Trade schools offer career-focused education which prepares students for success in diverse fields such as industrial technology, cosmetology, graphic design, medical billing and culinary arts. Trade school may be a good postsecondary educational option if you are interested in a shorter degree program than traditional colleges and universities offer. Trade schools have academic requirements for admission, some of which differ from major to major.

High School Diploma or Equivalency

Admission to any accredited trade school program requires you to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some programs require high school graduates to have earned a minimum 2.0 grade point average. Students applying with lower grades from high school may be able to gain full acceptance into the program after taking and passing remedial courses. Grade point average requirements usually do not apply to students who have earned a General Education Development diploma.

Application and Interview

Gaining admission to trade school requires completing an application. Trade school applications usually require information about your educational background, trade programs of interest, work history, career goals and plan for paying tuition. The information you provide assists trade school admissions counselors to place you in the appropriate program and level. Trade schools require applicants to review their information in an interview with an admissions counselor. The admissions counselor will then clarify any ambiguous information and assist you in your transition to trade school.

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Standardized Tests

Trade school admission generally requires the completion of at least one standardized placement test. Depending upon the school's testing requirements, a certain score may be needed for program admission. Some schools don’t have score requirements but use results to place the student into appropriate courses. The Computerized Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System test is an example of a standardized test developed by American College Testing, Inc. COMPASS assesses math, reading, English and writing skills of applicants and admitted students. Trade school programs at community colleges leading to an associate degree may rely on the ACCUPLACER test, which indicates whether incoming students need developmental instruction to succeed in college-level classes.

Certificate or Associate's Degree

Students applying for some types of trade school programs at the bachelor's degree or advanced certification levels may need to demonstrate prior training in their field of study. For example, you may apply to a trade school that offers a transition program for licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses. To gain admission, you would need to provide documentation of your previous nursing education. Applicants for first-level certifications, diplomas and associate degree programs do not need to demonstrate prior experience or education in their fields of choice.

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