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15 Top Trade Schools in Chicago in 2022

To put it out frankly, there have long been different schools of thought about trade schools and what they entail. Many young individuals are in a dilemma of which to choose between going to a University and an alternative to it. You just need to weigh your options, and this article will help you with that.

In Chicago, there are many top trade schools that offer programs in different fields ranging from vocational studies to medical healthcare and the tech world. It is a fact that jobs requiring the skills hands-on and technical skills are on growing by the day in Chicago. So technical schools are a blessing to the people of Chicago.

In this article, you will get to know what you stand to gain by getting into a trade school, and the best trade schools in Chicago. Let’s get started.

Why Study in A Trade School in Chicago?

Studying in Chicago has lots of benefits, and you won’t be getting the short end of the stick either if you choose to study in one of the top trade schools. Attending a trade school in Chicago is a unique experience and one of its kind.

The trade schools in Chicago offer their graduates a diploma degree which will enable them to work in any area of their choice as experts. This is especially so because not only do the trade schools impact theoretical knowledge but they lay much emphasis on practicals. Thus, graduate students from the trade schools of Chicago have an edge in this aspect over their counterparts from Universities and Colleges.

If there is still a doubt in your mind about if going to a trade school in Chicago is worth it or not, then the reasons below should do a better job of convincing you.

Check out: 20 Best Paying Jobs in Automotive Aftermarket | 2022

1. Job stability

As Chicago is a fast-growing state, there is a rise in the search for people with certain skills and expertise in hands-on jobs. So, like one from a trade school, there are plenty of opportunities to get a job and a well-paying one at that.

2. You earn your degree in no time

Compared to spending four years of your life trying to earn a bachelor’s degree from a University, you spend less time in a trade school. On one hand, you will graduate early and start planning your career and future early. On the other hand, you don’t incur an enormous debt while trying to pay your way through a four-year course.

Graduating with student debt is common among university students, but ask yourself, is it worth it?

3. Job placement opportunity

Another benefit of going to a trade school in Chicago is that the trade schools offer job placement opportunities for their students. From the internships and externships students are exposed to while in college, they create opportunities for their students to meet with prospective employers.

Most trade schools in Chicago have experienced tutors that help the students with their resumes. They review them and make sure they are well written. The students’ names are then listed among the school’s alumni, so when affiliated companies come around, they recommend their students for jobs.

4. Quality practical training

Going to a trade school in Chicago will allow you to have quality hands-on experience. This is of great benefit as you can get an immediate job in your specific area of study with your practical knowledge. You also don’t need to go through the stress of getting to learn the nitty-gritty the job entails while on it. You already have that at the tip of your fingers.

All these and lots more are benefits of studying in one of the top trade schools in Chicago. Still doubting if it’s worth it? Not likely.

RELATED: 15 Best Trade School Online 2022 | Paid and Free

How Much Does Trade School In Chicago Cost?

Attending a trade school in Chicago will cost you some money, though I can assure you that it is nothing compared to what you will spend studying at a University.

On average, a trade school will cost you $33,000 to get a degree, though this varies depending on your program of choice. In some schools, you can have programs as cheap as $600. The National Center for Education Statistics gave a breakdown of the average tuition for different trade schools, both public and private.

This ranges from $3000-$14,600.

Most trade schools in Chicago offer financial aid, grants, and scholarship to students, sometimes based on merits and other factors. This also helps to reduce the cost implications for students.

What are the requirements to get into a trade school in Chicago?

If you have finally decided ongoing to a trade school in Chicago, you have crossed the first hurdle. The next is meeting the requirement for the trade school.

Most trade schools in Chicago do not require you to take the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the American College Testing Program Test (ACT). All you need do is take a Technical Aptitude Test.

Some of the requirements are listed below.

1. Minimum age of 17

To gain entry into a trade school in Texas, you must be at least 17 years of age by the time of entry. Most schools require a minimum age of 18, and some, with parental consent, accept ages 17 and below.

