15 Best Trade Schools in San Francisco | Cost, Requirements, How to Apply

This article explores the best trade schools in San Francisco.

Trade schools, also known as vocational schools or career centers, are educational establishments that offer career training programs with a strong emphasis on practical experience.

The educational programs often last only a few months and are designed to prepare students for work in entry-level positions in their fields immediately upon graduation.

The best trade schools in San Francisco are examined on this page.

To aid you in selecting the program that best suits your educational needs and career goals, we have provided pertinent information about each institution in our list.

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

Are There Trade Schools in San Francisco?

The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that trade schools in San Francisco are currently more than 10 schools.

Here are some of the trade schools in San Francisco:

  1. Bay Area Medical Academy 
  2. San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork 
  3. San Francisco Cooking School 
  4. Holberton School 
  5. Galvanize San Francisco 

What are the requirements for Trade Schools in San Francisco? 

The application processes are often similar and straightforward for the majority of trade schools in San Francisco.

Either you speak with the admissions committee at the school or you download the application from the website.

After submitting your application, certain colleges may invite you in for an interview.

You may receive guidance from this interview on the appropriate program for you.

You don’t need to write an essay or take the SAT/ACT for the majority of colleges and programs.

Additionally, trade schools won’t ask for recommendations or take into account your extracurricular activities when deciding whether to admit you.

What is the average Cost of Trade Schools in San Francisco? 

Costs at San Francisco’s average trade schools vary by program and institution. For instance, the surgical technician curriculum at CBD College in Los Angeles costs a total of $25,790. 

About $15,500 is spent on each of the dentistry and medical assistant programs, and about $12,400 is spent on the pharmacy technician program.

The cosmetology curriculum at The Paul Mitchell School in San Diego costs roughly $24,100 in tuition and expenses. 

The cost of the HVAC and green technology technician training program at the Center for Employment Training is roughly $14,500.

The University of San Francisco system, in comparison, costs residents of the state roughly $13,100 annually plus other fees, which can amount to more than $35,000 annually. Trade school is cheaper than a bachelor’s degree in comparison. 

In about 12 to 20 months, students can complete several trade school programs and begin working. 

A bachelor’s degree might yield a higher return on investment (ROI) in the long run, but this will depend on the career choice, prospective earnings, and overall debt of each student. 

Many students find that attending trade school offers a great return on investment and a secure job.

Accreditations in San Francisco 

Trade schools may receive accreditation. Different accrediting agencies oversee various trades. Verify the accreditation needs for your chosen job path. 

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is the primary accrediting agency. 

Additionally, a list of accredited trade schools is available from the San Francisco Department of Industrial Relations.

Some courses, such as CDL training for truck drivers, are not accredited. Students must still enroll in state-approved programs to take the exam, though.

For instance, in order to be eligible for certification by the San Francisco Certifying Board for Medical Assistants, students must complete a program recognized by the U.S. 

Department of Education or the Bureau for Private and Postsecondary Education. If the curriculum a student finished wasn’t accredited, they might not be eligible to sit for the licensure exam in several trades.

What are the best trade schools in San Francisco | 2023? 

1. Bay Area Medical Academy 

Healthcare career training programs are offered by Bay Area Medical Academy and were developed in collaboration with companies. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

Registered nurses, clinical laboratory technicians, and other healthcare professionals with a combined experience of more than 20 years teach the students.

The institution also provides career services, including support with drafting resumes, interview preparation, employment leads, and more.

In as little as 9 months, students can complete the 900-hour Medical Assistant program.

Students studying medical assistants will complete 200 hours of clinical externship after completing the first seven learning units.

The Pharmacy Technician program consists of 240 hours of clinical externship and 600 hours of classroom instruction.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools has granted accreditation to Bay Area Medical Academy.

The San Francisco Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education has given the Academy permission to operate.

Enrollment. At least 18 years of age is required for applicants.

Students must have completed high school or have a diploma equivalent (typically a GED certificate).

A photo ID, such as a driver’s license or alien registration card, is also required for applicants.

Different programs have different prerequisites.

Fees. While the Pharmacy Technician Programs cost about $11,180, the anticipated total expenditures for the Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy program are about $15,440.

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

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2. San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork 

One of the oldest and most reputable massage schools in the nation is the San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

Since 1969, the institution has been educating massage therapists and other bodywork specialists.

