Vocational scholarships offer free financial aid for students who’ve chosen career-specific training at trade schools instead of the traditional four-year curriculum. Attending a vocational school is a fast-track option for specialized skill development and hands-on apprenticeship in a certain industry, such as cosmetology, construction, manufacturing, or allied health.

Today’s industry is facing a critical shortage of vocational skill workers since 53 percent are at least 45 years old. Retiring baby boomers are expected to leave 31 million U.S. trades jobs vacant by 2020. For example, BLS predicts that employment of electricians will grow much faster-than-average by 14 percent for 85,900 new openings. Vocational diplomas or certificates can take anywhere from six to 24 months, so prepare for tuition by applying for some of the following vocational scholarships.

1. Andrew Piech Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: June 9th

The Albuquerque Community Foundation manages 18 funds for New Mexicans, including the $2,200 Andrew Piech Memorial Scholarship that honors the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) grad who passed in 2010. It’s intended for in-state graduating high school seniors who are pursuing certificates in automotive technology at public or nonprofit vocational schools. Aspiring ASE-certified car mechanics must submit proof of enrollment, at least one reference, and a personal essay.

Contact

Andrew Piech Memorial Scholarship

624 Tijeras Avenue NW

Albuquerque, NM 87102

(505) 883-6240

denise@abqcf.org

Scholarship Link

2. APWU Vocational Scholarship Program

Deadline: March 31st

The American Postal Workers Union hosts the Vocational Scholarship Program yearly to award $3,000 to five deserving high school seniors who will matriculate full-time at an accredited community college or trade school. Applications are reserved for the children or stepchildren of active, retired, or deceased APWU members. Funding is renewable if recipients maintain a minimum “B” average in vocational training courses like real estate, dental assisting, culinary arts, and massage therapy.

Contact

APWU Vocational Scholarship Program

1300 L Street NW

Washington, DC 20005

(202) 842-4250

scholarships@apwu.org

Scholarship Link

3. Beauty Changes Lives Education Scholarship

Deadline: May 8th or October 30th

Sponsored by CosmoProf, the Beauty Changes Lives (BCL) Foundation promotes its “Licensed to Create” initiative by awarding a $5,000 scholarship biannually to students training to enter the salon and spa industry at AACS-member vocational schools. Future stylists must have completed less than 50 percent of an approved U.S. cosmetology, hairdressing, or esthetics program. Record a three-minute YouTube video discussing your plans to change people’s lives.

Contact

Beauty Changes Lives Education Scholarship

P.O. Box 7174

Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

(888) 206-1192

Scholarship Link

4. Bernard E. Dillon Vocational Skills Scholarship

Deadline: March 8th

Named for the Foundation Board’s first President, the American Military Retirees Association gifts the Bernard E. Dillon Vocational Skills Scholarship for $1,000 to five post-high school students pursuing vocational or technical training. Eligible winners will be current AMHRA members, their spouses, legally dependent children, or grandchildren who are enrolling full-time at accredited U.S. trade schools. Selection is primarily based on applicants’ scholastic record, leadership capacity, and good citizenship.

Contact

Bernard E. Dillon Vocational Skills Scholarship

5436 Peru Street #1

Plattsburgh, NY 12901

(518) 563-9479

info@amra1973.org

Scholarship Link

5. Charles F. Hiley, Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: May 1st

The Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors (PHCC) Educational Foundation administers 41 vocational scholarships yearly, such as the $5,000 Charles F. Hiley, Jr. Memorial Scholarship. Suitable applicants will be enrolled full-time with 12+ semester hours in certificate or associate degree programs at accredited U.S. institutions with majors like plumbing, HVACR installation, construction management, or mechanical CAD design. Also consider the $2,500 Anne Williams or $1,500 RIGID Tool Company Scholarships.

Contact

Charles F. Hiley, Jr. Memorial Scholarship

180 S. Washington Street, Suite 100

Falls Church, VA 22046

(800) 533-7694

scholarships@naphcc.org

Scholarship Link

6. Detroit Diesel Skilled Trades Scholarships

Deadline: April 22nd

Valued at $2,500 each, the Detroit Diesel Skilled Trades Scholarships are presented annually by the Tooele Education Foundation to three graduating high school seniors in Utah who will enter a vocational school or applied technology college this Fall. Future tradesmen and women must train full-time for skilled trades like manufacturing, machine repair, and electrical maintenance with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Submitting an essay describing your place in the 21st century workforce is also required.

