Trade schools, or vocational or technical schools, offer two-year programs that train students for a specific occupation. And as the cost of traditional four-year universities continue to mount, leaving students burdened by debt upon graduation, trade schools may become even more appealing.
In fact, enrollment in trade schools swelled to 16 million in 2014, which is up from 9.6 million in 1999, according to The Atlantic.
And while there are many options. Niche, a raking and review site, formerly known as College Prowler, compiled a list of the top trade schools for 2020 based in part by student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education.
Here are the top five according to Niche and their overall rating as determined by the company.
Fox Valley Technical College: A-
The public college is located in Grand Chute, Wisc. About 2,190 undergraduate students attend the school. And about 60 percent of graduates go on to earn a starting salary of $32,200, according to Niche. Popular areas of focus include nursing assistants, welding, and machine and metalworking.
Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute: B+
The public college is located in Wooster, Ohio. A mere 635 students are enrolled in the undergraduate program. Roughly 50 percent of graduating students earn a starting salary of about $37,900, according to Niche. Popular areas of focus include animal sciences and husbandry, agricultural business, and crop and soil sciences, Niche says.
Western Iowa Tech Community College: B +
The public college is located in Sioux City, Iowa. Approximately 1,898 undergraduate students attend the institution. About 35 percent of graduates go on to earn a starting salary of $26,900. Popular areas of focus include nursing assistants, liberal arts and humanities and automotive mechanics.
Lake Area Technical Institute: B+
The public college is located in Watertown, S.D. The institution is comprised of roughly 1,517 undergraduate students. Roughly 75 percent of graduates go on to earn a starting salary of about $34,100, according to Niche. Popular areas of focus include agricultural business, diesel mechanics, and welding.
San Jacinto College: B+
The public college located is located in Pasadena, Texas. The mid-size institution has 7,081 undergraduate students. About 32 percent of graduates earn a starting salary of $30,500. Some of the school's most popular areas of focus include liberal arts and humanities, business, and welding.