Colleges & Trade Schools in Idaho
By Crystal Lee
| Last Updated
The programs offered by colleges and trade schools in Idaho are designed to help students gain market-ready skills for reliable career fields. Vocational education can help you thrive in some of the state's most in-demand occupations, such as those in sectors like skilled trades, business, and technology.
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Education & Training in Idaho
Idaho's career colleges, universities, and trade schools are situated in a region that features good affordability, rapid job growth, and other advantages for students.
Key Benefits of the Region for College Students
- More chances for one-on-one instruction: Idaho's for-profit and two-year public institutions have fewer students per faculty member than the national averages for those types of schools.
- More affordable education: A MoneyRates study found that the total cost for students who lived on campus was lower in Idaho than in all but seven other states.
- Rising incomes: Between 2019 and 2020, personal income in Idaho grew by 3.62 percent—the fastest rate in the country.
Student Costs in Idaho
The cost of post-secondary education can vary based on factors like where you enroll and what program you pursue. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) says that these were the average tuition and fees at Idaho's four-year degree-granting institutions in 2018-2019:
- Public schools: $7,586 (in-state); $23,850 (out-of-state)
- Private schools: $6,139
Costs may be lower at two-year colleges and technical schools.
Students who lived on campus at Idaho's universities and colleges were charged the following average amounts for room and board, according to the same NCES data:
- Public schools: $8,548
- Private schools: $7,019
Idaho College & Trade School Accreditation
To become accredited, a school must have its mission and operations evaluated by an independent agency. Accredited schools are reviewed regularly to ensure that they continue to meet or exceed the agency's quality standards.
Federal financing aid is only awarded to students who attend schools that are regionally or nationally accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) regionally accredits several institutions in Idaho. Other institutions are nationally accredited by organizations like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) or the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET).
Most private post-secondary institutions, including trade and vocational schools, must register with the Idaho State Board of Education annually.
Financial Aid for Idaho Students
The Idaho State Board of Education administers several scholarships that provide free money to help students cover their educational costs. For instance, the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship provides need-based aid to state residents who attend eligible universities or colleges and meet academic requirements. Awards can be as much as $3,500 per year for four years.
A special version of the scholarship is aimed at encouraging adults who started college but didn't finish to return to their studies. To be eligible, you must have earned at least 24 college-level credits and completed no more than two classes in the past two years.
To apply for these scholarships as well as many other forms of financial assistance, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Governments and institutions use the information you provide to determine your level of need, and your eligibility for various types of aid.
FAQs About Being a Student in Idaho
How much should I expect to pay for off-campus housing in Idaho?
Rental costs in Idaho are significantly lower than the nationwide averages, according to Sperling's BestPlaces. In Idaho, a studio apartment costs $542 per month, and a one-bedroom place costs $626, on average. Those amounts are more than 30 percent lower than the comparable U.S. averages.
What are the options for getting around?
Private vehicles are a popular mode of transport. It's worth noting that Idaho has the ninth-lowest average commute time in the country.
The Valley Regional Transit system offers bus service throughout the Boise metro area. It also has a partnership with Lyft that provides fixed-fee ride-sharing services to and from designated bus stops.
Plus, Share the Ride Idaho lets you find and team up with others in your area who are going the same way as you. You can join a carpool or start your own.
What other resources are available to help Idaho students?
Next Steps Idaho has a wealth of information related to post-secondary training and career planning. The site is aimed at high school students as well as adults looking to retrain or change careers. You can get useful information about apprenticeships, workforce development programs, and more.
Idaho's economy is powered by a variety of industries that support the ambitions of thousands of state residents. Manufacturing, technology, and business services are a few sectors that stand out.
Employment projections from the Idaho Department of Labor show that the following industries should expand the fastest between 2018 and 2028.
Funds, trusts, and other financial vehicles (104.5%): Many opportunities are expected to become available for professionals who handle estates, trust funds, pension plans, and similar types of programs.
Electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing (102.9%): This subsector includes companies that produce light bulbs, batteries, generators, household appliances, and other products that generate, store, transmit, or use electricity.
Waste management and remediation services (58.1%): Workers who collect waste, sort recyclables, clean up contaminated buildings or environments, or provide septic pumping services could see greater demand for their skills.
Transportation equipment manufacturing (42.7%): Significant growth is expected in facilities that create and assemble parts for motorcycles, trucks, airplanes, rail cars, ships, and other equipment designed to move people or cargo.
Non-residential building construction (42.5%): Additional jobs are projected to open up for workers with the skills to construct or repair Idaho's commercial and industrial buildings.
