10 Best Trade Schools inCalifornia

Page Navigation

This page compiles information about the best trade schools in California.

The aim of this compilation is to help those who want to pursue a career in trades decide where is the best place to start their training.

We also want to help you gather all the information needed before selecting a particular place to study (costs, duration, enrollment requirements, accreditation, etc.)

The institutions presented in the article offer high-quality training in various educational departments, such as:

  • Wellness & Medical Care
  • Beauty
  • Construction
  • Technology
  • and others

There are many great options out there.

We invite you to read the information on this page and, depending on your skills and interests, choose the best school for you.

State FlagTrade Schools by City

1Advanced Career Insitute

Advanced Career Institute provides short-term, high-quality educational programs to prepare students for entry-level employment.

The first Advanced Career Institute was open in 1986.

The Institute is accredited with the Council on Occupational Education.

It is licensed by the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education as a Private Business and Trade School and is approved to provide Veteran training.

Program length can range from 40 to 760 hours, based on the specific course.

Enrollment. Admission requirements vary depending on the training program.

Candidates to ACI and the Professional Truck Driver program must be at least 18 years of age and must have a high school diploma.

Prospective students must provide a driving record free of current serious violations and have no felony convictions in the past five years.

Candidates must be able to pass a Department of Transportation physical as required by Federal & State agencies.

A drug screen will also be administered.

Fees. Registration fee is $250 and tuition fees are between $1,250 and $13,250, depending on the program.

The school offers various financial aid programs to those who qualify, though Financial Aid is not available for all programs.

Courses offered:

  • Class A CDL Training
  • Ag Transportation
  • Class B CDL Training
  • CDL Refresher Course
  • Welding Training

Contact information:

  • Visalia Campus is located at 1728 N. Kelsey Street, Visalia, California 93291
  • Phone: (559) 651-1978
  • Fresno Campus is located at 2953 S. East Avenue, Fresno, California 93725
  • Phone: (559) 441-4345
  • Merced Campus is located at 1741 Ashby Rd, Suite B, Merced, CA 95348
  • Phone: (209) 580-4960
  • Bakersfield Campus is located at 2925 Mosasco Street, Unit B, Bakersfield, California 93312
  • Phone: (661) 588-3525
  • Website: https://advanced.edu


San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) is a private junior college with more than 40 years of experience in career education.

The school curriculum is designed to equip students with important skills for today’s job market.

SJVC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

The college has 15 campuses in California.

Enrollment. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Applicants must participate in an interview with an Admissions Representative and meet with either the Enrollment Services Director or a campus manager or their designee for an acceptance interview.

Applicants must also meet with the Financial Services Department to confirm arrangements to meet tuition obligations.

Fees. Tuition fees are between $9,555 and $58,195, according to the program.

The college also offers non-degree courses at $1,400 per course.

Courses offered:

Some of the programs offered at San Joaquin Valley College are:

  • Business Administration
  • Construction Management
  • Criminal Justice: Corrections
  • Human Resource Administration
  • Dental Assisting
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography
  • Medical Assisting
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technology
  • Registered Nursing
  • Surgical Technology
  • Veterinary Assistant
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology
  • Construction Management
  • Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration
  • Industrial Maintenance Technology
  • Information Technology

Contact information:

3Contractors State License School

With over 25 schools in California, Contractors State License School is the largest school in California for Construction professionals.

The school helps its students pass the California Contractors License Exam. 1 in 3 California License Exam Applicants use Contractors State License Services to prepare for their Contractors License Exam and 98% of CSLS students pass the first time.

The founder and CEO of Contractors State license Service, David Mizener, holds both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees in Education and has 40 years experience in teaching students.

Fees vary depending on the course. The school also offers the John Baker Contractor Scholarship, a scholarship awarded every month towards one free Program.

Courses offered:

CSLB Exam Prep Classes

  • In-School Law & Trade
  • Law & Business Online
  • Home Study Law & Trade
  • Crash Course
  • Test Taking Skills
  • Construction Math Review

Seminars and Continuing Ed

  • Blueprint Reading Seminar
  • California Electrical Cert.
  • EPA-RRP Certification
  • Mold Remediation
  • Home Inspection Course
  • ICC Certification

Contact information:

4Dental Assisting Institute

The Dental Assisting Institute offers an accelerated Dental Assisting program at a fraction of the time and cost of most Dental Assisting programs.

Students will learn the state-of-the-art methods in assisting in 12 Saturdays of training.

Dental Assisting Institute is certified by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.

The institute is also approved by the California Dental Board to certify students in Radiation Safety, 8 Hour Infection Control, California Dental Practice Act, Coronal Polishing and Pit, and Fissure Sealants.

