Top 8 Trade Schools for Felons

Trade Schools for Felons

Are you a felon searching for the best Trade Schools for Felons? Look no further; you’ve come to the right place.

Before delving into the specifics, let’s first clarify what are trade schools?. Trade Schools are also known as vocational or technical schools, trade schools are educational institutions that offer specialized training, catering to either secondary or post-secondary education needs. Their primary focus is to equip individuals with the vocational or technical skills required for specific job roles.

In the United States, federal laws uphold the right to education and personal liberty for all citizens, including those with prior criminal convictions. This means that individuals with felony backgrounds have the opportunity to enroll in various educational programs, including those offered by trade schools.

The past should not deter anyone from pursuing an education and building a brighter future. You can also check out our other article CDL Grants For Felons which can also help felons to get commercial driving license.

The power to shape your destiny lies in your hands, regardless of your past. In this article, we will explore the options available in terms of trade schools for felons and the relevant regulations in the USA, guiding you toward a more promising future. Let’s get started by discovering the best Trade Schools for Felons.

Key Takeaways

  • You can still go to trade school even if you have a felony on your record.
  • There are many trade schools that offer programs for people with felonies.
  • These programs can teach you the skills you need to get a good job.
  • Financial aid is available to help you pay for trade school.
  • Not all trade schools and programs are available to felons. 
  • Some jobs, like teaching or nursing, are totally off-limits.

Getting Admitted to Trade School 

It is easy for a felon to be admitted to a trade school, the major difficulty is to find employment. Some people think it is difficult to get admission to trade schools, but the real difficulty is to find employment after passing out. 

However, some felons find it difficult to find employment even after getting a certificate of completion of trade courses. That is why one must get complete details about the course offered by trade school. Getting a reputable trade school or institution is highly recommended. 

As their certificate of completion holds a unique value. But how to find the best trade schools for felons? We have conducted research at the top institutions and found that there is no special school of trade for felons. An ordinary institution has some courses for felons. Here you will find the top felon trade schools in the USA. 

List of 8 Best Trade Schools for Felons

In the United States, numerous institutions and schools provide trade courses and classes tailored for individuals with felony backgrounds. Your key to accessing these opportunities is to meet their eligibility criteria and fulfill all necessary requirements. Below, we highlight some leading trade schools accommodating individuals with felony records.

1. Highlands College of Montana Tech

Highlands College of Montana Tech
Highlands College of Montana Tech

The Highlands College of Montana Tech topped our list of best trade schools perfect for felons. To uplift the status of the people who previously committed a crime, the Highlands College of Montana Tech offers special trade courses and aid felons for a change to improve their lives and for their better future. 

The in-state tuition fees started as low as $2624, all over as a felon you need to pay a little more for book bank fees, and campus expenses. You need to pay around $8500 all over to get the certificate from one of the most reputed trade schools in the USA. 

Even the certificate of completion also holds a value that allows the felon to get employment quickly after passing out. In case of a low financial situation, the facility of education loan is offered as low as 7.6% interest per annum. 

2. Stephens College

Stephens College
Stephens College

This Columbia-based non-profit educational institution is another trade school for felons on our list. You can get admission even if you committed a serious crime in the past. The college gives them a chance to improve themselves and get settled in their life. The fee structure is quite high, but the loan options are also available. 

You need to pay around $23,870 as the in-state tuition amount and the overall expenses are around $35000. The loan is available at the interest rate of 4.7% per annum. The renowned institution focuses on offering online education to students including felons, which reduces the hostel and travelling expenses as well.

3. Ottawa University 

Ottawa University 
Ottawa University 

If you are a felon and want to pursue your career in trade, then Ottawa University is one one-step destination for you. The online trade programs offered by the university give felons a chance to get the relevant qualifications for employment and a better future.

The reasonable fee amount of $12000 is charged to the students which includes all the major expenses in campus charges as well. The felons may attend the online trade programs and get the certificate of completion. The rate of interest is around 6.3% for the educational Ioan. 

