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Different Career Routes Coming Out of High School

Once students graduate from high school, it is expected of them to “enter into the real world”. What this means for most parents is going to college for four years and earning a degree, then possibly furthering their education even more in order to secure the highest paying job possible. Though this is great, this route coming out of high school isn’t the only one that people can take. As a parent, it is important to know and communicate this to your children and not force anything upon them. Everyone chooses their own path, and college isn’t always the path chosen. 


Some of the Options

First, there is the traditional four-year college route earning a bachelor’s degree at a University. This is a great route that many others, including myself, have taken. I enjoyed my time at college and was blessed to be able to get through that time debt free. With this route though, it does take time and a lot of money depending on where your child decides to go. There is also the possibility that it can take beyond the four years that is expected. 

If your child feels that they are not yet ready to do that, there is also the community college route. This is cheaper and allows your child to get a better grasp on different career options if they are unsure of what they want to do. It can also help them to get used to the college lifestyle and academia. 

One option that is becoming increasingly popular is trade school or other vocational type programs. There is a wide range of options to choose from, is very hands on, and the style of learning helps quickly and efficiently get people into the workforce through things like apprenticeships. 

For those with an overwhelming urge to serve their country and a love for structure, the military is a great option. Oftentimes, service in the military opens up a route for you to go to college after as they will then help pay for it. 

Finally, there is the option to take a gap year after high school. This gives them time to explore different interests as well as travel and enjoy life for a bit before jumping into their career. This gap year is a great time to volunteer, pursue internships, or find a small job in order to save up for this next stage of their life. 


For Parents

Parents, this is going to be a pivotal time for your children. The decisions they make will in their minds have a huge impact on their futures, and they need all the support and wisdom they can get right now. What they don’t need is for you to pester and force them to make a decision that YOU think is best for them. Help explain to them what each route entails presenting all the negatives, positives, and how their strengths and weaknesses play into them. For example, if you have a child who likes to work with his hands, learn through repetitive action, and hates school, then college might not be the best option. They may enjoy trade school more! Your child may know exactly what they want or they may be scared out of their mind. The most important thing is to just start the conversation.

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