Contact

Detroit Diesel Skilled Trades Scholarships

301 W. Vine Street

Tooele, UT 84074

(435) 833-1981

mblack@tooeleschools.org

Scholarship Link

7. Donald J. Beneteau Scholarship

Deadline: February 15th

The American Welding Society Foundation provides 37 national scholarships for AWS members, including the $2,500 Donald J. Beneteau Scholarship. It’s designed for U.S. or Canadian citizens with a high school diploma or GED who are pursuing full- or part-time vocational training in welding technology, materials science, metallurgy, or related fields with an overall 3.0 GPA or greater. Other vocational scholarships are the Peter McCausland-Airgas Scholarship and John Deere Scholarship.

Contact

Donald J. Beneteau Scholarship

8669 NW 36 Street, Suite 130

Miami, FL 33166

(800) 443-9353 ext. 212

vpinsky@aws.org

Scholarship Link

8. Floyd B. Heimer Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: April 15th

Celebrating its 125th anniversary, the Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA) confers the Floyd B. Heimer Memorial Scholarship for $2,000 to fund post-secondary study in fire science, fire protection engineering, or EMS at accredited colleges or vocational schools. Applicants must be Maryland high school graduates or GED recipients, volunteer with an in-state fire or rescue company, enroll at least half-time, and maintain an acceptable GPA above 2.5.

Contact

Floyd B. Heimer Memorial Scholarship

29132 Superior Circle

Easton, MD 21601

(443) 532-1416

secretary@msfa.org

Scholarship Link

9. Garmin-Jerry Smith Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: February 15th

The Garmin-Jerry Smith Memorial Scholarship is a one-time, $1,000 award offered by the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) Educational Foundation. Interested high school seniors must plan to enroll full-time in an FAA-approved vocational school to study avionics, aircraft maintenance, or related aerospace fields with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students specifically at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology could earn the $35,000 Les Nichols Memorial Scholarship.

Contact

Garmin-Jerry Smith Memorial Scholarship

3570 NE Ralph Powell Road

Lee’s Summit, MO 64064

(816) 347-8400

info@aea.net

Scholarship Link

10. Imagine America Foundation Scholarships

Deadline: December 31st

Since 1998, the Imagine America Foundation has bestowed five $1,000 scholarships each year upon graduating high school seniors in the U.S. and Puerto Rico who are pursuing vocational skills training at partnering career colleges. Qualified recipients must be accepted for full-time study, show technical promise with a 2.5 GPA or higher, have unmet financial need, and engage in community service. Adults over age 19 and military veterans also have aid options.

Contact

Imagine America Foundation Scholarships

12001 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 203

Reston, VA 20191

(571) 267-3010

Leed@imagine-america.org

Scholarship Link

11. James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: March 31st

The James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund will distribute $1.4 million total in 2017 to honor the late General President who led North America’s Strongest Union for 14 years. The Vocational Programs Scholarship specifically awards $2,000 to the sons, daughters, or legal dependents of Teamsters who will attend accredited technical colleges for non-baccalaureate degrees or certificates. Applications must include proof of membership status, a personal essay, and two character references.

Contact

James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship

JRHMSF, 25 Louisiana Ave NW

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 624-6800

scholarship@teamster.org

Scholarship Link

12. Jill Reed Women in Trades Scholarship

Deadline: March 15th

Partnering with A.O. Smith, the NexStar Legacy Foundation awards the Jill Reed Women in Trades Scholarship to honor the Elizabethtown College grad who founded RedClick Marketing in 1997 for PHCE home service providers. Annually, women receive $2,000 to fund vocational school tuition to build marketing careers in the plumbing, HVAC, or electrical industries. Donors also support the Troops to Trades Scholarship, Technician/Service Provider Scholarship, and John MacGregor Scholarship.

Contact

Jill Reed Women in Trades Scholarship

101 East 5th Street, Suite 2100

St. Paul, MN 55101

(651) 789-8518

info@nexstarfoundation.org

Scholarship Link

13. JoAnn Link Hetzel Vocational Scholarship

Deadline: April 1st

North Dakota Dollars for Scholars, an affiliate of Scholarship America, administers the JoAnn Link Hetzel Vocational Scholarship to award $1,000 to in-state students with a cumulative GPA above 2.5 who are attending trade schools full-time. Preference is given to technicians studying mechanics, welding, surveying, or electrical construction as well as employees of local entities like Falkirk Mining Company. Applicants must update their file with financial info and two references.

