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Jun 3, 2015

Beyond Graduation: Evaluation Higher Education Options

Choosing a path for higher education starts long before you graduate high school. There are many different types of programs that you can enroll in, and learning about what each of them offers will help you pick the one that can best prepare you for the career of your dreams.

Community College
These affordable two-year schools allow you to earn an associate’s degree while sticking close to home after high school. You can then take this degree and get a job or transfer credits to a four-year school and finish your bachelor’s degree. Attending community college provides a solid foundation of prerequisite courses that you can build upon throughout your education and on into your career.

Public College
Most traditional four-year colleges are public schools funded in part by local and federal taxes. This funding makes tuition less expensive than at other institutions. You may also qualify for financial aid if you’re a resident of the state where the school is located.

Private College
You can choose to complete your undergraduate education at a private college, however it will typically cost more than a public institution. Private schools may offer more opportunities for financial aid or scholarships to offset these costs.

Liberal Arts Education
Schools that offer liberal arts programs cater to students who prefer careers that are more artistic or intellectual than technical. Art, language, history, math and science all fall into the liberal arts category. You can either earn a four-year degree in one of these disciplines or make your liberal arts education the starting point for a graduate degree in something more specific such as medicine or law.

Certificate Programs
A six-month to one-year certificate program may be for you if you know exactly what you want to do after high school and don’t want to spend a lot of time training for it. Certificate programs have a targeted focus on one specific skill set or job for which you become certified upon graduating.

Vocational Training
If you’re anxious to get real workplace experience in a field where jobs are in high demand, vocational training could be for you. Vocational programs generally take less time to complete than traditional college degrees and prepare you for jobs that promise a great deal of growth. Vocational training from a school such as the Institute of Technology covers career paths that include health care, business, criminal justice, culinary arts and a variety of technical pursuits. These programs are paired with career placement services to help match graduates with companies on the lookout for their specific skills.

Apprenticeship
In an apprenticeships also can gain insightful knowledge for a specific career. These programs allow you to learn a trade under the guidance of people with many years of experience. In addition to practical training, you also spend time in the classroom to round out your education. A big benefit of apprenticeships is the fact that you get paid for the time you spend training, so you’re earning a salary while preparing yourself to venture out into the job world. Apprenticeships usually last from one to six years. At the end of that time, you’re industry qualified for the trade you trained in and ready to start on a career path.

Both traditional colleges and alternative education such as vocational training help to prepare you for a career in your chosen field. Wherever you decide to go after high school, you’ll receive invaluable experience that improves your personal and professional skills.