15 Best Trade Schools In Chicago

In today’s world, you don’t necessarily need to invest four or more years in college to get a stable and well-paying work.

You can attain your career goals and also get a highly-rewarding job by acquiring a professional skill at a vocational or trade school.

To get started on a good note, you can select from the top 15 trade school programs in Chicago.

These schools focus on helping motivated individuals like you grow into new careers that offer attractive professional opportunities.

In this article, you will learn about the different trade certification training, classes, and diplomas in Chicago.

Why Trade Schools In Chicago?

A trade school sometimes referred to as a vocational school, or technical college is a post-secondary institution that’s designed to give people the technical skills needed to prepare them for a specific occupation.

Chicago’s trade schools have provided specialized career training for some of today’s top industries, including health, information technology, skilled trades, and wellness.

In fact, the Illinois Department of Employment Security projects that the number of jobs in Chicago could rise by over six percent between 2014 and 2025. That equates to more than 171,240 new job opportunities.

Each trade school program typically features a curriculum that has been developed and continually maintained to match industry needs.

This is achieved through close connections to employers, professional associations, and manufacturers.

The comprehensive programs, however, are designed to accommodate a variety of skill levels and prepare each student to succeed in their chosen field.

In addition, a wide variety of student services are also available, including individual tutoring at no additional cost and graduate employment assistance, which can help students with everything from resume writing to interviewing skills.

There are several reasons why you should consider enrolling in Chicago trades schools, some of the reason include;

  • Chicago trade schools work to ensure students receive a positive, supportive educational experience from start to finish.
  • Most Vocational schools in Chicago provide financial aid in the form of scholarships to qualified students.
  • Another benefit of attending trade school in Chicago is that the public transit system is geared for convenience; The ChicagoTransit Authority (CTA) offers buses and trains that run throughout the city for reasonable rates

You can only enjoy these benefits if you are enrolled in any trade schools in the country. However, you can’t gain admission into vocational schools in Chicago if you don’t meet the basic criteria. read below and learn how to get started.

What Are The Requirements to Get Into Top Trade Schools In Chicago?

Choosing to enroll in the best trade school programs in Chicago is a very honorable thing to do. You will learn a new skill, or even just as a refresher for the skills you already have.

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However, you can obtain vocational certification or degree in a wide variety of school settings.

While some people prefer to enroll in accredited Universities, others consider online options, and a few choose Community trade colleges.

Depending on your field of interest, acquiring a trade school certification is a smarter, more cost-effective way for you to quickly gain new skills and entry into a fulfilling career. 

Below is the guideline and basic requirements on how to get started.

High school Diploma

Top trade or vocational schools in Chicago typically require a high school diploma or general educational development (GED) certification and a 2.0 GPA.

They may require a standardized test such as the Career Programs Assessment Test, which measures basic reading, writing, and math skills.


Basic communication skills are necessary to enroll in the top trade schools in Chicago.

However, most trade schools in this country require that you demonstrate English language proficiency.

Age requirements

To gain admission into any trade school in Chicago, you must be at least 18 or 17 years old with the permission of a parent or guardian.

Certification costing is based on the type of program you want to do; while few are available at low cost, most courses are expensive.

An average trade school degree costs $33,000. However, there might be additional fees that constitute Textbooks and course materials.

Before you hurry to pay, let’s quickly look at the list of certification programs that are best for you.

What Are The Best Trade Schools In Chicago?

Here are 15 best trade schools in Chicago that will benefit you. These schools provide hands-on training and skills that can be used in the workplace immediately after completing a certification program or associate’s degree.

Our selection criteria for these programs focus on the benefits and career outlook. We also considered the quality of education, average earnings of graduates, accreditation, and several other relevant factors.

As you read further, you will get detailed information on the programs offered by the free online schools listed below.

