15 Best Trade Schools in San Diego In 2022 | Best US Trade School

Is the prospect of committing to four (or more!) years of school making you want to scream? You could join the military, but that requires a significant time commitment.

What if you could get hands-on experience in classes that interest you? Trade schools are viable options for anyone looking for something unique that will lead to a real career. It might surprise you to learn about the numerous advantages of trade schools in San Diego.

Are you in San Diego? Have you been wondering which trade schools in San Diego are best for you? Are you wondering what the cost is and what courses they offer? Do you need direct links to take you to their page? This article promises all of these and many more. Let’s get started. 

Related: How Much Does An HVAC Technician Make?

Are Trade Schools in San Diego Worth It?

Research has shown that 73% of high school graduates agree that trade schools are worth it. It would save the time, money, and strength that college would not give you. Many agree that with trade schools, you can completely be yourself. The most reasons that there are for why trade schools in San Diego are worth it are-

#1. A great option to conserve funds

Did you know that attending a four-year university typically costs more than $20,000 per year? Multiply that by the four or five years it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree. Private and out-of-state school enrollments are increasing. You must either study something that will directly lead to employment or continue to graduate school and more tuition.

In comparison, you could finish a trade school for around $33,000. That is less than half the price of four-year university education. Working part-time while attending trade school is also an option. Furthermore, completing a trade school program indicates that you are ready to enter the workforce.

#2. Financial assistance

Attending a trade school does not simply save you money over four years. Financial aid is available. Financial aid advisors are ready to discuss the various financial options available to you.

Many programs also provide scholarships. Some schools also offer scholarships to help students graduate with less student loan debt. Every little bit counts.

#3. Best option to save time

Trade schools offer shorter programs that you can usually complete in two years. Many trade schools provide certificate programs that you can complete under a year! Every year, traditional four-year institutions begin in the fall.

You cannot begin when you are ready. Attending trade schools allows you to be more flexible. They frequently have several start dates throughout the year. When it comes to starting a career, you don’t want to wait six months or a year!

#4. Direct entry into a high-demand job

Upon graduation, trade schools prepare you for a real-world career. Since these jobs require specific training and skill sets, skilled trades and allied health professionals are in high demand.

Even better, the earnings of many trade school graduates may be comparable to those of their four-year college peers. You could complete an HVAC certification program in less than a year and be job-ready in less than a year. Students attending a four-year college, on the other hand, may wait until graduation before working in their field.

#5. Practical Experience

There is no substitute for on-the-job experience. Before you can graduate from most trade school programs, you must complete hands-on training. This may be an externship or clinical internship.

Medical assistant students, for example, must complete an externship with a doctor’s office after completing a series of classes.

How much do Trade schools in San Diego Cost?

Total costs range from $5,189 to $33,426 depending on the program. Financial aid is available to qualified students. The cost covers tuition, books, transport and sometimes, accommodation. You should know that the exact cost of trade schools in San Diego depends on your school. It also depends on the program you have chosen to study. 

What are the Requirements for Getting Into Trade Schools in San Diego

All San Diego trade schools and programs have their specific requirements. The requirements that are generally asked for are-

  • High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Academic transcripts.
  • Letters of recommendation
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Birth certificate (be above of age of 16)

How to get into Trade Schools in San Diego

Every school and program has its own peculiar admissions process. Generally, the steps you should take to get into San Diego trade schools are-

Step 1

Find out the necessary documents and put them together. Most schools require a copy of your high school diploma or proof of GED completion. Make sure you get them ready.

Step 2

Complete the required forms. You can apply for most of these schools through their website online. Simply log in and complete the required information. Make sure you follow all the instructions given.

Step 3

Submit your application. If you have filled out your application online, this means you can also easily submit it there as well. Go through the application again to ensure there are no mistakes before you submit it.

Step 4

You would hear from the school to discuss your plans out of this school. With this, the school can decide whether to fully accept you or not.

Step 5

Prepare for an entrance exam. San Diego trade schools have their placement exams that you must study for. Certain trade schools will accept SAT or ACT scores instead of entrance exams if they are high.