See also: 15 Best Highest Paying Trades In 2022

2. High school diploma

This or its alternative such as the General Educational Development (GED), is another requirement. Some schools also consider the GPA before admission but it does not matter much.

3. Post-secondary school certificate

This can also be accepted in place of the high school diploma.

4. Assessment test

This test is required mostly at the point of admission. This is the assessment test that would test your knowledge in basic reading and writing.

5. Prior knowledge

Some programs will require you to have prior knowledge, which would be like a foundation for what you will be learning.

Check this: 20 Best Online Jobs For Cosmetologist In 2022

The Top Trade Schools in Chicago in 2022

No doubt, Chicago has some of the top trade schools in the world, and we have compiled 15 of these in this article. These top trade schools have flexible schedules of programs. Most of them run both on-site and online training, so fixing a schedule to suit yourself is made easy.

All these trade schools have their advantages, and one of them is getting your diploma or certificate within two years or less. As you read this article further, you will get to know the acceptance rates, tuition fees, and also the program detail of the 15 top trade schools in Chicago.

Below is a list of the top trade schools in Chicago in no particular order.

  • HVAC Technical Institute
  • West Chicago Professional Center
  • Lincoln College of Technology
  • Oakton Community College
  • Coyne College
  • Universal Technical Institute
  • Dental Academy of Chicago
  • Chicago School of Shoemaking
  • Chicago Professional Center
  • Elgin Community College
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • I Love Real Estate School
  • Empire Beauty School
  • Midwestern Career Center
  • SAE Institute Chicago

Let’s get started.

1. HVAC Technical Institute

  • Tuition: $16,000
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

In our list of top trade schools in Chicago is the HVAC Technical Institute. If having a career in any type of refrigeration is your thing, then this school is for you.

The programs offered have a very short duration and can be completed within two years or less. Programs offered include:

  • HVAC Technician
  • Light Commercial refrigeration
  • Electrical Technician

The courses are set to prepare you to enter into the electrical industries of Chicago. On successful completion of the program, you will get a safety certification and also a license. In no time, you are on your way to landing your first job in the electrical industry.

Visit school here

2. West Chicago Professional Center

  • Tuition: $6,000
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

This is one of Chicago’s best trade schools and it is located in West Chicago. The programs offered are all aimed toward producing students that can directly enter the workforce with certificates and licenses in HVAC.

Courses you can take include:

  • HVAC
  • Combined courses (both electrical and HVAC)

Each of the programs runs a beginner, intermediate, and advanced class. You will complete the courses within 3 months or less. At the end of your desired program, a test will be conducted and you will get your EPA 608 certificate.

To start your journey in this school, a high school diploma or its equivalent, like the GED, is required.

Visit school here

3. Lincoln College of Technology

  • Tuition: $39,237
  • Acceptance rate: $100

Lincoln College of Technology is another of the top trade schools in Chicago. The school, in its 75 years of existence, has been committed to providing its students with skills in any trading career of their choice. You can always choose the course of your choice. Most popular include courses in areas such as the automotive, culinary, and technology industries.

Enrolment is easy, as all you have to do is fill out an online application on the school’s website. Any confusing area can be sorted out easily for you by the admissions department.

Trust me, you won’t be making a mistake enrolling in this trade school. The school has been providing technical training, majorly hands-on training since 1947, and providing job placements for its student ever since.

Visit school here

4. Oakton Community College

  • Tuition: $3,815-$10,276
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

If you are a high school graduate, or you have your GED, and you are looking for a top trade school in Chicago to have a career in the medical world, be an emergency medical technician, or study the liberal arts, then getting a degree from the Oakton Community College is something you should consider.

The programs offered by the trade school include:

  • Medical Coding and Billing Certificate
  • Nursing
  • Medical Assistant
  • Health information technology

Visit school here

5. Universal Technical Institute, Chicago

  • Tuition: $37,950
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

We can’t make a list of the top trade schools in Chicago without saving Universal Technical Institute a spot. The school is located worldwide but in Chicago, it is in Lisle.

