Many students enter high school already knowing they will attend a four-year college upon graduation. And just as many or more students aren’t sure about their future after high school. Students may feel pressure from parents, teachers, and counselors to seek a four-year degree after high school, and then utilize that degree to start a career in the field in which they majored. While this may be an acceptable path for some, many students either can’t afford the cost of a four-year degree, or they simply may not be suited to that type of study. For those students, there are a wealth of alternatives to consider.
Best Your Year Degrees Alternatives
1. Earn a Certification
Time and expense are practical considerations for many high school graduates. Thankfully, opportunities exist to earn a certification in a promising career field in a short amount of time for a minimal cost. For example, students may earn a certificate in medical billing and coding in as little as four weeks. Such certifications open doors to entry-level positions in a promising field. They also require far less investment than earning standard college credits. Students may seek certifications in the medical or manufacturing field and upon completion, they can earn a position with a company that may pay for additional education. For those seeking employment right out of high school, earning a certification can be quite advantageous.
Many skilled trades offer apprenticeships where individuals can learn the ins and outs of a position by working side-by-side with a skilled practitioner. Examples of fields that offer apprenticeships include plumbing, heating, and air conditioning, electricians, and builders. Many of these fields consistently offer favorable job markets. People working in the skilled trades can earn as much or more as those working in occupations that require four-year degrees. For those that enjoy working with their hands, or for mechanically-minded people, an apprenticeship may be much more appealing than four years of sitting at a desk and leaning from books. Applying for apprenticeships can be just as competitive as applying to college. So students interested in following this path will want to work on building a resume just as diligently as those that are pursuing degrees.
3. Trade Schools
Similar to apprenticeships, trade schools may appeal to those people who would rather work with their hands than sit in a classroom. While trade schools will require some classroom work, most of the training will focus on the student’s career path. Those wishing to be auto or boat mechanics, diesel mechanics, beauticians, or builders may benefit from attending a trade school. Again, admission may be competitive so gaining experience and maintaining good grades through high school can still be very important.
If the idea of earning a four-year degree seems overwhelming due to the time or financial investment, or none of the career paths interest you, consider an alternative. More and more opportunities are cropping up all the time for students wishing to follow career paths that don’t fit the standard four-year college model.