Manufacturing, health services and information technology are a few of the industries in New Hampshire that offer good jobs to those without a bachelor's degree. Overall, 43 percent of jobs in the state offering median annual earnings of at least $55,000 are held by those without a four-year degree, according to the non-profit Advance CTE.
Although you don't need a bachelor's degree to get a good job in New Hampshire, it does help if you have some postsecondary training. Certificates and associate degrees from technical schools in New Hampshire can open the door to some of the fastest growing jobs in the state. Those include nursing assistants, registered nurses and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, among others.
Before selecting a program of study, it may be helpful to determine which jobs are most in-demand in your area. For instance, physical therapy assistants and veterinary technologists are expected to see significant growth in Hillsborough County, according to New Hampshire Employment Security. In neighboring Rockingham County, paralegals and medical assistants are among the fastest growing jobs.
Why is New Hampshire good for vocational schools?
Finding a job in a growing field isn't the only reason to pursue CTE certification. New Hampshire students who attend a technical school can be done with their education in fewer than two years. That means they are likely to spend less on tuition and able to more quickly land a paying job.
Plus, the state is working to make vocational education options more accessible. The Sector Partnerships Initiative is one example of how businesses are working with CTE centers and community colleges to ensure workers are prepared to fill jobs in target sectors. What's more, 74 percent of postsecondary CTE graduates are placed in employment, apprenticeships or enter military service within six months of finishing their program, Advance CTE says.
Top Vocational Schools in New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a small state, but that doesn't stop it from having some standout schools. We used data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education to consider the tuition, graduation rates and student support services offered by the state's community colleges. We found the following to be the best career schools in New Hampshire.
With a main campus in Berlin and academic centers in Littleton and North Conway, White Mountains Community College is located just outside the White Mountain National Forest. The school is an affordable choice that offers a fee-free application and orientation. Local high school students can also take advantage of the Running Start program which allows them to enroll in college courses at a reduced cost.
What vocational programs WMCC offers: There are dozens of associate degree and certificate programs available at WMCC. Theses cover diverse fields and include an advanced welding technology certificate and a baking and pastry arts degree. If you're searching for online trade schools in New Hampshire, WMCC offers fully online certificates in library technology and water quality technology.
Manchester Community College enrolls students of all backgrounds and ages, from recent high school graduates to retirees. They come to the school for its affordable programs and personalized instruction. The vast majority of classes have less than 20 students in them, and the school's campus recently added a cutting-edge advanced technologies building.
What vocational programs MCC offers: MCC offers degrees and certificates in five broad categories: arts, humanities and communication; business; health science and services; industry and transportation; and STEM and advanced manufacturing. Popular options include an electrical lineworker certificate and a nursing degree. Online courses are available for some programs, and students may be able to earn credit for prior learning, including military training.
Financial Aid for Vocational Students in New Hampshire
Community colleges are regarded by many as the best value in higher education. In New Hampshire, in-state and online students pay only $215 per credit hour for 2019-2020. Compare that to the $630 per credit that the University of New Hampshire at Manchester charges part-time students enrolled in a degree program.
Despite the relatively low cost of vocational schools in New Hampshire, you might still need help paying for your education. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is a statewide community foundation that awards more than $40 million in grants and scholarships each year. Other financial aid in New Hampshire comes from the federal government in the form of grants and loans.
To apply for New Hampshire scholarships, you generally need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) first. You can learn more about the FAFSA and how to apply for financial aid in New Hampshire in our financial aid guide. Then, you can apply for one or more of the following:
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Scholarships: A number of scholarship programs are available through the foundation, including a $100 to $3500 award for those enrolled in two-year or associate degree programs.
Community Colleges of New Hampshire Foundation Scholarships: Students enrolled at the seven schools within the state's community college system can be eligible for more than a dozen scholarships with awards up to $2,000.
Tuition Break: New England students who want to study in New Hampshire may be eligible for reduced tuition through the New England Regional Student Program.
Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in New Hampshire
Whether you're interested in traditional or online trade schools in New Hampshire, here are some additional resources you may find useful
Accreditation is one hallmark of a quality school, and the New England Commission of Higher Education provides regional accreditation in New Hampshire.
Head to the New Hampshire Department of Education for more information about financial aid.
The Office of Workforce Opportunity maintains a website with resources for job seekers including job search tips and training information.
Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard, we generated a list of schools that met the following criteria:
- Institution type is less than 2 years, greater than 2 & less than 4 years
- Accredited by at least 1 agency (institutional accreditation)
- The school falls under one of the following classifications: (Carnegie Classification 2015: Undergraduate Instructional Program)
- Associate's Colleges: Mixed Transfer/Vocational & Technical
- These institutions awarded associate's degrees but no bachelor's degrees with 30-49% of awards (degrees and certificates) in career & technical programs.
- Associate's Colleges: Mixed Transfer/Vocational & Technical
Associate's Colleges: High Vocational & Technical
- These institutions awarded associate's degrees but no bachelor's degrees with more than 50% of awards (degrees and certificates) in career & technical programs.
Special Focus: Two-Year Institution
- These institutions awarded associate's degrees but no bachelor's degrees with typically more than 75% of awards in a single career & technical program
We ranked the resulting 711 colleges on the following criteria:
- Cost of attendance, based on the average net price for students receiving scholarship and grant aid, and the total cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
- No. of Associate degree and undergraduate Certificate programs offered, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
- Percent of undergraduate students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017
- Full-time student retention rate & part-time retention rate (if full-time retention rate is not available, then use part-time retention rate), National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2017
- The graduation rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017-18
- Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2014-15
- Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017-18
- Academic and career counseling
- Job placement services for graduates
- Mean annual earnings for students working 10 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2014-15
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2017-18, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2014-15, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- Employment Projections, New Hampshire Employment Security, Accessed September 2019, https://www.nhes.nh.gov/elmi/products/proj.htm#longterm
- New Hampshire Sector Partnerships Initiative, Office of Workforce Opportunity, Accessed September 2019, https://www.nhworks.org/sector-partnership-initiatives-spi/
- New Hampshire, Advance CTE, Accessed September 2019, https://careertech.org/new-hampshire
- Running Start Program, White Mountains Community College, Accessed September 2019, https://www.wmcc.edu/academics/running-start-program
- College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed September 2019, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator
- About WMCC, White Mountains Community College, Accessed September 2019, https://www.wmcc.edu/about-wmcc
- Manchester Community College, Accessed September 2019, https://www.mccnh.edu/
- Tuition & Costs, University of New Hampshire at Manchester, Accessed September 2019, https://manchester.unh.edu/admissions/tuition-costs
- Tuition & Fees, Community College System of New Hampshire, Accessed September 2019, https://www.ccsnh.edu/about-ccsnh/tuitions-fees
- Apply for a Scholarship, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Accessed September 2019, https://www.nhcf.org/how-can-we-help-you/apply-for-a-scholarship/
- Community Colleges of NH Foundation Scholarships, Community College System of New Hampshire, Accessed September 2019, https://www.ccsnh.edu/cc-nh-foundation-scholarships
- Tuition Break, New England Board of Higher Education, Accessed September 2019, https://nebhe.org/tuitionbreak/