types of trade schools in connecticut

Types of Trade Schools [And Alternatives to Consider] for Manufacturing

From technical schools to vocational institutes, workforce readiness programs to career colleges, there are many types of trade schools to consider for a career-centric education.

Each type of trade school will vary depending on its curriculum, institution, program, and state. However, they do have one thing in common: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics clusters trade school teachers under a “Career and Technical Education” (CTE) umbrella. Their role is to prepare students to enter practiced professions, through skills-based education and training. They focus on hands-on learning, demonstrating techniques and tools, and encouraging students to develop real-world career skills.

Before we understand the types of trade schools – and alternatives to those institutes – let’s first take a moment to understand what a trade school is.

What is a Trade School?

Trade schools are postsecondary institutions that teach specific career skills to their students. Graduates of trade schools walk away with the training and knowledge needed for their designated, skills-based career, as well as an awarded certificate, diploma, or associate degree.

Types of Trade School Programs

Trade schools focus on skills-based career preparation. As a result, the programs offered at trade schools typically pertain to very hands-on and practical fields. For example, many trade schools offer welding programs—teaching students about safety, tools, and welding techniques, and awarding them with a certificate upon completion.

Manufacturing fields are a common focus of trade school programs including other sectors like CNC machining, construction, HVAC technology, mechanical, electrical, and metrology (to name a few). However, trade schools also offer programs in healthcare—such as medical assisting, radiation therapy, dental hygiene, and nursing—as well as skills-based careers like web development, public security, and culinary design.

Alternatives to Trade School

In your research for postsecondary education, you may have come across other names for or types of trade schools. Here are some of the common types of institutions that overlap with trade schools:

  • Technical schools – Technical school is synonymous with trade school. Technical schools focus on practical, skills-based training in a specific trade or profession.
  • Vocational schoolsVocational schools are another name for trade schools. They, too, are designed to prepare students for specifically-set careers, offering programs tailored to those individual fields and helping students attain their career goals through practical job training.
  • Workforce readiness programsWorkforce readiness training programs are designed for individuals with little or no job experience, helping them to secure entry-level employment in in-demand fields.
  • Career-focused colleges – Career-focused colleges are a bit different from the types of trade schools above, in that they go beyond solely skills-based training. While career-focused colleges (as their name implies) focus on training students for specific careers, they also prepare students with other skills needed to succeed in the workforce, including communication, management, and more. Career-focused colleges also offer higher degrees than trade schools, with awards ranging from certificate to master’s degree. You can learn more about the difference between trade schools and career-focused colleges and universities here.

Types of Trade School Programs in Manufacturing

As noted above, most trade schools place great focus on manufacturing. After all, manufacturing represents almost 10 percent of all national employees, making it among the largest career sectors in the United States with 14.7 million workers. What many prospective students do not know is that compensation and award are also high for manufacturing employees, as they earn 9 percent more income, on average, than pay scales earned in private industries. In Connecticut, the average salary for manufacturing workers is $100,662 annually.

If you are interested in the tricks and the trades of manufacturing, and seeking a school that can prepare you for this field, you are in the right place. It’s true you can find a great manufacturing or mechanical program at your local trade or technical school. However, future fabricators can find the same quality of career preparedness (or better!) at flexible, convenient, career-focused institutions like Goodwin University.

As an alternative to the traditional trade school, Goodwin offers accredited manufacturing certificate and degree programs up to the bachelor’s degree level. These programs are highly flexible, allowing for some hybrid and online coursework, evening and weekend options, accelerated formats, and more.

From credits and certificates to earning an associate or bachelor’s degree (and beyond), examples of the different levels and types of manufacturing trade programs include:

With comprehensive continuing education options and an in-demand job outlook, manufacturing students can cater to their interests, cultivate their expertise, cross the commencement stage, and construct a rewarding, worthwhile career at Goodwin.


Check out our downloadable CNC Machining or Welding Get Started Guides to discover if we have a program that fits your needs!


Advantages of Career-Focused Colleges and Universities

Compared to a traditional vocational school, career-focused institutions may offer students more diverse opportunities to practice and master their professional skills. Goodwin University’s Hartford Training Center, for instance, enables those looking for an occupation change, underemployed, or unemployed, to broaden their understanding of the manufacturing industry and uncover specific sectors of interest.

Examples of free exploratory workshops offered by the Hartford training center include:

  • 3D printing
  • Assembly skills
  • Basic tool skills
  • Basic wiring
  • Blueprint reading
  • Laser engraving
  • Leatherwork
  • Production
  • Sewing, and more!

Additionally, career-focused learners may be afforded valuable academic, financial, and professional resources like academic tutoring, career services, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and industry-specific financial aid scholarships.

Made in Connecticut: Manufacturing and Postsecondary CTE Statistics

  • During the 2020-2021 school year, the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) reported over 36,000 postsecondary CTE participants in Connecticut.
  • In the September 2022 Connecticut Manufacturing Report, 4,368 advanced manufacturing companies listed Connecticut as its home headquarters.
  • The same year, manufacturing workers accounted for 160,200 employees in The Constitution State.
  • The average Connecticut manufacturing compensation was also recognized in the report as $101,136.

Are you ready to make a difference in the field of manufacturing in Connecticut? Discover what advanced manufacturing credentials can mean for your future career.