Contact

JoAnn Link Hetzel Vocational Scholarship

600 East Boulevard Avenue, 10th Floor

Bismarck, ND 58505

(701) 328-5702

statedirector@nddfs.org

Scholarship Link

14. Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship Program

Deadline: April 21st

Since World War II, the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) has provided two vocational scholarships, the Kathern F. Gruber and Thomas H. Miller Scholarship programs. The former awards $2,000 to six dependent children, grandchildren, or spouses of blinded U.S. Armed Forces members with central visual acuity of 20/200 or less. Students should be enrolling full-time at an accredited business, secretarial, or vocational training school with good academic standing.

Contact

Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship Program

125 N. West Street, 3rd Floor

Alexandria, VA 22314

(202) 371-8880

bjones@bva.org

Scholarship Link

15. Lincoln Electric Company Scholarship

Deadline: February 8th

Through the National FFA Organization, Lincoln Electric Company awards a one-time scholarship valued at $6,670 to cover an advanced 15-week vocational course pertaining to safe welding processes. Recipients receive 400 hours of hands-on instruction at their plant in Cleveland, Ohio, to master pipefitting, plasma arc cutting, alloy hardfacing, GTAW welding, and more. Other FFA vocational scholarships include the Mike Hopper Memorial and Cooperative Credit Company programs.

Contact

Lincoln Electric Company Scholarship

P.O. Box 68960

6060 FFA Drive

Indianapolis, IN 46268

(317) 802-6060

Scholarships@ffa.org

Scholarship Link

16. Medallion Fund Vocational Scholarships

Deadline: None

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (NHCF) in Concord offers the Medallion Fund Vocational Scholarships for $500 to $2,500 to “Granite State” residents who are enrolling in accredited, short-term vocational programs for high-need trades like plumbing, heating, manufacturing, machining, and automotive repair. Eligible candidates who exhibit drive, a clear career vision, and financial need can apply anytime because award decisions are made every six weeks.

Contact

Medallion Fund Vocational Scholarships

37 Pleasant Street

Concord, NH 03301

(800) 464-6641

Judy.Burrows@nhcf.org

Scholarship Link

17. MN Masonic Charities Vocational Scholarships

Deadline: March 1st

Named an AFP Outstanding Philanthropic Organization in 2014, Minnesota Masonic Charities has donated more than $42 million total through six student funds, including the Vocational Scholarships. Offering $2,000 over two years, these merit-based awards are granted to 20 Minnesota high school seniors who will pursue associate degrees or certificates at accredited community colleges or trade schools after graduation. Having a Masonic affiliation isn’t required, but a minimum 2.75 GPA is preferred.

Contact

MN Masonic Charities Vocational Scholarships

11501 Masonic Home Drive

Bloomington, MN 55437

(952) 948-6214

info@mnmasonic.org

Scholarship Link

18. National Insulator Association Scholarships

Deadline: 15 days after enrollment

Ranging from $500 to $2,000 apiece, the National Insulator Association Scholarships fall into the Academic and Vocational categories to support U.S. residents who are pursuing careers for the generation or distribution of electrical energy. Eligible vocational students must attend an accredited institution for full-time, credit-based technical training. Attaching a maximum 300-word essay addressing how your career goals align with the NIA Mission and insulator hobby is also necessary.

Contact

National Insulator Association Scholarships

8061 S.E. Helen Terrace

Hobe Sound, FL 33455

scholarship@nia.org

Scholarship Link

19. Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship

Deadline: May 2nd or October 31st

Started in 2011, the Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship offers 15 one-time awards of $1,000 apiece from the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society biannually. PTK members in good standing must be taking 6+ credits at an accredited community college for an associate degree or vocational certificate. Other eligibility criteria requires graduating within 18 months of application, posting a minimum 3.0 GPA overall, and experiencing an unanticipated financial obstacle like loss of income.

