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

Trade schools in South Carolina provide instruction with a focus on careers in high-demand fields like healthcare, skilled trades, and emergency services. 

Students can pursue a vocational certificate or degree to become paramedics, medical assistants, or electricians. 

Graduates of trade schools can also find work as paralegals, mechanics, dental hygienists, and assistants in occupational therapy. 

Vocational programs combine classroom instruction with hands-on training. 

In addition to coursework, students frequently have to complete clinical, laboratory, or practicum requirements. 

For example, paramedic studies students frequently receive their training in hospitals or ambulances, whereas mechanics hone their skills in a shop.

For students who are also working, many trade schools offer accelerated or self-paced courses. Students can also select an online vocational program for the most flexibility. 

A vocational certificate or degree typically takes one to two years to complete, as opposed to a bachelor’s degree, which takes four years. 

Students can begin their careers earlier as a result of this. A bachelor’s degree is frequently more expensive than vocational training. 

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that professionals with an occupational credential have a higher employment rate than those without. 

South Carolina has some of the best educational institutions in the country when it comes to this kind of education. 

Many people have received awards for educational excellence, so by selecting either one of the schools below, you’re guaranteed a quality education.

See Also: Best Trade Schools in Rhode Island | Cost, Requirements, How to Apply

Are there Trade Schools in South Carolina?

South Carolina trade schools provide career training in in-demand industries. 

Professionals frequently enroll in vocational programs to advance their careers or increase their income. 

To assist prospective students in locating the best course of study for their career goals, the following list ranks the top vocational schools in South Carolina.

  1. Charlotte Dental Assisting School
  2. Carolina Nursing Assistant Program Academy
  3. Donaldson Career Center
  4. Southeastern Institute
  5. Kenneth Shuler Cosmetology School
  6. International Diving Institute
  7. Piedmont Technical College
  8. Recording Connection
  9. Real Estate School of South Carolina
  10. School of Advanced Bodywork
  11. Northeastern Technical College
  12. Trident Technical College
  13. Midlands Technical College
  14. Greenville Technical College
  15. Florence-Darlington Technical College

How Much Does Trade School Cost in South Carolina?

Students can pursue a variety of financial aid options to pay for a vocational certificate or degree. 

Federal financial aid programs offer loans, grants, and work-study opportunities as a means of supporting students. 

Each year, the FAFSA must be used to submit an application for federal financial aid. Federal aid is only available to students enrolled in accredited institutions. 

South Carolina’s public universities charge an average of $12,500 in tuition and fees per year, compared to nearly $25,000 at private colleges and universities. 

The annual tuition and fees at South Carolina’s community colleges, however, are estimated by the National Center for Education Statistics to be around $4,500.

What are the Requirements for Trade Schools in South Carolina?

All applicants must fulfill the following requirements in order to enroll: 

  • a high school diploma or GED is required 
  • must acquire a current immunization record 
  • must bring a photo ID issued by the government. 
  • must pay a deposit before the start of the semester

What are the Best Trade Schools in South Carolina | 2024?

This article gives an overview of South Carolina’s top vocational institutions. 

The sections that follow look at the graduate career and salary data as well as trade school students’ financial aid options.

See Also: Best Trade Schools In Albuquerque | Cost, Requirements, How To Apply

1. Charlotte Dental Assisting School

Finding a stable, well-paying job after choosing to pursue a career in dental assisting is a great decision. 

The Charlotte Dental Assisting School is committed to giving students in the dental field a top-notch education. 

The classes are held in a real dental office, giving students a rare chance to experience what it’s like to work there. 

Students will learn all the methods and abilities necessary to succeed in this field during their 12-week courses. 

They put an emphasis on practical instruction of contemporary techniques, which enhances learning. 

Due to the fact that classes are only held on Fridays and Saturdays, it is very convenient for people who are already employed, raising a family, or doing both.

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2. Carolina Nursing Assistant Program Academy

A renowned institution, Carolina Nursing Assistant Program Academy has received numerous honors for its superior educational programs. 

In 2014 and 2018, the school received the School of Excellence award for having the highest passing rate in all of South Carolina. 

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They currently have a staggering 100% written and passing skill score. 

That means nobody has failed, further demonstrating how incredible their courses are. 

In addition, becoming a certified nurse is a shortcut that anyone can take if they want to work in the healthcare industry but don’t want to devote five or more years to their education.

