10 Best Trade Schools inSan Diego, CA

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Trade schools, also known as vocational schools or career centers, are a great alternative for those who want to build a successful career but can’t afford a four-year college.

This page takes a look at the best trade schools in San Diego.

We have selected 10 of the best vocational schools in the region and provided you with relevant information about their programs, such as tuition, duration, accreditation and much more.

The aim is to help you choose the best training program for your educational needs and professional aspirations.

1San Diego Medical College

San Diego Medical College is a nursing assistant school approved by the California Department of Public Health Licensing and Certification.

The College offers a 22-day nursing assistant program, a home health aide program, EKG training and more.

Nursing Assistant classes are held Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

School instructors have many years of experience in their field and they stay up-to-date on the latest in EMS, Nursing and Rescue training theory and practices.

The school is also approved as the National Nurse Aid Assessment Program Regional Testing Center Testing Site.

Enrollment requirements vary by program.

Applicants to the Nursing Assistant program must be 16 years of age or older.

They need an ID and a copy of a physical exam with TB test results.

Fees. Tuition for the Nursing Assistant program is $975.

Students also have to pay a $185 Registration Fee.

Courses offered:

  • Nurse Assistant Program
  • Home Health Aide Program
  • Continuing Education Units
  • CPR First Aid Training
  • EKG Training
  • Front- Back Office Medical Assistant
  • Food Handler Certification
  • Pharmacology
  • RN & LVN NCLEX Review

Contact information:

2Bridge Career Education

Bridge Career Education is a private training school located in the Mission Valley area of San Diego.

The school offers accelerated certificate programs in health and clinical research fields.

The school’s career-focused, hands-on training programs can be completed in 5 to 11 weeks.

The school offers day, evening and weekend classes.

Bridge Career Education operates with exemption status through the Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau for Private and Postsecondary Education (BPPE).

The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Training Program is approved by the State of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Licensing and Certification Program, Aide and Technician Certification Section (ATCS).

Enrollment. Applicants must be high school graduates or hold a GED or equivalent.

The first step in the enrollment process is to meet with a Bridge Representative.

Fees. The registration fee is $100.

Tuition is $2,395 for the Medical Assistant Program, $2,395 for the Pharmacy Technician Program and $1,095 for the Nursing Assistant Program.

An interest-free payment plan is also available.

Courses offered:

  • Medical Assistant Program
  • Nursing Assistant Program
  • Clinical Research Coordinator Program

Contact information:

3Fast Track Medical Training Center

Fast Track Medical Training Center prepares students for careers in the healthcare industry.

The Certified Nursing Assistant program is focused on preparing students for the California State Nurse Assistant Competency Evaluation Testing Program and to help them develop job skills and attitudes for competent caregivers.

During the CNA program, students learn nursing procedures such as taking vital signs, positioning, bathing, dressing, and other personal care activities, and when/what to report to the nurse.

Adult CPR training and job assistance services are included in the course.

Certified Nursing Assistants can be employed in hospitals, as well as long-term care facilities, care homes, private homes, adult daycare, and clinics.

The school also offers a Pharmacology Certification course for Certified Nursing Assistants who want to become Licensed Vocational Nurses.

Enrollment. Applicants have to send a completed application for Admission along with a copy of their Social Security Card and State ID or Driver’s License.

Fees. Tuition is $1,500.

Courses offered:

  • CNA Program
  • Pharmacology Certificate

Contact information:

4Phlebotomy U

Phlebotomy U is a private institution focused on providing phlebotomy education.

The school uses current technology and helps students get extensive hands-on experience.

Graduates can work in a variety of medical settings, including hospitals, clinical laboratories, clinics, physician’s offices, blood banks and more.

The school is approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Enrollment. Applicants need proof of completion of at least a U.S. high school education or equivalent.

Students also need a cleared background check and drug screen, negative TB test, and proof of immunization.

Fees. Tuition fees vary by program.

The estimated total cost for the CPT I Full Course is $2,900.

Payment plans and CPT I program discounts are also available.

Courses offered:

  • CPT I Phlebotomy Course
  • Advanced Abbreviated CPT I Courses
  • Safe Venipuncture (for Radiologic Technician)
  • Blood Withdrawal (for Research Assistants)

Contact information:

  • Phlebotomy U: 2535 Camino Del Rio S. Suite: #300, San Diego, CA 92108
  • Phone: (619) 294-2192
  • Website: https://phlebotomyu.com

5Concorde Career Colleges

Concorde’s San Diego campus offers career-centered health care programs in areas such as dental assisting, dental hygiene, medical assisting, nursing, and others.

The college offers diploma and associate degree programs.

The San Diego campus consists of spacious classrooms, a learning resource center, labs, and a career/student center.

Program duration varies between 8-21 months depending on the program.

Concorde Career Colleges are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

Enrollment. Applicants need proof of high school graduation or equivalent.

Prospective students need to attend a personal interview and campus tour.

Fees. Program costs vary between $16,554 to $81,068.

Courses offered:

  • Cardiovascular Sonography – Associate
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography – Associate
  • Dental Assistant – Diploma
  • Dental Hygiene – Associate
  • Medical Assistant – Diploma
  • Medical Office Administration – Diploma
  • Physical Therapist Assistant – Associate
  • Surgical Technology – Associate
  • Vocational Nursing – Diploma

Contact information:

6Center for Employment Training

Center for Employment Training (CET) provides job training programs designed to prepare students for employment in high demand industries.

At CET training is based on learning by doing; students can graduate in 6 to 9 months.

The Center for Employment Training (CET) is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education.

The Center for Employment Training (CET) is currently licensed to operate by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).

