Bay Area Trade Schools with Program Descriptions

Trade schools teach students the skills needed to obtain work in technical, labor and manufacturing careers. The City College of San Francisco, which serves the city side of the Bay Area, offers vocational certificates and associate degrees in a number of different trades. Students in the East Bay can pursue trade skills training at Laney College in Oakland, CA.

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City College of San Francisco

City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is a 2-year, public community college that offers trade and vocational training in addition to traditional coursework. It has several campuses through the San Francisco Bay Area, making CCSF the largest school offering trade school training in the region.

Students seeking trade education can pursue several programs from CCSF's Trade Skills division, plus additional options in horticulture and aircraft maintenance technology.


CCSF offers this non-credit, vocational certificate program to individuals who looking to build construction skills and enter the workforce as carpenters, brick masons, electricians and general construction laborers. This program also offers courses on solar energy and other environmentally friendly construction practices.

Business Machine Technology

This program trains aspiring office equipment repairers. This can include photocopy machines and other electronic devices commonly found in office environments. Graduates of this program can work as general repair workers, with potential advancement to positions as engineering technicians.

Custodial/Building Maintenance

Another non-credit certificate program, CCSF's program on building maintenance trains students to become custodians. Students learn the proper techniques used in sanitation, as well as becoming familiar with the proper procedures for chemical storage and cleaning materials handling.

Aircraft Maintenance Technology

CCSF offers certificate and Associate in Science degree program options in aircraft maintenance technology. Courses in this program cover a wide range of topics, from electrical systems to power plants. CCSF also offers students the option of concentrating their studies in power plant or airframe maintenance; this program is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Environmental Horticulture and Floristry

Students interested in landscaping or floral design can pursue one of seven associate's degrees and certificates at CCSF. These include landscape design and maintenance, greenhouse production, landscape gardening and contracting, nursery and garden center operation and floristry. Graduates work in grounds maintenance, landscaping or gardening.

Laney College's Trade Programs

Laney College, located in downtown Oakland, CA, is part of the Peralta Community College District. Although the District primarily serves the northern Alameda County area, Laney offers general and vocational education programs for students in the East Bay region.

Laney offers a range of vocational and trade certificates and associate's degrees. It also gives students the option of earning credit for their apprenticeship experiences. Students can prepare for trade work in such areas as welding, construction, carpentry and more.

Machine Technology

Students at Laney can earn either a certificate of completion or an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in machine technology. The program introduces students to the basic properties, design and operation of machinery in industry. Students explore the design of machine tools and learn techniques for precise measuring. Technical math and lab-based experiences play large roles in this program.

Architecture and Engineering Technology

This division offers technical training for assisting, drafting and other technical careers in architecture and engineering. It can also prepare students to transfer to 4-year institutions to pursue bachelor's degrees in either field. Those who complete this program can also build experience through entry-level employment as drafters and architecture office administrative workers.

Construction Management

The construction management program prepares students for supervisory roles in construction, with emphases on both residential and commercial building. Students become familiar with the legal side of construction, including building codes, and they learn procedures for cost estimating proposed construction projects.

Wood Technology

This program prepares students for a variety of woodworking careers, such as furniture and cabinetry design. Courses cover both hand carving skills and computer-assisted machining.


Students interested in becoming professional carpenters can pursue the carpentry program at Laney College. Students gain hands-on experience in addition to classroom education as they develop skills with framing, basic plumbing and electrical work, and staircase construction. This program also emphasizes sustainable building techniques.

Electricity and Electronics

Prospective electricians and students interested in electrical engineering can study electricity and electronics at Laney College. The program also focuses on telecommunications, bio-science technologies and electronics product development.

Environmental Control Technology

Students interested in heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) can study in the environmental control technology division at Laney College. Certificates and associate's degrees are available in commercial HVAC and in residential and light commercial HVAC.


Both the certificate and associate's degree program in cosmetology at Laney College prepare graduates to apply for licensing through the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. Major topics include hair styling, facials, manicure and pedicure and chemical services.

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