The school offers both online and physical programs. The duration of completion of the programs can take months to a year and a half.

We know the trade school for its expertise in training students to be professionals in many areas including:

  • Automotive technician
  • Diesel technician
  • Welding technology

The tuition fee varies according to the courses. There is no doubt that you will be leaving the school an expert in your chosen field as the lecturers and tutors will teach you the nitty-gritty of the course.

Furthermore, you can get an ASE certificate when you are done and you pass the test.

Visit school here

6. Dental Academy of Chicago

  • Tuition: varies according to the program of choice
  • Acceptance rate: 68%

Dental Academy of Chicago is one of the top trade schools in Chicago. It is a vocational school that provides dental assistant classes. In the dental profession, practical training is very important. This is what the Dental Academy of Chicago strives to impact on its students.

The hands-on practical training ensures that on completion of the program, students enter the workforce with enough skills in the dental practice. They provide quality facilities and flexible training schedules to ensure that.

The program will take you a full 3 months to complete. Continuing programs are also provided but they need prior qualifications for courses like dental whitening techniques and dental x-rays.

Visit school here

7. Chicago School of Shoemaking

  • Tuition: $66(2 hours session)
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

The fastest way to be a shoemaker is to go to the Chicago School of Shoemaking. Oh, you think everyone wants to go to a University? Wrong. Some want to be professional shoemakers. Benefits to this include working at your own pace and deriving joy in following your passion. This is not to talk about the various job offers you will get in the busy state of Chicago.

Chicago School of Shoemaking allows you to choose your schedule. You pay $66 for a 2-hours session. Courses offered are:

  • Leatherwork
  • Shoemaking

The school also makes provisions for online courses. In no time, you will be an expert in making any design with leather. Start your leather 101 class by checking out the school’s website and enrolling.

Visit school here

8. Chicago Professional Center

  • Tuition: $13,800
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

One of the top trade schools in Chicago that allows students to have a career in the electrical field. It’s no doubt one of the best trade schools to go to have a certificate in heating ventilation and electricity.

The school is famous for producing skilled workers for various companies in Chicago. This is all due to the quality training is given to the student. You stand to earn as many licenses as you care to earn. Licenses such as the universal certificate, electrician license, and the popular NATE certificate.

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9. Elgin Community College

  • Tuition: $3,972-$14,945
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

This school is one of the top trade schools in Chicago in that it offers a variety of programs. With over 130 programs to choose from, getting started in a career of your choice won’t be so hard.

Affordability is one major factor in choosing a trade school in Chicago and Elgin Community College understands this, hence they tend to decrease the tuition fee as they deem fit.

Visit school here

10. I Love Real Estate School

  • Tuition: $150-$997      
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

As the name implies, lovers of real estate will soon find out that this school is one of the top trade schools in Chicago.

This real estate school has great instructors ready to equip you with everything you need to start a career in the real estate business.

You can opt to get full online training. They provide materials and courses to ensure a smooth learning process. They also hold physical sessionsThey also held physical sessions for students.

Visit school here

11. Empire Beauty School

  • Tuition: $11,000
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

Stone Park in Chicago is another top trade school. The Empire Beauty School offers young bright individuals a pathway into the beauty world.

Becoming a professional cosmetologist is very easy after graduating from the Empire Beauty School. You can choose to go the academic way and become a cosmetology educator yourself or you can just start up your business yourself.

Imagine a fun-filled program full of colors, dye, and human models to learn with. Yes, at Empire Beauty School, you get to train on both mannequins and real humans. I’m sure if you have something for beauty, this school will ignite your passion more, and you will be a professional in no time.

Grants, scholarships, and loans are also available for students.