Enrollment. CET doesn’t have academic requirements for admission.

CET uses the CASAS ESC Appraisal to determine baseline reading and math proficiency.

Other requirements vary by program.

Fees. The cost for the Welding Fabrication program is $14,500.

The Medical Assistant and Green Building Construction Skills programs cost $14,249 each.

Fiancial assistance is available to qualifying students.

Courses offered:

  • Green Building Construction Skills (900 hours)
  • Medical Assistant (900 hours)
  • Welding (900 hours)

Contact information:

  • Center for Employment Training: 4153 Market Street, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92102
  • Phone: (619) 527-4895
  • Website: https://cetweb.edu

7Western Truck School

Western Truck School offers training for those who want to pursue a career in the trucking industry.

The school offers comprehensive preparation for the commercial driver’s license exam.

West Truck School uses modern technologies and late-model equipment.

Enrollment. You have to be at least 18 years of age to obtain a Class A Commercial Driver License but you have to be over 21 years of age to travel outside California.

Applicants need a copy of their current driver’s license, social security card and proof of education (high school diploma or GED).

Prospective students also need to provide a copy of their H6 (10 year DMV report) and will be required to complete a Department of Transportation physical and drug screen prior to attending class.

Courses offered:

  • Class A Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A Commercial Driver Extended Program
  • Class B/P Combined Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A Advance Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A Master Commercial Driver Program
  • Class B Commercial Driver Program
  • Class P Passenger Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A/P Combined Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A or B Specialized/Refresher Commercial Driver Program
  • Forklift Program

Contact information:

8Riggins Urban Barber College

Riggins Urban Barber College provides education for future barbers.

At the Riggins Urban Barber College, students receive the basic training to pass the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology examination.

Students learn the practice of barbering, barbershop management, business concepts and the psychology of personal success.

During the 1500-hour Barbering Course, students learn about Barber/Cosmo Act & Regulations, Barbering Chemistry, Disinfection & Sanitation, Hairstyling, Curling & Blow Drying, Shaving, Facials, and much more.

Riggins Urban Barber College is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).

The school’s barbering programs are also approved by the California Board of Barbering & Cosmetology (BBC).

Enrollment. Prospective students can complete an enrollment form on the schools’ wesbite.

Applicants need a high school diploma, GED or equivalent, and a photo ID.

Fees. The total cost is $16,000 for the Barber Course and $4,530 for the Barber/Cosmo Crossover.

Courses offered:

  • Barbering Course
  • Barber/Cosmo Crossover

Contact information:

9Bellus Academy

Bellus Academy provides training programs for future beauty professionals.

Bellus has three campuses in California and one campus in Kansas.

All of the Academy’s programs include a mock state board test to prepare students for the state board exam.

Bellus offers day and night classes, to accommodate students’ schedule.

Bellus Academy is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences.

Enrollment. Applicants need a high school diploma, GED or equivalent.

Prospective students who are over 18 years old, have a minimum 10th-grade education, and have the ability to benefit from the training may also qualify for admission to the academy.

In order to take the state examination exam, you must be at least 17 years of age and have completed the 10th grade or equivalent.

Fees. The registration fee is $75.

Total costs vary between $5,189-$33,426, depending on the program.

Financial Aid is available to students who qualify.

Courses offered:

  • Barbering
  • Cosmetology
  • Barber/Cosmetology
  • Esthetics
  • Make-up Artistry
  • Spa Nails

Contact information:

  • El Cajon Campus: 1073 E. Main Street, El Cajon, CA 92021
  • Phone: 858-748-1490
  • Poway Campus: 13266 Poway Road, Poway, CA 92064
  • Phone: 619-442-3407
  • Chula Vista Campus: 970 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA 91911
  • Phone: 619-474-6607
  • Website: https://www.bellusacademy.edu

10San Diego Masters of Bartending School

Masters of Bartending School program provides training for future bartenders.

The school’s industry certifying program consists of 8 modules.

Students learn about cocktails, martini techniques, layered and mixed shooters, beer and wine, craft cocktails and much more.

The program also includes San Diego Food Health Card, an Alcohol Awareness Program, elite industry training, workbook, testing, and certification.

Located in the heart of San Diego, Masters of Bartending School uses classic and modern bartending techniques.

Students become certified and receive the official Gold Stamped Certificate from the Masters of Bartending School after completing all eight modules, two exit exams and document a minimum of twenty-five hours of behind the bar time, completed in the school’s training facility.

San Diego Masters of Bartending School provides its alumni the option to return and practice at the school’s training facility, free of charge, regardless of the date of completion.

Fees. The Industry Certified Bartending Training Program (which includes Food Safety Certification and Alcohol Awareness Certification) costs $449.

Contact information:

Salary Information for Popular Trade Careers

CareerEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Paralegals and Legal Assistants4,110$71,420$34.34$100,700$50,040
Medical Records Specialists1,630$57,990$27.88$91,380$36,080
Nursing Assistants9,290$42,420$20.39$51,820$36,810
Dental Assistants5,050$48,110$23.13$57,320$38,310
Medical Assistants8,810$44,960$21.62$61,550$36,690
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters4,290$70,900$34.09$110,230$40,330
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics5,060$56,290$27.06$79,130$31,210
Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers3,950$64,420$30.97$95,860$38,120
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for San Diego-Carlsbad, CA metropolitan statistical area, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right trade school could be the step you need to make in order to fulfill your professional goals.

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

Whether you want to become a medical assistant, a bartender or a professional welder, there are many schools that can help you get job-ready in a matter of months.

Don’t forget to thoroughly research all your options before deciding on a trade school.

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