Professional massage therapists with certification serve as instructors.

Topics including Swedish massage, body mechanics, sports massage, deep tissue massage, business & ethics, and much more are covered in the 600-hour massage therapist program.

The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools has granted institutional accreditation to the San Francisco School of Massage and Bodywork (ABHES).

The San Francisco Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork have approved the school’s curriculum (NCBTMB). 

Enrollment. Students must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, or pass a test of their capacity to profit from the program that is administered by a third party certified by the Department of Education.

Fees. The Massage Therapist program costs $9,300 in total.

The San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork offers a number of tuition payment plans, and qualified students may also be eligible for financial aid.

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3. San Francisco Cooking School 

The certificate programs offered by San Francisco Cooking School are meant to support students in beginning a career in the culinary business. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

Classes have a maximum of 14 students and are entirely hands-on.

Chef teachers with extensive training coach the students every day in the classroom.

Students gain access to coveted externships working with chefs in San Francisco’s best kitchens as a crucial component of the training curriculum.

The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education has granted the School permission to operate as a private institution.

Enrollment. The minimum requirement for applicants is a high school or college diploma.

Every applicant must demonstrate their command of the English language.

Additionally needed are two recommendation letters and a 400–500 word personal statement.

Students that are interested must appear in person for an interview.

Fees. The cost of the Culinary Arts and Pastry & Baking Arts Program, both full-time and part-time, is $29,275.

Also required for students is a $600 culinary and pastry kit.

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4. Holberton School 

For people who are interested in beginning a career in software engineering, Holberton School provides training courses. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

Students learn the basics of coding over the course of a two-year curriculum and have the option to focus on emerging technologies.

Silicon Valley saw the establishment of the software engineering school in 2016.

Students learn how to work well in groups, explain ideas, speak in front of audiences, and think outside the box in the school’s project-based learning environment.

Enrollment. Candidates must possess a GED or a high school diploma.

Filling up an online application and doing quick online assignments and examinations make up the first phases in the enrolling procedure.

After that, you will have roughly two weeks to build your first website.

The final step is to finish an in-person or remote Q& A and technical challenge.

Fees. There isn’t a deposit required.

Once a student begins working, the number of their student loans will depend on their income.

The school will forgive any shortfall if the student makes qualifying payments for 42 months and pays less than the tuition.

The tuition fee is up to $85,000 per student.

If your monthly income is at least $3,333, monthly payments will begin.

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5. Galvanize San Francisco 

Software engineering and data science education programs of the highest caliber are provided by Galvanize San Francisco. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

Students learn about the Foundations of Computer Science, Full Stack JavaScript, Application Design/Development, and Job Search during the 12-week Software Engineering Immersive curriculum.

Before participating in the mandatory Technical Interview, applicants must be proficient JavaScript starters.

The Python-based curriculum, real-world case studies, and machine learning used in the Data Science Bootcamp prepare students for a career as data scientists.

To pass the technical interview necessary for admission, candidates must have substantial proficiency in arithmetic, statistics, and probability as well as programming skills in Python.

Additionally, Galvanize provides a Python Fundamentals program for beginners that teaches pupils the fundamentals of Python programming.

Fees. Each of the Immersive courses costs $17,980.The cost of the 6-week, part-time Python Fundamentals curriculum is $700.

There are also additional financial choices, such as financing programs and scholarships.

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6. General Assembly 

The most in-demand talents today are taught in career programs at the General Assembly. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

Many of the long-form courses offered by the school are geared for novices and don’t require any prior understanding of the subject.

The institution provides on-campus and online full-time and part-time courses.

In every state where they conduct business, the General Assembly is a recognized educational institution.

Fees. The cost of tuition varies from $2,800 to $3,950 for part-time courses and from $14,500 to $15,500 for full-time programs (if paid upfront).There are also payment plans available.

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7. Cinta Aveda Institute 

Future beauty industry professionals can receive education from Cinta Aveda Institute. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

The school’s training programs put a strong emphasis on teaching environmental sustainability while emphasizing the skills needed to succeed in the beauty industry.

Students at Cinta learn theory, get real-world experience, and pick up business-building skills that will help them succeed in their future employment.

Additionally, the college provides a CIDESCO Certification program.

The CIDESCO credential awards accreditation on the national and international levels, much like a master’s degree in academia.

The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences has granted accreditation to Cinta Aveda Institute.

