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2021 Best Trade Schools

1,680 Schools Ranked
$39,802 Average Earnings
$27,167 Avg Student Debt

Today's trade school students have lots of options to pick from when considering higher education opportunities. You can choose a traditional brick and mortar school, or with the growth of online education, you can attend a school half-way across the country without even leaving your house.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Trade College Search has developed this Best Trade Schools ranking. This report analyzed 1,680 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best programs for trade school students.

View our full ranking methodology.

Top Trade Schools in the United States

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Cinta Aveda Institute

San Francisco, California

Our analysis found Cinta Aveda Institute to be the best school for trade school students in the United States.

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A rank of #2 on this year’s list means San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology Inc is a great place for trade school students.

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The excellent programs at Evergreen Beauty and Barber College-Everett helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best trade schools in the United States.

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#4

Penrose Academy

Scottsdale, Arizona

Out of the 1,680 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Penrose Academy landed the # 4 spot on the list.

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A rank of #5 on this year’s list means Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide is a great place for trade school students.

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New York Methodist Hospital Center for Allied Health Education did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for trade school students. It came in at #6 on the list.

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#7

Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

Rochester, Minnesota

With a ranking of #7, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine did quite well on this year’s best schools for trade school students working.

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#8

Stanbridge University

Irvine, California

Stanbridge University ranked #8 on this year’s Best Trade Schools list.

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University of Nebraska Medical Center came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Trade Schools ranking.

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#10

Concordia University - Saint Paul

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Concordia University - Saint Paul ranked #10 on this year’s Best Trade Schools list.

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#11

The Salon Professional Academy-Fargo

Fargo, North Dakota

The Salon Professional Academy-Fargo came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Trade Schools ranking.

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#12

Unitek College

Fremont, California

With a ranking of #12, Unitek College did quite well on this year’s best schools for trade school students working.

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#13

Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach, Alabama

Columbia Southern University ranked #13 on this year’s Best Trade Schools list.

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#14

Misericordia University

Dallas, Pennsylvania

Misericordia University landed the #14 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best trade school programs.

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#15

University of Dayton

Dayton, Ohio

University of Dayton did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for trade school students. It came in at #15 on the list.

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#16

Bismarck State College

Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck State College landed the #16 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best trade school programs.

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#17

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, California

Loma Linda University came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Trade Schools ranking.

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New Dimensions Beauty Academy Inc came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best Trade Schools ranking.

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#19

The Institute of Beauty and Wellness

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Institute of Beauty and Wellness landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best trade school programs.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Trade Schools ranking.

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#21

Culinary Institute of America

Hyde Park, New York

Culinary Institute of America landed the #21 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best trade school programs.

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#22

Paroba College of Cosmetology

Everett, Washington

Paroba College of Cosmetology ranked #22 on this year’s Best Trade Schools list.

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#23

Aveda Institute-Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

With a ranking of #23, Aveda Institute-Madison did quite well on this year’s best schools for trade school students working.

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#24

Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts

San Mateo, California

Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts came in at #24 in this year’s edition of the Best Trade Schools ranking.

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#25

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, Indiana

With a ranking of #25, Purdue University - Main Campus did quite well on this year’s best schools for trade school students working.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Trade Schools in the United States

Not only did these schools make the top 50 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#27

North Bennet Street School

Boston, Massachusetts
#28

Northeast Technical Institute

Scarborough, Maine
#29

University of St Francis

Joliet, Illinois
#31

Charter Oak State College

New Britain, Connecticut
#32

Institute of Technology

Salem, Oregon
#33

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, Iowa
#34

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, New York
#36

University of Minnesota - Crookston

Crookston, Minnesota
#37

Creighton University

Omaha, Nebraska
#38

Oregon Institute of Technology

Klamath Falls, Oregon
#39

Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan
#40

Lee College

Baytown, Texas
#41

Avi Career Training

Great Falls, Virginia
#42

Excelsior College

Albany, New York
#43

Upstate Medical University

Syracuse, New York
#46

G Skin & Beauty Institute

Oakbrook, Illinois
#47

Panache Academy of Beauty

Baraboo, Wisconsin
#48

Ranken Technical College

Saint Louis, Missouri
#49

Summit Salon Academy

Tampa, Florida
#50

Pacific University

Forest Grove, Oregon

Rest of the Top 15% Best Trade Schools in the United States

To learn more about the schools below, just click on their names:

