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Vocational & Trade Schools in California

By Publisher
| Last Updated

California's trade schools and vocational colleges help prepare students to build futures in a region with endless possibilities. Business, technology, health care, and many other career sectors provide ample opportunities for reliable and meaningful employment.

Education & Training in California

Californians have the opportunity to choose from an extensive range of college and trade school programs. Many students in California benefit from generous financial aid and the region's incredible cultural diversity.

Key Benefits for Students in California

  1. Low student debt: The Institute of College Access & Success stated in a 2020 article that, on average, post-secondary students in California carry the fourth-lowest amount of education-related debt in the U.S.
  2. Greater potential for educational achievement: California's for-profit institutions and private non-profit four-year schools have lower ratios of students to instructors compared to the national averages. That means you have the chance to get more personalized instruction, which can lead to better learning outcomes.
  3. Enhanced personal growth and development: According to US News, California is home to seven of America's ten most diverse cities (among cities with at least 300,000 people). Engaging with people of many different backgrounds can help students learn to be more empathetic, adaptable, and ready for today's diverse workplaces.

Colleges and trade schools in California can give you the advantage of learning valuable career skills in one of the world's most prosperous and exciting regions. This state is where millions of driven yet laid-back people interact and create bright futures for themselves. And it can be the place where you can start working toward your success.

UEI College

  • Bakersfield
  • Chula Vista
  • Fresno
  • Garden Grove
  • Gardena
  • Huntington Park
  • Oceanside
  • Ontario
  • Reseda
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • Stockton
  • West Covina
  • Automotive Technician
  • Business Office Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Dental Assistant
  • Electrician Technician
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Insurance Coding
  • Medical Office Specialist
  • Welding

Platt College

  • Anaheim
  • Los Angeles
  • Ontario
  • Riverside
  • Business Management
  • Business Management - Online
  • Criminal Justice
  • Graphic Design
  • Information Technology
  • Medical Administrative Specialist
  • Medical Assisting
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Veterinary Technology
  • Veterinary Technology - Online
  • Visual Communications

Blake Austin College

  • Vacaville
  • Clinical Medical Assisting w/Phlebotomy
  • Dental Assisting
  • Dental Assisting - Continuing Education
  • Vocational Nursing
  • Vocational Nursing - Continuing Education

Laurus College

  • Atascadero
  • Chula Vista
  • Oxnard
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Santa Maria
  • Audio Production
  • Audio Video Production
  • Business Administration
  • Business Systems Management
  • Digital Arts & Computer Animation
  • Information Technologies & Network Systems
  • Medical Billing & Coding
  • Visual Design and Multimedia
  • Web Design
  • Web Design & Development

Southern California Health Institute

  • North Hollywood
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Personal Fitness Trainer
  • Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab

Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology

  • Los Angeles
  • Riverside
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology

Charter College

  • Oxnard
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Assistant
  • Veterinary Assistant

Carrington College

  • Pleasant Hill
  • Sacramento
  • San Jose
  • San Leandro
  • Stockton
  • Dental Assisting
  • Electrical Technology
  • Medical Assisting
  • Pharmacy Technology
  • Veterinary Technology

University of Silicon Valley

  • San Jose
  • Digital Art and Animation
  • Digital Audio Technology
  • Game Art
  • Game Design
  • Game Engineering

Universal Technical Institute

  • Long Beach
  • Rancho Cucamonga
  • Sacramento
  • Automotive Technology
  • Aviation Maintenance
  • Collision Repair & Refinish Technology
  • Diesel & Industrial Technology
  • Robotics & Automation
  • Welding Technology
  • Wind Power


Yearly educational expenses vary significantly across California's post-secondary landscape. A lot depends on the kind of program you take as well as the type of college or trade school you attend.

Trade School Accreditation

Two college students studying in a library.To receive federal financial aid, you must attend a post-secondary school accredited by a national or regional organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Accreditation means that a school upholds particular quality standards based on the evaluation of an independent accrediting body.

Many career colleges, technical institutes, and trade schools in California are nationally accredited by at least one of the following organizations:

  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Council on Occupational Education (COE)
  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
  • Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET)
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

Many degree-granting institutions are regionally accredited by either the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) or the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

Private colleges, universities, and vocational schools must be approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).

Financial Aid for California Students

Young female student with backpack holding books, smiling outside college campusThe California Student Aid Commission administers several programs that make post-secondary education more affordable for eligible state residents. Two of the most notable examples are grant programs, which award money for education that you don't need to pay back:

  • Cal Grants help cover tuition, fees, books, and other expenses for residents who attend public California institutions or eligible private technical colleges or career schools. The award amounts are based on financial need, and you have to meet minimum academic requirements.
  • The California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth is geared toward residents who were in the state's foster care system at any time from the age of 16 to 18. If you qualify, you can receive as much as $5,000 a year for your college education or vocational training. While you're a student, the funds can even help pay for rent, transportation, and child care.

Other state-funded programs are geared toward military members, dependents of police officers and firefighters, and students pursuing teaching credentials.

Many California college students are eligible for federal grants, loans, or work-study options. For most residents, applying for state or federal assistance requires completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You can apply for state aid by submitting the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) if you're an undocumented student.

Internship and Job Search Assistance

Start with your school's career services department to get help with finding California internships or conducting a job search when you graduate. Most post-secondary institutions, especially career-oriented trade schools and technical colleges, offer job-search assistance for their students and alumni. Also, various websites list thousands of potential work experience opportunities across several different fields.

It's also worth checking out your local public library. They offer access to free job resources and career guidance in many cases.

California has one of the world's largest economies, employing professionals across different industries. Regardless of the sector you want to work in, you can probably find vocational trade schools or other training to help you gain the required skills.

With thousands of opportunities open to people who've completed post-secondary training, trade schools in California play a major role in the success of countless students like you.