Earning a high school diploma is an important milestone in life. But if you didn’t quite make it across the finish line, receiving your GED can help open new doors. So if you’re weighing your options for career training after getting a GED, you may be wondering: can you go to trade school with a GED?

The short answer is yes, you can absolutely attend trade school if you have a GED instead of a high school diploma. Many technical and vocational schools accept the GED as proof you’ve completed high school-level education.

This means your GED meets the admission requirements to start training for rewarding hands-on careers like electrician, plumber, welder, automotive technician, and more.

What is Trade School?

Trade school, also known as vocational school or technical school, is an educational institution that provides career-focused education and training in specific trades or occupations. Unlike traditional four-year colleges or universities, trade schools offer specialized programs that prepare students for skilled jobs in various industries.

Career-focused education and training

Trade schools are designed to provide students with practical skills and knowledge that are directly applicable to their chosen career paths. Whether it’s plumbing, electrical work, automotive repair, culinary arts, or cosmetology, trade schools offer a wide range of vocational programs to cater to different interests and aspirations.

These programs are typically shorter in duration compared to traditional college degrees, which means students can enter the workforce and start earning sooner.

Learn by doing

One of the key features of trade schools is their emphasis on hands-on learning. Instead of spending most of their time in classrooms, students at trade schools spend a significant amount of time in workshops or labs, gaining practical experience in their chosen trade.

This experiential learning approach allows students to develop the necessary skills and confidence needed to excel in their future careers.

Earn certifications

Trade schools often offer certification programs that validate the skills and knowledge acquired by students. These certifications are recognized by employers and industry professionals, enhancing the employability of trade school graduates.

Obtaining a certification demonstrates a level of expertise in a specific trade, making graduates more competitive in the job market.

In addition to certifications, trade schools may also provide opportunities for apprenticeships or internships, allowing students to gain real-world experience while still in school. These hands-on experiences can further enhance their skill set and open doors to employment opportunities.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, trade school graduates often have higher employment rates and earn higher wages compared to those with just a high school diploma. In fact, some trade school graduates can earn salaries that rival or even surpass those of individuals with bachelor’s degrees.

Trade school can be a viable option for individuals with a GED. Many trade schools accept GED credentials as an alternative to a high school diploma. It’s important to research and reach out to specific trade schools to determine their admission requirements and processes.

Benefits of Attending Trade School

Trade schools offer numerous benefits for individuals looking to start their career with a GED. Here are some of the key advantages:

Quick path to starting your career

Attending trade school allows individuals to enter the workforce faster compared to traditional four-year degree programs. Trade schools typically offer accelerated programs that focus on specific skills and knowledge required for a particular trade.

This means that you can start your career sooner and begin earning a salary in a shorter amount of time. It’s a great option for those who want to get hands-on experience and start working in their chosen field as quickly as possible.

Hands-on learning

One of the major benefits of trade schools is the emphasis on practical, hands-on learning. Unlike traditional academic programs, trade schools provide students with real-world experience that is directly applicable to their chosen trade.

This hands-on approach allows students to develop the necessary skills and confidence to excel in their field. Whether it’s automotive repair, plumbing, electrical work, or culinary arts, trade schools provide the opportunity to learn by doing, which can be highly advantageous in building a successful career.

Strong job outlook in skilled trades

The demand for skilled tradespeople continues to grow, and trade school graduates are well-positioned to take advantage of this. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many skilled trades have a strong job outlook, with projected growth rates above the national average.

For example, the demand for electricians is expected to grow by 8% over the next decade, while the demand for HVAC technicians is projected to increase by 13%. These statistics indicate that trade school graduates have excellent job prospects and can often secure well-paying positions in their chosen field.

Requirements for Trade School with a GED

Trade schools offer valuable vocational training for individuals who want to pursue a specific trade or career path. While a high school diploma is typically the traditional educational requirement for admission, many trade schools also accept individuals with a General Education Development (GED) certificate.

Here are the main requirements for enrolling in trade school with a GED:

Proof of GED or high school diploma

When applying to trade school with a GED, it is important to provide proof of your GED certificate. This certificate serves as evidence that you have completed the equivalent of a high school education.

Trade schools may also accept applicants who have completed their high school education through alternative means, such as homeschooling. It is important to check with the specific trade school you are interested in to understand their individual requirements.

Meet minimum age requirements

Trade schools typically have minimum age requirements for enrollment. While these requirements may vary depending on the institution and the program, most trade schools require applicants to be at least 18 years old.

