Best Trade Schools inFort Smith

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If you want to learn a new trade through a fast-paced training program that has a hands-on approach to education, a trade school can be a viable solution.

Fort Smith is home to schools that offer training programs designed to prepare students for careers in high-demand fields, such as construction, transportation, and skilled trades, to name a few.

Many schools offer flexible schedules to allow students to keep full-time jobs while training for a new career.

Whether you’re a recent high school graduate or an adult who wants to start a new career or get a job promotion, we invite you to read our selection below.


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1CDL Academy Network

About the School

CDL Academy Network helps students get a CDL license and start a career in a field that will continue to be in demand in the future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the tractor training truck driver profession will grow 6 percent from 2020 to 2030, which will result in 231,000 new jobs each year over the decade.

The CDL Academy Network gives students the opportunity of learning from experienced and qualified professionals.

The school offers full classroom and field training at their campus.

Students can choose between flexible payment options.

Lodging is also available for students who attend the course.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available:

  • Class A Commercial Drivers License
  • Class B Commercial Drivers License

The courses include classroom instruction, range training, as well as road training.

The training will cover:

  • The laws and regulations that apply to interstate and intrastate commercial motor vehicle operation
  • Pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspection
  • Coupling and uncoupling combination units
  • Placing a motor vehicle in operation
  • How to use motor vehicle controls and emergency equipment
  • Passing, turning, backing, and parking
  • Braking and slowing
  • Completing the driver’s daily logbook
  • Accident prevention, personal health, and fitness, public relations

Contact Information


2DeSigner Barber and Stylist School

About the School

Training programs for future stylists and barbers are available at DeSigner Barber and Stylist School.

To qualify for admission, applicants must:

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Attend a personal interview and visit the school
  • Be able to read, write, and understand the English language

DeSigner Barber and Stylist School, Fort Smith campus is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences.

The school is licensed by the Arkansas State Board of Barber Examiners.

Tuition for the 10-month program is $14,900.

Additional costs include $1,100 for books and supplies.

Courses Offered

DeSigner offers a barber/stylist program that includes the following courses:

  • Haircutting- a 425-hour class
  • Hairstyling- 300 hours of training
  • Barber-Stylist Chemistry- 345 hours
  • Related Sciences- 175 hours
  • Hygiene and Sanitation- 80 hours in total
  • Shaving- 50-hour class
  • Style Shop Management- 75 hours of training
  • Salesmanship & Product Knowledge- with 50 hours of training allocated to this section

Contact Information


3Arthur's Beauty College

About the School

Arthur’s Beauty College prepares future professionals for a career in the beauty industry.

The school offers specialty classes for those who want to start a career in the fashion, make-up, or theater industry.

Tuition is $15,750 for the Cosmetology program and $3,510 for the Instructor program.

Additional fees that apply to the Cosmetology program include:

  • $1,400 Cosmetology kit
  • $375 book bundle
  • $395 for a Chromebook
  • $20 a state permit fee
  • $60 written exam fee

Instructor students pay the following additional fees:

  • Instructor books: $176.95
  • State Permit fee: $20
  • Written exam fee: $60

The school offers a variety of services on its student clinic floor.

Students are encouraged to start building their clientele when they start the program.

The student clinic allows students to perform services under the supervision of a licensed instructor.

The Cosmetology program is designed to be completed in 12.5 months by full-time students and in 16 months by part-time students.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available at the school:

  • Cosmetology program- a 1,500 hour program
  • Instructor program- a 600-hour program that licenses students to teach classes in their area of expertise

Contact Information


4Adult Education Center

About the School

Adult Education Center offers apprenticeship programs for those who want to start a career as an electrician, plumber, or in the construction industry.

Licensing requirements vary depending on the program.

Electrical trade apprenticeships have to be licensed by the Arkansas Department of Labor, Board of Electrical Examiners.

Courses Offered

The Adult Education Center offers three apprenticeship programs that allow students to work and learn at the same time.

The Electrician apprenticeship is four years long and includes 640 hours of classroom instruction and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.

The Residential Apprenticeship program is 18-months long and includes 288 hours of instruction which cover:

  • Building walls
  • Installing roof joints and laying plywood and shingles
  • Installing doors, windows, and siding
  • Making interior finish and trim
  • Building concrete forms
  • And many other skills

The Plumbing apprenticeship is a four-year program that allows students to be full-time employees during the day and attend school one or two evenings per week.

After completing the apprenticeship, students will have completed the 640 hours of training required to sit for the Journeyman Plumber License exam.

Contact Information


5Arkansas School of Massage

About the School

Arkansas School of Massage offers an affordable massage therapy program for students in Fort Smith and the surrounding area.

The 500-hour program is designed to give students a strong foundation for their future massage therapy careers.

To qualify for admission, applicants must have:

  • A high school diploma, GED, or college transcript
  • Photo ID
  • Social Security Card
  • An entrance essay of a minimum of 100 words that describes why they want to be a massage therapist.

After the application is processed the school will conduct the applicant to schedule an interview.

Courses Offered

Arkansas School of Massage offers training programs that cover everything from anatomy and physiology to business management skills, and ethics.

Students also learn about massage therapy laws, rules and regulations.

According to the school’s website during the past four years, students have achieved a 91% first-time pass rate on the Massage & Bodywork Licensing exam.

The program provides students with experience and training in a variety of massage techniques, including Swedish, hot stone, prenatal, and sports massage.

Tuition is $5,400 and the registration fee is $500.

The school offers a 14-month in-house interest-free financing.

Contact Information


6Petra Allied Health

About the School

Petra Allied Health offers a variety of allied health programs.

