Alternatives to College
Not everyone wants to attend a four-year school after completing high school. And that’s ok! There are plenty of options for students looking to continue their education to find a well-paying job for the future. There are also options for students looking to take a less traditional approach to the time immediately following graduation. Here are some alternatives to college that you may want to consider if you feel a four-year program isn’t for you, or you need a break between high school and college.
Gap Year Programs
Taking a gap year is popular overseas, and it’s gaining traction in the U.S. A gap year is a year taken off between high school and college. Often students use this time to travel abroad, gain work experience, or volunteer over the course of the academic year in lieu of attending college right away. For a list of gap year programs, check out Gap Year Association.
Trade School Programs
Trade school is an excellent option, especially for those who prefer to work with their hands and learn in a hands-on environment. Well-paying jobs can be found in things like HVAC installation and repair, diesel mechanics, massage therapy, plumbing, licensed practical nursing and more. Trade school is typically shorter than a traditional college bachelor’s degree program, and some programs often lasting ten months to two years and focused learning in your chosen career. Some trades do require state licensure or certification, while other do not. However, your program will explain the requirements you need to meet before starting your career.
Apprenticeship is a great option to learn skills on the job from a seasoned professional. Skills like carpentry, masonry, and construction can be learned at a much greater speed through an apprenticeship. Other jobs, such as home inspector or commercial diver also provide excellent opportunities for learning on the job from seasoned pros. Some jobs associated with apprenticeships may require eventual licensure through state regulating bodies.
Community College Programs
If four year college just isn’t your speed, an associate’s degree may be the way to go. These degrees typically take two years to earn and are a mixture of general education requirements and courses in your chosen field. And another thing to note, your community college may also offer programs like those offered at trade schools. Programs available at community colleges include IT, nursing, photography, web development, avionics technician, radiation therapist, and many more, many of which are well-paying positions.
Joining the Military
The military can be an excellent option for someone looking to travel and learn while getting paid. When you join the military you will select a career path from those available and get focused training in that field. You may also qualify for tuition assistance should you choose to attend college later. Military benefits can be appealing to those who are looking for a steady pay check, health insurance, and specialized training in a particular field of interest while serving their country in the process.