Best Trade Schools inTuscaloosa

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If you want to start a rewarding career but you can’t afford to spend four years in college education, vocational training can be a viable alternative.

A good trade school can get you ready for employment in high-demand careers such as medical assisting, welding, cosmetology, or truck driving (to name a few), in less than two years.

This page is designed to help Tuscaloosa residents who want to study at a trade school.

Here we have compiled information about the top vocational programs available in the region.


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1Shelton State Community College

About the School

Shelton State Community College provides a variety of educational programs at its Tuscaloosa campuses.

The total cost for residents is $152 per credit hour, which includes tuition, enhancement fee, facility renewal fee, technology, and reserve fees.

Non-residents pay $275 per credit hour.

The number of credit hours included in each program varies depending on the path and the educational option chosen by the students.

For example for an AAS degree in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology students needs a total of 71-72 credit hours.

A total of 56 credit hours are needed for a Certificate in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology.

An AAS degree in Welding requires 62-63 hours, while a short-term certificate in the same field requires 27 hours.

Courses Offered

The college’s catalog includes the following technical programs:

  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology
  • Automotive Services Technology
  • Business Office Management and Technology
  • Culinary Arts
  • Diesel Mechanics
  • Industrial Electronics Technology
  • Modern Manufacturing Technology
  • Welding Technology
  • Wellness
  • And more

Contact Information

Martin Campus

  • Address: 9500 Old Greensboro Rd Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
  • Phone: 205.391.2211

C.A. Fredd Campus

  • Address: 3401 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
  • Phone: 205.391.2611

Website: https://www.sheltonstate.edu


2Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy

About the School

Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy provides college and career-ready programs that focus on helping high school students develop workplace skills.

The academy’s catalog includes 13 industry-certified pathways.

Students learn from 19 instructors who have extensive experience in the field they teach.

Courses Offered

The following traditional programs are available:

  • Building Construction I-III and CTE Lab
  • Cosmetology State Board Program
  • Culinary Arts II & CTE Lab
  • Electrical I-III & CTE Lab
  • Firefighting
  • Hair Coloring & CTE Lab
  • Health Science Internship
  • Introduction to Fire & CTE Lab
  • Introduction to Robotics
  • Plumbing I-III & CTE Lab
  • Salon Practice and Management
  • Sports Medicine Advanced
  • Welding I-III, Senior Career Pathway Program, CTE Lab- which includes Dual Enrollment.

The following programs are offered both in traditional and virtual formats: Animal Science, Visual Communications, Aquaculture Science, Emergency Services, Food & Nutrition, Intro to TV Production, Lodging I, Plant Biotechnology, Story Boarding, Animation, Filmmaking, and more.

Hybrid programs are also available in Cosmetology, Chemical Services, Culinary Arts, Therapeutic Services, TV Production, Photo Editing, Barbering, and many other fields.

Contact Information


3University Academy of Hair Design

About the School

University Academy of Hair Design offers training for students who want to pass the licensure exam and prepare for employment.

Tuition for the Cosmetology program is $10,695.

Additional fees include a $250 non-refundable deposit, and a $2,200 kit which brings the total cost for the Cosmetology program to $13,145.

The total cost is $4,524.47 for the Instructor training program.

University Academy of Hair Design is licensed by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology & Barbering and accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available:

Cosmetology- a program that provides students with hands-on experience in haircutting, hairstyling, hair coloring, perming, and other techniques.

The Cosmetology curriculum covers topics on:

  • Scalp and Hair Treatments and Conditioners
  • Manicure
  • Shampoo
  • Hair Shaping
  • Hair Styling
  • Chemical Relaxing
  • Skin Care
  • Brow and Lash Care
  • And more

The cosmetology program includes 1,500 clock hours and the program is completed if the student achieves a cumulative grade of at least 70 percent.

A 650-hour Instructor program is also available and it includes topics on:

  • Alabama Law and Regulations
  • Theory
  • Teaching Skills
  • Testing and Evaluation
  • Preparing Student Records
  • And many other topics

Contact Information


4Alabama Fire College

About the School

Alabama Fire College offers training for first responders who are just starting their careers and for those who want to complete continuing education classes.

