15 Best Trade Schools in Montana | Costs, Requirements, and How to Apply

This article explores the best trade schools in Montana.

Career-focused education is provided by trade schools in Montana in industries like healthcare, skilled trades, industrial technology, and personal services. 

Graduates find employment as cosmetologists, paralegals, mechanics, and construction managers. 

Professionals can increase their earning potential and prepare for new careers by enrolling in a vocational program. 

Because of this, vocational training is frequently less expensive than a bachelor’s degree. 

According to 2009 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, professionals with an occupational credential also enjoy a higher employment rate than those with an academic credential. 

To accommodate the schedules of working professionals, many vocational schools provide self-paced or accelerated options.

 To increase flexibility, students can select an online vocational program.

Students in a vocational program complete courses and receive hands-on training through practicum, clinical, and laboratory requirements. 

For instance, students in paramedic studies receive their training in hospitals and ambulances, while electricians hone their skills in a practicum. 

A four-year academic program has several advantages over vocational training. 

Since obtaining a vocational certificate or degree typically takes 1-2 years, students finish their coursework sooner and can start working.

For those who want to acquire the skills they need to launch a successful career but are unable to pay for a four-year university, trade schools are an alternative. 

With just a few months of practical experience, you can learn many trades, including cosmetology, auctioneering, and saddle making. 

To assist you in deciding what career path you want to take and selecting the school that best suits your educational needs, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top trade schools in Montana on this page.

See Also: Best Trade Schools in New Jersey | Cost, Requirements, How to Apply

Are there Trade Schools in Montana?

To assist prospective students in finding the best fit to pursue their career goals, our ranking features a list of Montana’s top vocational schools. 

This page also introduces the earning potential and licensing requirements for popular vocational careers lists scholarship opportunities for trade school students and provides career and salary data on trade school occupations.

  1. Western College of Auctioneering
  2. Montana Academy of Salons
  3. Sage Truck Driving School
  4. Montana Horseman Saddle Building School
  5. Flathead Valley Community College
  6. Crevier’s School of Cosmetology
  7. Academy of Cosmetology
  8. PIMA Medical Institute – Dillon Campus
  9. Advanced Taxidermy Training Center
  10. Montana Air Adventures
  11. Chief Dull Knife College
  12. Stone Child College
  13. Blackfeet Community College
  14. Little Big Horn College
  15. Aaniiih Nakoda College

How Much Does Trade School Cost in Montana?

Depending on the program and school, different trade schools have different costs. 

Community colleges in Montana charge about $3,600 in tuition and fees per year for vocational programs.

The FAFSA is required to apply for federal financial aid for students.

 Only accredited institutions, though, can offer students federal financial aid because they do so.

 If prospective applicants want to know if they qualify for federal student aid programs, they can check with the schools.

What are the Requirements for Trade Schools in Montana?

An enrollment application must be completed by all applicants. 

They require a copy of their current driver’s license as well as a copy of their physical exam on a DOT form.

 In the event that a drug test is conducted, students must be able to pass. 

High school graduates and GED holders are eligible to apply (or those who complete an ability-to-benefit test). 

The driving history of applicants must be clear of any recent serious violations. 

A signed Enrollment Agreement is required of those who meet these requirements.

What are the Best Trade Schools in Montana | 2024?

For careers in healthcare, technology, construction, and the skilled trades, trade schools in Montana offer training that is job-focused.

 Professionals can advance their education in 1-2 years and increase their earning potential by enrolling in a top-ranked vocational program. 

The top vocational schools in Montana are listed below.

1. Western College of Auctioneering

Students are given the instruction and resources necessary to become qualified auctioneers by Western College of Auctioneering. 

The College provides services for all facets of the auction market, including charity and online auctions as well as automotive and livestock. 

The state of Montana has authorized Western College of Auctioneering as an auction school. 

Bill Hagen and Norm Warsinske, two well-known auctioneers of the day, founded the college in 1948. 

More than 5,600 graduates from nearly every state in the United States, several provinces in Canada, and many other nations have received training at Western College of Auctioneering over the course of its 71-year history. 

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The foundational course at Western College of Auctioneering consists of 92 credits. 

States have different requirements for auctioneer licenses. Montana is where no state required an auctioneer license. Some counties and municipalities may require a permit or license.

Courses offered:

  • Entry-Level Course
  • Intermediate & Advanced Course

Visit school here 

2. Montana Academy of Salons

Future barbers, estheticians, massage therapists, cosmetologists, and more can receive training from the Montana Academy of Salons. 

The state-of-the-art 11,000-square-foot Montana Academy of Salons features roomy educational spaces for massage, nail, skin, and hair care. 

