10 Best Trade Schools inVirginia

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This page compiles information about 10 of the best trade schools in Virginia.

Trade schools, also known as vocational schools, technical schools or career centers, provide training programs designed to prepare students for a specific career.

Many vocational programs target jobs that are especially in demand, such as dental assisting, welding, and mechanics.

If you decide that a trade school is a path you want to pursue, read our list to find out more about some of the best programs available in Virginia.

State FlagTrade Schools by City

1Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing

Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing offers classes for hobby blacksmiths as well as a Certificate of Artistic Blacksmithing for students who wish to pursue a career as an artistic blacksmith.

The Virginia Institute is the only Artistic Blacksmithing school certified to operate by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia.

The year-long Certificate of Artistic Blacksmithing is designed to educate those who wish to build a career as an Artistic Blacksmith.

The program is competency-based and requires a minimum of 30 hours of shop time each month.

The Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing has 16 forging stations complete with 16 anvils and shared worktables for students.

Enrollment. Prospective students can begin the application process by completing a form on the school’s website.

Applicants to the Certification program should complete an on-site informational interview.

A previous introductory blacksmithing class from any reputable instructor working with a coal forge is also required.

Fees. The Certificate program costs $5,988.

Courses offered:

  • Certificate- Artistic Blacksmithing: Level I

Contact information:

  • Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing is located at 200 West 12th Street, Waynesboro, VA 22980
  • Phone: 434-960-9718
  • Website: https://vablacksmithing.org

2Fortis Institute

Fortis College provides career education and training for future allied health professionals, massage therapists, and mechanics at its two Virginia campuses.

Students can be ready to begin a career in their chosen field upon graduation.

Fortis College is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

The College holds a certificate to operate in Virginia issued by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

Enrollment. Application requirements depend on the program.

Applicants must be high school graduates or possess the recognized equivalent of a high school certificate.

Students must be at least 17 years of age at the time the program starts.

Applicants must interview with an admissions representative.

Other requirements also apply, depending on the program.

Fees. Total costs vary between 13,066 and 37,866, depending on the program.

Courses offered:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Practical Nursing
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Assisting
  • Surgical Technology- only at Richmond Campus
  • Sterile Processing Technician- only at Richmond Campus

Contact information:

  • The Norfolk Campus is located at 6300 Center Dr #100, Norfolk, VA 23502, USA
  • Toll-Free:
  • Website: https://www.fortis.edu

3Virginia Technical Institute

Virginia Technical Institute provides fast and affordable hands-on training in a variety of fields including electrical, plumbing, welding, carpentry, masonry, and project management.

The first classes students take are CORE and the Level 1 trade.

CORE class covers the basics of safety, construction math, hand tools, power tools, blueprints, communication skills, job market skills, and materials handling.

Students have the opportunity to earn a journeyman’s license in a field of their choosing by attending classes two nights a week from 5-9 p.m.

Virginia Technical Institute uses curriculum from the National Center for Construction Education and Research, which is a standardized training process affiliated with the University of Florida.

The Institute is also certified through the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Fees. Tuition fees vary by program.

The total cost of the CORE and Level 1 trade class is approximately $1758 or $1858 for Welding.

A payment plan is also available.

Courses offered:

  • CORE
  • Carpentry
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Industrial Maintenance
  • Plumbing
  • Welding

Contact information:

  • The Virginia Technical Institute is located at 201 Ogden Road, Altavista, Virginia 24517
  • Phone: 434-369-8200
  • Website: http://www.govti.org

4Lotus School of Integrated Professions

The Lotus School trains students for a career in massage therapy, esthetics, or master esthetics.

Students can earn the certificate in as few as 8 months.

Experienced instructors help students get academic education and practical clinical experience.

The Lotus School also teaches students about ethics and business to prepare them for running their own business or a successful practice in an established business.

The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

The Lotus School is certified to operate by the State Council of Virginia for Higher Education.

Enrollment. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age before the graduation date.

Prospective students must complete a tour of the school and interview with an Admissions Representative.

A copy of the high school diploma or equivalent and a brief written statement are also required.

Fees. The registration fee is $100 and tuition is $7,950.

Tuition installment plans and financing plans are also available.

If you are a veteran or family member of a veteran, you may be eligible for VA government programs.