Training costs vary depending on the program and its duration.

Tuition is $480 for the CNA program and $2,900 for the Medical Assistant program.

Additional costs include textbooks, lab fees, uniforms, and registration fees (depending on the program).

Petra Allied Health offers 10 programs that combine classroom training with hands-on instruction.

Upon completion, students are ready to sit for the certification exams that allow them to practice in their future careers.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant- a 90-hour course available for students who are 16 years old or older.
  • Medical Assistant- 144 hours of class/lab time and an 80-hour externship
  • Dental Assistant- a program that includes 200 hours of classroom/lab time and 80 hours of externship
  • Phlebotomy Technician- a 48-hour course
  • Medical Billing & Coding Insurance Specialist- a 120-hour course
  • Veterinary Assistant- this program includes 48 hours of training
  • Electrocardiograph Technician- a 48-hour course
  • Limited Licensed Radiologic Technologist- an 84-hour course
  • Optometric Assistant- a 48-hour course
  • Pharmacy Technician-a 48-hour course

Contact Information


7Trades Academy

About the School

Trades Academy offers training programs in HVAC and OSHA Safety.

The HVAC training program offered by Trades Academy costs $4,750.

OSHA-30 training costs $400 while OSHA-10 costs $200.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available:

Heating Ventilation, and Air Conditioning- an advanced program that consists of 16 weeks of theory and extern training

Classes start every Monday

An extended program is also available and can be completed in 32 weeks.

The HVAC program covers the following courses:

  • Introduction to Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
  • Service Basics and Refrigerants
  • Basic Electricity Motors, and Electric Control Systems
  • Refrigeration System Components and Indoor Air Fundamentals
  • Commercial HVAC/Refrigeration
  • And more

The school also offers OSHA-30 and OSHA-10 classes.

A Homeowner class that lasts four hours is also available, that teaches students methods to save money on repairs and maintenance.

EPA 608 testing is also available and costs $135 in total (EPA class, study materials, and test)

The EPA testing is a 24-hour event and is available for those who have verifiable HVAC or Maintenance experience.

Contact Information


8Westark Barber College

About the School

Westark Barber College offers barber courses for those who want to start a career in this industry.

The College is also a full-service barbershop.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly rate reported by barbers in the United States was $15.61 as of May 2020 which means that half of all workers in this occupation made less than this amount while half made more.

How much a barber makes each year depends on the number of hours worked, but also on their skills, experience, and location.

BLS estimates that this profession will see a 19 percent growth from 2020 to 2030 with 85,300 new openings occurring each year.

Courses Offered

The program includes 1,500 clock hours and helps students pass the state board exam which includes a written and a practical part.

To qualify for admission, applicants need:

  • A copy of their social security card
  • Copy of their driver’s license
  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Not have an unforgivable felony conviction
  • A completed barber school application
  • Proof that they have completed at least 8th-grade education

Costs are $7,000 in total and include toolkit, student license, exam fee, tuition, barber license, and processing fees.

Contact Information


9Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy, LLC

About the School

Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy, LLC offers affordable dental assisting courses at several locations across the nation.

Their program can be completed in 10-12 weeks (depending on the state) and provides students with hands-on experience inside a dental office.

After graduation, students are equipped with the confidence and knowledge needed for a new career.

Accelerated Dental Assisting Academy, LLC holds three courses per year.

Classes are eight hours long and held one day per week on Friday or Saturday.

The school’s instructors are state-licensed experienced professionals.

Students also have the opportunity of shadowing their instructor in a real work environment.

The program combines an online learning system that allows students to learn at their own pace the theory applicable to this field with hands-on real dental office experience.

Courses Offered

The curriculum covers topics that equip students with skills in the following areas:

  • Dental terminology and equipment
  • Conventional and digital X-rays
  • Impressions and pour/trim models
  • Updating patient health history
  • Front desk operations
  • Career and life skills
  • And more

Contact Information

  • Address: 8020 Dallas St, Fort Smith, AR 72903
  • Phone: 844-727-3755
  • Website: https://www.adaa.us

10PEAK Innovation Center

About the School

A partnership between Fort Smith Public Schools and the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, PEAK Innovation Center offers training programs to high school students in 22 school districts.

The career and technical programs provide students with a hands-on approach to learning.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available at PEAK Innovation Center:

  • Advanced Manufacturing:
    • Computer Integrated Machining- a program that prepares students for careers as CNC Machine Operators, Machinists, Machine Tool Operators, Tool and Die Makers, and Advanced Manufacturing Technicians
    • Electronics Technology- a program that leads to careers as Industrial Maintenance Technicians, Advanced Manufacturing Technicians, and Engineering Technicians
    • Automation/Robotics- for students who want to start a career as Automation Technicians, Robotic Technicians, Advanced Manufacturing Technicians, Engineering Technicians
  • Information Technology programs:
    • Network Engineering Technology- a program for those who want to prepare for a career as Network Engineers, Network Architects, or Computer System Administrators
    • Unmanned Aerial Systems- a program that prepares students for positions as UAV Pilot- Drone Pilot and Drone Operator.
  • Health Sciences:
    • Practical Nursing- a program for those who want to become Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses
    • Emergency Medical Responder- a program for future Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics.

Contact Information


Final Thoughts

Fort Smith is home to trade schools that offer career-focused training that can get you ready for employment in less than two years.

Our list has also included apprenticeship programs that combine paid on-the-job training with classroom instruction.

Before deciding what type of program best meets your needs and career expectations we encourage you to do thorough research and find out information about all the relevant factors.


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