Contact

Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship

1625 Eastover Drive

Jackson, MS 39211

(800) 946-9995

kristin.ware@ptk.org

Scholarship Link

20. Ray and Gertrude Marshall Scholarship

Deadline: May 15th

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Education Foundation began the Ray and Gertrude Marshall Scholarship for presenting $500 to $1,000 to exemplary students at accredited U.S. vocational schools who are training for culinary or pastry arts. Appropriate applicants will possess a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or greater, be ACFEF registered apprentices, have completed at least one semester, volunteer for food service industry activities, and attach two reference letters.

Contact

Ray and Gertrude Marshall Scholarship

180 Center Place Way

St. Augustine, FL 32095

(800) 624-9458

educate@acfchefs.net

Scholarship Link

21. SEMA Memorial Automotive Scholarship

Deadline: March 1st

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Memorial Scholarship provides $2,000 to $5,000 yearly to U.S. citizens who are enrolled full-time in accreditation vocational programs for the automotive industry with a minimum 2.5 GPA. One lucky student at Ohio Technical College will receive full-tuition coverage for $29,400 too. Finishing 25+ credits in accepted academic majors like auto body/collision repair, engineering, manufacturing, motorsports, supply chain, transportation, and industrial design is required.

Contact

SEMA Memorial Automotive Scholarship

1575 S. Valley Vista Drive

Diamond Bar, CA 91765

(909) 610-2030

semaeducation@sema.org

Scholarship Link

22. Singerman-Nosseck Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: May 1st

Worth $1,000, the Singerman-Nosseck Memorial Scholarship is granted yearly by the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles (NCJW-LA) to support female students who are enrolling at California vocational schools. Eligible ladies must be developing marketable skills from on-site or online trade certificates, such as dental assisting, massage therapy, aircraft maintenance, nail technician, or welding. Applications are only accepted from legal residents of Greater Los Angeles, including Ventura, Orange, and Riverside counties.

Contact

Singerman-Nosseck Memorial Scholarship

543 N. Fairfax Avenue

Los Angeles CA 90036

(323) 852-8515

scholarship@ncjwla.org

Scholarship Link

23. Taylor Opportunity Program for Students

Deadline: October 29th

Within the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) offers the Tech Award to cover tuition at in-state vocational schools that don’t offer bachelor’s degrees. Eligibility criteria includes holding a minimum high school GPA of 2.5, finishing 17 Tech Core units, scoring at least 17 on the ACT, matriculating for 24+ credits per academic year, and meeting Louisiana residency stipulations.

Contact

Taylor Opportunity Program for Students

602 North Fifth Street

Baton Rouge, LA 70802

(800) 259-5626

custserv@osfa.la.gov

Scholarship Link

24. The de Moya Foundation Vocational Scholarship

Deadline: April 15th

The de Moya Foundation sponsors the Vocational Scholarship to gift $3,000 per year to Florida residents who have a documented disability, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and cerebral palsy. Funding can be applied for full-time tuition at in-state technical colleges for vocational certificates related to construction like masonry, carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, diesel mechanics, and welding. Please submit your IEP, transcripts showing a 3.0 GPA or higher, and two academic recommendations.

Contact

The de Moya Foundation Vocational Scholarship

95 Merrick Way, 3rd Floor

Coral Gables, FL 33134

(305) 667-9112

demoyafoundation@gmail.com

Scholarship Link

25. Yorba Linda Woman’s Club Scholarships

Deadline: April 7th

Founded in 1912, the Yorba Linda Woman’s Club provides multiple $2,000 Academic and $2,000 Vocational Scholarships each year to graduating seniors in Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. Eligible applicants must be California residents from zip codes 92806 to 92887, pursue higher education at an accredited vocational school this Fall, certify a minimum 2.5 GPA overall, actively engage in community service, and write an essay titled “Your Time is Your Gift to Others.”

Contact

Yorba Linda Woman’s Club Scholarships

P.O. Box 91

Yorba Linda, CA 92885

(714) 993-0413

puffdink2@sbcglobal.net

Scholarship Link

The United States has more than 300 vocational schools that cost a fraction of their four-year counterparts. According to the U.S. News, vocational certificates have an average total cost of $33,000, which is less than the mean yearly tuition at private universities. Several skilled trades also provide a higher starting salary than liberal arts and social science majors. Forbes placed elevator repairer and transportation inspector as the top-paid trades with average wages of $73,560 and $65,770 respectively.

Technical colleges may not have as many financial aid resources, but students can receive these 25 vocational scholarships and Pell or FSEOG Grants for tuition.

See also: Top 20 Online Colleges with High Return on Investment