The building has four classrooms for theoretical and practical instruction, as well as a conference room, staff offices, a student lounge, and a student library. 

The school’s objective is to prepare students for the licensing exams and to prepare them for employment in their particular field. 

The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences has granted Montana Academy of Salons accreditation. 

Finally, the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage has certified the school, and the Montana Board of Massage Therapy has recognized it.

Courses offered:

  • Barbering
  • Cosmetology
  • Esthetics
  • Manicuring
  • Massage Therapy
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Teacher Training

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3. Sage Truck Driving School

For 30 years, SAGE Truck Driving Schools has offered top-notch, accredited professional tractor-trailer driver training. 

On the road, training sessions are private, one-on-one affairs. 

During road time, there is never more than one student per truck. 

SAGE provides a wide range of CDL and truck driving training programs. 

Each training program is created in accordance with the Proposed Minimum Standards for Training Tractor-Trailer Drivers published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

The ACCSC has accredited Sage’s Lebanon school. The SAGE Corporation belongs to the National Safety Council, the Truckload Carriers Association, and the American Trucking Association.

Courses offered:

  • Comprehensive Tractor-Trailer Driver Basic
  • Commercial Drivers License Essentials
  • Tractor-Trailer Driver Advanced
  • Tractor-Trailer Driver Refresher
  • Tractor-Trailer Driver Externship
  • Straight Truck Class B Driver

See Also: Best Trade Schools in Corpus Christi | Cost, Requirements, How to Apply

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4. Montana Horseman Saddle Building School

The Montana Horseman Saddle Building School, one of the best trade schools in Montana, combines classroom instruction with a practical, do-it-yourself learning style. 

Each student learns how to plan and lay out a premium Western saddle during 5 weeks of thorough instruction. 

Graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in saddle making. 

Graduates can count on ongoing assistance from the school and join the family of saddle makers known as Montana Horseman. 

The State Approving Agency has approved the Advanced Saddle Building Classes 1 and 2 for Veterans Benefits. These classes are both offered by the school. 

Prior to designing and building a saddle of their choice during the Level 1 Course, each student will assist in the construction of one or two brand-new demonstration saddles.

Courses offered:

  • Level 1 Course: Introduction to Saddle Building
  • Level 2 Course: Advanced Western Saddle Building

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5. Flathead Valley Community College

Future professionals in industries with high demand can receive a top-notch education from Flathead Valley Community College. 

Over 100 academic programs, including Associate of Arts or Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, Certificate, Certificate of Applied Science, and Training for Licensure/Certification, are offered by the college. 

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has accredited Flathead Valley Community College, and it is reevaluated every seven years.

Courses available: 

The following certificate programs are available from the Flathead Valley Community College: 

  • The Technology of Geospatial Certified Nursing Assistant (C.T.S. (CNA) 
  • Apprentice in Advanced Baking and Pastry Electrical Heavy Equipment C.T.S. Operator HVAC & Refrigeration Apprentice with CTS The welding technology company C.T.S. 
  • The following training programs for certification and licensure are available from the college
  • Phlebotomy, Emergency Medical Technician, Certified Nurse Assistant, Commercial Driver’s License

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6. Crevier’s School of Cosmetology

People of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds can develop fulfilling careers as stylists, manicurists, estheticians, or instructors with the help of Crevier’s School of Cosmetology. 

The 6,000-square-foot building houses 48 stations for cosmetology and manicures, a semi-private esthetics room, a room for freshman training, a break area, a large classroom, and a library. 

Since 1958, Crevier’s Academy of Cosmetology Arts has held a bond and a license. 

The student body at Crevier’s School is very diverse all year long. 

Students gain practical experience through this, preparing them for future employment.

Courses offered:

  • Cosmetology
  • Manicuring
  • Esthetics
  • Teacher Training
  • Microdermabrasion

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7. Academy of Cosmetology

The mission of the Academy of Cosmetology is to offer a top-notch post-secondary education that equips graduates with the necessary skills for entry-level employment. 

NACCAS has accredited The Academy of Cosmetology, Inc. since 1989. (National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences). 

The Montana State Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists has granted The Academy of Cosmetology, Inc. a license and bond since 1983. 

A 1500-hour cosmetology course that lasts 49 weeks is offered by the Academy of Cosmetology.

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8. PIMA Medical Institute – Dillon Campus

Through a partnership with the University of Montana Western, PIMA Medical Institute is able to provide the veterinary technician associate degree and veterinary assistant certificate programs. 

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The veterinary technician program at PIMA was accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association in the spring of 2017, making it the only accredited program in Montana. 