According to their website, Alabama Fire College has a 98.5% first attempt NREMT Paramedic Pass Rate.

Program prerequisites vary depending on the path.

For example, a high school diploma is enough for the Fire and Emergency Services Instructor I program while the Fire Officer I program is available for those who are Certified Fire Fighters and Certified Fire Inspectors.

The Fire Inspector I course costs $280 for in-state students and $520 for out-of-state students.

Courses Offered

Some of the most popular courses included in Alabama Fire College’s catalog are:

  • Fire Inspector I- a beginning level 40-hour course for those who want to start a career in the field of fire prevention and inspections.
  • Fire and Emergency Services Instructor I- a course that is designed for those who want to learn how to deliver emergency instruction.
  • Fire Officer I- a 40-hour program for those who have certifications as Certified Fire Fighters and Certified Fire Inspector.
  • Airport Fire Fighter- a program designed for those who are already Certified Fire Fighters II
  • Fire Officer III- a course based on NFPA 1021: Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications for chief officers who want to advance to an upper management level.
  • And more

Contact Information


5Skilled Trades of West Alabama

About the School

Skilled Trades of West Alabama offers a certified Apprenticeship Program and a Pre-Apprenticeship Program for students in the community.

To qualify for admission to the pre-apprenticeship program applicants must be at least 18 years of age, be able to pass a background check and drug screening, and have a valid driver’s license.

Courses Offered

The Pre-Apprenticeship program is a 14-week introductory program in the construction trades.

The pre-apprenticeship program follows the core curriculum of the National Construction Center for Research & Education.

Apprenticeships are also available in the following fields:

  • HVAC program- a program that covers Introduction to HVAC, Basic Technology, Air Distribution, Vents and Flues, Soldering and Brazing, Heat Pumps, Sheet Metal Ducts, and more.
  • Plumbing program- this program includes classes on topics such as Plumbing Safety, Tools, Basic Math, Commercial Drawings, Installing and Testing Water Supply Piping, to name a few
  • Electrical program- students enrolled in this program learn about Electrical Safety, Alternating Current, Grounding and Bonding, Load Calculations, Overcurrent Protection, Transformers, Motor Controls, and many other topics.
  • Alarm program- a program designed for those who are currently employed in the security trade and want to learn about DC & AC Circuits, Low Voltage Systems, Switching Devices and Transformers, Media Management, and other related topics.

Contact Information


6Massaged Life & Wellness Academy

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the massage therapy profession is projected to grow 32 percent from 2020 to 2030, which will result in 23,300 openings each year over the decade.

If you want to start a career in a profession that will grow in the future, becoming a massage therapist can be a good idea.

About the School

Massaged Life & Wellness Academy offers training for those who want to start a career in massage therapy.

Their curriculum covers topics on Massage Theory and Practice, Eastern Modalities, Clinical/Medical Massage, Spa Techniques, and more.

The program is designed to prepare students for the Alabama Licensure Exam (MBLEx) and to qualify them for NCBTMB Board Certification.

The program includes 800 hours in total, 150 of those being dedicated to Clinical Rotations.

The state requirement for the licensure exam includes 650 hours.

Students can perform some of the basic coursework in their own homes but all testing and hands-on techniques are performed in the classroom.

Textbooks and a massage table package are included in the tuition.

Massaged Life & Wellness Academy is an NCBTMB Assigned School and a registered member of the American Massage Therapy Association and the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education.

Contact Information


7SM School of Opportunity

About the School

If you want to start a career in healthcare, SM School of Opportunity offers several training programs in Bessemer.

The school provides blended or traditional programs.

Students who are enrolled in the blended format are still required to come on campus for laboratory work and they have to attend clinical training.

Those interested can apply for one of the programs through the school’s website.

Applicants are required to be up to date on immunizations.

A TB skin test and Hepatitis B series are also needed.

For the CCMA program, applicants need a high school diploma.

SM School of Opportunity is accredited by the Alabama Community College System.

Courses Offered

The following courses are available:

  • Nursing Assistant
  • Clinical Medical Assistant

The Nursing Assistant program can be completed in two or four weeks (depending on the schedule and the format) and is available as a blended course and in a traditional classroom format.

