A bachelor's degree isn't required to get a good job in Utah. In fact, 53 percent of good jobs in the state are held by those who don't have a four-year degree. That's according to Advance CTE, an organization representing career technical education professionals. The group defines a good job as an occupation that pays a median income of $55,000 and no less than $35,000 for those younger than age 45.
Manufacturing, construction and transportation and utilities are a few of the industries offering these good jobs in Utah. Others may be found in key industries such as aerospace and defense, financial services and life sciences. Statewide, the Department of Workforce Development says physical therapy assistants, environmental sciences and protection technicians and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tool programmers have some of the fastest growing technical occupations.
However, job prospects can vary depending on where you live. For instance, phlebotomists, massage therapists and industrial engineering technicians are in particular demand in the Salt Lake City region. Meanwhile, paralegals, computer network support specialists and HVAC technicians are expected to see high growth in and around Provo.
Why is Utah Good for Vocational Schools?
Technical schools in Utah specialize in preparing students for careers that don't require a bachelor's degree. They offer associate degrees, certificates and apprenticeships which provide what are known as middle skills. Middle skills refer to education and training that is past high school but less than a bachelor's degree.
In Utah, 55 percent of jobs require middle skills, according to 2015 data from the National Skills Coalition. However, only 47% of workers have that level of education. That means job potential could be good for graduations of career schools in Utah.
Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers in Utah
Financial Aid for Vocational Students in Utah
Tuition at public schools in Utah is already affordable compared to other regions of the country. The average in-state tuition and fees at public four-year schools is $7,160 per year, according to the College Board. However, it's even lower if you choose one of the public technical schools in Utah. Average in-state tuition and fees at the state's public two-year schools is only $3,900.
Many of the best trade schools in Utah have financial aid programs to help further lower the cost of higher education. Some of these are institution-specific scholarships and grants while others are state program. For instance, in 2019, the Utah Legislature approved $2 million to help low-income students pay the cost of tuition and fees not covered by other financial aid.
Whether you want to earn an associate degree, certificate or CTE certification, Utah scholarships and grants may be able to defray the cost. To be eligible for most programs, you must first completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For details on the FAFSA and how to apply for financial aid in Utah, read our financial aid guide.
Here are a few examples of the types of financial aid available to Utah students.
- CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards: These awards are given out by participating public vocational schools in Utah. The award amount varies by institution and ranges from $1,000 to the full cost of tuition for one year.
- Utah Promise Scholarship: This new scholarship program will help income-eligible students cover the cost of two years of college education.
- Regents' Scholarship Program: These merit-based Utah scholarships go to high school graduates who enroll in one of the state's public colleges or universities.
Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in Utah
Job seekers and students interested in traditional and online trade schools in Utah may find the following resources helpful:
- Regional accreditation for schools in Utah comes from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
- The State of Utah offers links to all public, private and technical schools in Utah as well as a list of academic and financial aid resources.
- UtahFutures is a collaborative effort of Utah state agencies and offers career and education information to residents.