These 10 Trade Schools Have Some of the Best ROI in the Country

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

trade schools with best roi
Logo

We’ve got your back! Student Loan Hero is a completely free website 100% focused on helping student loan borrowers get the answers they need. Read more

How do we make money? It’s actually pretty simple. If you choose to check out and become a customer of any of the loan providers featured on our site, we get compensated for sending you their way. This helps pay for our amazing staff of writers (many of which are paying back student loans of their own!).

Bottom line: We’re here for you. So please learn all you can, email us with any questions, and feel free to visit or not visit any of the loan providers on our site. Read less

We’ve all seen the lists of the “best colleges in the country” — and it’s never a surprise which ones come out on top.

Harvard, Yale, Princeton … but how about St. Paul’s School of Nursing in Queens? Forbes recently published a list of the top 30 two-year trade schools in the country, and St. Paul’s was No. 1.

Here are the benefits of attending a trade school, the trade schools with the best return on investment (ROI), and the steps you should take before making any decisions about your education.

Why go to a trade school?

When it comes to choosing a college, two of the most important factors are affordability and ROI. That’s why trade schools are worth your consideration.

For one thing, attending a trade school could mean you’ll graduate with less student loan debt.

Here are the average costs of attending different types of colleges:

  • Two years at a trade school: $33,000
  • Four years of in-state tuition at a public institution: $37,640
  • Four years at a private institution: $129,620

The cost difference between a trade school and an in-state public university isn’t huge. But keep in mind that most trade schools are two years or less. That means you’ll graduate and earn money sooner than you would with a four-year degree.

And because you’ll have skills that prepare you for a specific career, you’ll be less likely to float around and work minimum-wage jobs while you figure out what you want to do with your life after graduation.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the need for workers in skilled trades is growing. If you get a trade degree, you could help fill that gap.

10 trade schools with excellent ROI

Forbes analyzed more than 400 two-year trade schools and ranked them based on earnings, affordability, and quality to determine which ones provided the biggest bang for your buck.

It looked at data such as:

  • Graduates’ average earnings six and 10 years after graduation
  • Sticker price, median student loan debt, and repayment success
  • Retention and completion rates and student-faculty ratio

We included a sampling from the top 30 schools below. We chose not to include an ordered list of the top 10 because the majority were nursing schools — and we wanted to offer a diverse selection.

Based on the data above, here are some of the best trade schools in order of best to worst ROI.

1. St Paul’s School of Nursing (Queens)

Location: Rego Park, New York

Early career salary: $75,800

Most popular area of study: health professions and related programs

2. Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health

Location: Los Angeles, California

Early career salary: $87,200

Most popular area of study: health professions and related programs

3. Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics

Location: West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

Early career salary: $52,900

Most popular area of study: transportation and materials moving

4. Island Drafting and Technical Institute

Location: Amityville, New York

Early career salary: $42,900

Most popular area of study: engineering technologies and engineering-related fields

5. Triangle Tech (Greensburg)

Location: Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Early career salary: $42,900

Most popular area of study: construction trades

6. Morrison Institute of Technology

Location: Morrison, Illinois

Early career salary: $43,900

Most popular area of study: engineering technologies and engineering-related fields

7. West Coast Ultrasound Institute

Location: Beverly Hills, California

Early career salary: $50,100

Most popular area of study: health professions and related programs

8. Wyotech (Laramie)

Location: Laramie, Wyoming

Early career salary: $42,500

Most popular area of study: mechanic and repair technologies/technicians

9. ITI Technical College

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Early career salary: $46,100

Most popular area of study: engineering technologies and engineering-related fields

10. Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture

Location: Curtis, Nebraska

Early career salary: $43,500

Most popular area of study: agriculture, agriculture operations, and related sciences

3 steps to take before choosing a school

If you’re tempted by the idea of trade school, the important thing is that you compare your options carefully.

Here are three steps you should take before saying yes to any school.

1. Gather information

Knowledge is power — especially when it comes to choosing a college. For each school you’re considering, find out everything you can.

Here are some action steps we recommend:

  • Read rankings (and methodologies).
  • Talk to current students and alumni.
  • Research retention rates and average salaries of graduates.
  • Ask about specifics that matter to you: study abroad programs, student-faculty ratios, professional organizations, job placement services, etc.

2. Crunch the numbers

Once you receive your financial aid package, it’s time to break out the calculator.

If your package includes student loans, remember that it’s not funny money. It’s money you’ll have to pay back each month while trying to enjoy your 20s.

To estimate your monthly payment — and maybe open your eyes to the reality of loans — use our monthly payment calculator.

For example, if you took out $35,000 of loans at a 5.70% weighted interest rate, you’d be on the hook for $383 per month for 10 years after graduation.

If that won’t put a dent in your social life, we don’t know what will!

3. Find ways to lower the cost

Whichever path you choose, look for ways to lower the cost.

You can negotiate with your financial aid office, work while you’re in school, and apply for scholarships (although you should make sure you won’t be subject to scholarship displacement before doing so).

Whether it’s a trade school, community college, four-year university, or gap year, don’t take your decision lightly. The financial repercussions of your education will last for far longer than your college years will.

Need a student loan?

Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
LenderVariable APREligibility 
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.

1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount.  The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.

Information advertised valid as of 9/3/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.


2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

3 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  2. View Auto Reward Debit Reward Terms and Conditions at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/AutoDebitReward.
  3. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  4. Lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest interest rate offered on the Discover Undergraduate Loan and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including Undergraduate, Graduate, Health Professions, Law and MBA Loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable Margin percentage. The margin is based on your credit evaluation at the time of application and does not change. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 2.50% as of July 1, 2019. Discover Student Loans will adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Please visit discover.com/student-loans/interest-rates for more information about interest rates.
Discover's lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

4 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restrictions. Loans are offered through CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS #1175900).

  1.  Rates are as of July 1, 2019 and include auto-pay discount. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

5 Important Disclosures for Citizens.

Citizens Disclosures

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of October 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.05%. Variable interest rates range from 3.15% – 11.41% (3.15% – 11.26% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 4.72% – 12.19% (4.72% – 12.04% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co-signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.

Citizens Bank Student Loan Eligibility: Borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution. Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or an international borrower/eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For borrowers who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank- participating school. 

Please Note: International Students are not eligible for the multi-year approval feature.

3.70%
11.98%
1
Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

3.25% – 10.65%*,2Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

3.37%
11.87%
3
Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

3.52% – 9.50%4Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

3.15% – 11.41%5Undergraduate and Graduate

VISIT CITIZENS

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

You're on your way...

You are being directed to LendingTree.com where you’ll be able to fill out an online form. Based on your creditworthiness, you may be matched with up to five different personal loan lenders in our partner network.