See also: 15 Best Highest Paying Trades

15 Best Trade Schools in San Diego

Trade schools are an excellent option for those who want a successful career but cannot afford a four-year college education. We’ve chosen 15 of the best trade schools in San Diego. We also provided you with important information about their programs, such as tuition, duration, accreditation, and much more. The goal is to assist you in selecting the best San Diego trade school for your professional goals. The 15 best trade schools in San Diego are-

  • 1. San Diego Medical College
  • 2. Bridge Career Education
  • 3. Fast Track Medical Training Center
  • 4. Phlebotomy U
  • 5. Concorde Career Colleges
  • 6. Center for Employment Training
  • 7. Western Truck School
  • 8. Riggins Urban Barber College
  • 9. Bellus Academy
  • 10. San Diego Masters of Bartending School
  • 11. Advanced Career Insitute
  • 12. SJVC
  • 13. Contractors State License School
  • 14. Dental Assisting Institute
  • 15. Blake Austin College

#1. San Diego Medical College

One of the best trade schools in San Diego is the San Diego Medical College. San Diego Medical College has received approval from the California Department of Public Health Licensing and Certification. The College provides a nursing assistant program that lasts 22 days, a home health aide program, EKG training, and others. Classes for Nursing Assistants are on Mondays through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The school instructors have many years of experience in their field. They are up to date on the most recent EMS, Nursing, and Rescue training theory and practices. The school is also a Regional Testing Center for the National Nurse Aid Assessment Program.

The program enrollment requirements at San Diego Medical College differ. Applicants for the Nursing Assistant program must be at least 16 years old. They require identification as well as a copy of a physical exam with TB test results. The Nursing Assistant program costs $975 in tuition. In addition, students must pay a $185 registration fee.

The courses available include:

  • Nurse Aide Training
  • Home Health Aide Training Program
  • Units of Continuing Education
  • First Aid CPR Training
  • Front-Back Office Medical Assistant
  • Food Handler
  • EKG Training
  • NCLEX Review for RNs and LVNs

Visit San Diego Medical College

#2. Bridge Career Education

Bridge Career Education is a private training school in San Diego’s Mission Valley neighborhood. It is one of the best trade schools in San Diego. The school provides accelerated certificate programs in the fields of health and clinical research. It is one of the best trade schools in San Diego.

You can complete the career-focused, hands-on training programs at the school in 5 to 11 weeks. The school offers classes during the day, evenings, and on weekends. Bridge Career Education is exempt from the Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Private and Postsecondary Education (BPPE). For enrollment, applicants must have completed high school or have a GED or equivalent. Meeting with a Bridge Representative is the first step in the enrollment process.

Registration costs $100. Tuition for the Medical Assistant Program is $2,395; for the Pharmacy Technician Program, it is $2,395; and for the Nursing Assistant Program, it is $1,095. There is also an interest-free payment plan available.

The courses available include:

  • Nursing Assistant Program
  • Clinical Research Coordinator Program
  • Medical Assistant Program

Visit Bridge Career Education

Read also: 10 Reasons To Learn A Trade And Leave Your Degrees

#3. Fast Track Medical Training Center

Students at Fast Track Medical Training Center prepare for careers in the healthcare industry. The Certified Nursing Assistant program prepares students for the California State Nurse Assistant Competency Evaluation Testing Program. It also assists them in developing job skills and attitudes appropriate for competent caregivers.

Students learn nursing procedures such as vital sign taking, positioning, bathing, dressing, and other personal care activities. In addition, they learn when and what to report to the nurse. The course includes adult CPR training as well as job placement assistance. Certified Nursing Assistants can work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, care homes, private homes, adult daycare, and clinics, amongst others.

To enroll, you must submit a completed Admission Application. You must also submit a copy of your Social Security Card and State ID or Driver’s License. Tuition is $1,500 per year. The courses available include:

  • Pharmacology Certificate
  • CNA Program

Visit Fast Track Medical Training Center

#4. Phlebotomy U

Phlebotomy U is a private institution dedicated to phlebotomy education. The school employs cutting-edge technology and provides students with extensive hands-on experience. Graduates can work in hospitals, clinical laboratories, clinics, physician’s offices, blood banks, and other medical settings. It is one of the best trade schools in San Diego.

The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) has granted permission for the school to operate. To enroll, you must show proof of completion of a high school diploma or equivalent in the United States. Students must also have a clean background check and drug test, a negative tuberculosis test, and proof of immunization.

Tuition fees differ depending on the program. The CPT I Full Course costs $2,900 in total. Payment plans and discounts for the CPT I program are also available. The courses available include:

  • Advanced CPT I
  • Phlebotomy Courses
  • Abbreviated CPT I Courses
  • Venipuncture that is risk-free (for Radiologic Technician)
  • Blood Withdrawal (for Research Assistants)

Visit Phlebotomy U

#5. Concorde Career Colleges

Concorde’s San Diego campus provides career-focused health care programs such as dental assisting, dental hygiene, medical assisting, nursing, and others. The college provides certificate and associate degree programs. The campus in San Diego features large classrooms, a learning resource center, labs, and a career/student center.