4. Dakota State University

Dakota State University
Dakota State University

Never let your past mistakes spoil your future. Even if you are a felon, get admission to the Dakota University trade programs and pursue a career in the field of trade. There are various trade schools for felons and Dakota University is one of them on our list. The fee is as low as $20,000 including Books and Supplies, On Campus Room and Board, and On-Campus Other Expenses. 

Get the loan at an interest rate of 5.8% per annum. The crime committed by you doesn’t become an obstacle in getting admission to the trade programs at Dakota University. The certificate is acceptable in various renowned companies for employment even if you are a felon. 

5. Miami University – Hamilton

Miami University - Hamilton
Miami University – Hamilton

The public educational institution located in Hamilton, Ohio offers several trade courses and programs for students including felons. Miami University offers loan schemes for students at a rate of interest of 4%. The overall expenses of the education including Books and Supplies, On-Campus Room and Board, and On-Campus Other Expenses are around $20000. 

For the felons who committed criminal offenses as per US federal and state laws, Miami University offers a chance to improve and settle their lives. In most cases, the university doesn’t allow felons who are registered for sexual offenses to get admission. But Miami University allows such students and gives them a chance for betterment. 

6. Holmes Community College

Holmes Community College
Holmes Community College

Holmes Community College is one of the best trade schools for felons that gives the basic skills and knowledge of hands-on skills to the felons which helps them find employment easily. Whatever skilled trade the felons want to pressure their career, can rely on this public educational institution.

The fee structure of the trade courses in the institution is around $32000, which is reasonable, and various loan options are also available for needy felons. The faculty and staff are the advantage of the renowned institution to work for the welfare of felons. 

7. Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Minnesota State Community and Technical College

The felons who want to pursue their career in the field of manufacturing, construction, digital marketing, and other hands-on careers can go for one of the best trade schools for felons; Minnesota State Community and Technical College. The schools offer degree and certificate programs that aid students with both knowledge and skills. 

Scholarships and loan schemes are also available for felons, and the rate of interest is as low as 5.7% per annum. The on-hand skills including welding, carpeting, and iron smiting can be learned from the college with a certificate of completion.

8. Southwest Mississippi Community College

Southwest Mississippi Community College
Southwest Mississippi Community College

Most of the felons are worried about their future and careers as they are registered as criminals in the records. However, they can enroll in Southwest Mississippi Community College and find employment opportunities based on their degree. The college offers several programs and courses for the felons. 

The skills and knowledge acquired through the courses are enough to build a strong portfolio to get wanted employment in the selected field. But keep in mind, the college does not allow felons registered for sexual offenses as per the state or federal laws of the USA to get admitted to any of the courses. 

Types of Courses or Programs for Felons

Felons can get admission to various trade programs and courses in these colleges and trade schools for felons. There are three main types of programs which are as under: 

  1. Programs with the requirement of a background check. 
  2. Programs with no requirement of background check. 
  3. Programs where felons can not enroll 

The above-mentioned criteria are being used during the admission procedures. There are some restrictions on the felons to get enrolled in some programs. That is why it is highly recommended for felons to research before getting enrolled in trade schools. Please verify whether you satisfy the eligibility requirements or not.

Also, before getting admission to any course, you need to look at your requirements. This includes what field you want to pursue your career, where is your focus, college guidelines, requirements, fee structure, and many more. 