Rank School Location
51 Cameo College of Essential Beauty Murray, UT
52 SUNY Polytechnic Institute Utica, NY
53 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
54 Florida Academy Fort Myers, FL
55 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
56 Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI
57 Baptist Health System School of Health Professions San Antonio, TX
58 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
59 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA
60 Brown Aveda Institute-Strongsville Strongsville, OH
61 Vogue College of Cosmetology-San Antonio Fredericksburg San Antonio, TX
62 Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown, SD
63 Innovate Salon Academy South Plainfield, NJ
64 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
65 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX
66 Brown Aveda Institute-Mentor Mentor, OH
67 Paul Mitchell the School-Salt Lake City Holladay, UT
68 Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center - New Orleans New Orleans, LA
69 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
70 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
71 Springfield College Springfield, MA
72 Hawaii Medical College Honolulu, HI
73 Spa Tech Institute-Westbrook Westbrook, ME
74 Victoria’s Academy of Cosmetology Kennewick, WA
75 University of North Texas Denton, TX
76 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
77 Kettering College Kettering, OH
78 George Washington University Washington, DC
79 Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Lancaster, PA
80 Bemidji State University Bemidji, MN
81 Riverside College of Health Careers Newport News, VA
82 Rasmussen College - Florida Ocala, FL
83 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
84 Perry Technical Institute Yakima, WA
85 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA
86 St Catherine University Saint Paul, MN
87 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
88 Capri College-Dubuque Dubuque, IA
89 The Salon Professional Academy-Kenosha Kenosha, WI
90 Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Boston, MA
91 Santa Rosa Junior College Santa Rosa, CA
92 Wentworth Institute of Technology Boston, MA
93 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
94 Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster, PA
95 Pennsylvania State University - Erie - Behrend College Erie, PA
96 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
97 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse La Crosse, WI
98 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
99 Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Concord, NC
100 Academy of Cosmetology Merritt Island, FL
101 Vermont Technical College Randolph, VT
102 Towson University Towson, MD
103 Saint Joseph’s College of Maine Standish, ME
104 Rasmussen College - Minnesota St. Cloud, MN
105 St John’s University - New York Queens, NY
106 Augusta University Augusta, GA
107 Cuyahoga Valley Career Center Brecksville, OH
108 Porter and Chester Institute of Stratford Stratford, CT
109 Boston University Boston, MA
110 Eastwick College-Ramsey Ramsey, NJ
111 Dunwoody College of Technology Minneapolis, MN
112 Hunter Business School Levittown, NY
113 Brighton Institute of Cosmetology Brighton, MI
114 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA
115 House of Heavilin Beauty College-Academy of Beauty Professionals Madison, WI
116 Parisian Spa Institute Jacksonville, FL
117 Rasmussen College - Illinois Rockford, IL
118 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
119 Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County Newark, OH
120 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, ND
121 House of Heavilin Beauty College-Academy of Beauty Professionals Appleton, WI
122 University of Cincinnati - Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
123 Aveda Institute-South Florida Davie, FL
124 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
125 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN
126 L’esprit Academy Livonia, MI
126 Paul Mitchell the School-Richland Richland, WA
128 Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire, WI
129 House of Heavilin Beauty College-Academy of Beauty Professionals Green Bay, WI
130 Capilo School of Hair Design Augusta, ME
131 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
132 Medical Career Institute Ocean, NJ
133 The Spa School Columbus, OH
134 Clarkson College Omaha, NE
135 Boca Beauty Academy Boca Raton, FL
136 Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke, VA
137 Adventist University of Health Sciences Orlando, FL
138 Paul Mitchell the School-Ogden Ogden, UT
139 Central Connecticut State University New Britain, CT
140 Merrell University of Beauty Arts and Science Jefferson City, MO
141 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI
142 Siena Heights University Adrian, MI
143 North Seattle College Seattle, WA
144 American Institute of Beauty Largo, FL
145 Southeastern Institute-Charlotte Charlotte, NC
146 Monroe 2 Orleans BOCES-Center for Workforce Development Rochester, NY
147 Crave Beauty Academy Wichita, KS
148 Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, PA
149 Western Suffolk BOCES Northport, NY
150 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
151 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
152 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