Some trade schools may allow applicants who are 17 years old, but they may require parental consent. Again, it is important to check with the trade school directly to ensure you meet their specific age requirements.

Pass entrance exams

In addition to providing proof of a GED or high school diploma, trade schools often require applicants to pass entrance exams. These exams assess an individual’s basic knowledge and skills in areas relevant to the trade they wish to pursue.

The exams may cover subjects such as math, reading comprehension, and mechanical reasoning. It is essential to prepare for these exams by reviewing relevant study materials and practicing sample questions to increase your chances of success.

How to Apply to Trade School with a GED

Choose your trade

Before applying to trade school with a GED, it’s important to decide on the trade you want to pursue. There are a wide range of trades available, such as automotive technology, cosmetology, culinary arts, plumbing, and many more.

Consider your interests, skills, and career goals when choosing a trade that aligns with your aspirations. Research the demand for that particular trade in your area to ensure there are job opportunities once you complete your training.

Research schools and programs

Once you have chosen your trade, it’s time to research trade schools and programs that accept applicants with a GED. Look for reputable schools that have a good track record of placing graduates in jobs related to their field of study.

Consider factors such as accreditation, program length, tuition costs, financial aid options, and the availability of hands-on training. Websites like CareerOneStop provide a comprehensive list of trade schools across the United States.

Submit your application

After you have identified the trade schools and programs that interest you, it’s time to submit your application. Most trade schools have an online application process that requires you to provide personal information, educational background, and any relevant work experience.

Be sure to carefully review the application requirements and follow the instructions provided. Some schools may require additional documents, such as high school transcripts or letters of recommendation.

Complete enrollment requirements

Once your application is accepted, you will need to complete the enrollment requirements for the trade school. This may include paying an enrollment fee, attending an orientation session, and providing any necessary documentation.

It’s important to stay organized and keep track of deadlines to ensure a smooth enrollment process. If you have any questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to the school’s admissions office.

Remember, a GED should not hold you back from pursuing your dreams and gaining valuable skills through trade school. With determination and the right preparation, you can successfully apply to trade school and embark on a rewarding career in your chosen trade.

Finding Financial Aid for Trade School with a GED

Attending trade school can be a great option for individuals with a GED who are looking to gain practical skills and enter the workforce. However, financing your education can be a concern. The good news is that there are several financial aid options available to help make trade school more affordable.


One of the first steps in securing financial aid for trade school is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is used to determine your eligibility for federal grants, work-study programs, and loans.

Even with a GED, you are still eligible to apply for financial aid through the FAFSA.

By submitting the FAFSA, you provide information about your financial situation, which helps determine the amount of aid you may be eligible to receive. It is important to fill out the FAFSA accurately and on time to maximize your chances of receiving financial aid.

Grants and Scholarships

There are numerous grants and scholarships available specifically for trade school students. These financial aid options do not need to be repaid, making them an attractive option for many individuals.

Some trade schools offer their own scholarships or grants, so it is worth checking with the schools you are interested in attending. Additionally, there are many external organizations and foundations that offer scholarships for trade school students.

Websites like Fastweb and Scholarships.com can help you search for scholarships that you may be eligible for.

Employer/Union Sponsorship

Another option to consider is employer or union sponsorship. Some employers or unions may be willing to cover the cost of your trade school education in exchange for a commitment to work for them after graduation.

This can be a great way to gain valuable skills and education without incurring any debt.

GI Bill (for veterans)

If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for educational benefits through the GI Bill. The GI Bill provides financial assistance for education and training for veterans and their dependents. This can be used towards trade school programs, helping to cover tuition, fees, and other educational expenses.


While taking out loans should be a last resort, they can be a viable option for some individuals. There are both federal and private student loan options available for trade school students. It is important to carefully consider the terms and interest rates before taking on any loan.

Remember, it is crucial to thoroughly research and explore all your financial aid options when considering trade school with a GED. With the right financial assistance, you can pursue your career goals and gain the skills you need for success.


While trade school has some great advantages, it’s not the only option for career training with a GED. Many community colleges and even some four-year universities accept the GED for admission. But for hands-on technical training leading straight into a fulfilling career, trade school is a direct path worth considering.

With persistence and hard work, you can achieve your goals no matter your educational background. Don’t let not having a high school diploma hold you back. Use your GED as a springboard to launch yourself into an exciting, lucrative trade career.

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