Courses offered:

  • Massage
  • Esthetics
  • Master Esthetics

Contact information:

  • Lotus School is located at 10960 Three Chopt Road Ste A, Richmond, VA 23233
  • Phone: 804-290-0980
  • Website: https://lotusva.com

5The Apprentice School

The Apprentice School is training men and women for careers in shipbuilding.

Students can become craftsmen during a minimum 7,000 hours of on-the-job training in one of 19 shipbuilding disciplines.

An apprentice is placed in one of three shipbuilding disciplines selected during the application process and works in that trade for the duration of the apprenticeship.

Apprentices complete 1,000 hours of course work in the Trade-Related Education Curriculum and World Class Shipbuilder Curriculum.

The average apprenticeship is completed in four to five years; all apprentices graduate with a certificate of apprenticeship.

Apprentices who excel in the World Class Shipbuilder Curriculum and Trades Related Education Courses and their shipbuilding discipline may be considered for an advanced discipline.

During the advanced discipline training students complete on-the-job training and academic coursework toward an associate degree offered in partnership with local community colleges.

The Apprentice School is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education.

Courses offered:

Shipbuilding Disciplines:

  • Coasting Specialist
  • Electrician
  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Heavy Metal Fabricator
  • Insulator
  • Machinist
  • Maintenance Electrician
  • Maintenance Pipefitter
  • Millwright
  • Molder
  • Non-Destructive Tester
  • Outside Machinist
  • Patternmaker
  • Pipefitter
  • Rigger
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Shipfitter
  • Welder
  • Welding Equipment Repair
  • Advanced Disciplines

Advanced Disciplines:

  • Advanced Shipyard Operations
  • Cost Estimator
  • Dimensional Control Technician
  • Marine Designer
  • Modeling and Simulation Program Analyst
  • Nuclear Test Technician
  • Production Planner
  • Marine Engineer
  • Supply Chain Management

Contact information:

  • Admissions Office is located at 3101 Washington Ave. 1st Floor, Newport News, VA 23607
  • Website: https://www.as.edu

6Washington County Career & Technical Education Center

The Washington County Career & Technical Education Center (WCCTEC) offers introductory and specialized training in a variety of high-demand trades.

WCCTEC serves students from Abingdon High School, Holston High School, John S. Battle High School, and Patrick Henry High School.

Most programs are available to 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students.

The state-of-the-art training received at the center allows students to explore occupations, begin a career, or advance to higher education.

The classes offer students the opportunity to earn a professional credential and verified credit.

Several courses give students the possibility to take a professional certification test at the end of their coursework.

Dual college credit can be earned by attending one of the following programs: Medical Terminology, Drafting, Networking, Criminal Justice, or Culinary Arts.

Courses offered:

Some of the courses offered at the Washington County Career

  • Autotech Collision Repair
  • Automotive Technology
  • Auto Body Repair
  • Masonry
  • Building Trades
  • Carpentry
  • Practical Nursing
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Nurse Assistant
  • Cosmetology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Welding
  • Culinary Arts
  • Advertising Design
  • Computer Maintenance
  • Computer-Aided Drafting
  • Computer Technology

Contact information:

7The Chrysm Institute of Esthetics

The Chrysm Institute of Esthetics offers state-of-the-art education and training in the latest trends in skin care treatments.

The Institute is Licensed by DPOR, Accredited by NACCAS, Certified to Operate by SCHEV, and Approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Chrysm Institute of Esthetics teaches from its location in the Town Center area of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The Undergraduate certificates in Professional Esthetics can be completed in 25 weeks by full-time students and in 50 weeks by part-time students.

Professional Esthetics graduates are able to practice as Licensed Estheticians in the State of Virginia after getting licensed.

Master Esthetics graduates, after getting their license, are able to practice as Licensed Master Estheticians in the State of Virginia.

Graduates must pass the Theory and Practical exams in order to receive their license and perform services in the State of Virginia.

Upon completion of the course, students must submit an application to the State of Virginia to apply to take both exams.

Enrollment. Applicants need a copy of the high-school diploma or equivalent.

Students under the age of 18 need parental consent and parents will be required to sign the enrollment documents.

Fees. The application fee is $50 and tuition is $9,600.

Textbook and student kits cost an additional $700.

