There are many educational options available today beyond just attending college for four years to obtain a degree. By researching the careers you are interested in before enrolling in college, you could save yourself years of time and a good deal of money.
If you choose to attend a community college, you can major in just about any field you want. Community college classes cover subjects as diverse as radiology, child care, and food service.
Look through want ads and see what kind experience and education employers expect in their applicants. You might be surprised how many do not require a bachelor’s degree. Below are three courses of study common at community colleges. Any one of these might be right for you.
Associate degree: An associate degree, either an Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) is typically a two-year program offered by community colleges. There are many careers that only require an associate degree. The top ten paying jobs, according to a CNN report (based on statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) are:
- Computer specialist
- Nuclear technician
- Dental hygienist
- Radiation therapist
- Nuclear medicine technologist
- Fashion designer
- Aerospace engineering and operations technician
- Diagnostic medical sonographer
- Registered nurse
- Engineering technician
There are many other careers available to someone with an associate degree. Some of these are broadcast or sound technician, desktop publisher, flight attendant, and physical and occupational therapist.
Certificate: Taking community college courses toward a certificate usually requires fewer credit hours than an associate degree, but with more specialized training. It allows students to get into a career quicker, often in as little as a year. The hours are usually applicable toward a degree later. Community college majors leading to a certificate include:
- Food services
- Child care
- Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
- Dental or medical office assistant
- Laboratory phlebotomy
Diploma: Some schools offer a specialist diploma program that allows people who are currently employed to further their education for career-development and advancement purposes. Community college classes that count toward a diploma usually focus on a specific area of employment, rather than general subjects such as math, science, or English.