Careers Related to the Industries Above
Average Annual Wages
- Construction managers$80K
- Financial analysts$73K
- Refuse & recyclable material collectors$37K
- Aircraft line assemblers$36K
Other Key Industries
According to Idaho Commerce, a few other notable sectors driving the state forward include:
Aerospace: Idaho has 160 companies involved in aircraft manufacturing, assembly, maintenance, and operations. This sector has expanded by more than 30 percent since 2001 and is projected to grow by more than 40 percent by 2028.
Business services: Professional services like accounting, sales, customer support, and human resources are a big part of Idaho's economy. Companies like Allstate, Intuit, DIRECTV, and Wells Fargo have major customer service centers across the state. In total, more than 104,000 Idaho residents have jobs related to this sector.
Energy: Idaho is an important center for nuclear energy research. More nuclear reactors are built here than anywhere else on the globe. The Idaho National Laboratory alone employs 4,200 residents who focus on innovations in areas like fuel, reactor systems, and waste management.
Food production: Over five percent of the Idaho workforce is involved in agriculture and food processing. In fact, this state boasts the highest concentrations of food machine operators and food batchmakers in the country.
Technology: Memory-chip maker Micron Technology is headquartered in Boise and is one of Idaho's biggest employers. Companies like HP also have a major presence here. A CompTIA report says that in 2019, Idaho had the third-fastest rate of tech job growth in the country. And between 2018 and 2028, the report expects employment in this sector to expand by 25 percent—faster than almost any other state.
Careers Related to the Industries Above
Average Annual Wages
- Software developers$95K
- Nuclear technicians$76K
- Aircraft mechanics$55K
- Customer service representatives$34K
- Food batchmakers$33K
Idaho Career Information
Idaho is projected to see significant job growth over the coming years. Many of the most promising opportunities are in occupations related to business, health care, and skilled trades.
13% from 2018 to 2028
Number of Employers
Aerospace, business services, energy, food production, technology
- Idaho Department of Labor
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- U.S. Census Bureau
- Idaho Commerce
Of the occupations that employ at least 100 people in Idaho, the ones listed below are expected to have the most rapid rates of job growth between 2018 and 2028. That's based on projections from the state labor department. Yearly wages represent statewide Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates.
Septic tank services and sewer pipe cleaners (50.4%): Use high-powered water jets and other equipment to clean, maintain, and fix septic tanks, drains, and sewer pipes. Formal education is not required.
- Average yearly wage: $32,310
Hazardous materials removal workers (48.6%): Neutralize or dispose of substances like asbestos and radioactive waste that pose a danger to human health or the environment. Training is typically done on the job.
- Average yearly wage: $62,060
Rail car repairers (37.6%): Inspect locomotives and other railroad vehicles for signs of wear or damage and fix or replace parts as needed. A trade school program in heavy equipment maintenance can help you develop the relevant skills.
- Average yearly wage: $52,280
Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers (37.5%): Put together products like computers, electric motors, sensors, and control devices.
- Average yearly wage: $31,110
Brickmasons and blockmasons (35.7%): Work with bricks, concrete blocks, and other materials to construct and fix structures like walls and fireplaces. The typical route into this trade involves on-the-job training or an apprenticeship.
- Average yearly wage: $49,680
Good-Paying Careers With the Most Yearly Job Openings
With post-secondary training, you can be ready to pursue one of the many well-paying jobs that become available in Idaho every year. Check out a few of the top examples, based on state labor department projections and BLS wage estimates.
General and operations managers (1,460 yearly openings): Guide the forward progress of an organization by directing its daily functions. Typical requirements include a bachelor's degree, along with several years of relevant industry experience.
- Average yearly wage: $81,080
Registered nurses (1,128 yearly openings): Take on an essential role that allows you to have a real impact on the lives of medical patients. You must become licensed through the Idaho Board of Nursing, which requires graduating from an approved program and passing the NCLEX-RN exam.
- Average yearly wage: $69,480
Elementary school teachers (698 yearly openings): Help young learners master basic concepts in math, science, reading, and other subjects. Earning the necessary certification from the Idaho State Board of Education begins with completing a bachelor's degree and an approved teacher preparation program.
- Average yearly wage: $48,880
Electricians (628 yearly openings): Install, troubleshoot, and repair electrical components, wiring, and equipment. The Idaho Division of Building Safety requires all would-be electrical journeymen to complete an approved apprenticeship program or have at least eight years of work experience.
- Average yearly wage: $51,380
Accountants and auditors (456 yearly openings): Maintain an organization's financial documentation and make sure all records comply with applicable regulations. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement.
- Average yearly wage: $65,440
Streamlined Training for New Opportunities
Vocational training enables many students to turn their ambitions into reality. Colleges and trade schools in Idaho can help you gain the knowledge and abilities you need to achieve success.