Depending on the program, the duration ranges from 8 to 21 months. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges has accredited Concorde Career Colleges. To apply, you must show proof of a high school diploma or equivalent. Prospective students must attend a personal interview as well as a campus tour.

The program costs range from $16,554 to $81,068. The courses available include:

  • Associate diagnostic medical sonography
  • Cardiovascular sonography
  • Diploma in dental hygiene
  • Associate medical assistant
  • Diploma in medical office administration
  • Diploma in physical therapist assistant
  • Associate surgical technology
  • Associate vocational nursing diploma

Visit Concorde Career Colleges

#6. Center for Employment Training

The Center for Employment Training (CET) offers job training programs that prepare students for careers in high-demand industries. CET training is based on doing rather than learning, and students can graduate in 6 to 9 months. The Commission of the Council on Occupational Education has accredited the Center for Employment Training (CET).

To enroll, there are no academic requirements for admission to CET. The CASAS ESC Appraisal CET to determine baseline reading and math proficiency. Other requirements differ depending on the program. The Welding Fabrication program costs $14,500. The Medical Assistant and Green Building Construction Skills programs each cost $14,249 to complete.

Financial aid is available to qualified students. It is one of the best San Diego trade schools.  The courses available include-

  • Construction of Green Buildings (900 hours)
  • Welding (900 hours)
  • Medical Assistant (900 hours)

Visit the Center for Employment Training

Related: How Is a Student Loan Different from A Scholarship?

#7. Western Truck School

Western Truck School provides training for those interested in a career in the trucking industry. The school provides thorough preparation for the commercial driver’s license exam. West Truck School employs cutting-edge technology and equipment.

To enroll, you must obtain a Class A Commercial Driver License. You must also be at least 18 years old, but over 21 years old to travel outside of California. You would also require a copy of your current driver’s license, social security card, and proof of education. Prospective students must also provide a copy of their H6 (10-year DMV report). You must pass a Department of Transportation physical and drug test before attending class.

The courses available include

  • Class A Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A Commercial Driver Extended Program
  • Class B/P Combined Commercial Driver Program
  • Class P Passenger Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A/P Combined Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A/P Combined Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A/P Combined Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A/P Combined Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A/P Combined Forklift Program
  • Specialized/Refresher Commercial Driver Program

Visit Western Truck School

#8. Riggins Urban Barber College

Riggins Urban Barber College educates aspiring barbers. Students at Riggins Urban Barber College receive the fundamental training required to pass the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology examination. Students study barbering techniques, barbershop management, business concepts, and the psychology of personal success.

Students learn about the Barber/Cosmo Act & Regulations, Barbering Chemistry, Disinfection & Sanitation, Hairstyling, Curling & Blow Drying. They also take courses on shaving, facials, and much more during the 1500-hour Barbering Course. It is one of the best trade schools in San Diego.

The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education has approved Riggins Urban Barber College (BPPE). The California Board of Barbering & Cosmetology has also approved the school’s barbering programs (BBC). To enroll, you should go on the school website prospective students can fill out an enrollment form.

Applicants must have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, as well as a photo ID. The Barber Course costs $16,000 in total, with the Barber/Cosmo Crossover costing $4,530.

The courses available include:

  • Barber/Cosmo Crossover Barbering Course
  • Shaving
  • Facials
  • Hairstyle
  • Curling and blow drying

Visit Riggins Urban Barber College

#9. Bellus Academy

Bellus Academy offers beauty professional training programs. Bellus has three California campuses and one in Kansas. To prepare students for the state board exam, all of the Academy’s programs include a mock state board test.

To accommodate students’ schedules, Bellus offers day and night classes. The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences has granted Bellus Academy accreditation. To enroll, you must have a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent.

Prospective students over the age of 18, with minimum 10th-grade education. You must be at least 17 years old and have completed the 10th grade to take the state examination exam. Registration costs $75. It is one of the best San Diego trade schools.

Depending on the program, total costs range from $5,189 to $33,426. Financial aid is available to qualified students. The courses available are-

  • Barbering
  • Cosmetology
  • Esthetics
  • Spa
  • Nails
  • Make-up Artistry

Visit Bellus Academy

Read also: How Much Does The Average Mechanic Make?

