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14 Best Trade Schools in San Diego 2021

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You can find some of the best trade schools in San Diego. These organizations provide opportunities to pursue diverse subjects and offer valuable vocational training.

Unlike the traditional four-year degree, these programs offer students specific training based on their chosen career path. Students are also provided the knowledge and skills needed to transition directly into the workforce.

From El Cajon to San Marcos, you’ll be able to find accredited trade schools offering vocational education in nearly all fields, from medical assisting to IT support. Check out the list below for more information on the 15 best trade schools in San Diego, California.


The 14 Best Vocational Schools in San Diego

learn about the trade school enrollment process

ICOHS College

1770 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, United States

ICOHS college is the place to go if you’re looking to start a career in holistic health, massage therapy, or IT support.

Both the Holistic Health Practitioner and Professional Massage Therapist training programs abide by the California Massage Therapy Council. Graduates are qualified to apply for a license from the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), which legally allows you to practice massage in California.

The school also offers two programs in the technology space. The IT Systems Administrator certificate focuses on different areas of software maintenance, from installation to troubleshooting. Meanwhile, the IT Network Specialist certificate focuses more heavily on maintaining PC Computers, switches, and Cisco routers.

Interested in joining the information technology industry? Learn more about the best IT schools in San Diego!

ICOHS College remains one of the best schools in San Diego, with a graduation rate of 79%.

Courses Offered

  • Professional Massage Therapist
  • Holistic Health Practitioner
  • IT Network Specialist
  • IT Systems Administrator

IT Bootcamps

  • CompTIA A+ Bootcamp
  • CompTIA Net+ Bootcamp
  • CompTIA Sec+ Bootcamp
  • CompTIA Server+ Bootcamp
  • Cisco CCNA Certification

Program Length

Certificate programs: Between 7-13 months

IT boot camps: Between 5-15 weeks

Tuition Fee

ICOHS has an average tuition fee of $17,000; financial aid and military benefits are available to all eligible students. Learn more.

Concorde Career College

4393 Imperial Ave, San Diego, California, 92113, USA

Concorde Career College is one of the best vocational schools for high-quality training in medical assisting. Concorde has four main medical assistant training faculties: dental assisting, allied health, patient care, and nursing. 

The San Diego campus is open to both prospective students and those committed to continuing their education, providing associate degree programs, and preparing attendees for college diplomas.

The graduation rate at Concorde Career is 77%.

Courses Offered

  • Dental assistant
  • Dental hygiene
  • Medical assistant
  • Medical office administration
  • Physical therapist assistant
  • Surgical technology
  • Vocational nursing

Program Length

Nine months to a year. Flexible scheduling is available.

Tuition Fee

The average tuition fee for Concorde College’s San Diego campus is $16,896.

Bellus Academy

many  students choose vocational colleges

13266 Poway Rd, Poway, California 92064, United States

Bellus Academy is one of the leading technical schools for beautician training in the San Diego area. This El Cajon campus has been setting up careers in beauty for over 40 years now, focusing on cosmetology, barbering, make-up, and esthetics.

The graduation rate is 78%.

Courses Offered

  • Cosmetology
  • Cosmetology 102
  • Barber/Cosmetology
  • Esthetics
  • Esthetics 102
  • Esthetics 103
  • Make-up Artistry

Program Length

The program runs anywhere from 150 hours and 1750 credit hours. Make-up artistry takes the least amount of time to complete. Flexible scheduling is available.

Tuition Fee

The average cost of tuition at Bellus Academy is $13,590. FAFSA and military benefits financial aid is available at this college.

San Diego Medical College

6780 Miramar Road suite #204, San Diego, California, 92121

San Diego Medical College offers a number of accelerated programs targeted and nurses in training in accordance with the California Department of Public Health. This medical assistant training school has campuses currently in Chula Vista and will soon open one in El Cajon.

Those interested in enrolling in the Chula Vista campus should be aware that a background in medicine is preferred.

Courses Offered

  • RN & LVN NCLEX Review
  • Pharmacology
  • Front-Back Office Medical Assistant
  • Food Handler Certification
  • CPR First Aid Training
  • EKG Training
  • Nurse Assistant Program
  • Home Health Aide Program
  • Continuing Education Units

Program Length

Programs offered by the San Diego Medical College span from a week to nine months. On average, courses take three months to complete 

Tuition Fee

The tuition fee for this San Diego location college ranges from $1,200 and $2,000, depending on what program you select.

