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5 Education Paths After High School

Written by Nicole Dalbo on Monday, 07 March 2022. Posted in Helpful Tips

Hands extending out a diploma and graduation cap.

You’re putting in the hard work to pass your lessons and earn your degree so it’s important to think about what it’s all for. It’s never too soon to think about what’s next after high school. If you’re considering further education after high school, it can help increase your career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, further education can potentially boost your hiring and earning potential. So, what types of education are available to you? Take a look at these options to see which may be the best for you.

Career Certificate

Earning a career certificate tends to be much quicker than earning a degree or diploma. Career certificates often will focus on specific skills and knowledge needed for a career in that field. These certificates can often be best for someone who already works in the industry and wants to refresh or learn new skills, or someone who wants to add a certificate to a degree on their resume related to an in-demand skill.

Career Diploma

While career diplomas may take more time to complete when compared to a career certificate, they’ll usually cover more information. Career diplomas offer a more in- depth look into a job field, so that you can gain the skills and training necessary for certain career paths, such as a Veterinary Assistant or a Pharmacy Technician. These career paths can range from the trades, the medical field, the veterinary field, business, and so much more. Completing a career diploma can even open the door to preparing for and taking required exams such as the National Health Association’s Certified Billing and Coding Specialist exam. Pursuing a career diploma can often be the best path for someone who knows exactly what career they want after high school, if it doesn’t require a degree.

Undergraduate Certificate

Maybe you’re thinking about going to college, but you don’t want to commit to a full degree just yet. That’s okay! Undergraduate certificates allow you to earn college credits while still having something to show for your hard work. Undergraduate certificates are often one semester in length, and like career diplomas, can teach you valuable skills you’ll need in the workplace. A huge plus to an undergraduate certificate is that the credits earned have the potential to be transferred into a degree, or possibly a different undergraduate certificate.

Associate Degree

Associate degrees are 60 credits, or about 4 semesters in length, and are more intensive than the previous options. With an associate degree, you will pick your major and develop more thorough knowledge in that field. This degree option builds a greater foundation in a specific area of study and often encourages critical thinking skills so that you can apply what you know to more situations. Like an undergraduate certificate, you will be able to earn transferable credits, whether you’re seeking a different area of study or continuing your education further.

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree is the highest level of undergraduate education that you can earn. They are 120 credits, or about 8 semesters in length—so they are quite a commitment! Bachelor’s degrees offer a greater foundation in critical thinking skills through general education requirements and program-specific courses. Although it’s the most costly option, your hard work may pay off for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,those that have earned a bachelor's degree make about $26,000 more per year on average than someone who has only earned a high school diploma.

Which career path is best for you?

That’s something you will need to decide! Try to figure out what interests you in a career and explore all of the possible paths to help you get there. Create a list of pros and cons for each of these educational paths to see which one best lines up with your time, budget, and salary-outcome needs. An education through JMHS’s sister schools, Ashworth College or Penn Foster can greatly reduce the time needed, and the money you’ll pay with a super affordable education that’s on your time. For a full look at certificates, diplomas, and degrees that might interest you, check out Ashworth’s full listing here, or contact one of their Admissions Specialists today at .

About the Author

Nicole Dalbo

Nicole Dalbo

Nicole Dalbo studied English Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Scranton and is currently working toward her MS in Marketing. When she isn’t writing, Nicole can be found watching the newest Marvel movie, baking something sweet, or jamming out to live music.