Are you a recent high school graduate with no clear plan for the future? Or perhaps you are interested in a particular field of study but wary of the crushing debt that often comes with receiving a college education? The good news is, you’re not alone.
Did you know that only 40% of Americans have an associate’s degree or above, and many are choosing to learn a skill to make their fortune rather than obtaining a four-year degree?
While college is a dream for many, it’s not necessarily right for everyone. There are many affordable options to further your education without attending college, and as long as you are fulfilled and learning, you’re on the right path. Let’s explore a few of these cost-effective learning options and decide whether a life without a university education (and tuition prices!) is right for you.
If you’re fresh out of high school and not ready to commit to a career path right away, volunteering is a great way to get your feet wet in an industry without obtaining a degree or making a commitment too soon. Volunteer for an organization that you may be interested in and you’ll get a feel for what it would be like to work there.
This is a great way to get practical, free on-the-job experience without committing to a job. If you’re currently saving to pay for college or working while taking a gap year, this is a flexible option as well.
Certifications + Trade School
Are you someone who’s constantly renovating the house? Are you are a fantastic leader who prides yourself on your people skills? If you have a talent for remodeling, a brain for mathematics, and a heart for helping others in your community, you may be interested in going to school to learn a trade like plumbing, HVAC work, or contracting.
As a contractor, you will be overseeing the construction and renovation processes of various home and office building projects in your community. You’ll get to work alongside various personalities on every project imaginable, from crafting a family’s dream kitchen to breaking ground on a business’s much-needed new office space.
In most trade professions, you’ll need to get licensed before you can practice in your state. Start studying for your contracting exam with RocketCert, then consider a local technical school or apprenticeship to get started in your trade of choice.
Learn As An Assistant
Do you pride yourself on your excellent organizational skills? Working as an administrative assistant is a good option for someone with great attention to detail who loves a deadline. Look for companies you’re interested in and apply to be an office manager or administrative assistant.
Many companies love to hire from within. In admin, you’ll get hands-on experience working for the company and get to know the staff and how they operate, as well as the requirements for higher-up jobs. Who knows, they may consider you for their next job opening!
Get A Mentor Or Apprenticeship
A great way to gain hands-on education is to learn as an apprentice in your area of interest. Contact businesses in your area and see if they are hiring interns or looking to pass their trade on to an apprentice. There’s no better way to learn a skill than on the job, and training with someone who has already achieved success in your area of interest is priceless.
Another option to learn tuition-free is to search for a mentor who is an expert in your area of interest. Many would be happy to take a promising young person on as a mentee but choose carefully as mentoring is a bigger time commitment than some are able to give.
There is no right answer when it comes to choosing post-high school education opportunities. All that matters is that you trust your instincts and learn, whether that’s through interning at an office, exploring a trade, or volunteering for an animal shelter.