Veterans' Guide to Choosing the Right Vocational or Trade School Advice and Resources for Finding Programs that Aid Veteran Success
Written by: Staff Writer
Attending a vocational or trade school can lead to a stable and rewarding career. Individuals can pursue vocational programs in fields such as carpentry, automotive mechanics, plumbing, cosmetology, and medical technology. These programs often lead to certification or licensure, and some result in an associate degree.
National data indicates an increasing demand for trade experts, with salaries comparable to those of positions requiring postsecondary degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters earned a median salary of $55,160 in 2019.
During the same year, electricians earned a median of $56,180, medical and laboratory technologists earned $61,070, and construction managers earned a median salary of $95,260. The BLS projects employment for plumbers to increase 14% from 2018 to 2028. The BLS projects a 10% job growth for electricians and construction managers during the same time frame.
Veterans whose military experience includes work in administration, construction, aviation, equipment maintenance, or tactical operations may be particularly suited to vocational careers. In addition, many vocational and trade programs honor benefits provided by the GI Bill®, allowing veterans to obtain credentials affordably and quickly. These benefits can include funding for tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, and a stipend for textbooks and supplies. To qualify for this funding, veterans must apply for GI Bill benefits with the Veterans Affairs (VA) office.
After selecting a field of study, individuals must choose the best trade school for their needs. The following guide provides information about trade schools for veterans, including VA-approved schools. The following sections explore common questions regarding choosing a vocational school and resources to help you find the right program.