Center for Employment Training

4153 Market St, San Diego, California, 92102, United States

One of the most eclectic vocational schools in the San Diego area, the Center for Employment Training (CET) offers specialized courses in childcare, medical assisting, welding, green building construction, and culinary arts.

The graduation rate for San Diego’s Center for Employment Training is 68%.

Courses Offered

  • Welding Fabrication
  • Medical Assistant
  • Green Building Construction Skills

Program Length

All programs offered by the Center for Employment Training require 900 hours of vocational training. Students will spend anywhere from six to nine months completing these requirements.

Tuition Fee

Estimated cost of tuition:  $14,500.

San Diego Masters of Bartending School

3544 Ashford St, San Diego, CA 92111, United States

The San Diego Masters of Bartending School prepares students for careers as contemporary bartenders. Training includes information on craft cocktails, mixed shooters, beer and wine service, and more. Students will also be trained in alcohol awareness, food health, bartending flair, and cash box handling.

Courses Offered

  • Industry Certified Bartending Training Program

Program Length

The training program offered by the Masters of Bartending School takes around two weeks to complete.

Tuition Fee

The Industry Certified Bartending Training Program costs $499 to enroll. Military discounts apply.

Can you use MyCAA more than once? Find out by reading our new blog. Learn important information about military benefits and their associated requirements today.

Associated Technical College

many schools offer trade programs for students

 2650 Camino Del Rio N #100, San Diego, CA 92108, United States

San Diego’s Associated Technical College is one of the leading career schools in telecommunications, technology, and microcomputer technology. The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education approves all training offered, which the Associated Technical College has provided since 1984.

Courses Offered

  • Microcomputer Technology Program
  • Telecommunications Technology Program

Program Length

The programs offered by San Diego’s Associated Technical College run for eight months each.

Tuition Fee

The estimated tuition fee for the Associated Technical College in San Diego, California, is $17,000. 80% of those who enroll in Associated Technical College receive grants and scholarships to help cover the cost of tuition.

Phlebotomy U

2535 Camino del Rio S #300, San Diego, CA 92108, United States

Phlebotomy is one of San Diego’s leading vocational schools focused on phlebotomy study. The facilities at the San Diego campus provide students with real-life experience in administering phlebotomy to patients.

California Department of Public Health and the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education offers their endorsement for San Francisco’s Phlebotomy U.

Courses Offered

  • CPT I Phlebotomy Course
  • Blood Withdrawal
  • Safe Venipuncture (for Radiologic Technician)
  • Advanced Abbreviated CPT I Courses

Program Length

PhlebotomyU’s programs can last anywhere between 120 hours to 220 hours. Schedules are flexible, with weekend classes available.

Tuition Fees

Average costs typically amount to $2,900.

Platt College

6250 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115, United States

This El Cajon campus operates as a private technical school, offering courses exclusively on graphic arts and design. This organization provides a healthy range of specialty programs, from 3D modeling to web design classes, along with bachelor’s degree programs in digital video production.

The graduation rate of Platt College is 73%.

Courses Offered

  • Graphic Design
  • Digital Media Design
  • 3D Modelling and Design
  • Web Design and Development

Program length

Most students will complete their certificate program in about 18 months.

Tuition Fees

Visit the tuition & net cost calculator to get a better sense of the overall costs. Financial aid is available to all eligible students.

Fast Track Medical Training Center

6160 Mission Gorge Rd UNIT 120, San Diego, CA 92120, United States

The Fast Track Medical Training Center provides quality education for those interested in careers in the healthcare industry.

Students will not only receive the skills and knowledge needed to provide care for patients, but they will also learn how to assume an appropriate demeanor for this profession.

Courses Offered

  • CNA Course
  • Pharmacology Certificate

Program Length

Program length ranges from three weeks to nine months.

Tuition Fee

Tuition fees for the Fast Track Medical Training Center courses cost $1,500. There is no registration fee, but a $500 deposit is necessary to apply.

The Accounting Academy of San Diego

bridge career education is a famous trade school in San Diego

7283 Engineer Rd, San Diego, CA 92111, United States

The Accounting Academy of San Diego specializes in accounting and bookkeeping and provides real-world, hands-on instruction to help students achieve entry-level employment in the field. The school also provides students with work placement assistance and maintains connections to various San Diego accounting agencies.