The school offers job placement assistance. Dentists and dental offices contact the program when looking for qualified Dental Assistant graduates. The school also continually contacts local dentists to notify them of upcoming graduating classes.

Enrollment. Applicants must be over 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED.

Fees. The cost of the 12 weeks Saturday Dental Assisting Program is $5,495.

There are different financing options available to qualifying students.

Courses offered:

  • Saturday Dental Assistant Course
  • Radiation Safety Course
  • Coronal Polishing Course
  • PIT and Fissure Sealants
  • 8-hour Infection Control Course
  • Ultrasonic Scaling Course
  • RDA Written Exam Review Home Study
  • RDA Written Exam Review Course

Contact information:

5Blake Austin College

Blake Austin College is offering multiple license programs relevant to current employment demands in Medical & Dental and Beauty & Wellness industries.

With the school’s certificate programs students get a quality education so that they can start working upon graduation and licensure.

Blake Austin College is accredited by Commission of the Council on Occupational Education.

The College is approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.

Enrollment. Applicants must have a High School Diploma or GED Certificate and Government-issued Identification.

Fees. Registration fee is $100. Tuition fees are between $6,750 and $33,575, depending on the program.

Financial aid is also available to students who qualify. Financial aid resources can be in the form of grants, scholarships, and federal loans.

Courses offered:

Branch Campus:

  • Esthetician
  • Cosmetology
  • Spa Nail Technician
  • Advanced Education Classes

Main Campus:

  • Vocational Nursing
  • Administrative Medical Assistant
  • Clinical Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy
  • Dental Assisting
  • Continuing Education

Contact information:

  • The main campus is located at 611-K Orange Drive, Vacaville, CA 95687
  • Phone: 707.455.0557
  • The branch campus is located at 1679 E. Monte Vista Avenue, Suite 200, Vacaville, CA 95688
  • Phone: 707.448.3100
  • Website: https://www.blakeaustincollege.edu/

6Welding Certification Center

Welding Certification Center is a private welding school in L.A. County.

The school is approved to operate by the State of California, Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education.

The school offers a number of courses and workshops designed for the beginning welder all the way to the advanced welder.

As an authorized testing facility, the school is able to offer the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety Welding Performance Test on site.

Classes are small, usually with no more than 7 students.

Classes are scheduled based on student availability.

Fees. Estimated total costs start at $6,795 to $23,041, depending on the program. The cost includes a non-refundable $75 registration fee.

Student loans are also available to those who qualify.

Courses offered:

  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding Structural Steel
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding Structural Sheet Steel
  • Flux Cord Arc Welding
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Mid/Low Carbon Steel
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Aluminium
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Stainless Steel
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding Sheet Metal
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding Structural

Contact Information:

7Film Connection Film Institute

The Film Connection was established in 1983 and is the innovator of the mentor/extern method of education.

The Institute is a member of Independent Film Alliance, Film Independent, The National Guild for Community Arts Education and The Grammy Awards.

The classroom is a real film company in the city or town where the student lives.

Film Connection works with filmmaking professionals in cities throughout the U.S.

Professional directors, editors, cinematographers, screenwriters, and producers will train students inside their film companies as an extern.

By the time they graduate, students will have a finished screenplay or outline and a solid pitch.

They will then have the option to fly out to Los Angeles or New York and pitch their film idea to a Hollywood producer or development executive.

Fees. Tuition is $12,750 for the Film Connection for Cinematography program and $13,040 for Film Connection for Film Production & Editing.

Financing plans are also available.

Courses offered:

  • Film Production & Editing program
  • Cinematography program

Contact Information:

  • Los Angeles office: Recording Radio Film Connection & CASA Schools, Film Connection, 6300 Wilshire Blvd. Suite #640, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
  • Phone: 800.755.7597; 310.456.9624; 310.456.9628
  • Email: film@rrfedu.com
  • Website: https://www.filmconnection.com

8Southern California Health Institute

For 25 years, the Southern California Health Institute has been helping individuals build careers in Health & Wellness.

Southern California Health Institute aims to provide quality allied health programs to produce empathetic and compassionate allied health workers.

The Institute is nationally accredited by Accrediting Council for Continuing Education Training.

Southern California Health Institute graduates often get hired by well-established spas, physical therapy facilities, chiropractic offices, medical offices, clinics, fitness centers, and gyms.

Southern California Health Institute has been approved to participate in several federal student financial aid programs, including Federal PELL Grant Program and the Federal Direct Student Loan Program.

Enrollment. Applicants must be a high school graduate or have a General Educational Development certificate and be at least 18 years of age at the time of graduation from Southern California Health Institute.

Fees. Registration fee is $200. Total estimated costs vary between $16,165 and $17,172, depending on the program.