Students who enroll in either of the two programs have access to all of the amenities provided by the University of Montana Western, including dining, recreational opportunities, and the library. 

You can finish the Certificate Veterinary Assistant Program in about 9 months. 

The program’s goal is to train students in order to prepare them for entry-level employment. 

Students learn about animal life stages nutrition and husbandry, animal nursing and diagnostic imaging, pharmacology and anesthesia principles, as well as aseptic technique and surgical procedures.

Also, in this program, the Associate Veterinary Technician program can be completed in approximately 18 months.

Courses offered:

  • Associate Veterinary Technician
  • Certificate Veterinary Assistant

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9. Advanced Taxidermy Training Center

Students can enroll in a comprehensive six-week course at the Advanced Taxidermy Training Center that trains them in all facets of taxidermy. 

1400 square feet of classroom space and 480 square feet of painting, finishing, and drying space are used for instruction. 

The school also has a showroom, a room for freezing and salting food, and storage and drying areas. 

There is sufficient floor space and at least 5 feet of table space for each student. 

The Advanced Taxidermy Training Center is outfitted with all the cutting-edge tools and machinery required to operate a successful taxidermy studio. 

Students also receive a set of tools that they can keep that are specifically for them. 

Along with learning about taxidermy techniques, students also study habitat, tanning, business setup, and client interaction. Graduates can perform taxidermy for paying clients.

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10. Montana Air Adventures

The full-service FBO and flight school Montana Air Adventures is a part of Red Eagle Aviation, Inc. 

The flight school provides instruction in Multi-Engine, Complex, Private, Instrument, Commercial CFI, and CFII aircraft. 

For the Private Pilot classes, the FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours. 

Before beginning classes, students must be at least 16 years old and possess an FAA Medical/Student License. 

To be eligible for a license, applicants must be at least 17 years old. 

Applicants must hold a Private Pilot License in order to enroll in either the 40-hour Instrumental Pilot class or the 150-hour Commercial Pilot class.

Courses available: 

  • Private, Instrumental, Commercial, and Certified Flight Instructor Helicopter Flight Training Mountain Flying Course Private, Instrumental, Commercial, and Certified Flight Instructor Airplane Flight Training 
  • Aviation FVCC Course 
  • Instrument Training for Multi-Engine Training 
  • Training for Certified Flight Instructors

See Also: 15 Best Trade Schools in Phoenix | Costs, Requirements, and How to Apply

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11. Chief Dull Knife College

Chief Dull Knife College, one of the best trade schools in Montana, was established in 1975 by Tribal Ordinance as a facility to train local miners who lived in Lame Deer. 

To prepare students for new career opportunities, CDKC added new programs as the student body expanded and graduates experienced greater success. 

Students can pursue applied associate degrees in animal science, office management, allied health, and addiction studies. 

Additionally, students can pursue certificates in entrepreneurship, office assistance, and behavioral healthcare aide.

 To graduate with an applied associate degree, students must finish 60 credits and maintain a 2.0 GPA. 

The majority of students finish their associate’s degree in two years. 

The certificates can be finished in three semesters and require between 30 and 45 credits. 

Individuals who want to continue their education can easily transfer to the Montana University system. 

Students can also complete some courses virtually through a new online portal.

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12. Stone Child College

Stone Child College, a community college run by the Chippewa Cree Tribe, aims to educate students while preserving Chippewa Cree’s history and culture. 

To assist the Box Elder community, SCC provides a variety of two-year degrees, certificates, and continuing education programs. 

The associate degrees offered by SCC in health promotion, addiction studies, rural behavioral health, and health and physical education provide students with the practical knowledge and abilities needed for many regional jobs. 

In general, associate degrees call for 60 credits. General education and health-related courses are both included in these two-year degrees. 

Four vocational certificates are also available through the community college in the fields of rural health, hospitality/customer relations, building trades, and accounting/information management. 

With the exception of the two-year building trades certificate, each option requires one year to complete. 

Students gain sufficient practical experience after earning the certificate to apply for jobs in their fields.

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13. Blackfeet Community College

Over 2,200 students are enrolled at Blackfeet Community College, which opened in 1974. 

BCC offers many distinctive vocational programs, including several that lead to positions assisting Native American communities, in order to meet the educational needs and long-term objectives of the Blackfeet Tribe. 

BCC offers associate’s degrees in behavioral health aid and hydrology technician. 

With the ability to design their own curriculum, students in the behavioral health aid program can get ready for a four-year institution or an entry-level position in a human services organization. 

The certificates offered by BCC typically require one year to complete and lead to particular positions. 

