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Trade School Requirements: Ultimate Application Guide

Oct 6, 2020 ·

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For a lot of people, the timeline of education from the time they start elementary school to the time they graduate high school looks relatively the same. Once a student graduates high school, however, they are expected to make a decision about their future and what they might want to do as a career.

Sometimes, the choice is to attend a traditional two or four-year university – but that isn’t the right fit for every graduate. Trade schools are another option that present a unique opportunity for students to prepare for a career in a field they’re passionate about.

Trade schools also offer the benefit of allowing students to earn a degree in a shorter amount of time than a traditional university. This means you could be out in the field in potentially two years or less, depending on the program you choose!

If you’re wanting to equip yourself with specific knowledge and practical, hands-on training, then looking into attending a trade school is a great idea. It helps when starting out to know general trade school requirements so you can know how to get into trade school and feel ready to take the next step, so keep reading!

Previous Education and Placement Exams

Once you’ve decided that you want to further your education, knowing all of the requirements on how to get in to trade school can help you feel confident in taking the next steps.

Across the board, one of the basic requirements for attending a trade school is the attainment of high school qualifications. This can look different for each individual student and doesn’t mean that you need a high school diploma to go to trade school.

Documents that are accepted apart from a high school diploma can include a state-issued GED or state-authorized equivalency exam. Completion of an officially recognized home schooling program is also accepted. Some trade schools, such as Universal Technical Institute, will also accept evidence of attending a Title IV-eligible program or successful completion of a degree program at a postsecondary level.

Apart from having some form of accepted education documentation, a majority of schools will require students to take some sort of placement test before admission is granted. While these tests are used to help determine if a student is the right fit for the school, most trade schools do not require additional testing or certain scores on things like the SAT or ACT.

Trade School GPA Requirements

You might be wondering whether trade schools take a student’s GPA into consideration when they apply. This can vary depending on which school you’re applying to. Most of the time, GPA doesn’t matter as much as fulfilling other requirements when it comes to previous education or placement exams.

UTI does not require a minimum GPA to be accepted into a core program, but students may need a specific GPA to qualify for scholarships to help them pay for school.10 When it comes to Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) programs, requirements are set by the manufacturer, and these can vary from program to program.15

Additional Prerequisites for Getting Into Trade School

There are a few other things that you want to keep in mind when you’re looking into attending a trade school. Along with certain educational requirements, many trade schools have a few other things they consider prerequisites for enrollment.

Age requirements for applying to a trade school can vary by state. Typically, the minimum age is 16, but depending on the program, applicants might have to be older. Many schools accepting students under the age of 18, including UTI,  require a parent or legal guardian to sign an enrollment agreement.

You can attend a trade school in any state you choose, and many trade schools offer the same rates to both in-state and out-of-state residents. However, the costs can vary depending on what campus you’re attending. Doing research beforehand will help you know what to expect! 

How to Apply to Trade School

When applying to trade school, one of the major benefits they offer unlike traditional universities are multiple start dates throughout the year and rolling admissions. This allows you to start earning your degree when the time is right for you, instead of having to wait for a spring or fall semester to enroll.

Before applying, it’s important to research specific tuition costs at the school you’re looking to attend. Many schools offer tuition estimators as well as a range of resources for financial aid. Some schools, like UTI, even offer specific scholarships and grants you can apply for to help with costs.

Gather any required documents you might need before starting the process as well. Having your proof of education and placement exams (if required) will be handy. Often, there will be a non-refundable application fee collected, so have a payment method on hand.

The application process itself is pretty straightforward. The institution will have you choose which program type best suits your interests, then collect eligibility and financial information.

Once your application has been submitted, an admissions representative will likely contact you to discuss the next steps and potentially conduct an interview. This is to ensure you and the school are a good fit for one another.

Take the Next Step Toward a Career You’re Passionate About

Trade school can be a great choice to further your education if you know you want to learn a skilled trade. Now that you have the knowledge on how to get in and apply, the last thing to do is find the right institution that will help you translate your interests into real-world skills to set you on a path of success.

With numerous training programs ranging from Collision Repair & Refinish Technology (CRRT) to Diesel Technology, Universal Technical Institute can help prepare you for a career in the transportation industry.1

To learn more, you can visit our website or request information to connect with an Admissions Representative today.

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

10) Financial aid, scholarships and grants are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.

15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation. Programs available at select locations.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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