  • Oakton Community College
  • HVAC Technical Institute
  • West Chicago Professional Center
  • Midwestern Career Center
  • MacCormac College
  • Bell Mar Beauty College
  • Dental Assistant Academy of Chicago
  • Elgin Community College
  • Coyne College
  • Universal Technical Institute
  • SOLEX College
  • Empire Beauty Schools
  • Lincoln College of Technology – Melrose Park
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • 15 College of Court Reporting

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#1 Oakton Community College

Oakton Community College is listed as the #3 top trade school in Chicago, according to niche.com. It is an above-average public college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. 

The school features popular majors, including Liberal Arts and Humanities, Nursing Assistant, and Nursing.

Furthermore, to gain admission into Oakton, you need at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA and a 2.00 term GPA during each enrollment period.

Additionally, Oakton alumni earn a starting salary of $28,500.


#2 HVAC Technical Institute

Founded in 1994. HVAC Tech is accredited by Council On Occupational Education, National Center for Construction Education and Research, Illinois Board of Higher Education, and HVAC Excellence.

The school plays a big role in a student’s development; it offers students the opportunity for personal and professional development.

You must exhibit the desire and physical ability necessary to complete this rigorous course to gain admission into this institute.


#3 West Chicago Professional Center

The West Chicago Professional Center is a trade school in Chicago that educates individuals to be able to enter the fast-growing technological field. 

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The school offers HVAC Technician, Electrician Technician, and Combined Program programs. The tuition at this college differs, depending on the program:

  • HVAC Technician – $4541
  • Electrician Technician – $4367
  • Combined Program – $8578

To gain admission into this school, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Have a  High  School  or  General  Educational  Development  (GED)  diploma
  • If you do not have a diploma, you can successfully pass applicable admission exams from West Chicago Professional Center School.
  • You must have the permission of the school’s director, to be allowed to start classes as well.


#4 Midwestern Career Center

Seeking for one of the best trade school degrees in Chicago, contact the Midwestern Career Center(MCC).

This school provides quality education for appealing career opportunities. They feature programs in Medical Assistant, Surgical Technologists, and Medical Technicians.

In addition to the school program, MCC offers an average financial aid of $3,337 per year to deserving students.


#5 MacCormac College

If you are looking for where to learn valuable skills for careers in just 2 years, MacCormac College is the best place for you.

The school features programs in Paralegal, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration, and Business. 

These programs will give you the chance to gain real-world technical abilities that employers in many different industries need.

 You can pursue any opportunity in several exciting industries worldwide at the end of your training. 

MacCormac College also offers financial aid, student housing, or temporary employment assistance to qualified students.


#6 Bell Mar Beauty College

Founded in 1985. Bell Mar Beauty College is a Private (for-profit), Less than 2 years school in Cicero, IL. It is a non-degree granting school offering cosmetology training.

At Mar Beauty, you will gain hands-on training from instructors with real industry experience that will prepare you for the state licensure exam, after which you will be able to get employment in the field of Cosmetology.

 Additionally, the school provides financial aid to students with a high school diploma or GED. 


#7 Dental Assistant Academy of Chicago

Dental Assistant Academy is one of the top vocational schools in Chicago. The school offers 11 weeks programs that provide hands-on practice to students in a live clinic setting to become successful in the dental field.

 Furthermore, students at this school can get immediate homework help and access over 20+ documents, study resources, practice tests, and essays.

 To gain admission into Dental Assistant Academy, you must meet the basic requirements and pass the manual dexterity test and a written test.


You can apply for World Trade Organization Essay Awards for Young Economists

#8 Elgin Community College

Elgin Community College is one of the top vocational schools in Chicago. The school features certificate programs in fields including Liberal Arts and Humanities, Automotive Mechanics, and Natural Sciences.

Furthermore, a total enrollment of 3,215 students with an acceptance rate of 100%. Graduates from Elgin earn a starting salary of $29,600.