Courses Offered

  • Payroll Specialist Program
  • Accounts Receivable Specialist Program
  • Tax Preparer/Enrolled Agent Program
  • Accounts Payable Specialist Program
  • Small Business Accounting and Bookkeeping Training Programs
  • Administrative Assistant Program
  • Tax Preparer Program

Program Length

The courses offered by the Accounting Academy in San Diego, California, take anywhere from six and eight months to complete.

Tuition Fee

The estimated cost is $7,500.

Golden State Contractors School

2515 Camino del Rio S #120, San Diego, CA 92108, United States

This school provides training facilities and exam preparation programs to help aspiring contractors receive their licensure. Classroom knowledge will familiarize students with contractor law and additional trade practices. Online learning is also available.

Courses Offered

  • Business Workshop
  • Contractor Full Law Refresher Class
  • Corporate, LLC, and Partnership Processing
  • Trade Only / Additional Trade Study Programs

Program Length

Programs offered through the Golden State Contractors School programs last anywhere from one to six weeks.

Tuition Fee

Estimated costs range from $300-$795.

Riggins Urban Barber College

Riggins Urban Barber College not only provides students with the skills needed to excel as a barber, but the school also introduces the knowledge and skills needed to start a business of their own. 

Training will include barbering practice, barbershop management, business concepts, and the psychology of personal success. By the end of the program, students will be eligible to sit for the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology examination.

This college is supported by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).

Courses Offered

  • Barbering Course
  • Barbering/Cosmo Crossover

Program Length

The programs offered by Riggins Urban Barber College require a total of 1500 hours of coursework and technical instruction.

Tuition Fee

The Barbering Course offered by Riggins Urban Barber College costs a total of $21,160.50

Western Truck School

 10541 Prospect Ave, Santee, CA 92071, United States

The Western Truck School, San Diego campus, provides the industry training needed to pursue a career as a commercial truck driver. Classroom and field training is provided, including highway, rural and city driving, and day and nighttime traffic conditions. Students will also explore defensive driving, backing, and emergency procedures.

Learn about the benefits of vocational education today. Begin a rewarding career in the health sciences. Construction, consumer services, or the trades!

A valid driver’s license is a requirement for enrollment.

Courses Offered

  • Forklift Program
  • Class A Commercial Driving Extended Program
  • Class B/P Combined Commercial Driving Program
  • Class A Master Commercial Driving Program
  • Class A Advance Commercial Driving Program
  • Class P Passenger Commercial Driver Program
  • Class B Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A or B Specialized/Refresher Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A/P Combined Commercial Driver Program
  • Class A Commercial Driver Program

Program Length

Programs offered by Western Truck School take anywhere from one to three months to complete.

Tuition Fee

Western Truck School programs cost between $400 and $6,500.


from vera Cruz to Chula vista, there are plenty of schools in San Diego

From La Mesa to San Marcos, from business management to criminal justice, you’ll be able to find it all within the precinct of San Diego. 

Whether you’re looking to pass a state board exam approved by the accrediting council or simply looking to brush up on occupational skills, you’ll be able to find various colleges in San Diego to accommodate you.

If you’re interested in learning more about programs offered by ICOHS college, fill out this form to speak to an admissions representative today. We provide a range of certificate programs and Boot Camps, including:

Scholarships and title IV funding are available to help students cover tuition costs. Speak to a member of our staff at (858) 581-9460 or email us for help with financial assistance. 

We also offer career counseling to all students. After graduation, students will maintain access to our job placement assistance program.ICOHS College is accredited by the ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education, To learn more about ICOHS College accreditations and licenses, visit our accreditation page.


How do I choose the right trade school?

The most important factors include location, price, programing offerings, and graduation rates when selecting a trade school. ICOHS College is proud to maintain a graduation rate of 79 percent.

How long do trade schools typically last?

While most technical training can be completed on an expedited schedule, the length of time it takes to complete will vary. Some certificate programs can be completed in as little as a week, while others may take upwards of two years to complete.

Do trade schools look at GPA?

Some trade schools will only admit students with a GPA of 2.0. This, however, does not apply to all trade schools, as some do not consider G.P.A. an enrollment factor.

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