The San Francisco Board of Cosmetology and Barbering has granted the Institute a license.

Enrollment. Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Both a Social Security Card and a state-issued photo ID are required of prospective students (required for State Board Licensure).

They must also complete the Wonderlic Entrance Assessment test administered by the Cinta Aveda Institute.

Fees. Depending on the curriculum, total fees range from $13,210 to $30,760.

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

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8. Recording Connection 

The mentor-based programs offered by Recording Connection are for anyone who desires to enter the music industry. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

Students can receive individualized instruction using the most recent equipment in a professional recording studio as externs (apprentices) with Recording Connection.

The school’s instructors are professionals in the field who are currently employed.

For the first 12 months following graduation, the school provides genuine job placement aid.

Enrollment. Anyone who has a love of music and is proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English is welcome to apply.

Fees. Depending on the program, total fees range from $12,750 to $16,220.

Additionally, the school provides grants and scholarships.

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9. Soma Bartending 

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Soma Bartending is a practical bartending school. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

The institution offers three different certification programs: one on Saturday, one on Sunday, and one during the week.

Additionally, Soma Bartending provides mixology and team-building activities.

The Academy is situated in a legitimate bar in the well-known SoMa neighborhood.

The certification course is totally practical.

Small class sizes at Soma allow for individualized instruction for each student.

The course material covers a wide range of subjects, including bar safety, glassware, cutting garnishes, free pouring versus using a jigger, bar vocabulary, cocktail tasting, and much more.

Also, students take a final practice test after the training time. The institution provides free resume advice and helps with job placement. Every Monday night, Guest Bartending Night is open to all students. Future classes are free for graduates to attend.

Fees: A course costs between $440 and $500.

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10. National Holistic Institute 

Future massage therapists can receive education from the National Holistic Institute. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

All year long, the school provides flexible morning, afternoon, and evening schedules.

The massage therapy program at National Holistic Institute San Francisco is situated on Market Street and Gough.

The college provides a 450-hour Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Curriculum in addition to an 8-month Massage Therapy program.

For massage therapists with a minimum of 500 hours of training or with expertise in other healthcare specialties, the advanced neuromuscular therapy program is an option.

The school includes business classes, externships, a massage therapy clinic on each site, job placement, and support, along with classes in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and bodywork.

The Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training has given the National Holistic Institute national accreditation (ACCET).

Enrollment. The completion of an online application is the first step in the enrollment procedure.

Fees. The Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program costs $7,794 while the Core Massage Therapy Program costs $15,588.

Additionally, the school provides financial aid to eligible students.

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11. Los Angeles Trade Technical College 

When compiling a list of the top trade schools in San Francisco that can provide you with what you need, Los Angeles Trade Technical College ought to be on it.

This college offers a wide range of technical disciplines, but its plumbing programs are particularly strong. 

Therefore, Los Angeles Technical College of Business (LATTC) can provide you with four-year degrees and professional programs if you wish to enter the plumbing sector.

Additionally, this college wants to support students in obtaining career technical credentials by providing them with routes to academic, professional, and transfer success.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges, American Culinary Federation, and National League of Nursing all have accreditation for this institution, which is a member of the Los Angeles Community College District.

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12. Saddleback College 

26:1 is the student: teacher ratio. This is one of the best trade schools in San Francisco.

Saddleback College is a different trade school that you should try to take into account while seeking a decent school in San Francisco that will help you develop technical skills.

The greatest trade schools in San Francisco that offer instruction and classes on some subjects include this college. 

From the beginning, it has graduated more than 500,000 students.

With more than 300 college degrees and degrees available, it has additionally shown to be one of the best schools for students who want to follow the quickest route to their career ambitions.

Some of them can be completed online, while the majority of them call for on-campus attendance. 

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13. College of the Sequoias 

San Francisco’s Sequoia College (COS), a public community college in Visalia, is well-known for its reputable academic offerings.

Basically, the fire/police academies for Tolari and Kings counties are part of the diverse spectrum of transformative, professional, and community training offered by this trade school in San Francisco.

If you apply for any program, the College of the Sequoias will provide you with the educational road to realize your full educational potential, regardless of your background, geography, or way of life.

Keep in mind that COS has Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation (WASC).

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14. American River College 

American River College is the next institution on our list of the best trade schools in San Francisco where you may apply for admission.

