Post-HS Options

So what's next? Do you know what you want to do after high school? Have you researched post-secondary options that will help you achieve your career goals? What may seem like an easy decision can become a daunting task. Deciding what education option to take after high school can be overwhelming and making the right choice based on your career choices is critical when selecting a post-secondary program to pursue.

Post-secondary options provide students with a plethora of choices students can explore in order to obtain the career of their choice. Post-secondary options could include a four year college or university, community college, career and technical education, or military. Consideration of career goals, time investment, cost, and learning environment can determine what post-secondary programming is best suited for students.

A college/university offers students a wealth of education options. There are a number of degree programs, majors, and class options students can choose from that may align with their career aspirations.  The typical four-year college program offers two types of bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS). Students who are interested in the career pathway of arts and humanities will take the B.A. pathway, and students who are interested in science, technology, and business usually earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Four-year schools typically offer on-campus residential opportunities, sports, clubs, extracurricular activities, and social activities.

Students can also explore Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Founded prior to 1964, HBCUs are higher education institutions that were historically established to provide education for Black Americans. Today, HBCUs offer all students, regardless of race, an opportunity to gain a rich culture college experience, as well as develop a student’s skills and talents that also align with the student’s career goals. 

Community college is another avenue students can explore when pursuing post-secondary options. Community colleges are far more cost effective than a four year institution; they can provide flexibility if students have to work and attend school simultaneously, there are more support services offered, smaller class sizes, and students can obtain an associate degree or certification upon completion of college. 

Career certification programs are additional post-secondary routes students can take to reach their career goal. Career certificate programs offer hands-on experiences related to specific careers. Career technical education programs are more streamlined and focus on developing specific skills and knowledge for a selected career path and students earn a certification opposed to a degree. Certification programs are a great way for students to jump start their career immediately after high school and career technical education programs cost far less than a college/university, as well as taking significantly less time to complete. Career technical education programs are often referred to as “trade schools” or “vocational training programs”.

Apprenticeships afford students the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge under skilled, trained workers within the occupation the students are pursuing. Through a paid, on-the-job training opportunity, students can learn the skills needed for the job. An apprenticeship for nearly any job can exist, ranging from high-tech manufacturing to healthcare.

The military is yet another option one can explore when deciding what post-secondary path to take to reach one’s career goals. The military can help pay for college or even pay off college loans, all while assisting students with achieving their career goals.