All applicants must fulfill the following requirements in order to enroll: 

  • a pre-exam test must be passed with a minimum score of 45. 
  • Must speak English fluently and be at least 17 years old 
  • must be in good physical condition 
  • must be clear of background checks 
  • must be clean of drugs 

Fees: The Certified Nursing Assistant program there costs $1,015. Additionally, a background check and a drug test cost $55.

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3. Donaldson Career Center

The goal of Donaldson Career Center is to offer a flexible education in a variety of in-demand specialties. 

In the vast majority of the industries that this school educates you about, there is a high demand for specialized workers. 

They intend to impart to students a variety of employable skills that will be useful in the future when looking for employment. 

The good news is that students who enroll in programs like welding, carpentry, firefighting, or aircraft maintenance are probably going to find employment either before or right after graduation.

The goal of Donaldson Career Center is to motivate aspiring students to advance their skill sets and teach them how to be competitive. 

The environment at this school is very calm, but it’s also energetic enough to inspire students to develop their skills and be immediately prepared to join the workforce. 

Enrollment: Depending on the course chosen, admission requirements may change.

 To learn more about the enrollment requirements for specific courses, get in touch with the school’s admission office. 

Fees: For more details on tuition costs and other expenses, get in touch with the admission office of the school.

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4. Southeastern Institute

Since 1994, Southeastern Institute has provided services to the neighborhood. 

The school initially only offered clinical massage courses, but due to the overwhelming demand, they expanded their program scope and added many other healthcare-related courses. 

The school’s mission is to give students a top-notch education that will be engaging, accessible, and practical in the long run.

Fees: For more details on tuition costs and other expenses, get in touch with the admissions office of the school.

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5. Kenneth Shuler Cosmetology School

Due to its popularity, the Kenneth Shuler Cosmetology School has eight locations throughout South Carolina, including:

  • Spartanburg
  • North Augusta
  • Rock Hill
  • Greenville
  • Garners Ferry
  • St. Andrews
  • Goose Creek
  • Florence

The institution puts an emphasis on teaching the most up-to-date methods and preparing students for state board exams. 

Classes will be held in student salons that replicate the atmosphere of a real-world hair salon. 

Once they complete the course and begin looking for jobs, this will enable them to adjust more quickly. 

Don’t worry if you think the courses are too expensive. 

The Kenneth Shuler Cosmetology School provides numerous financial aid opportunities, including:

  • Kenneth Shuler JumpStart Scholarship
  • ACE Grant
  • Pat Goins Memorial Scholarship
  • SportClips Scholarship
  • NCEA Esthetician Scholarship
  • Joe Francis Hair Care Scholarship
  • OPI Scholarship
  • Federal Student Aid

Prior to enrollment, all applicants must finish the following tasks: 

  • must fill out a form on their website called “Ger more info now.” 
  • Call their admissions staff immediately. 
  • Must meet with the financial aid coordinator of the school. 

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6. International Diving Institute

There aren’t many educational institutions like International Diving Institute in the United States, making it a special one. 

Any of the school’s courses can likely lead to immediate, well-paying employment with numerous benefits. 

Their objective is to give the next generation access to a top-notch education that will enable them to find employment in the marine construction sector. 

The faculty at the school is made up of professors who are currently serving or have previously served in the US Navy, Army, or Marine Corps, making them uniquely qualified to instruct aspiring business professionals.

All applicants must fulfill the following requirements in order to enroll: 

  • age requirement of at least 18 years. 
  • a high school diploma, GED, or an equivalent is required as proof of education. 
  • a legitimate US citizen 
  • must be in good health 
  • Call their admission office for more details as some requirements may change depending on the course you choose. 

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7. Piedmont Technical College

Since its founding in 1966, Piedmont Technical College has provided community service. 

With so many options, they provide some of the most comprehensive and accessible courses in the nation. 

The majority of their programs last up to two years, at the end of which time students will be fully prepared to look for employment and join the workforce. 

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has granted the college its own accreditation. 

Each of their individual programs has also received accreditation from the appropriate legal bodies. 

All applicants must fulfill the following requirements in order to enroll: 

  • a high school diploma, GED, or an equivalent is required as proof of education. 
  • must pass a placement exam 
  • Submit a job application online 
  • Fees: To learn more about tuition costs and other expenses, get in touch with the school’s admission office. 
READ ALSO:  10+ Best Dental Hygiene Schools in Ohio | Cost, Requirements, How to Apply. 

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8. Recording Connection

In the music industry, there is a school by the name of The Recording Connection. 

Each of their courses has been thoughtfully created to incorporate the most recent market trends. 