153 Paul Mitchell the School-Logan Logan, UT
154 Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls, SD
155 Capri College-Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids, IA
156 Phagans Beauty College Corvallis, OR
157 Lancaster County Career and Technology Center Willow Street, PA
158 Lancaster School of Cosmetology & Therapeutic Bodywork Lancaster, PA
158 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI
160 Beyond 21st Century Beauty Academy Santa Fe Springs, CA
161 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
162 Shear Ego International School of Hair Design Rochester, NY
163 Paul Mitchell the School-Lombard Lombard, IL
164 Rasmussen College-Kansas Topeka, KS
165 University of Maine Orono, ME
166 Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI
167 Georgia Career Institute Conyers, GA
168 Pima Medical Institute-Aurora Aurora, CO
169 French Academy of Cosmetology Spring Lake, MI
170 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
171 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
172 LeTourneau University Longview, TX
173 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
174 Bay State College Boston, MA
175 California State Polytechnic University - Pomona Pomona, CA
176 Vogue College of Cosmetology San Antonio, TX
177 Pima Medical Institute-Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
178 Rasmussen College - North Dakota Fargo, ND
179 House of Heavilin Beauty College-Blue Springs Blue Springs, MO
180 Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology Broomfield, CO
181 Baptist Health College-Little Rock Little Rock, AR
182 University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, TX
183 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
184 DeVry University - Illinois Chicago, IL
185 South Dakota State University Brookings, SD
186 California Nurses Educational Institute Palm Springs, CA
187 Central Penn College Summerdale, PA
188 Rasmussen College - Wisconsin Green Bay, WI
189 Casal Aveda Institute Austintown, OH
190 Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA
191 University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD
192 Washburn University Topeka, KS
193 State Technical College of Missouri Linn, MO
194 Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale, IL
195 Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts-Austin Austin, TX
196 School of Automotive Machinists & Technology Houston, TX
197 Mercy College of Ohio Toledo, OH
198 Career Academy of Hair Design Springdale, AR
199 Harcum College Bryn Mawr, PA
200 Michaels School of Hair Design and Esthetics-Paul Mitchell Partner School Bedford, NH
201 Academy of Esthetics and Cosmetology San Fernando, CA
202 Bellus Academy-Poway Poway, CA
203 Pima Medical Institute-El Paso El Paso, TX
204 Pima Medical Institute - Tucson Tucson, AZ
205 Lincoln Technical Institute-Shelton Shelton, CT
206 Marketti Academy of Cosmetology Waterford, MI
207 Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
208 Metro Beauty Academy Allentown, PA
209 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN
210 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Chicago NW Chicago, IL
211 International Air and Hospitality Academy Vancouver, WA
212 Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University Baton Rouge, LA
213 University of Toledo Toledo, OH
214 Alaska Career College Anchorage, AK
215 Cuesta College San Luis Obispo, CA
216 North Central Kansas Technical College Beloit, KS
217 Washburn Institute of Technology Topeka, KS
218 American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education Piscataway, NJ
219 Erie 1 BOCES West Seneca, NY
220 Motoring Technical Training Institute Seekonk, MA
221 River Valley Community College Claremont, NH
222 Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL
223 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
224 Polaris Career Center Middleburg Heights, OH
225 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
226 Sheridan College Sheridan, WY
227 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Rockford Rockford, IL
228 Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell, SD
229 The Beauty Institute Allentown, PA
230 University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown Johnstown, PA
231 Buffalo State Buffalo, NY
232 Eastern Washington University Cheney, WA
233 Paul Mitchell the School-Reno Reno, NV
234 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN
235 Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy-Albuquerque Albuquerque, NM
236 University of Northwestern Ohio Lima, OH
237 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
238 Swedish Institute a College of Health Sciences New York, NY
239 Valley College of Medical Careers West Hills, CA
240 Illinois State University Normal, IL
241 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
242 Central Coast College Salinas, CA
243 Bowling Green State University - Main Campus Bowling Green, OH
244 University of Southern Indiana Evansville, IN
245 Health And Style Institute High Point, NC
246 Lincoln Technical Institute-New Britain New Britain, CT
247 Crafton Hills College Yucaipa, CA
248 Rock Valley College Rockford, IL
249 Concordia University - Wisconsin Mequon, WI
250 Fox College Bedford Park, IL
251 Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland, WI
252 Bryan University Tempe, AZ
253 Northern Illinois University Dekalb, IL

