Applying to a trade school near you won’t be too challenging if you’re organized. You just need to understand the school’s admission requirements, gather the right information and documents then pay the fees in a timely manner. Read on for an outline of applying to a trade school or technical college.

Education Requirements

How do I get into a trade school? Aspiring trade school students need a standards-based high school diploma recognized by the student’s state. A state-issued GED or other state-authorized equivalency exam will also work. If you’re transferring from another trade or tech college, a transcript from that school will be required.

Depending on the type of skilled trade program you’re applying for, you may have other prerequisites. For example, to enter a mechanic or CDL driver program, requirements like a valid motor vehicle record and having no current convictions of operating under the influence of alcohol are common.


  • If you’re still in high school, take classes that will help you in trade school. For example, to become a lab technician you’ll need 1 year of algebra.
  • If you’re an adult, you may be able to get credit for your work experience. Be sure to discuss your relevant experience with an admissions counselor.

Age Requirements

All states have their own laws, and schools admissions processes can be a little different from one to the next. But, generally, you must be at least 16 years of age to apply to a trade school. Some schools or individual programs do have higher age requirements. For example, cosmetology, paramedic technology and health program applicants must be at least 17 or 18 in many states.

Testing Requirements

Normally if you apply to a trade school certificate, diploma or associate’s degree program, you must take that school’s own placement exam. Sometimes, if you have good scores on recent tests like the SAT, ACT, or ASSET exams, those marks may be used instead. If you’re trying for an associate’s degree program, your standardized testing scores will need to be a little higher than if you’re applying to a certificate program.

State Residency

As a general rule, to qualify for any in-state tuition rates, you must have established residency in that state and resided there for 12 consecutive months before the start date of your term.

Helpful Documents To Have

The following official and un-official documents may not be necessary in all skilled trade program situations, but they might come in handy! It may be useful to have them all in 1 file.

  • Any applications from the school
  • High school or vocational school transcripts
  • Admission tests like ACT or SAT
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Checkbook (there will be an application fee)

Use the application to connect with a school near you.

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