They are prepared to accept motivated students who want to pursue a career in music and have cutting-edge facilities and tools at their disposal. 

Many of their students will have the opportunity to tour renowned recording studios and experience life in the real world. 

Additionally, students will have the opportunity to learn from engineers and music producers who work with a variety of famous people, including Kendrick Lamar, Deadmau5, Taylor Swift, Snoop Dogg, Deadmau5, Deadmau5, and many more.

Enrollment: There aren’t any special requirements.

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9. Real Estate School of South Carolina

Real estate can be a very lucrative career choice, but in order to pass the state exam and obtain your real estate agent license, you must receive the right education. 

When it comes to real estate education, this school is among the top institutions in South Carolina. 

Their team is made up of licensed real estate experts with many years of current industry experience. 

The goal of the Real Estate School of South Carolina is to offer students a very affordable, high-quality education.

Enrollment: There aren’t any special enrollment requirements.

See Also: Best Trade Schools in West Virginia | Cost, Requirements, How to Apply

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10. School of Advanced Bodywork

Kyle Wright, a 30-year veteran in the field of massage therapy, founded the School of Advanced Bodywork. 

In addition to providing students with a wide range of potential job opportunities, this school offers advanced training. 

Students will learn what causes chronic muscle tension, how to effectively treat it, and how to resolve it in this lesson. 

Another rapidly expanding sector that has a need for qualified workers is massage therapy.

The institution is steadfast in its commitment to giving students a top-notch education at affordable costs. 

They provide a variety of payment plans precisely for that reason.

All applicants must fulfill the following requirements in order to enroll: 

  • must be a citizen of the United States in good standing. 
  • age requirement of at least 18 years. 
  • Must present a high school diploma or GED as proof of education. 
  • When applying for their state license, applicants must be prepared and able to pass a background check. 

Fees: The Professional Clinical Massage and Bodywork Therapy Program cost $8,500.00 to enroll in. In addition, there is a $75 registration fee.

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11. Northeastern Technical College

A division of the SC Technical College System for the Northeast, Northeastern Technical College was founded in 1969. 

The college’s program distribution is made up of four campuses that are dispersed throughout the state’s northeastern region. 

Students have the option of taking some courses online or in a hybrid setting. 

Through NETC, there are numerous options at the associate degree and certificate levels. 

Although some associate degrees require up to 84 credits, the majority of them call for 60–64 credits. 

These programs are finished in four semesters, though part-time students may need more time. 

The 18–39 credits required to earn a NETC vocational certificate can be finished in two to three semesters, depending on the subject. 

Students can enroll in a three-year program at the Cheraw campus if they are interested in an apprenticeship.

 For instance, students can pursue an associate’s degree in machine tool technology.

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12. Trident Technical College

At Charleston’s Trident Technical College, more than 15,000 students enroll in a variety of associate’s-level and vocational programs. 

Some of TTC’s most well-liked courses include those in engineering technology, law, culinary arts, tourism, and hospitality. 

Vocational students frequently choose the associate of applied science, which requires 60–70 credits spread over 4-5 semesters. 

Practical experience is frequently required of learners in TTC. 

For the associate of applied science in industrial maintenance technology, for instance, specific experience requirements are established during the first year of study. 

Students also finish 12–17 credits in a specialty field.

The thriving tourism industry in Charleston makes culinary, tourism, and hospitality studies all-star choices. 

Most of these options are only offered as 15–20 credit certificate programs, which are the only available format. 

Students pursuing vocational certificates should plan to finish those courses, even though TTC offers some of them online.

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13. Midlands Technical College

Midlands Technical College, which has its headquarters in Columbia, focuses primarily on preparing students for careers that begin after graduation, even though some students transfer into four-year programs. 

The favorable location of MTC and its connections to Fortune 500 companies make it possible for graduates to find employment. 

Online and on-campus courses are combined at MTC so that students can choose the format of instruction that best suits their needs. 

The technical college offers some certificates entirely online, such as the criminal justice vocational certificate. 

Many courses are offered online or in a hybrid format, though some, like the entrepreneurship certificate, must be taken on campus.

No matter how students complete their coursework, they must have a minimum of 27 credits for an MTC certificate. 

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The majority of MTC’s associate degrees in vocational studies combine on-campus and online instruction. 

However, some programs, such as the associate’s degree in building construction, demand a lot of in-person instruction. 

The majority of MTC’s associate degrees require 60 credits or more, and full-time students can complete these programs in 4-5 semesters.

