Explore Your Options
Options After High School
Many people believe that “college” means four more years; in reality college means any additional education or training after high school. And since 70% of jobs out there require some form of education and training after high school it's a good idea to get familiar with your options.
A paid job that provides on-the-job training in a highly skilled career. Typically someone new to the field learns the skills needed through training by a master craftsman, who is an expert in their field. They share skills and knowledge to help the apprentice become an expert too.
Nine Month Certificate/One Year Diploma
Full-time programs designed to provide core skills and knowledge needed to work in a specific professional field or enhance a current profession. Certification and diploma programs can be found at community colleges, as well as through private apprenticeship or training programs.
Two Year Degree (Associate’s degree)
Generally earned at a community college, a two year degree can focus on liberal arts (general education) as a step towards transferring to a four year college OR a two year degree can focus on specific career training that leads directly into employment.
Associate of Arts Degree
An Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree is one of the most common types of associate degrees available. Most A.A. programs require students to complete 60 hours of coursework, including general education courses and courses associated with a major. Students often apply the credits earned in an A.A. program towards a bachelor's degree program. A.A. degrees are typically awarded in the liberal arts, such as English, history, music, economics, elementary education, psychology and sociology.
Associate of Science Degree
The Associate of Science (A.S.) degree is also a popular type of associate degree. Most A.S. degree programs focus on science but also require students to complete several hours of general education courses. This degree is very similar to the A.A. because it prepares students to enter a bachelor's degree program and usually requires 60 hours. Common A.S. degree programs include chemistry and biology. Students can also pursue A.S. degrees in engineering, business administration and computer science, to name a few.
Associate of Applied Science Degree
Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs are designed to prepare students to enter the workforce. Working professionals looking for a raise or promotion may also pursue an A.A.S. degree. These programs generally require students to complete fewer hours of general education coursework. There are many types of A.A.S. degrees, including programs that focus on engineering or business. Some examples of A.A.S. degrees include graphic design, food service, management, medical assisting and automotive technology.
To explore career-training certificate and degree options throughout Iowa, visit www.curricunet.com/iowa_doe. CurricUNET provides program listings for every community college in Iowa.
Four Year Degree (Bachelor’s degree)
A combination of liberal arts (general education) courses and a specific course of study for a major area of interest, a Bachelor's degree is earned at a traditional four-year college or university.
Master or Doctorate Degree
Required for professions in medicine, law and higher levels of education, graduate level degrees are also attained in business administration and other specialty fields.To earn a graduate degree you must first earn a Bachelor's degree. Graduate programs are generally offered at universities, however some colleges offer graduate programs in specific specialty areas.
Military or Specialized Training
There are many options when considering military or specialized training in one of the seven branches of the U.S. military. The first step is to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) which helps identify the correct Military Occupational Specialty. Basic training follows. There are also military academies and preparatory schools that focus on both academics and military training. Graduates enter service as officers, ranking higher than enlisted military personnel.