Best Trade Schools inCedar Rapids

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A good trade school can help you start a rewarding career through hands-on post-secondary training.

Depending on the career path you are targeting, vocational training can last between a few months and two years.

After graduation, students receive a Diploma or Certificate that qualifies them for employment or licensing exams.

Some trade schools and community colleges also offer students the opportunity of earning an Associate’s Degree.

If you live in Cedar Rapids, and you’re contemplating the idea of starting a career in the beauty industry, construction, allied health, or skilled trades, this page is for you.


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1Capri College

About the School

Capri College offers hands-on training programs for those who want to start a career in cosmetology, skincare, nail tech, or massage therapy.

The college has a long-standing relationship with salon and spa employers and uses their feedback to improve the training programs.

Tuition costs vary depending on the course.

The Cosmetology program costs $19,945 in total, while the Nail Technology program costs $4,350.

Capri College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission on Career Schools and Colleges.

Courses Offered

The following courses are available at Capri College:

  • Cosmetology- a 68-week program that provides students with skills in hair cutting, razor cutting and clippers, perming, makeup, manicures, pedicures, artificial nails, skincare, hair removal, hair extensions, and more.
  • Esthetics- a 33-week program that runs 22-24 hours per week and teaches students about makeup, body bronzing, body wraps, facials, hair removal, skin treatments, and many other skills.
  • Massage Therapy- a 30-week hands-on program that covers Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, prenatal massage, Thai massage, sports massage, anatomy, physiology, aromatherapy, reflexology, hot stones, and spa treatments.
  • Nail Technology- this 16-week program includes skills such as manicures, pedicures, gel nails, acrylics, artificial nails, wraps, fills, and many more.

Contact Information


2Cedar Rapids JATC

About the School

Cedar Rapids Electrical Apprenticeship and Educational Trust offers a labor-management training program.

The program combines support from IBEW Local 405 and the Iowa Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association.

Applicants need:

  • Evidence of a valid driver’s license
  • Proof they have graduated from school or have a GED
  • Proof they are at least 18 years of age
  • Take an ETA Aptitude test
  • Pay a $15 application fee

Applicants who meet the application requirements are scheduled to take an aptitude test, given at a training center once a month.

This tests algebra skills and reading/comprehension.

A score of at least 4 out of 9 is needed to qualify for an interview.

During training, apprentices receive a wage that starts at $16.95 per hour and increases 10 times until it becomes $37.67 per hour.

Courses Offered

Apprenticeships are available for the following professions:

  • Inside Wireman- a five-year systematic program that includes 8,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and 950 hours of related study.
  • Telecommunication Technicians
  • Residential Wireman

Contact Information


3La James International College

About the School

La James International College has been providing beauty training for almost 50 years.

Training programs are available at five campuses across Iowa.

The school’s Cedar Fall campus offers education for future Cosmetologists, Estheticians, Massage Therapists, and Nail Technologists.

Tuition ranges from 4,600 for the Nail Technologist program to $18,510 for the Cosmetology program.

Students work hands-on with clients in a true salon and spa environment.

La James International College is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences.

Courses Offered

The following programs are available in Cedar Falls:

  • Cosmetology- a 2,100 hour-program that gives students the option to attend a five-day schedule for face-to-face instruction while also providing them with real salon experience.
  • Esthetics- a program that covers 750 hours and includes a variety of skincare and spa techniques that students get to practice hands-on.
  • Massage Therapy- this 900-hour program focuses on anatomy physiology, theory, and practices, and a variety of massage techniques that students get to practice on real clients.
  • Nail Technology- a 350-hour curriculum that covers the basics of manicuring and pedicuring, while also focusing on building hands-on skills.

Contact Information

  • Address: 6322 University Ave, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613
  • Phone: 888.880.2106
  • Website: https://ljic.edu

4Kirkwood Community College

About the School

Kirkwood Community College offers one-year certificates and diplomas as well as two-year degree programs.

Their agriculture campus includes a 400-acre working farm, 6,000 square feet of greenhouse space swine education center, sports turf labs, a learning center, and other facilities.

Healthcare students receive hands-on training at Kirkwood’s state-of-the-art Katz Family Healthcare Simulation Center.

The school is affiliated with local health care institutions that give students the opportunity of working in a real clinical setting.

The programs last between nine months and two years, depending on the degree the student is pursuing.

Tuition for Iowa residents is $186 per credit hour.

Tuition is $249 per credit hour for out-of-state students and $372 per credit hour for international students.

Total costs vary depending on the number of credit hours included in each program.

Kirkwood Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Courses Offered

Courses are available in the following areas:

  • Agriculture Business
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics Technology
  • Advanced Welding Technologies
  • Diesel Agriculture Technology
  • Veterinary Technician
  • Medical Assisting
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Certified Drug and Alcohol Education
  • Information Technology
  • And many more

Contact Information


5Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 125

About the School

Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 125 offers apprenticeship programs that help students start a career in the plumbing industry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, which will result in approximately 51,000 new openings each year during the decade.

The median annual wage reported by workers in this profession was approximately $56,000 with wages ranging from less than $35,000 and more than $95,000.

To be approved in the apprenticeship program offered by Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 125, applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Complete an application and upload the following documents: birth certificate, photo ID, high school transcript or equivalent, national career readiness certificate
  • Attend an interview

Courses Offered

Those who are approved in the program serve as probationary apprentices for one year- this period includes 1,700 hours of on-the-job training.

In total, the apprenticeship is five years long (including the probationary period) and includes 8,500 hours of on-the-job training.

During this time, apprentices work under the direction of a journey worker on the job site.

