You've decided on a trade and have even investigated some potential schools and programs. What's next? In addition to applying for financial aid from a particular institution, you can also get financial aid from various companies and organizations. After you've investigated school-specific aid, you can look to organizations interested in supporting students with financial need, good academic credentials and an interest in trade school. While some of these scholarships are based on grades and tests scores, others take area of study, race, gender and career goals into account.
There are also general vocational scholarships available for particular trades. For example, Straightfoward Media offers a trade scholarship of $500 dollars, paid out four times a year. Home Depot sponsors students studying contracting, construction and HVAC and awards $5,000 in scholarship money.
In addition to scholarships, you also might be eligible for student loans through companies like Sallie Mae. If you're pursuing a career in beauty or cosmetology, flight school, computer training, culinary school, nurse aide, massage therapy, medical technician, dental hygienist, technical school, or MRI technical school, you could qualify for a Career Training Loan [source: Vocational and Trade School Scholarships].
Another option is to apply for federally funded financial aid. Check to see if your school accepts this type of aid and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the same form used by traditional four-year schools. If you qualify for aid through the FAFSA, you may receive both loans and grants to support you during your time in trade school. Stafford and Perkins Loans and Pell Grants are sometimes available for trade schools. Stafford Loans require no financial qualifications, and Perkins Loans are sponsored by your school at low interest rates. Pell Grants are awarded based on a student's financial situation.
Aside from scholarships, loans and grants, you also might want to consider your employer. Some employers are willing to reimburse you part or full tuition. For example, if you get a job working for a plumber, that plumber might be willing to pay some of your tuition if you commit to working for his or her company for a certain amount of time.
Check out the next page for more information about financial aid and trade school.