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14. Greenville Technical College

Thanks to Greenville Technical College’s more than 100 programs, which many of which lead directly to a career or a transfer to a four-year institution, Greenville residents have access to a wide range of career options. 

GTC offers both on-campus and online courses, allowing students to complete some theory courses and lectures remotely, like other technical colleges in South Carolina. 

Candidates with vocational degrees and certificates frequently work in the fields of criminal justice and aviation construction. 

Both options provide students with varying levels of flexibility. An entirely on-campus program, an entirely online program, or a hybrid program are all available for the associate of applied science in criminal justice.

This 60-credit program can lead to careers in law enforcement, private investigation, rehabilitation, and corporate security. 

In the fields of aviation construction, related fields like aircraft maintenance, and aviation fundamentals, GTC offers associate degrees and vocational certificates.

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15. Florence-Darlington Technical College

There, thousands of vocational students receive instruction from Florence-Darlington Technical College, which has six campuses dispersed throughout the area but is primarily located in Florence. 

To reach even more students, FDTC offers courses and entire programs online. 

Numerous vocational associate degrees and certificates that FDTC offers can be earned entirely online, on-campus, or in a hybrid setting. 

The school offers the majority of fields of study at the associate and certificate levels, though there are different requirements for each. 

For instance, associate degrees require more credits than the certificates offered by FDTC, which only require 40 credits. 

While some programs encourage online learning, others prioritize hands-on training. 

Additionally, the FDTC cosmetology certificate program results in a South Carolina license. 

Learners need to accumulate at least 1,500 hours of experience to satisfy state requirements.

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How Much do Traders Make in South Carolina?

High demand and salaries are common characteristics of many careers available to trade school graduates. 

After completing a vocational program, individuals can pursue careers in sectors like healthcare, professional trades, legal services, and technology. 

According to predictions from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for paralegals, HVAC technicians, and dental hygienists is predicted to increase significantly faster than average between 2018 and 2028. (BLS). 

Allied health and the skilled trades are two additional sectors with encouraging job growth projections. 

Depending on the person’s industry and location, trade school graduates have to vary earning potential. 

Trade school occupations typically make around $55,000 per year, according to the BLS.

Jobs in personal care and services pay less than the average wage, whereas management professionals earn more.

Positions and industries both influence salaries. 

For instance, the average salary for healthcare professionals is $55,000 per year, while that of healthcare support staff is $45,000 per year. 

The location also has an impact on earning potential. 

In South Carolina, respiratory therapists make an average salary of more than $56,500 per year, while paralegals make about $46,500 on average, according to BLS data. 

Occupational therapy assistants make about $61,000 a year on average, whereas HVAC technicians in the state make an average of $45,000. 

The earning potential in their field can be taken into consideration by students considering trade schools in South Carolina when choosing a program.

How do I become a Trader in South Carolina?

Graduates of trade school programs might go on to work as mechanics, paralegals, dental hygienists, or radiology technicians. 

Courses in cosmetology, skilled trades, STEM fields, and allied health fields are offered by a large number of trade schools. 

While pursuing a certificate or degree in a vocational field, students receive practical training in their chosen field.

Best Paying Jobs In South Carolina with Salary 

  • The median annual salary for dental hygienists was over $76,000. 
  • The median annual wage for mechanics was around $42,000. 
  • The median annual salary for paralegals was over $51,000. 
  • More than $62,000 per year was the median salary for radiology technicians.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What distinguishes a trade school from a college? 

Trade schools offer training that is focused on careers in industries like technology, healthcare, and the skilled trades. Academic programs are typically prioritized at colleges. But many colleges also provide career-focused courses. 

What is the price of a trade school? 

The price of a trade school varies by institution and course of study. In South Carolina, several two-year colleges provide vocational programs for less than $4,500 a year. 

What types of employment are vocational jobs? 

Medical assistant, paralegal, electrician, and mechanic are a few professions. Graduates of vocational programs can also work as cosmetologists, HVAC technicians, and assistants in occupational therapy.

What kinds of trade schools are there? 

Trade schools may focus on a particular industry, like healthcare or cosmetology. Numerous vocational programs are available at some schools.


As you can see, these schools offer such a wide variety of courses that it is virtually impossible to not find one that suits your needs and interests. 

The fact that the majority of these programs only last up to two years is also astounding. 

That suggests that you will be very soon ready to look for work in your respective industries. 

Trade schools are a great alternative to traditional education.


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