Visit school here

12. Midwestern Career Center

  • Tuition: $11,420
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

One of the top trade schools in Chicago, and one with varieties of programs to offer to anyone interested. The Midwestern Career Center has a series of requirements for admission. Some of them include:

  • Filling an online application
  • Visiting the school for an interview
  • Provision of certain documents like a valid ID, and a high school diploma or GED
  • Programs, where you can choose areas of study, include:
  • Health sciences
  • Business and Information Technology
  • English Language Training

Visit school here

13. SAE Institute Chicago

  • Tuition: $32,899
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

This top trade school in Chicago is a for-profit institute. For those who do not know, SAE means School of Audio Engineering. This means the school specializes in providing training for enthusiasts of audio, film, and anything related to entertainment.

The SAE Institute is not only located in Chicago as it has its branches in different parts of the world. The diploma awarded is recognized around the world, and can easily propel you into the top industries.

Hands-on training is not excluded. You get to work in standard studios producing sounds and working with highly-trained personnel.

Programs offered include media and communication, film, audio engineering, etc.

Visit school here

14. Aveda Institute

  • Tuition: $21,600
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

Apart from the Empire Beauty School, there is another top trade school in Chicago where cosmetology can be learned. That is the Aveda Institute.

The programs offered include:

  • Barbing
  • Hair styling
  • Cosmetology
  • Nail care etc.

The school offers both online courses and physical sessions at the various campuses.

Visit school here

15. MacCormac College

  • Tuition: $12,700
  • Acceptance rate: 100%

The last on our list of top trade schools in Chicago, but nowhere near the least is MacCormac College. This college is the first non-profit college in Chicago. Recently renamed Generations College, this trade school has not ceased providing students with quality hands-on training to the best of its capacity.

Programs offered in this top trade school include:

  • Business administration
  • Paralegal studies
  • Criminal justice
  • Court reporting

Visit school here      

Highest Paying Trade School Jobs in Chicago

The state of Chicago is fast growing and advancing, both in technology, applied sciences, health science, and information technology. No area or field is not seeing significant growth, and the search for skilled personnel is on the rise. The U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics Projections also buttressed the fact that the growth rate of trade jobs will be significantly higher.

So, you don’t need to worry about graduating from a trade school in Chicago. Cool job opportunities are waiting for you. Here are some of the highest-paying trade school jobs in Chicago with their median salary.

  • 1. Elevator Mechanic-$77,806
  • 2. Radiation Therapist-$69,504
  • 3. Geological and Petroleum Technician-$61,370
  • 4. Web Developer-$58,448
  • 5. Ultrasound Technician-$55,106
  • 6. Plumber-$50,349
  • 7. HVAC Technician-$44,604

There are lots of trade jobs that pay high in Chicago. One of these might just be enough to get you rolling in money. Check here to know more about the highest-paying trade jobs in Chicago.

RELATED: 13 Best Dance Schools In The World | 2022

Pros and Cons of Attending A Trade School in Chicago

Whichever way you want to go, you have to weigh the pros and cons before going forward. Deciding to go to a trade school in Chicago sure has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some:


  • 1. Very fast and affordable schooling
  • 2. Practical-based training
  • 3. Flexible schedules which allow you do other things while in school
  • 4. Good job market


  • 1. You might need to search for a school specializing in the trade you want to learn
  • 2. Many find it hard to want to continue their education which can limit a bright career
  • 3. Packed training schedules

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications does one need to get into a trade school in Chicago?

A high school diploma or GED is required by most. Some schools also require you to have prior knowledge of some courses before applying.

How long does it take to complete a program?

A trade school program takes two years, some less than a year, and you are out with your certificate.

Is going to a trade school worth it?

Yes, it is worth it.

Can I work and school at the same time?

Yes. Apply to a school that has flexible schedules.

What programs do trade schools offer?

They offer many programs such as medical assisting, automotive technology, information technology, and various also hands-on skills.


There are lots of opportunities going to a trade school will afford you. Right from school, you will be open to various opportunities like meeting prospective employers during training, seminars, and workshop.

To start your journey, why not go through our list of best trade schools in Chicago, and set your dreams in motion right away?




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