Courses offered:

  • Professional Esthetics
  • Master Esthetics

Contact information:

  • Mailing Address: 281 Independence Blvd.  Suite 101 Virginia Beach, VA 23462
  • Phone: (757) 456-5386
  • Website: https://www.chrysm.org

8Lillique Training Institute

Lillique Training Institute is providing high-quality training for those who pursue a career in the beauty industry.

The Institute focuses on providing students with the skills and knowledge required and to help them achieve their goals and dreams.

The school offers licensing programs, certificate programs, and elective courses.

In the Basic Esthetics program, students study skincare, body care, hair removal, and makeup.

During the Master Esthetics course, students learn treatment-oriented facial techniques such as Microdermabrasion, chemical exfoliation techniques, ultrasonic, micro-current, IPL, and lymphatic drainage.

During the 90-hour Permanent Cosmetics Tattooing program, students learn about the safety of permanent cosmetics, allergic reactions, sanitation, sterilization, skin anatomy, color theory, the art of drawing eyebrows, eyeliner and lips, and much more.

After completing the course students will be required to take a state licensing exam which they need to pass to obtain their license.

Enrollment. Prospective students can apply by completing a form on the school’s website.

Fees. Training fees vary by program.

Courses offered:

  • Basic Esthetics
  • Master Esthetics
  • Permanent Cosmetics Tattooing

Contact information:

9Advanced Fuller School of Massage Therapy

Advanced Fuller School of Massage Therapy is offering training for students who want to pursue a career in Therapeutic Massage.

Founded in 1983, AFSM was the first school of massage to be certified to operate as a proprietary school by the Virginia Board of Education.

The school offers a modular 600- hour training program, which encompasses a core curriculum of 375 hours and a selection from over 400-hours worth of electives.

Upon successful completion of the course, graduates can take the licensing examination.

Specifically, 94% of the school’s graduates who sit for the licensing Exam have passed and received their Virginia State License.

The school is certified to operate by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Advanced Fuller School of Massage Therapy is a member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals and a member of the America Massage Therapy Association.

Enrollment. Students must be at least 18 years of age, hold a high school diploma and complete a personal interview with the Director.

Fees. The enrollment fee is $100 and tuition for the 375-hour Level I program is $3,000.

Level II tuition cost ranges between $1,575 and $2,000, depending on the electives chosen.

AFSM in-house financing is available.

The school also accepts private loans and grants.

Contact information:

10The Institute of Advanced Medical Esthetics

The Institute of Advanced Medical Esthetics is a Master Esthetician school in Central Virginia.

The Master Esthetician program is designed to meet the requirements of licensure in the State of Virginia.

During the program, students learn about Microdermabrasion Exfoliation Techniques, Enzymes, Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Peels, Light Therapy treatments, Ultrasound and Microcurrent technology, Lymphatic Drainage (Manual and Machine) and much more.

The 600-hour Master Esthetics can be completed in 24 weeks.

The school is certified to operate by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Enrollment. Admissions into the school’s Master Only Program (meaning that students have attended the Basic Esthetics program elsewhere), requires a letter of recommendation from one of the school’s senior staff members.

Applicants need to email a high school diploma or equivalent along with a short essay and a scanned color copy of their Driver’s License.

Fees. The total program cost is $9,950 and includes tuition, fees, textbooks, product & treatment supplies, use of linens that are laundered by a professional linen service.

Financial aid is also available to students who qualify.

Courses offered:

  • Master Esthetics Program

Contact information:

Salary Information for Popular Trade Careers

CareerEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Paralegals and Legal Assistants10,470$60,570$29.12$83,650$35,530
Medical Records Specialists4,550$52,580$25.28$76,020$34,320
Nursing Assistants36,830$33,070$15.90$40,210$24,130
Dental Assistants8,110$44,980$21.63$59,630$34,470
Medical Assistants15,230$39,600$19.04$50,850$30,280
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters12,060$55,030$26.46$75,330$37,240
Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics19,750$50,950$24.50$76,370$30,320
Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers12,640$55,880$26.87$78,270$36,750
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Virginia, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Final Thoughts

Virginia schools offer a variety of vocational programs and choosing the right one can be a difficult task.

In order to help you, on this page we have selected 10 of the best trade schools in the region.

The list also includes relevant factors for each school, such as tuition costs, course duration, school accreditation, etc.

Don’t forget to make your own research before choosing the school that best fits your needs and professional aspirations.