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our best trade schools ranking:

Rank School Location
254 South Hills Beauty Academy Inc Pittsburgh, PA
255 Tarleton State University Stephenville, TX
256 MedQuest College Louisville, KY
257 Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines, IA
258 York College of Pennsylvania York, PA
259 College of the Canyons Santa Clarita, CA
260 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA
261 Napa Valley College Napa, CA
262 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
263 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, WI
264 Lamson Institute San Antonio, TX
265 Boca Beauty Academy-Parkland Parkland, FL
266 Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha, NE
267 Boise State University Boise, ID
268 Gannon University Erie, PA
269 Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus Indiana, PA
270 Cox College Springfield, MO
271 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Highland Highland, IN
272 Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee, OK
273 The College of Health Care Professions-Northwest Houston, TX
274 Glen Dow Academy of Hair Design Spokane, WA
275 University of New Haven West Haven, CT
276 Lu Ross Academy Ventura, CA
277 Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL
278 Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI
279 University of Spa & Cosmetology Arts Springfield, IL
280 Red Rocks Community College Lakewood, CO
281 Automotive Training Center-Warminster Warminster, PA
282 Weber State University Ogden, UT
283 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ
284 Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, KS
285 Pennsylvania State University - York York, PA
286 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
287 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
288 Atlantic Beauty & Spa Academy LLC Egg Harbor Township, NJ
289 Apollo Career Center Lima, OH
290 Academy of Hair Design-Springfield Springfield, MO
291 New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich, RI
292 Herzing University - Minneapolis Minneapolis, MN
293 Bucks County School of Beauty Culture Inc Feasterville, PA
294 ITI Technical College Baton Rouge, LA
295 Carolinas College of Health Sciences Charlotte, NC
296 Celebrity School of Beauty Miami, FL
297 Lincoln College of Technology-Grand Prairie Grand Prairie, TX
298 Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Elizabethtown, KY
299 NHTI-Concord’s Community College Concord, NH
300 University of Vermont Burlington, VT
301 University of Houston Houston, TX
302 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC
303 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
304 University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, AK
305 Empire College Santa Rosa, CA
306 Central Lakes College-Brainerd Brainerd, MN
307 Universal Technical Institute-Southern California Long Beach, CA
308 Bellus Academy-El Cajon El Cajon, CA
309 Vogue College of Cosmetology-McAllen McAllen, TX
310 Nassau Community College Garden City, NY
311 Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center Cape Girardeau, MO
312 Hohokus School of Trade and Technical Sciences Paterson, NJ
313 Bellus Academy Manhattan, KS
314 The College at Brockport Brockport, NY
315 Bold Beauty Academy Billings, MT
316 Capri Institute of Hair Design-Kenilworth Kenilworth, NJ
317 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, WI
318 Great Oaks Career Campuses Cincinnati, OH
319 Murray State University Murray, KY
320 Mohawk Valley Community College Utica, NY
321 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
322 Salon Success Academy-Upland Upland, CA
323 Manhattan College Riverdale, NY
324 National University La Jolla, CA
325 St Cloud Technical and Community College Saint Cloud, MN
326 Asher College Sacramento, CA
327 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA
328 Paul Mitchell the School-Bradley Bourbonnais, IL
329 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
330 Renaissance Academie Provo, UT
331 Professional Skills Institute Maumee, OH
332 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
333 Kaplan University-Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
334 Lincoln Technical Institute-East Windsor East Windsor, CT
335 Lincoln Technical Institute-Lincoln Lincoln, RI
336 Johnson County Community College Overland Park, KS
337 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, MN

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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