Scholarships for Students Interested in Pursuing a Trade


Scholarships for Vocational School

Financial aid is no joke when it comes to lowering the cost of your college education. Some students, though, may think that financial aid is only available to students who are following the “traditional” path through education and attending a four-year college after high school. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The application for federal financial aid is free, and most students who apply have a shot at getting need-based aid if they’re planning to attend accredited institutions. There are also nonfederal sources of aid and scholarships for students who meet a variety of requirements. Listed below are those that are available to students who are planning to attend career or vocational schools or enter vocational fields.

The A. O. Smith Foundation is a nonprofit organization that offers scholarships to the children of employees who want to attend an accredited college or vocational school after graduating from high school. Awards range from $500 to $3,000 and are renewable for up to three additional years or until the completion of a student’s bachelor’s degree. The award amount is based on academic merit and financial need. Both high school and college students are eligible to apply. Applications are due March 31 for awards to be given the following academic year.

HomeAdvisor is a website that links homeowners to skilled technicians in many areas of home improvement: drywall, flooring, plumbing, and saunas, to name a few. The company is offering a $5,000 scholarship to three lucky students who answer two questions: “What would be your strategy for solving the labor shortage?” and “What would you do to encourage others to attend a trade school instead of a four-year college?” High school seniors who’ve been accepted to a college or trade school and students who are currently enrolled in an accredited college or trade school are eligible to apply. The application closes December 15, 2017.

The National Housing Endowment works with the Home Builders Institute and local home builders associations to offer scholarships to students who are interested in becoming home builders or construction managers, or entering other professions related to the building industry. For example, the Herman J. Smith Scholarship is available to full-time college students who are pursuing a construction-related degree at an accredited institution. Applications are closed at this time, but look for them to reopen soon. Deadlines to apply are typically in the spring for awards to be given the following academic year.

The Nexstar Legacy Foundation provides scholarships to students who are interested in working in the electrical, HVAC, and plumbing industries. The foundation offers seven scholarships, though two are funded by individuals and are only offered in years that funding is available. Students may be eligible for one or more of these scholarships if they are attending a two- or four-year program or an apprenticeship program in one of the aforementioned fields. Additionally, students pursuing four-year degrees in either business management, mechanical engineering, or marketing are eligible to apply. Applications are being accepted through November 1, 2017, or December 31, 2017, depending on the scholarship.

The Refrigeration School (RSI) advertises itself as “the largest HVAC/R school in the United States!” It is an accredited, private, for-profit institution offering both certificates and associate’s degrees. They offer a variety of scholarships including the Women in the Skilled Trades Scholarships (up to $3,000 awarded based on financial need), the RSI Tribal Scholarship ($2,000 awarded to students who are Alaskan Native, Native American, or Native Hawaiian), the Imagine America High School Program ($1,000 awarded to high school seniors with financial need), and the Imagine America Adult Skills Education Program ($1,000 awarded to students who are older than 19).

Troops to Trades, a program that helps veterans find jobs in the civilian workforce after leaving the military, offers the A/C Pro scholarship. This is a $5,000 scholarship that is granted to only one Troops to Trades member each year. Veterans must be enrolled in an accredited HVAC training program. The application closes on November 1, 2017.

The World Plumbing Council offers two grants of up to $10,000 to individuals who wish to further their training by participating in a study-abroad program of sorts. These grants provide the financial ability for individuals to travel abroad to earn more training related to the plumbing industry and to learn about new technologies and the contributions that plumbing has made to the world (how it affects the environment, for example). Applications are due September 22, 2017.

Many of these scholarships are tailored to students in certain fields, but this list is not all inclusive. There are plenty more opportunities for students of all sorts, and you can find them if you’re willing to do a little digging. Google will be your best friend when it comes to finding the perfect scholarship opportunity for you!


About Megan Clendenon

Megan C. is obsessed with Cincinnati-style chili, Louisville basketball, and Scandinavian crime fiction. She has lived in six different states and held 12 different jobs since beginning her undergraduate degree at Carleton College in 2008. The wanderlust abated somewhat in recent years, as Megan settled in Texas from 2013 to 2016 to finish a master’s degree in geosciences, write a thesis on the future horrors that stem from climate change, and get married. During her free time, you will find Megan sitting on the couch, cheering for her Louisville Cardinals, planning future adventures abroad, and snuggling with her dog, Tiger. She currently lives outside of Washington D.C.

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