Financial aid is also available to students who qualify.

Courses offered:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Advanced Professional Massage Therapy
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Assistant
  • Personal Fitness Trainer
  • Physical Therapy Aide

Contact information:

  • Los Angeles Campus, 5644 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA91601
  • Phone: (818) 960-6995
  • San Fernando Valley Campus, 18040 Sherman Way, Reseda, CA91335
  • Phone: (818) 980-8990
  • Website: https://www.sochi.edu

9MTI College

MTI College is a community-based institution that offers respected training in the areas of healthcare, law, information technology, business, cosmetology, and barbering.

The College was voted the best vocational school in Sacramento.

Students that qualify gain easy access to government grants and loans to complete the course of their choice.

Students can graduate in as little as nine months, and the College assists them with job placement and assistance upon graduation.

MTI’s small class size allows instructors to focus more on providing hands-on quality education.

MTI College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The MTI Paralegal Studies program is approved by the American Bar Association.

Enrollment: For admission to MTI College applicants must provide proof of graduation from high school or GED equivalent.

Applicants must also interview with an Admissions Advisor, complete an application for admission and pass an admissions examination.

Fees. Tuition for certificate programs varies between $500 and $18,900, depending on the program.

Tuition and registration cost for degree programs is between $13,900 and $17,980 per year.

Courses offered:

Diploma Programs

  • Accounting Technician
  • Administrative Office Professional
  • Legal Administrative Assistant
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Assisting with Phlebotomy Certificate
  • Medical Billing and Coding Professional
  • Phlebotomy
  • Technical Support Specialist
  • Cosmetology
  • Barbering
  • Advanced Makeup

Degree Programs

  • A.A. Business Administration
  • A.A. Paralegal Studies
  • A.A. Paralegal Studies – OnlinePlus
  • A.A.S. Cloud Administration

Contact Information:

  • The College is located at 5221 Madison Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95841
  • Phone: (916) 339-1500
  • Website: https://mticollege.edu

10Northern California Construction Training

Northern California Construction Training, Inc. is a pre-apprenticeship training program in the building trade.

Graduates are ready to enter into various construction trades apprenticeship training programs.

NCCT was established in November 1993 and is a non-profit, community-based organization.

During the program, students receive unpaid training in the classroom as well as hands-on building experience.

Students who successfully complete the program are offered the opportunity to join an apprenticeship training program.

NCCT’s program and curriculum have been approved by the Sacramento County Office of Education.

Enrollment. Admission requirements differ from program to program.

Students who are under the age of 18 must be engaged either in an Adult Education Program or in Independent Studie.

Courses offered:

  • Sacramento – Adult Program
  • Sacramento – Probation Program
  • Sacramento – Youth Detention Facility Program
  • Sacramento – Elinor Hickey Academy Program
  • Mather – Parolee Program
  • West Sacramento – Adult Program
  • West Sacramento – ROP High School Program (WUSD)
  • Woodland – Adult Program
  • Modesto
  • NCCT Caltrans Work Crew Program
  • Placer Gold County Fairgrounds
  • Stockton – Probation Program
  • Sacramento – Youth Build Program/SRCC
  • Sacramento – Welding Program
  • NCCT Yolo County Construction Program
  • Twin Rivers Adult School NCCT Pre-Apprenticeship Building and Construction-Foothill High School
  • Twin Rivers Adult School NCCT Pre-Apprenticeship Building and Construction-Vista Nueva High School
  • El Dorado County
  • Sacramento – Youth Build Program/SRCC Re-Entry

Contact information:

  • The Sacramento school is located at 10411 Old Placerville Road, Suite 205 Sacramento, CA 95827
  • Phone: 916-387-1564
  • Website: http://www.ncct.ws

Salary Information for Popular Trade Careers

CareerEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Paralegals and Legal Assistants37,270$76,080$36.58$109,340$46,730
Medical Records Specialists21,590$65,850$31.66$100,330$36,470
Nursing Assistants99,930$43,570$20.95$56,910$36,070
Dental Assistants55,360$48,990$23.55$63,140$36,270
Medical Assistants111,470$47,850$23.01$68,670$35,370
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters40,260$74,360$35.75$127,920$40,180
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics60,500$58,980$28.36$79,340$34,810
Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers38,370$67,430$32.42$103,670$38,900
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for California, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Final Thoughts

The right trade school can help you start a rewarding career in a matter of months.

California trade schools offer high-quality training in many educational fields.

From medical dentistry and welding to film editing and esthetics, there are many trades you can learn and many career paths you can pursue.

Look for relevant information when deciding, such as completion rate, job placement, school accreditation, and student testimonials.

Do your research and choose wisely!