High school graduation marks a milestone transitionary period in people’s lives. Most graduates have reached adult age and are planning their next steps post-high school.
From continuing formal education, to jumping into the workforce, here are some ideas for different paths to take. Learn how Pipeline AZ can support you in your post-high school journey.
1. Continue School
Earnings increase and unemployment rates decrease the higher the educational level someone’s achieved. In 2021, the median usual weekly earnings for someone with a bachelor’s degree were $1,334, while those with a high school diploma had a median usual weekly earnings of $809. That’s a difference of $27,300 a year.
There are lots of educational paths to consider after high school. These include:
- Community college: Community college provides a pathway to an associate’s degree, typically after 2 years of full-time study. Some Arizona community colleges also offer 4-year bachelor’s degree programs and a variety of certificate options. Community college classes are usually less expensive compared to traditional 4-year universities. You can typically transfer the credits you earn at community college to a 4-year university if you decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree at another school.
- 4-year college: Traditional 4-year colleges and universities offer programs toward a bachelor’s degree. Moving to a different city or state to attend college can result in a lot of personal growth. Bigger schools also tend to have more on-campus programs available compared to community colleges, from residence life to social clubs like Greek life.
- Trade school: Trade schools are increasingly becoming a viable option for hands-on learners who want to finish school quickly and enter in-demand careers. There’s currently a skilled trades shortage for professionals specializing in areas like diesel mechanics, welding, CNC machining and other hands-on trades. The 2022 Makers Index reported there were 650,000 open jobs in the construction industry alone. Students can complete trade school programs in less than a year and begin technical careers.
For students who want to work while they attend school, online programs provide lots of options. From certificate programs to 4-year bachelor’s degrees to master’s programs, students have many online program choices for what they want to study, from wherever they are in the world. Pipeline AZ features thousands of post-secondary education options from Arizona schools.
2. Enter the Workforce
Formal education may not be a requirement for your dream career. There are lots of ways to grow a career starting with an entry-level job, in fields ranging from tourism and hospitality, to retail and business management.
If you want to take a break from school and work full-time, you can find entry-level jobs that help you connect with other professionals and help you determine what kind of job and work environment you’re passionate about. Pipeline AZ presents more than a dozen strong career pathways to consider, including various job titles and required education for each pathway.
You can also take our free career assessment to get an idea of what type of career pathways you might be best-suited for, based on your interests.
3. Enlist in the Military
If you feel called to serve your country, the military has a strong need for enthusiastic individuals looking to serve. There are several benefits to military service, in addition to the opportunity to represent your country. They include:
- On-the-job training: You can develop skills ranging from mechanical expertise to medical training to videography while you’re in the military. There are diverse pathways to take in whatever branch you choose to serve in. As you serve, you’re getting paid to develop your skills, which can benefit you if you decide to transition to civilian life later on.
- Education assistance: The GI Bill pays for the education of current military members and military veterans, whether payment goes toward traditional university education, trade school, flight school or other educational options.
- Travel: Often, the military provides a way to move across the country or across the world. If you have an interest in travel and you enjoy learning about different cultures, you may have options by becoming a military servicemember.
Joining the military can be challenging and very rewarding, in terms of personal and professional growth. Military service might appeal to you if you’re interested in dedicating your time and service to your country, and you want to take advantage of benefits like educational compensation and career networking post-service.
4. Start a Business
You might feel called to begin your own business or start a career as a solopreneur after graduation. Technology makes it easier than ever to become a freelancer or learn how to open your own business through self-study.
If you’re interested in entrepreneurship, consider the following.
- Research entrepreneur courses. Search for courses and certifications that can help you learn how to be a business owner. This search of business management certifications on Pipeline AZ may be a good place to start.
- Look for work-based experiences. A work-based experience like an internship or apprenticeship can be a quick and meaningful way to get valuable experience to prepare you as a business owner. You can learn how a business in the industry you’re interested in operates and gain valuable skills you can apply as a business owner.
- Find a mentor. When you lack experience, a mentor in your field can help advise you on skills to develop, actions to take and ways to grow a business. SCORE has a Find a Mentor tool that can help. You can also use our networking tips to meet people in your field.
You might also consider working a full-time job first to learn more tricks of the trade before opening up your own shop. You can use Pipeline AZ to find entry-level jobs in your field.
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Pipeline AZ is here to help high school graduates and job seekers in Arizona grow their dream careers. Sign up to get personalized job alerts and more career resources that can help you succeed after high school graduation.