2017 Best Trade Schools Methodology

The 2017 Best Trade Schools ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni. Learn where our data comes from.

Factors Considered

Factor Description Source Weight
Value Grade Niche Value grade, which incorporates statistics such as average loan amount, alumni earnings and student surveys regarding value. Niche 40.0%
Professors Grade Niche Professors grade, which incorporates factors such as number of awards won by faculty, student-faculty ratio, as well as student surveys regarding professor quality. Niche 17.5%
Student Experience Grade Student Experience grade, which incorporates factors such as retention and graduation rates, as well as student surveys regarding the overall student experience. Niche 15.0%
Student Surveys on Overall Experience Niche survey responses scored on a 1-5 scale regarding the overall experience of students and alumni at each school. Self-reported by Niche users 15.0%
Diversity Grade Niche Diversity grade, which incorporates factors such as ethnic composition of the student body, proportion of international students and out-of-state students, as well as student surveys regarding diversity on campus. Niche 5.0%
Local Area Grade Niche Local Area grade, which incorporates factors such as median rent, local crime rates, access to amenities, as well as student surveys regarding the local area around campus. Niche 5.0%
Safety Grade Safety grade, which incorporates factors such as campus crime rate, local crime rate, as well as student surveys regarding health and safety services on campus. Niche 2.5%

This ranking assesses 634 schools. For the purpose of this ranking, trade schools include post-secondary institutions where the majority of degrees conferred are 2-year degrees or fewer and there is a focus on career and technical programs, according to Carnegie Classifications. The same methodology is used to produce the Overall Niche Grade for each ranked school as well as additional trade schools. Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, usually from 2014–2016, as self-reported by the colleges.

For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.