#10. San Diego Masters of Bartending School

The Masters of Bartending School program trains future bartenders. The school’s industry certification program has eight modules. It covers cocktails, martini techniques, layered and mixed shooters, beer and wine, craft cocktails, and much more.

In addition to the San Diego Food Health Card, the program includes an Alcohol Awareness Program. It also has elite industry training, a workbook, testing, and certification. Masters of Bartending School, located in the heart of San Diego, employs both classic and modern bartending techniques.

After completing all eight modules, two exit exams, and documenting a minimum of twenty-five hours students get the certification. They also receive the official Gold Stamped Certificate from the Masters of Bartending School. Regardless of the graduation date, it offers its alumni the opportunity to return and practice at the school’s facility for free.

The Industry Certified Bartending Training Program costs $449 and includes Food Safety Certification and Alcohol Awareness Certification.

Visit San Diego Masters of Bartending School

#11. Advanced Career Insitute

Advanced Career Institute offers short-term, high-quality educational programs designed to prepare students for entry-level jobs. In 1986, the first Advanced Career Institute opened its doors. The Council on Occupational Education has accredited the Institute.

It is a Private Business and Trade School licensed by the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. It is also approved to provide Veteran training. Depending on the course, the program length can range from 40 to 760 hours. It is one of the best trade schools in San Diego.

The admission requirements for each training program differ. ACI and the Professional Truck Driver program require applicants to be at least 18 years old. It also requires them to have a high school diploma. Prospective students must have a clean driving record with no recent serious violations. They must also have no felony convictions in the previous five years.

Candidates must be able to pass a Department of Transportation physical test. This is a requirement by both federal and state agencies. They would also perform a drug test on you. The registration fee is $250, and tuition ranges from $1,250 to $13,250 depending on the program.

For those who qualify, the school offers a variety of financial aid programs, though financial aid is not available for all programs. The courses available include:

  • Ag Transportation Class A CDL Training
  • CDL Refresher Course for Class B Drivers
  • Welding Training

Visit Advanced Career Insitute

#12. SJVC

San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) is a private junior college with over 40 years of career education experience. The school curriculum intends to provide students with critical skills for today’s job market. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has granted SJVC accreditation.

In California, the college has 15 campuses. To enroll, you must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. You must attend an interview with an Admissions Representative and an acceptance interview. You can do this with either the Enrollment Services Director or a campus manager or their designee. Applicants must also meet with the Financial Services Department to confirm tuition payment arrangements.

According to the program, tuition ranges from $9,555 to $58,195. Non-degree courses are also available at the college for $1,400 per course. It is one of the best San Diego trade schools.  The courses available include:

  • Business administration
  • Construction Administration
  • Corrections in Criminal Justice
  • Administration of Human Resources
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Dental Assisting
  • Assisting with Medical Procedures
  • Occupational Therapy (OT) Pharmacy Assistant Technology
  • Surgical Technology for Registered Nurses
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology Veterinary Assistant
  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration construction management.

Visit SJVC here

#13. Contractors State License School

Contractors State License School is the largest school in California for construction professionals, with over 25 locations. The school assists students in passing the California Contractors License Examination. David Mizener, the founder and CEO of Contractors State License Service, has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science in Education. He also has 40 years of teaching experience.

The cost of each course varies. The school also offers the John Baker Contractor Scholarship, which is a monthly scholarship for one free program. It is one of the best San Diego trade schools.

The courses available are-

  • In-School Law
  • Trade Law
  • Business Online Home Study Law
  • Trade Crash Course Test Taking Skills
  • CSLB Exam Prep Classes

Visit Contractors State License School

Read also: Should I Go To College? 10 Ways To Know If College Is For You

#14. Dental Assisting Institute

The Dental Assisting Institute provides an accelerated Dental Assisting program. It takes a fraction of the time and money that most Dental Assisting programs do. In 12 Saturdays of training, students will learn cutting-edge assisting techniques. The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education has an accredited Dental Assisting Institute.

The California Dental Board has also approved the institute to certify students in Radiation Safety and 8-Hour Infection Control. They are also approved to certify students in California Dental Practice Act, Coronal Polishing and Pit, and Fissure Sealants. The school can help you find a job after graduation. It is one of the best trade schools in San Diego. It is one of the best San Diego trade schools.

When dentists and dental offices are looking for qualified Dental Assistant graduates, they contact the program. The school also contacts local dentists regularly to inform them of upcoming graduating classes. To enroll, you must be over the age of 18 and possess a high school diploma or GED. The 12-week Saturday Dental Assisting Program costs $5,495.

