Students at Florida Trade Academy getting hands-on experience in the field.

By Bella Ferretti

Does the thought of four years of school and costly tuition make you uneasy? Although most people consider this path of college the traditional route, trade school is another option that offers just as many benefits. With a variety of program offers, direct entry into high-demand careers, shorter time in school and cost-saving programs, trade school allows people to experience real-world learning and tap into fields of high demand. Whether you’re looking to attend cosmetology school, become a welder or work in automotive maintenance, trade school offers all the programs and more.

With three trade schools affiliated with Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) and several private and non-profit trade schools throughout the Tampa area, it is easy to find which school is best for you in your area of interest. The three under the HCPS umbrella are Erwin Technical College, Aparicio-Levy Technical College, and Brewster Technical College.

Erwin offers 27 programs, including ALTC programs. With a plethora of resources and financial aid options, there are plenty of opportunities to choose from at Erwin. For more information and contact lists, check out Erwin Technical College’s website at

The Aparicio-Levy Technical College campus is the newest of three technical colleges operated by Hillsborough County Public School District and is located on the east side of Hillsborough County. Not sure which department is right for you? Check out Aparicio-Levy’s website at, where you can find career links to personality tests and look through its various programs.

Finally, Brewster Technical College offers similar programs along with opportunities for students with disabilities, and it even offers English language acquisition practices. More information can be found at

Southern Technical College has a campus in Tampa as well as six other campuses around Florida. This school offers programs in the allied health, veterinary, technical trades and nursing fields. For more information, you can request through email or schedule an appointment on The Southern Technical College website at

Trade schools often offer resources for tutoring and academic support that make people feel welcomed and comfortable in this new stage of hands-on education. Florida Technical College is known for its resources, such as e-books and digital libraries, and even won the Hispanic Community Champion 2022 Don Quijote Awards. Additional information about Florida Technical College and more of its awards and recognitions can be found via its website at

Finally, the Florida Trade Academy in Tampa is another campus that offers specialized concentrations and licenses that can be completed in just six months. Chris Pello from the Florida Trade Academy sees firsthand the demand for these jobs and why trade school is such a great path for people to choose.

“There is a huge push in the state of Florida for CTE (career and technical education) programs and workforce development,” said Pello. “Governor DeSantis has made it a priority that Florida will lead the nation in workforce development by 2030. Workforce development are initiatives that educate and train individuals to meet the current and future workforce for businesses in our community. Workforce development is vital to maintain a sustainable competitive economic environment. It’s through these initiatives that will fill hundreds of thousands of jobs in Florida.”

To contact advisors or get more information, check out its website at

With several trade college campuses right in the Tampa area, all specializing in different concentrations, there are many options available for your preferred path.

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