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For instance, the Blackfeet legal studies certificate covers tribal codes to prepare graduates for the Tribal Bar Exam and prepares students to work as tribal legal assistants. 

Other certificates emphasize construction trades, heavy equipment, and agricultural business, all important industries in the Browning region.

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14. Little Big Horn College

Little Big Horn College, a community college established by the Crow Tribe, aims to advance personal professional, and vocational growth and, in some cases, to prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. 

LBHC only provides six vocational programs due to its small size. 

Graduates of the two-year, 61-credit associate of science in agriculture: livestock management program is prepared for jobs at local ranches.

Although most students take two full semesters to complete these one-year certificates, it can be done in as little as 30 weeks. 

Not all certificates meet Montana’s requirements for professional licensure or certification, even though they all prepare students for specific career outcomes.

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15. Aaniiih Nakoda College

Aaniiih Nakoda College was established to provide postsecondary education to residents of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and the surrounding communities.

 It combines vocational training with courses on the histories and cultures of the Aaniin and Nakoda Tribes. 

Numerous ANC students receive grants for particular programs, which greatly reduces the cost of some choices. 

ANC offers counseling for chemical dependency as well as vocational associate degrees in industrial trades. 

Depending on whether students decide to take additional coursework to fulfill Montana’s requirements for professional licensing, both programs have a two-year completion time and range in credit requirements from 62 to 67. 

Both choices employ the conventional semester system, but some students also take summer courses. 

Additionally, ANC provides one-year certificates in tribal management, health science, and welding. 29–34 credits are needed for the certificates. 

Also, these certificates are acceptable in the workplace and allow graduates to start working right away.

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How Much do Traders Make in Montana?

Many trade school professions have promising futures for both employment and pay. 

For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts paralegals, dental hygienists, and HVAC technicians will all experience much faster job growth than the national average between 2018 and 2028. 

The potential salary for graduates of trade schools varies by industry and location.

 According to BLS statistics, trade school occupations generally pay $55,000 annually. 

The highest potential earnings are found in management positions, where the average yearly salary exceeds $96,000.  

Healthcare professionals and technical jobs typically make around $55,000 annually, while jobs in installation, maintenance, and repair make about $50,000. 

Salaries also depend on location. Many trade school careers in Montana offer salaries higher than the state’s $45,000 average yearly salary. 

Respiratory therapists make more than $58,000 annually.

How do I become a Trader in Montana?

Agricultural business, health sciences, industrial services, and technology are just a few of the key industries that are driving Montana’s economy. 

Students can enroll in accredited vocational and trade schools in Montana to get ready for careers in these fields. 

In Montana, there are 485 CTE programs that have been approved. 

CTE programs are offered in more than 150 high schools to better prepare students for the skilled labor market. 

Vocational programs are fully supported by the state. To make sure that students are ready for the job market, the legislature increased CTE funding twofold in May 2015.

Best Paying Jobs In Montana with Salary

High-demand fields like allied healthcare, technology, skilled trades, and legal services are taught in trade schools to future workers. 

Students can obtain a vocational certificate or degree and start working in the workforce in 1-2 years. 

Students who enroll in vocational programs are prepared for careers as mechanics, paralegals, radiology technicians, and dental hygienists. 

Popular trade jobs are described in this section along with potential earnings and any necessary licenses.

  • dental hygienists earn a median annual salary of over $76,000
  • mechanics earn a median annual salary of around $42,000
  • paralegals earn a median annual salary of over $51,000
  • Radiology technicians earn a median annual salary of over $62,000 

Frequently Asked Questions

What do vocational schools provide?

Career-focused training for jobs in emergency services, technology, and other fields is offered by trade schools. Coursework and fieldwork are both completed by students. 

What is the price of a trade school?

Depending on the program and school, different trade schools have different costs. Community colleges in Montana charge about $3,600 in tuition and fees per year for vocational programs. 

What types of employment are vocational jobs? 

Jobs in the vocational sector include skilled trades like electricians and allied healthcare positions like dental hygienists and medical assistants. Chef, cosmetologist, and paralegal are some additional professions. 

What kinds of trade schools are there?

Trade schools may have departments that specialize in areas like cosmetology, allied health, industrial technology, or culinary arts.
Moreover, numerous vocational programs are available at some schools.


For those who want to develop a new rewarding career, Montana trade schools provide a variety of educational alternatives. 

To prepare students for the most in-demand professions, many schools provide top-notch hands-on training. 

You should be very careful when selecting your education provider because of this. 

This list was created to aid you in making a wise choice. 

Before choosing to enroll at a trade school, don’t forget to conduct your own research.


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