4 Alternatives to Traditional College

Deciding what path to take after high school is an incredibly difficult one. Rarely is anyone sure what career they want to do for the rest of their lives, but adolescents are expected to make this decision nonetheless. Of course, nothing is permanent and careers can be changed but this is often a luxury that most people cannot afford. Many young people are told by well-meaning adults that the only clear path to a stable and well-paying job is college. It is true that most well-paying careers require post-secondary education or training. However, it is also true that four-year degrees are not the only way to achieve a well-paying and stable job. There are alternative options that teenagers and the adults who care for them would do well to consider.

Consider Trade School

One alternative to the traditional college path is a trade school. There are a variety of careers students can pursue through trade school in a variety of fields ranging from construction to healthcare. Trade schools provide training in cosmetology, dental hygiene, welding, electrical and plumbing along with many other areas. Not only are these careers worthwhile options that offer students the chance to enter a field they find interesting, but they also offer students the opportunity to enter fields that are in high demand. For example, becoming an electrician is extremely lucrative, as there are fewer people in the field, which has increased demand, and it is a job that will always be needed by people. The high demand paired with the essential nature of electricians creates a career that can earn people a lot of money in a stable career.

Get a Certificate 

Another path that offers great opportunities is certificate programs. Certificate programs offer a number of career options for people as well. Certificate programs, like trade schools, offer career options in a wide variety of fields–phlebotomy, pharmacy technician and certified nursing assistant. Although those examples are in the medical field, there are a variety of certificates that people can investigate. For instance, people living in California may find that there are many opportunities for home inspectors. Looking into how to become a home inspector in California is a great place to start to see if there are training programs that can certify people in this field. Another perk of certification programs is that there are typically in-person and online options.

Go Straight Into the Field

There are likely going to be students who want to go directly into a position that has on-the-job training so they can earn money as they develop their skill sets. Apprenticeships are a great opportunity to enter the workforce and learn on the job. Many areas of construction offer this sort of training, such as carpenters, masons and even electricians and plumbers. An apprenticeship is an excellent way to get into a field that will always be needed and to start a career that offers opportunities to progress in the field.

Go to College Briefly 

There are those who may not be opposed to college as a means to enter their particular field but hope to do so in a much shorter time than traditional college offers. Associate degrees allow people to obtain the educational background to become nurses, paralegals, veterinary technicians, physical therapy assistants, preschool teachers and so many more. These are well-paying, in-demand jobs that students can enter without an extended college education. An associate degree, although still college, is also a viable alternative to a traditional four-year college.

Becoming a self-sufficient individual who can earn money to survive and thrive is a significant goal for adulthood. There is no prescribed way to achieve this goal. There are many educational and training alternatives for those who do not want to pursue a bachelor’s degree that can lead to successful futures. Young people and the adults around them should investigate all of the options available to them before making such consequential decisions. Opportunity abounds for young people, and they should not be constrained by traditional paths.