How to Go to Trade School for Free

A four-year degree isn’t for everyone. In fact, academia isn’t for everyone. Some people are much better suited for trades such as being a locksmith, electrician, or mechanic. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that being skilled in a trade or vocation is pretty recession-proof. Why? Because everyone who lives in and/or owns some sort of house or apartment will eventually need a locksmith, electrician, or plumber.

And the best news? Even if money is tight, there are ways to attend a trade school for free.

If you want to work with your hands and you think trade school is right for you, here are the best ways to do it for free or at a discount. One thing to note is that we’re not including loans in this list because you’ll need to make payments on those after you start working. Starting your career off with thousands of dollars of debt isn’t ideal.


There are thousands of scholarships out there and you just need to find the right one for you. If you’ve excelled in class or are in a particular financial situation, you may be able to get enough scholarship money to avoid paying a penny for trade schools. Head to to see the options (link below).

“Scholarships aren’t just for lawyers, doctors and accountants anymore,” the site states. “In fact, they really haven’t been for quite some time. You might be surprised to learn just how many scholarships are available to students who plan to pursue careers more in the ‘vocational’ areas.”

Federal Grants

Universal Technical Institute recommends trying Federal Grants along with Scholarships because, “Federal grants are a form of gift aid given out by the federal government that does not have to be repaid, unlike a loan.”

There are several grants available, including the Federal Pell Grant and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. The first is for those who need financial assistance in their undergraduate years before they receive a degree. The latter is for students whose parents died in Iraq or Afghanistan while they were serving in the military. 

To apply, head over to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid page via the link below.

Tuition Reimbursement Incentive Programs

There are many companies that offer tuition reimbursement incentive programs, also called TRIP.

“With TRIP, when a student agrees to work for a certain employer after graduation, that employer will help pay off the student’s loans,” notes Universal Technical Institute. “TRIP is a win-win for many students. They get a job after employment, and they get assistance with student loan payments.”

Here are some companies that offer TRIP.

  • Intuit
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • T-Mobile
  • Whirlpool
  • Wayfair

For more resources, check out our link to Glassdoor, below.

How to Go to Trade School for Free — Links

Free Application for Federal Student Aid
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