The available courses are-

  • Saturday Dental Assistant Training
  • Radiation Safety Training
  • Coronal Polishing Training
  • Fissure Sealants and PIT
  • 8-hour Infection Control Training
  • Ultrasonic Scaling Training
  • RDA RDA Written Exam Review Home Study Review Course for Written Exams

Visit Dental Assisting Institute

#15. Blake Austin College

Blake Austin College offers license programs relevant to current job demands in the Medical, Dental, Beauty, and Wellness industries. Students receive a high-quality education through the school’s certificate programs. This allows them to begin working immediately after graduation and licensure.

The Commission of the Council on Occupational Education has accredited Blake Austin College. The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education also granted the College permission to operate. To enroll, you must possess a High School Diploma or GED Certificate, as well as government-issued identification.

The entry fee is $100. Tuition ranges from $6,750 to $33,575, depending on the program. Financial aid is also available to qualified students. Grants, scholarships, and federal loans are all forms of financial aid provided. It is one of the best San Diego trade schools.

The courses available are-

  • Esthetician Cosmetology Branch Campus
  • Advanced Education Classes for Spa Nail Technicians
  • Vocational Nursing on the Main Campus
  • Continuing Education
  • Administrative Medical Assistant
  • Clinical Medical Assistant
  • Phlebotomy Dental Assisting

Visit Blake Austin College

How much do Skilled Trades make in San Diego?

The average annual salary for the Skilled Trades job category in San Diego is $41,303 as of June 1, 2022. In case you need a quick salary calculator, that works out to about $19.86 per hour. This equates to $794 per week or $3,442 per month.

The majority of Skilled Trades job salaries in San Diego currently range from $36,438 (25th percentile) to $52,347 (75th percentile). This is with top earners (90th percentile) making $60,559 annually.

The average pay range for a Skilled Trades job is wide (as much as $15,909). This implies that there may be numerous opportunities for advancement and increased pay. However, it would base on skill level, location, and years of experience.

According to recent job postings, the Skilled Trades job market in San Diego, CA, and the surrounding area is very active.

Related: How Much Does It Cost For Nursing School

What are the Highest Paying Trade School Jobs in San Diego?

There are at least seven Skilled Trades jobs that pay more per year than the average Skilled Trades salary in San Diego, CA. Construction, Temp Trader, and Trade Supervisor are just a few examples.

Importantly, these positions pay between $19,042 (46.1%) and $24,617 (59.6%) more than the average Skilled Trades salary of $41,303. If you have qualifications, you may earn more money than the average Skilled Trades position.

Some of the highest paying trade school jobs in San Diego are-

  • Construction $65,919
  • Temp Trader $65,805
  • Trade Supervisor $63,177
  • Skilled Mechanic $63,138
  • Medical assistants- $61, 426

FAQs ON Trade Schools in San Diego

Can a trade school certification get me a good job?

Yes. When you have a trade school diploma, you can apply for a variety of job opportunities.

What are the requirements for trade school?

To gain admission to any trade school, you must demonstrate English proficiency, obtain a high school diploma, and then pass the test.

Are trade schools better than colleges?

Different types of education in trade schools and traditional colleges. For students who prefer smaller classes, shorter graduation timelines, and more practical training, trade schools may be a better option. Some jobs, however, require a college diploma.

What do the majority of trade schools require?

Trade schools have a more straightforward admissions process than four-year colleges. To attend a trade school, you will most likely need a high school diploma or GED certificate. You must also be at least 17 years old. At trade schools, passion for trade often trumps academic qualifications.

What is the easiest trade to learn?

Service Technician. Technicians maintain, repair, and install heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units in homes and commercial buildings. Other easy trades are CDL Truck Driver, Welding, Electrical Technology, and Automotive Technology.

How long do San Diego trade schools last?

You require a specific number of months and years to complete an education, and trade schools in Houston are no exception. Certification in San Diego trade schools can take anywhere from eight months to two years.

Related: What is the Federal Family Education Loan Program? How it works, pros and cons


Choosing the right trade school may be the first step toward achieving your professional goals. San Diego trade schools provide high-quality education in a variety of educational fields.

Many schools can help you get job-ready in a matter of months, whether you want to be a medical assistant, a bartender, or a professional welder. Before deciding on a trade school, make sure you thoroughly research all of your options.

Read also: How Much Does Nursing School Cost in Texas?



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