Trade Schools

A vocational school is a career-focused school that prepares and trains students for specific occupations. Vocational schools – also called trade schools, technical schools or career schools – offer a number of advantages to students.

  • Faster completion times. Most vocational school programs take from a few months to two years to complete, which means you can enter the workforce quickly.
  • No general education courses. Your education will focus only on the skills necessary for your career, with few or no “extras.”
  • Smaller classes. With fewer students in each class, instructors can provide hands-on learning opportunities, and be more accessible to their students.
  • Lower cost. The cost of attending a vocational school will vary depending on the program and location, but it will be thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars less than attending a traditional college program.
  • Highly specialized training. Your education will involve hands-on training specific to your field, and will likely take place in a setting similar to your future workplace. As a vocational school graduate, you should need very little on-the-job training.

Not sure if trade school is the right path for you? Here are a couple short vids to introduce you to the pros and cons.

Curious about some of the apprenticeship programs and vocational schools around? Check out the links to some great programs.

Mission: To promote life-long learning by delivering craft, technical, supervisory, management education and career placement services to the construction industry.


Union ironworkers and employers sponsor a four year apprenticeship program. Training is conducted in the classroom and on the job site. Ironworker apprentices attend a four week, daytime training session each year of their apprenticeship. Classes are normally held during the winter months.

Apprenticeship is occupational training that combines on-the-job experience with approved employers and classroom instruction, providing you with a steadily increasing income while preparing you to become a licensed journey worker in a trade. It is recognized across the United States as a pathway to a lifelong career, a competitive salary, an education, and advancement within an industry. IEC offers two programs: Limited Energy Technician and General Journeyman Inside Electrician.

The premier educational institution in Oregon, Southwest Washington, and Idaho for Carpenters and the affiliated trades. PNCI is sponsored by Willamette Carpenter Training Center, Inc. a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon. PNCI provides apprenticeship and journeyman skill advancement training for many construction trades including: Carpenters, Millwrights, Pile Drivers, Interior/Exterior Specialists, Scaffold Erectors, Drywall Finisher (Taper), Trade Show exhibition workers