High school seniors in vocational education programs already have a big jump on the competition for jobs after graduation. The question you need to ask yourself is, “Should I jump directly into the job market right after graduation or continue on to earn my degree?” There are a multitude of factors to consider when weighing this option.
Even with hands-on training you’ll probably discover the path to the highest paying jobs in your field will be earned with a degree from a community college. Advancements in technology, along with better cooperation between vocational high schools and local community colleges have created a nearly seamless transition. The two years of additional training offered by these schools will not only lead to higher pay from the minute you enter the job market, but will also offer you a greater flexibility later on in your career. The rounding out of your education can open up opportunities in management at a faster rate, as well as give you more flexibility in the companies you choose to apply to.
For example, if you have an associate degree in hand when applying for a job in the construction trades industry, this would prevent you from having to be the low man on totem pole and working your way up. With a degree in hand in the construction industry, you have better odds at starting out in a management or supervisory role, or potentially landing a better paying job at a larger scale commercial company. The same figures hold true for health care, engineering technologies, and business degrees.
Perhaps the most compelling reason for continuing your vocational education at a community college is the flexibility you are offered in career choice. As you are exposed to a more diverse mix of technology, you may find yourself switching majors to another program, or using your two year degree as a great starting point for a traditional four year university degree. Your high school guidance counselor is a great resource to offer you valuable insight into the tuition rates, enrollment, and programming information at local community colleges.
An associate degree from a community college or technical college can open many doors you may have never considered before. If you have followed your passion in vocational school, you can keep your dream alive, while still keeping your options open later in life.