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North American Trade Schools

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LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019
North American Trade Schools (NATS) started as The Diesel Institute of America (DIA) in 1970 by Sheldon Monsein, then President of Central GMC/Kenworth, Inc. Over time DIA began to grow and in 2002 Diesel Institute was bought by the EFC Trade. A couple years later they moved to Baltimore, Maryland where they changed their name to North American Trade Schools.

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The Good

  • Cost of Attendance
  • Job Placement Services

Cost of Attendance

At North American Trade Schools their programs will range anywhere from $14,000 to $20,000. The only exception is if you are considering a CDL program which has a different pricing structure. We advise students to make their own judgment of if a school's pricing is affordable for them or not. A big factor in expenses is the ability to get financial aid in forms of scholarships, grants, etc. With NATS students are qualified to get federal financial aid through the school and programs. This can be a big relief to all of those college expenses. However, they do not disclose whether or not they have options for federal work-study programs which is another opportunity to reduce the price of your program.

Job Placement Services

North American Trade Schools offer their students graduate career services which is a great resource for college students. NATS claims to "continue to maintain a high percentage of graduates employed in their field of training." From this, students may assume that their placement program is successful in matching their graduates up with jobs in the workforce. The only criticism we have with their placement services is that it's meant for graduates which means that they may not offer working opportunities to students who might be looking for part of full-time jobs while still going to school. Other than that, we still think it's a great program for NATS students to take advantage of.
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The Bad

  • Number of Programs
  • Undisclosed Information

Number of Programs

North American Trade Schools offers seven different programs. This includes building, diesel, electrical, HRVAC, industrial, truck driving, welding, and motorcycles. Trade colleges, especially bigger ones, should have more specialized options than North American Trade currently offers. With their long history, they have had a lot of time to grow and expand and they haven't taken those opportunities to add more programs. Students do not have very many options and will most likely have to decide what they want to do before applying to colleges with very few programs. Other trade colleges will offer 20 programs at least so this puts North American Trade Schools far behind the best.

Undisclosed Information

As mentioned above, NATS does not disclose whether they offer federal work-study programs which is one way a student could decrease their financial obligations for school. Not knowing the options available in any aspect of choosing a school makes a decision harder. Not only does North American Trade not disclose information on work-study programs, but we could get details on graduation rates, job placement rates, and cohort default rates. These are all big indicators of the quality of the school. Some might assume that since they do not openly publish the information that they may be "hiding" unfavorable news, like low rates. In most cases, it's simply better for any company of college to publish as much information as possible so potential customers and students can make an educated decision about their selection.
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The Bottom Line

North American Trade Schools has some good things about their college, but the improvements weigh a little more. NATS offers a great graduate career service for students looking to enter the workforce, and they also have options to reduce the financial burden of attending school. However, we couldn't get information on a variety of categories which are all big indicators of the quality of the college. Not only this, but NATS does not offer a lot of programs at their school like other great trade colleges do. We would like to see North American Trade make these improvements, and as they do it will increase their transparency with potential students.
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