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From automotive technology to graphic communications to residential remodeling, trade school offers smart choices for career training.

One of the big-time advantages to technical school is the cost savings it offers. A study found that the average cost of a bachelor’s degree in the United States is approximately $127,000. In contrast, a vocational or trade school degree costs about $33,000.

Despite the lower cost, however, you’ll likely still need to find a way to help pay for some or all of your occupational education. Here are five options.

Federal Work-Study Program

Some technical schools partner with Federal Work-Study to provide jobs for students with financial need. The wage you earn during Federal Work-Study can be used for any education expenses, including tuition, room, and board.

These part-time jobs may involve working for the school you’re attending or a local business or organization your school has an agreement with. This program to pay for trade school favors jobs related to the student’s studies or those that involve community service.

Paid Internships/Apprenticeships

While trade schools offer labs and onsite training to develop on-the-job skills, some also offer the opportunity to take part in paid internships or apprenticeships. These valuable positions pay wages you can set aside for vocational school expenses.

Traditional Student Loans

Many students rely on interest-bearing loans to pay for trade school or occupational education. But traditional student loans charge interest, an extra cost that can weigh you down with extra debt, affect your ability to buy a home in the future, and reduce the amount you can save for retirement.

No-Interest Student Loans

With these trade school loans, you pay back only the amount you borrow—no added interest. No-interest borrowing can save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan, keeping education costs down so you can start your career with less debt hanging over your head.  Learn how to apply for a zero-interest loan to help pay for technical school and earn your occupational certificate.


Scholarships are monetary awards based on performance in a specific area, like sports or academics. You don’t need to pay the money back. However, the scholarship may require that you maintain certain standards, such as a minimum GPA.

Grants are awards based on financial need. Available from many sources, including the federal government and private organizations, grants do not need to be paid back.

Apply for a no-interest student loan to lower trade school debt.

For the 2017-18 academic year, Lancaster Dollars for Higher Learning will award up to 600 Lancaster County students with no-interest loans valued at $1,700 each. We’re accepting applications through April 28, 2017. Check out Loan FAQs for more information.