Trainees also have to attend training classes.

Contact Information


6National Personal Training Institute

About the School

If you want to become a personal trainer, you should check out the classes offered by the National Personal Training Institute.

Classes are available in Cedar Rapids and many other locations across the United States.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for fitness instructors will grow 39 percent by 2030, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

The program offered by the National Personal Training Institute can help you start a rewarding career in a profession that will be in demand in the future.

Students have the option of choosing between day, evening, and weekend classes to fit their busy schedules.

The programs combine classroom instruction with supervised, hands-on practical experience.

Students learn from highly skilled personal fitness training instructors with years of work experience.

The curriculum covers a variety of exercises as well as topics about human physiology, anatomy, nutrition, and diet.

Tuition costs vary by location.

Courses Offered

The school offers a Master Personal Training Program.

This is a hands-on personal training program that leads to a diploma valid anywhere in the United States

The program also includes CPR/AED and First Aid Certification, and 100 hours of nutrition education.

The daily lectures and hands-on applications of materials can be accessed by students from the comfort of their homes.

Students receive study materials.

The school offers lifetime job placement assistance.

The program is 500-hours long.

After graduation, students are ready to start careers as certified personal trainers.

Continuing education classes are also available online.

Contact Information


7Carlson College of Massage Therapy

About the School

Carlson College of Massage Therapy is offering massage therapy education.

Full-time students can graduate from this program in as few as six months, while part-time students graduate in under a year.

According to the school’s website, in 2021, all school graduates passed the MBLEx.

MBLEx, the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination, is the entry-level licensure test for massage therapists.

Carlson College of Massage Therapy is the first school in Iowa that has obtained Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation.

Tuition for the massage therapy program is $9,000 for the full-time program and $8,500 for the part-time program.

Additional costs include a $1,500 equipment fee, $750 for supplies, $400 for equipment, and $350 in administrative fees.

Students also have to purchase four sets of twin sheets, bath towels, and a uniform.

Qualifying students receive up to $5,500 in grant aid.

Courses Offered

The school’s massage therapy program covers topics such as:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Swedish Massage
  • Pathology
  • History of Massage
  • Sports Massage
  • Intro to Eastern Theory
  • Benefits and Contraindications
  • Sanitization
  • Hydrotherapy
  • And more

Contact Information


8PCI Academy

About the School

PCI Academy offers training programs for future beauty professionals.

The school has two campuses in Iowa: one in Ames and one in Iowa City.

Tuition costs vary depending on the program.

The Cosmetology course costs $26,988 while the Nail Technology program costs $3,866.

Students also have to pay a $100 application fee.

PCI has connections with more than 4000 Summit salons and spas nationwide and offers job placement assistance to its students.

The school gives students the opportunity of choosing between flexible schedules with 18 and 24-hours per week options.

One-on-one monthly coaching helps students track and achieve their professional and personal goals.

Courses Offered

The school’s catalog includes the following courses:

  • Cosmetology- a 2100-hour program that covers hair, skin, and nails related techniques as well as the business aspects of this profession.
  • Esthetics- a business class, skin repair, hair removal, makeup artistry, and eyelashes courses are included in this 600-hour program.
  • Massage Therapy- a 600-hour curriculum with topics on massage theory, body repair as well as business skills.
  • Nail Tech- a curriculum that includes business courses as well as nail artistry, natural nail services, and specialty services training.

Contact Information


9The Salon Professional Academy

About the School

The Salon Professional Academy offers a barber styling program in Cedar Springs.

By mixing classical and modern techniques, the course is designed to prepare students for success in the real world.

Business and marketing education is also included in the program.

Courses Offered

The 2,100-hour Barber Styling program can be completed in 62 weeks.

The curriculum covers hair cutting, hair styling, shaving, and many other barbering and business skills.

The program includes hands-on training and practice in a premium salon environment.

Students also learn how to grow their brands.

After earning their state license, graduates can find employment in a variety of settings, from salons to spas and movie sets.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly rate reported by barbers was $16.61 as of May 2020 but wages range from $10 to more than $30 per hour depending on skills, location, experience, and a variety of other factors.

The same report estimates that this profession will grow by 18 percent from 2020 to 2030, which will result in about 85,300 openings each year.

Contact Information


10Dancing Prairie Massage Therapy College and Pain Relief Center

About the School

Dancing Prairie Massage Therapy College and Pain Relief Center provide training for those who want to start a career as massage therapists.

The school’s curriculum is approved by the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy.

Dancing Prairie Massage Therapy College is approved by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission.

According to the school’s website, all graduates have passed the MBLEx exam on the first try.

Courses Offered

The curriculum covers 750 hours of training in total, which includes classes in:

  • Introduction to Massage Therapy: history, benefits and contraindications, equipment, laws and regulations, and more
  • Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology
  • Western Massage Theory and Practice: draping, palpation and movement, communicating with clients, and more
  • Intro to Eastern Theory and Practice
  • Massage for Specific Conditions and Populations: postural analysis, prenatal massage, child massage, research, and more
  • Introduction- Integrative Therapies: active isolated stretching, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, myofascial massage, reflexology, yoga, energy therapy, and other topics
  • Professional Ethics: therapeutic relations, confidentiality, peer consultations, and medical consultations
  • Career Development: assertive communication, conflict resolution, and career planning

Contact Information


Final Thoughts

Cedar Springs is home to many trade schools that prepare students for rewarding careers through hands-on training.

Before deciding where to apply, make sure the program meets your needs and career expectations by gathering all the information you need about its curriculum, costs, schedule, etc.


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