Best Trade Schools inDecatur

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Trade schools are post-secondary educational institutions that focus on preparing students for a specific profession.

Upon completion, trade school graduates receive a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree that gets them ready for employment or state licensure exams, depending on the program they choose.

Usually, trade programs are designed to be completed in less than two years, and many programs are less than one-year long.

Trade school graduates can find employment as electricians, medical assistants, welders, mechanics, and a variety of other careers.

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1Heartland Technical Academy

About the School

Heartland Technical Academy offers technical education programs for high school students.

The academy provides training for approximately 500 high school juniors and seniors.

Students have access to a curriculum taught by highly-competent teachers, using state-of-the-art equipment.

Most of the programs offered by Heartland Tech include college credit through Richland Community College.

This option allows students to save between $800-$6,000 in college tuition costs, depending on the program.

The school serves students from Decatur and the surrounding areas.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available at Heartland Technical Academy:

  • Agricultural Mechanics and Technology- a program that prepares students for careers as farm machinery mechanics and related occupations
  • Agricultural Sciences and Pre-Veterinary Studies
  • Auto Body/ Collision Repair
  • Automotive Technology- a program designed to prepare students for careers in the automotive industry
  • Business Procedures/Accounting/Medical Terminology
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Cosmetology- students need a total of 1,500 hours of training to be eligible for the state exam
  • Engineering Technology
  • Industrial Trades- for students who are interested in careers in construction or manufacturing
  • Welding- a course that provides hands-on training in the most common welding processes
  • And more

Contact Information

2Richland Community College

About the School

Richland Community College offers more than 80 programs in a variety of industries.

Tuition is $139 per credit hour for residents of the Richland Community College District.

Additional fees include a $12 per credit hour academic technology fee and a $2 per credit hour registration fee.

This brings the total for on-campus classes to $153 per credit hour.

Online classes cost $189 in total.

Some programs have different tuition costs.

The in-district cost is $181 per credit hour for the following health profession programs: Associate Degree Nursing, Emergency Medical Technology, Health, Practical Nursing, Radiography, and Surgical Technology.

Out-of-district students are charged $303 per credit hour, while out-of-state students pay $489 per credit hour.

Richland Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Courses Offered

The college offers training in areas such as:

  • Accounting
  • Automotive Technology- an AAS in Automotive Technology is available as well the following certificates:
    • Senior Automotive Repair Technician
    • Service Specialist
    • Performance Specialist
    • Brake, Steering & Suspension Specialist
    • HVAC Specialist
    • Engine Rebuilder
    • Transmission & Driveline Specialist
  • Collision Repair Technology
  • Culinary Arts
  • Diesel Truck Technology
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, & Refrigeration
  • Medical Assisting
  • Welding Technology
  • And many more

Contact Information

3Reflections Academy of Beauty

About the School

Reflections Academy of Beauty offers educational programs that prepare students for a career in cosmetology.

Students learn the art of cosmetology in a hands-on environment which gives students the opportunity of working with real clients.

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

To qualify for admission in the Cosmetology program, applicants must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a copy of a driver’s license or state ID
  • Submit an essay that states why they would like to join the program and where they see themselves in five years
  • Provide a copy of the Social Security Card
  • Provide high school transcripts
  • Have two letters of recommendation
  • Pay a $100 registration fee

In addition, those who want to become instructors must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Cosmetologist license- this requirement applies only to those who want to enroll in the 500-hour Instructor training program.

Courses Offered

Reflections Academy of Beauty offers Cosmetology Students Training that includes the 1500 hours required by the State of Illinois for licensure.

A 500-hour and a 1000-hour Cosmetology Instructor programs are also available.

Contact Information

4Lockhart's Barber College

About the School

Lockhart’s Barber College focuses on training confident and competent barbers.

Total costs are $8,430 for the Barber program, which includes tools, books, and tuition.

The school is open Wednesday-Saturday from 9-5 p.m., but students may arrive at 8 a.m.

Trainees have the opportunity of serving a vast clientele and gain hands-on experience.

The first and the third Tuesday of each month is dedicated to book work, face shaves, demonstrations, and video reviews.

Students are expected to meet the weekly hourly obligations that were included in each student’s contract.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available at Lockhart’s Barber College:

  • Barbering Program- this 1,500 program requires between 24-42 hours of training per week and can be completed in 9-15 months.
  • Bridge Program- a program designed for licensed Cosmetologists who want to earn a Barber license

The Barbering curriculum covers topics on:

  • Barber history
  • Infection control and safe work practices
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Properties and disorders of the skin
  • Hair coloring and lightening
  • Barbershop management
  • Pertinent state and local laws and rules
  • And more

Contact Information

5Millikin University

About the School

Millikin University provides academic programs in arts, sciences, business, and professional studies.

Founded in 1901, the university is located on a 75-acre campus in Decatur.

Applicants need the following materials:

  • High school transcripts
  • ACT/SAT Test Scores

Those who don’t have test scores need to submit two letters of recommendation from their guidance counselors or high school teachers or have to interview with the Admissions Counselor (this requirement applies if the GPA is below 2.75 out of 4.00)

Millikin University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1914.

Courses Offered

The College of Professional Studies offers training in the following areas:

  • Education: Teacher licensure and non-licensure programs are available
  • Professional Nursing Education: a Bachelor of Science, a Nursing RN to BSN, and Graduate Nursing programs are available
  • Exercise and Sport: the school offers Athletic Training, Exercise Science, Health Promotion, Physical Education, and Sport & Recreation Management programs

Certificate programs are also available in areas such as:

  • Arts Entrepreneurship
  • Project Management
  • Process Improvement
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Digital Media Marketing
  • Criminal Justice
  • And more

Contact Information

6IBEW Local 146

About the School

IBEW Local 146 offers apprenticeship and training for careers as electrical workers through their Midstate Electrical Training Center.