#9 Coyne College

The list of top trade schools in Chicago cannot be completed without Coyne College. The school offers both day and evening class schedules to make getting your education as attainable as possible.

Coyne College focuses on helping students to develop problem-solving skills that are imperative for becoming valuable, productive contributors to the workplace.

CC offers a wide range of programs in the engineering and health field as shown below;

  • Electrical Construction and Maintenance
  • Electrical Construction and Planning
  • Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing & Coding Specialist
  • Pharmacy Technician
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In addition, the school assists with identifying potential financial aid opportunities


#10 Universal Technical Institute

Universal Technical Institute is one of the trade school in Chicago that provides a training opportunity that can assist you with your goal.

The school features automotive, diesel, and collision repair skill trade programs.

With the training, you can be ready to begin your career in any Industry upon graduation from this institute.


#11 SOLEX College

SOLEX is a for-profit college with an enrollment of 66 undergraduate students. 

The school features a very flexible study schedule including part-time and full-time, and evening learners.

Additionally, SOLEX offers financial aid to assist students to pay for their college expenses and other living expenses whenever possible.


#12 Empire Beauty Schools

At Empire Beauty School, you will learn marketable beauty techniques based on classic fundamentals and modern trends.

The school provides a kit that comprises head mannequins, a full set of tools, and professional-grade beauty products.

Also, each student receives an electronic Career Success Tablet, which comes loaded with training materials, study guides, interactive apps, photos, videos, a built-in camera, and access to popular social media networks like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

The school’s classrooms are also built for practical demonstrations and feature large digital whiteboards and other visually stimulating learning aids.


#13 Lincoln College of Technology – Melrose Park

Lincoln Tech – Melrose Park is a for-profit college located in Melrose Park, Illinois. It is has a total enrollment of 719 undergraduate students. 

The school features a wide range of programs in Automotive Mechanics, Medical Assistant, and Electronics Equipment Installation and Repair. 

 Furthermore, at Lincoln Tech, you can request extra guidance from a school representative to help you build a solid career. 

Additionally, you can earn a starting salary of $29,500.


#14 Illinois Institute of Technology

 Illinois Institute of Technology is a private university that provides a variety of options for students interested in the sciences.

It is considered one of the best trade schools in Chicago because of its uniqueness and quality of service rendered to students.

The school partners with top manufacturers to ensure students are trained on contemporary vehicles using industry-standard technology.

Additionally, Illinois Institute of Technology offers several financial aids and scholarships to students to make schooling affordable.


#15 College of Court Reporting

Court Reporting is a for-profit, online college that specializes in career-oriented vocational education.

The school offers courses in Legal Administrative Assistant and Legal Studies.

Programs at college are designed in a way that will get the chance to experience what it’s like to really work in your field of study while making connections with people who can help you throughout your career.


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What Is The Duration Chicago Trade School Programs?

Program lengths vary according to schools, but typically, they can range from anywhere from eight months to two years.

Unlike a four-year college, you don’t graduate with a bachelor’s degree from a trade school. Usually, upon completion of the program, you’ll receive a diploma or trade certificate acknowledging you successfully finished.

Chicago Trade School And Technical Colleges Notable Alumni

Prominent graduates from Chicago trade schools include celebrities, politicians, business people, CEOs, and more.

These people have made significant contributions in politics and within the business world.

Below is the list of some distinguished alumni arranged in no particular order.

  • James L. Baustert (attended 1955-1956) was Co-inventor of the lithium-powered heart pacemaker and a co-founder of Cardiac Pacemakers of St. Paul.
  • James C. Hallock (1972) Circuit Court Judge on the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court
  • Robert Gilliam (1976) First African-American member of the Elgin, Illinois City Council
  • Kenneth S. Hawkinson, PhD (1976) President. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  • Cristina Castro (1998) Member of the Illinois Senate
  • Sandro Miller (2012) Photographer
  • Allen Skillicorn – Member of the Illinois House of Representatives



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