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Online Education for the Trades: How to Get Started

Published: February 12, 2018 | Updated: January 14, 2019

Have you built a career in the trades and feel ready to advance to the next level? Maybe you’re tired of having a manager and are ready to be the manager. Or maybe you want to have a business you can call your own.

Whether you want to lead employees or a business (or both!), you’ll need a different skillset than what you’ve probably grown over your years working as a welder, HVAC technician, or other tradesman. A great way to learn the skills you’ll need for a better career without giving up the career you already have is to enroll in an online program.

Here’s how to get started:


Find a program that is targeted at experienced trades workers who want to move up in their industry. An Associate of Applied Science in Applied Technology program focuses on exactly that. It’s designed for trade and craft professionals who have completed a certificate program or substantial coursework in a trade program and are ready to advance their careers. A program like this should teach you skills such as:

  • Project management
  • Customer service
  • Professional oral and written communication
  • Word processing and spreadsheet software


Make sure the program works with your schedule. If you already work in the trades, an online program can be perfect for you because its flexible schedule will allow you to fit school into your busy life. Your classes will have average weekly hours you’ll need to commit to, but if you know the expectations, you can plan around them. There may also be time requirements for when you need to participate in a conversation, post to a forum, or turn in other work, so be sure to check that out before committing to your online program.


Learn how long it will take to earn your degree. The timeline of an online program depends on your school. Ask what the expected completion rate is for the program you’re looking at. This will help you decide if you can commit to the program for as long as it will take. It can also help you look ahead and plan for what comes after you complete the program.


If you are an experienced worker in the trades and want to build a better career, check out Charter College’s Associate of Applied Science in Applied Technology degree completion program. Our online program may offer the flexibility and education to help you reach your next big career goals.