529 plans can be used to pay for post-secondary education at thousands of eligible institutions, including trade schools and apprenticeship programs. Distributions from your 529 account can be used to cover books, supplies, and equipment—even room and board, in many cases.
There's a wide range of trade—or vocational—schools nationwide, offering diverse programs. Trade schools typically take less than two years to complete and can be much cheaper than traditional colleges. In fact, the average cost of a trade school is approximately $33,000.1 Compare that to the more than $88,000 you could pay at a public college for a four-year degree as an in-state resident.2
Good jobs abound
There are many well-paying careers that don’t require a traditional bachelor’s degree, including MRI technician (median salary $73,424), aircraft mechanic ($64,085), real estate appraiser ($57,013), and electric lineman ($72,509).3 Job growth for many trades is high and expected to remain so through the rest of the decade. Here's just a sample of some of the growth opportunities in various fields.
Opportunities for growth⁴
|Occupation||Projected growth potential through 2029|
|Home health and personal care aides||
|Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors||
|Software developers and quality assurance analysts||
|Social and human service assistants||
|Industrial machinery mechanics||
Most schools require a high school diploma or GED. The Federal School Code Lookup tool provides information on which trade schools are eligible. Your child can also visit apprenticeship.gov to research qualified programs.
And while thinking about your child’s options, be sure to sit down with your financial professional, who can help you make decisions on affordability and can help you implement a plan, including the use of your 529 education savings account.
1 “The Average Cost of Vocational School in USA 2020,” Vocational Training HQ, January 2020. 2 “Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid 2020,” College Board, October 2020. 3 “The 24 Highest-Paying Trade Jobs—No Bachelor’s Degree Required,” SkillPointe, June 2021. 4 Employment projections, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2021.
This material does not constitute financial, tax, legal, or accounting advice, is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as investment advice. Please consult your tax or financial professional before making any decision.
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