Each class includes a total of 10 students.

The school also offers a Clinical Medical Assistant program that can be completed in 13 weeks.

The first nine weeks consist of theory and lab, while the last four weeks are spent in an externship.

Tuition for the CNA package is $955, while the Medical Assistant program costs $2,550.

The school also provides CPR and First Aid certification.

Contact Information


8Drake State Community & Technical College

Drake State Community & Technical College prepares students for rewarding careers in a variety of industries.

Courses Offered

The College offers programs in the following fields:

  • Advanced Manufacturing- this field includes Associate in Applied Science programs in Electrical Technology, Engineering Design, Machine Tool Technology, Mechatronics, and Welding, as well as certificates in these fields.
  • Automotive Service Technology- this pathway includes an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technology Short Certificate
  • Business Administration- with certificates and associates in Accounting, General Business, and Management
  • Computer Information Systems Technology- a pathway that includes classes for future Computer Support Specialists, Web Developers, Network Specialists, Programming Specialists, and System Analysts.
  • Culinary Arts/Hospitality Management- a pathway that offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts and a Culinary Arts Short Certificate.
  • Health Sciences- programs are available in Medical Assisting Technology, Nursing, and Certified Nursing Assistant.
  • Heating and Air Conditioning Technology- a program that leads to an Associate of Applied Science Degree
  • Salon and Spa Management- a program that includes a Salon Management- Cosmetology AAS, and certificates in Esthetics, Barbering, Cosmetology Instructor, Salon Management- Nail Care, and Salon Management- Natural Hair.

Contact Information


9Bibb County Career Academy

About the School

Bibb County Career Academy provides training programs that prepare students for careers in top industries.

The school’s catalog includes programs for students who want to become mechanics, welders, cosmetologists, and many other options.

Courses Offered

The following programs are offered at Bibb County Career Academy:

  • Automotive Services- this program prepares students for employment in car repair shops and other similar environments
  • Commerce and Information Technology
  • Health Science- a curriculum designed for students who want to start a career in healthcare
  • Welding- a program that prepares students for a career in welding, a profession that will grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030.
  • Agriscience- this pathway prepares students for a career in agriculture
  • Building Construction- a program for those who want to start a career in construction
  • Cosmetology- a program for students who want to start a career as cosmetologists- a career that will see a 19 percent growth from 2020 to 2030.
  • Mechatronics- a program that prepares students with the skills needed to repair, maintain, and troubleshoot automated machinery in industrial settings

Contact Information


10Lawson State Community College

About the School

Lawson State Community College offers a variety of LSCC, workforce development, and dual enrollment programs in Birmingham and Bessemer, Alabama.

Students can apply online.

The programs are led by industry professionals in their field of expertise.

Courses Offered

The following programs are included in the school’s catalog:

  • Business Technologies
  • Technical: Automotive Repair, Construction Careers, Manufacturing Technology, Service Careers
  • Health Professions Programs: Associate Degree in Nursing, Practical Nursing, Nursing Assistant, Dental Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician

Dual enrollment programs are also available for students who have a 2.5 GPA or higher and are currently 10th, 11th, or 12th-grade high school students.

Students who have already graduated from high school are no longer eligible for dual enrollment.

Fast track training programs are also available.

The following healthcare training programs are available for adults:

  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medication Aide
  • Nursing Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technician

Adult education programs are also available in the following areas:

  • Software Coding
  • Cyber Security
  • Certified Production Technician
  • Certified Logistics Associate
  • Welding
  • Automotive
  • And more

Contact Information

Birmingham Campus

  • Address: 3060 Wilson Road, SW, Birmingham, AL 35221
  • Phone: 205.925.2515

Bessemer Campus

  • Address: 1100 Ninth Avenue SW, Bessemer, AL 35022
  • Phone: 205.925.2515

Website: http://www.lawsonstate.edu


Final Thoughts

Whether you want to become a barber, a welder, or a technician, there are plenty of educational options available in the Tuscaloosa region.

Now that you have read the information included in our list, we invite you to continue the research and apply for the program that best meets your skills, needs, and aspirations.


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