 This is a community college in the unincorporated area of Foothill Farms, San Francisco.

Many students have chosen to study abroad at this vocational school in San Francisco for many years.

In essence, it provides personal enrichment, continuing education credits, or certification in technical or vocational programs.

 The college also provides three alternative forms of online learning: hybrid, web-enhanced, and online.

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15. Mt San Antonio College 

You may enjoy the entire college experience at Mt. San Antonio College without incurring the full cost of attendance.

Additionally, you can receive outstanding education and assistance to help you thrive in your job.

It’s interesting that if you get accepted into this college, you can choose from more than 260 degree and certificate programs as well as 25 assistance programs. Additionally, there are more than 50 student groups and sports teams.

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How much do traders earn in San Francisco?

The average annual salary for a trader in San Francisco as of September 24, 2022, is $101,550. That comes out to about $48.82 an hour, in case you need a quick pay calculator. This is the same as $1,952 each week or $8,462 per month.

The bulk of Trader salaries now falls between $57,686 (25th percentile) and $108,451 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) in San Francisco getting $137,294 yearly. ZipRecruiter has wages as high as $286,128 and as low as $13,268.

In conclusion, the wide range of salaries for a Trader (up to $50,765) shows that there may be many potentials for pay increases and development based on experience, location, and skill level.


San Francisco trade schools provide you with a wide range of possibilities if you have determined that a career in education is the one for you.

Before selecting a particular training program, it is crucial to confirm that the school is reliable and has received official recognition.

Before selecting a trade school, take your time and consider all of your alternatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many trade schools are in San Francisco? 

When counting trade schools, apprenticeships and other training programs may also be taken into account. 
The precise number of trade schools in San Francisco, therefore, depends on the institutions that are counted.
The San Francisco Department of Industrial Relations has a list of more than 80 trade schools. NCES estimates that the state has 400 1-2 year colleges.
You can enter many skilled trade vocations without going to a formal trade school by taking up an apprenticeship. 
In San Francisco, there are apprenticeship training programs for at least 40 different professions. 
Driving schools that may not be designated as formal “trade” organizations provide training for truck drivers.

How do you get a scholarship in San Francisco?

In San Francisco, there are numerous grants and scholarships available for students. For students in the state attending trade schools, the Imagine America Foundation offers scholarships.
Additionally, the San Francisco Student Aid Commission provides students with a variety of scholarships and financial aid alternatives. 
This covers scholarships for trade school students as well as Cal Grants in Categories A, B, and C.
Various independent groups may also award grants and scholarships. All educational levels, from a trade school to graduate degree programs, can get scholarships. 
Ten scholarships are listed by UNIGO for students in San Francisco. There are more than ten scholarships for students available through the San Francisco State University system. 
Additionally, students in San Francisco are eligible to apply for both general and specialized financial help.

What is the hardest trade to learn? 

Depending on a student’s abilities, strengths, and timetable, they may find learning the most challenging trade. The most physically demanding trade is roofing. 
Other tradespeople, such as pharmacy technicians, medical assistants, and surgical assistants, must undergo concentrated study for at least a year.
Other tradespeople who have predetermined training requirements include:
– HVAC technicians
– Electricians
– Wind turbine technicians
– Aircraft mechanics
– Elevator mechanics
Although certain professions need more intensive training and certification, they do not always require workers to hold a formal degree. These experts comprise:
– Commercial airline pilots
– Computer programmers
– Detective or criminal investigators
– Web developers or web designers
– Sound engineering technicians
– Animators

What do trade schools offer? 

Compared to four-year college degree programs, trade schools enable students to acquire specialized training and launch secure jobs more rapidly.
 Tuition and fees at trade schools are typically lower than those at traditional institutions and universities. Most trade school programs can be finished by students in 1-2 years.
Opportunities exist in many trades to continue studying in order to be competitive in the industry. 
Trade school can be a worthwhile route to a rewarding profession for people who prefer working with their hands, being physically active, or working outdoors.
For people who want to work as medical or surgical assistants, pharmacy technicians, hairdressers, cosmetologists, boat captains, pilots for commercial aircraft, carpenters, plumbers, or electricians, trade schools can open doors.

What is the shortest trade school? 

The quickest programs are the quickest. Programs like Metal casting Technology (three weeks), Production Welder (six weeks), and Facilities Maintenance Technician are available at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology (12 weeks).


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