How Management Software for Trade Schools Boosts Retention, Engagement, and Compliance

How Management Software for Trade Schools Boosts Retention, Engagement, and Compliance

How Management Software for Trade Schools Boosts Retention, Engagement, and Compliance

Management software for trade schools improves operations, increases engagement, and supports compliance.

After decades of pushing traditional four-year colleges over trade schools, the United States has a problem: A widespread shortage of skilled labor that only trade schools can fill. While there has been a stigma about choosing trade schools over college, the conversation is shifting. Vocational education costs less than traditional four-year degrees and has immediate earning potential. In some areas, skilled trade workers earn well over six figures

As students realize the value of skilled trades, schools must prepare to scale operations to train the future essential workers that will power the United States.

Why trade schools should digitize academics, attendance, and compliance

Most trade schools already use a student information system (SIS) to house student data. Some also use learning management software (LMS) to house student activities. While both are highly valuable for student education and trade school management, they still rely on manual data entry and do not solve all administrative problems. To simplify back-office operations and prepare to scale, trade schools must leverage software that integrates with the SIS and LMS. 

Case Study: How one trade school improved on-time graduation with blended learning.

Software for trade schools

CourseKey’s career education platform empowers trade schools by automating back-office tasks, giving staff more time to focus on student success. With CourseKey, administrators can see which students are absent in real-time, relieve staff of time-consuming manual attendance management, take a proactive approach to retention, and detect compliance issues early. 

CourseKey’s software for trade schools improves engagement, attendance, retention, and compliance. Read on to learn how.

Attendance software for trade schools

Many trade schools and technical colleges collect attendance data manually using sign-in sheets or traditional roll calls. Staff are left waiting for instructors to turn in attendance sheets so they can enter them in the SIS. But if the attendance sheet is delayed several days, staff may not know whether an at-risk student attended class until well after the absence occurred.

CourseKey’s mobile attendance solution gives staff a real-time view of student attendance. Students check in on their mobile device using secure technology, including Face ID/Fingerprint, QR-Code, GPS, or Soundwave. Upon check in, their attendance is automatically transferred to staff and into the SIS.

Staff has the data they need to intervene with at-risk students faster, and because they aren’t bogged down with manual data entry, they have extra time to take a proactive approach to retention. 

Attendance software for trade schools and vocational colleges: Learn how OCM BOCES used CourseKey to save hours per week on attendance management.

Retention software for trade schools

There are many different factors that go into retention, including attendance, grades, and student experience. When you’re tracking each component in a different place, it becomes difficult for your staff to see the whole student journey and they may not know a student is at risk until it’s too late. 

CourseKey’s retention dashboard visualizes a complete picture of student risk with the touch of a button, allowing staff to take a proactive approach to retention. Staff can sort students by risk level to quickly determine which students need the most support. They spend less time managing data and more time acting on it. 

Improving retention rates is a win-win for everyone. Students achieve their certifications and go out in the field, while schools boost revenue and improve outcomes. 

Compliance software for trade schools

Everything your school does impacts compliance. To remain compliant and prove that your school is running according to policy, staff must maintain accurate, verifiable records of all student and course time. Unfortunately, if you’re entering data into the SIS manually, it’s delayed and prone to human error.

CourseKey consolidates attendance data from all learning environments—online, on-ground, and externships—into one location, giving administrators access to real-time data that is verifiable down to the second.

Student dashboards with exportable reports make it easy to prove processes and share records with accreditors without digging through boxes of paper files.

In advance of audits, attendance dashboards give administrators an accurate, immediate view of LDA, streamlining the return to Title IV process. 

"If I'm feeding grades into CourseKey, attendance into CourseKey, if I need exact minutes, CourseKey is always going to be able to prove it and I can always match it to our SIS. I never have to worry about the two being off. So when I sit down with an accredited who says 'prove to me that Tom Jones was here' I can show them we have Tom Jones ID, and he's connected with biometrics on his phone plus a QR-code. It's the easiest most straightforward thing in the world to be able to set up simple verification."

When compliance leaders have real-time attendance and course data, they can also take a proactive approach to compliance by examining behavioral data. For example, if an instructor regularly begins class late or ends class early, staff can step in and fix the issue before external audits occur.

Improving instructor morale

There’s a reason instructors call CourseKey a “lifesaver” and “the best thing since sliced bread.” 

CourseKey eliminates the tasks they hate doing—pencil-pushing and data management—and gives them more time to focus on student success. 

According to Damon Fugett, Director of DeHart Technical School, CourseKey eliminated a lot of the things they used to spend time training like grading and data management. Instructors get to spend more time focusing on teaching, and Damon has the data he needs to best support his school and students. 

Improving student experience

CourseKey improves school operations to the delight of staff, reduces administrative burden on instructors, but most importantly, it improves student experience. 


Students enjoy having access to their

hours and progress 24/7 at the touch of a button without relying on someone else for updates. 

“A student once told me, ‘I get these notifications. I have access to my attendance and grades. I know we’re all responsible for ourselves, and I appreciate it’” said Damon Fugett, Director of Dehart Technical School.

When you give students the resources they need to be accountable, they become accountable and make choices that help them progress towards graduation. According to Ena Hull, COO of Legacy Education, CourseKey became similar to a fitness tracker for her students, fostering a great sense of responsibility. 

“It was fascinating how obsessed our students became with monitoring the attendance in their app,” said Ena. “You better clear out of the hallway before an 8 am class because students are literally running to class to get all their time.”

Software that empowers trade schools

CourseKey was built to solve the unique compliance, retention, and engagement challenges facing trade schools. Request a demo to learn more about how CourseKey can support your school. 

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