Students who earn their general equivalency diploma (GED) have excellent opportunities for further study and job training. There are many GED trade schools in the U.S., varying widely in size, location and training. Some programs are found in two-year community colleges or four-year colleges; others are found at vocational or technical schools. A wide variety of course programs are available, and many schools also offer students, particularly single parents, financial aid.

Diverse Programs

Trade schools offer training in diverse fields. Possible choices of study include travel and tourism, accounting, computers, fashion, film and photography, casinos, airline and aviation, broadcasting, horseshoeing, counseling, health care, court reporting, massage therapy, drafting and architecture, animal training, engineering, arts and design, homeland security, engine repair, property management and welding. In addition to classroom-based studies, online studies are also available at many schools and colleges.

Researching Schools

Any trade or vocational school must be thoroughly researched before the student enrolls. It is important that the school be an accredited institution and legally licensed in the state where it operates. It is vital that the prospective student get firsthand information, either from graduates or current students, on the quality of teaching and the reputation that the school has in the preferred field of work. The school’s tuition should be average and not excessive for the type of training the student will receive.

Pre- and Post-GED Courses

A GED issued by the state’s own department of education is often required by state-run institutions, such as Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland is an example of a college that offers noncredit GED preparation courses and a practice test, as well as college courses for those who have their GED. Courses range from ballroom dancing to introduction to Shakespeare to computer-aided drafting, video editing and cyberlaw. Both online and classroom-based courses are available to the GED holder.

GED Scores

Some colleges require a minimum GED score. Applicants to Tennessee Technological University, for instance, need to have achieved a minimum GED score of 525 or an ACT composite score of 19. The university also requires submission of an ACT score for all applicants under the age of 21, or those over 20 who want to major in engineering, computer science or math. More specific requirements for GED students are available on its website. (See Resources.)

Technical Schools

Mayfield College in California is an example of a purely technical trade school that offers certificate and diploma programs in areas such as computers, business and health care. The college also offers help with job placement and financial aid to those who qualify. Depending on the course of study, a field placement program, where the student receives on-the-job experience while still a student, can be extremely helpful for learning job skills and for future job seeking. (See Resources.)

Locating Schools

Trade schools and technical colleges or study programs are found in most states. They can easily be found by doing a search on a technical schools guide website, then entering the preferred area of study and location in the site's search engine. Should location of a school be an issue, a choice of one of the many online courses, certificates or degree programs should eliminate the distance problem. Many of these programs also allow the student to study at her own pace.