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in Nebraska
- Learn all about the five member colleges of the Nebraska Community College System at the organization's system info site.
- Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education works to align Nebraska trade schools, community colleges and universities with the state's economic and education policy goals.
- Only accredited schools are guaranteed to deliver education and training that meets a quality standard generally accepted by employers and college registrars. A regional association known as the Higher Learning Commission provides accreditation for public trade schools in Nebraska, and specific training programs or facilities may be accredited by independent national groups like the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS) or the American Welding Society.
There's also a page on Advance CTE dedicated to providing hard data on CTE certification in Nebraska, including statistics about CTE schools and jobs for graduates. Check out the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) for news and notes about CTE programs and policies in Nebraska and info about the national career technical education landscape.