Apprentices work under the supervision of a Journeyman Electrical Worker and combine on-the-job work with classroom training.

Trainees are employed by a Union Electrical Contractor.

Those who complete the apprenticeship have the Journeyman status.

Courses Offered

The following apprenticeship programs are available at the Center:

  • Inside Wireman- a five-year apprenticeship that includes a minimum of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 900 hours of classroom training.
  • Residential Wireman- a three-year apprenticeship program that includes 4,800 hours of on-the-job training and 480 hours of classroom instruction.
  • Voice/Data/Video Installer Technician- a three-year program that combines a minimum of 4,800 hours of on-the-job training with a minimum of 480 hours of classroom training

The inside wireman is the one who distributes and connects the customer’s electrical equipment to a power source.

Inside wiremen perform work in commercial and industrial facilities.

Residential wiremen install the systems that distribute power from the point of entry to a residential building to the equipment that uses that power.

Installer technicians work besides wiremen and install the network of low voltage cabling used for video, voice, or data signaling.

Contact Information

  • Address: 3390 North Woodford Street Decatur, IL 62526
  • Phone: 217-877-4604
  • Website:

7Lincoln Tech

About the School

Lincoln Tech provides a variety of training programs at its Melrose Park campus, located just outside of Chicago.

Educational expenses range from approximately $22,000 to more than $42,000 depending on the program.

Lincoln College of Technology- Melrose Park is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available:

  • Automotive Technology- a special Audi Education Partnership Program and an Associate’s Degree in Service Management are available
  • Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology- a blended learning format that lets students complete some of the coursework online from their homes and the other part on-campus where they perform hands-on auto body repair, as well as painting and airbrushing.
  • Electrical and Electronic Systems Technology- a program that teaches students how to install, troubleshoot, and service low-voltage electronic systems
  • Medical Assistant- a program that trains students who are ready to assist doctors when working directly with patients
  • Welding Technology- a program that gives students the opportunity of working in individual welding booths stocked by Miller Electric

Contact Information

8Capital Area School of Practical Nursing

About the School

Capital Area School of Practical Nursing is offering training for those who want to start a career in nursing.

Students spend time in the classroom, but also doing laboratory practice and supervised clinical experience in a variety of healthcare settings.

The program consists of 1,330 clock hours.

The cost is $950 for the Adult CNA program and covers tuition, textbooks, background check, and CPR certification.

Students who complete this program are qualified to sit for the Illinois State CNA Certification exam.

The exam fee is $75 and it has to be paid by the last week of class.

Students are required to attend all classroom and clinical times.

CNA students participate in clinical rotations held at St. John’s Hospital.

Capital Area School of Practical Nursing is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing.

Courses Offered

Capital Area School of Practical Nursing offers a nine-month program that is divided into four quarters.

The curriculum covers topics such as:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Human Body in Health and Illness
  • Intro to Clinical Pharmacology
  • Adult Health Nursing
  • Foundations of Mental Health
  • Introduction to Mat/Ped Nursing
  • And more

Contact Information

  • Address: 2201 Toronto Road, Springfield, IL 62712
  • Phone: (217) 585-1215
  • Website:

9Midwest Technical Institute

About the School

Midwest Technical Institute offers hands-on programs and courses at its Springfield campus.

The courses prepare students for employment in HVAC, welding, medical assisting, dental assisting, phlebotomy, and many other professions.

To be eligible for admission, applicants need proof of high school diploma or equivalent.

They also have to:

  • Attend a personal interview with a representative of the school
  • Complete a Health Affidavit/Screening
  • Have a valid driver’s license or ID
  • Be at least 17 years old to enroll and at least 18 to graduate

Additional requirements apply to some programs.

Midwest Technical Institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

Courses Offered

The institute offers the following Allied Health programs:

  • Dental Assisting- a nine-month program
  • Medical Assisting- a nine-month program
  • Basic Nursing Assistant – a seven-week program
  • Phlebotomy- a five-week program
  • Medical Coding Specialist- a nine-month program that is also available in a hybrid format
  • Massage Therapy

The following Mechanical trades programs are also available:

  • Journeyman Welder
  • HVAC/R Technician
  • Continuing Education: Pipe Fitting Course

Contact Information

10Capital Area Career Center

About the School

Capital Area Career Center provides career and technical education to local school districts.

The programs are open to students in Springfield and the surrounding communities.

Courses Offered

The following high school programs are available for juniors and seniors:

  • Audio/Video Production
  • Automotive Technology- a program that includes ASE student certifications
  • Building Trades- a program that leads to NCCER certification
  • Cosmetology- students can apply for state licensure after gathering 1,500 hours of cosmetology training.
  • Culinary Arts- this program leads to a ServSafe Food Handlers Certification
  • Early Childhood Education- a program that includes CPR and ECE level I Certification
  • Emergency Medical Tech- students can earn CPR certification and EMT-B if they maintain an 80 percent in course work and pass the state test
  • HVAC/Electrical Systems- a program that leads to EPA 608 Certification, Installation and service certification, and other credentials
  • Medical Assistant- a program that includes CPR, and Certified Medical Assistant certification for students who pass a national test
  • Nursing Assistant- graduates can become Certified Nursing Assistants after passing a national test.
  • Welding

Adult programs are also available for those who want to become Licensed Practical Nurses or Certified Nursing Assistants.

Contact Information

Final Thoughts

Trade schools can be a good solution for those who want to earn a postsecondary certificate or diploma but can’t afford to spend four years in college.

Now that you have read our list, we encourage you to continue the research and apply for the program that best meets your needs and career aspirations.

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