After successfully getting a certificate of completion from the trade schools, there are various fields where you can get jobs. Some of these fields are mentioned below, let’s have a look: 

  • Welder: In the USA, welders are given a reasonable package by construction companies and agencies. You get to learn the skills and knowledge in metal fabrication and joining. The manufacturing companies also have a huge demand for welders. 
  • Culinary Arts Professional: The food service industry is constantly on the lookout for skilled chefs to meet the demands of restaurants and hotels. Whether you’re in the USA or any part of the globe, opportunities abound for aspiring Culinary Arts Professionals.
  • Electrician: If you get a certificate or degree from any of the renowned trade schools for felons, you can easily get the job of an electrician or work freely for the installation of electronics and wiring in commercial, residential, and industrial areas. 
  • Medical assistant: In case you get a degree as a medical assistant from any trade school, you can easily join hospitals or medical institutions and work as a helping hand of doctors or medical staff. This includes providing administrative support and healthcare assistance. 
  • Technical skills: The technical skills require less time to be perfect. Even the certificate courses from the trade schools can help you find employment in the technical field. This includes web designers, graphic designers, and many more.
  • Plumbing: Plumbing is one of the most skilled and complex works that requires in-depth knowledge. The trade schools for felons may help you get the relevant skills and find employment easily. Every sector requires plumbing work for a smooth supply of water and sewer systems. You can join any plumbing company or start your services. 
  • HVAC Technician: Installation of heaters, air conditioners, and ventilation systems is one of the biggest markets in the USA. The felons who get a degree or certificate from trade schools in the field can join any service provider as an HVAC technician and earn a reasonable amount of money easily. 

Is it possible to get a trade degree online as a felon?

The top trade schools for felons offer select online courses and programs, granting certificates or degrees. However, not all programs are available online, so contacting the school is essential. 

Computer science, architecture, and specific construction and planning degrees are accessible online. Online learning has several advantages, including cost savings, convenience, and accessibility. It’s particularly beneficial for felons with technical skills seeking formal credentials. 

These programs eliminate the need for physical attendance, allowing students to study from home and earn their degrees. Technical skills like web and graphic design can also lead to employment opportunities with certificate courses from trade schools.

Exploring Financial Aid Options for Trade Schools

When considering financial aid options for trade school, there are many avenues to explore. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is supported by federal funds, is a key tool that can be applied to accredited trade schools. By completing the FAFSA application, you assess your qualifications for federal student loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study initiatives.

However, it’s important to note that attending an accredited trade school matters not only for federal aid eligibility but also for your future prospects. Accreditation ensures your school meets high-quality teaching and assessment standards. Some certifications and jobs require graduation from an accredited institution. Plus, employers prefer candidates with accredited qualifications.

When it comes to financing your education, financial aid for trade schools encompasses both federal and private options. These include scholarships, grants, federal student loans, and private student loans.

Navigating these financial aid avenues is essential for securing the support you need to pursue your trade school education and set yourself up for a successful future.

Which programs don’t allow felons?

As we have started earlier, only a limited number of programs and courses are available for felons. Some fields like sensitive education, law enforcement, and health science do not allow people with criminal backgrounds. As a felon, you can not get a degree in these programs. 

Even some states do not allow felons to be employed as a teacher, police officers, army officers, a doctor, and other fields that are sensitive to human existence. 


1. Can felons get admission to trade schools?

People who have committed a crime in the past are known as felons. Most universities avoid felons, but some schools provide an opportunity for them to improve their lives and get a bright future. They offer trade programs and courses for felons. 

2. How much are the trade school fees for felons?

The few structures of the trade schools for felons vary from $5000 to $40000 for the entire course. The educational expenses depend upon the type of course or college you are admitted to. 

3. Is every course available for felons?

No, not all the courses and programs are available for felons. Some courses like sensitive education, law enforcement, and health science do not allow felons because of their criminal background. Also, some fields like teaching, police officers, army officers, and doctors are restricted for felons in the USA. 

4. Is there any online trade course for felons?

Yes, there are several online courses and programs available for felons. Most of the courses can be availed in online mode and a certificate of completion is also given to the students after the course. This will help them to get employed easily. 


Education is a fundamental right for everyone, regardless of their past. If you’re determined to improve your life, your previous mistakes should not hinder your educational opportunities. These outstanding trade schools for felons provide the skills and knowledge you need to secure employment opportunities.

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