While a lot of teens see high school as a chore, something to get through and leave behind, the reality is it is the last stepping stone into adulthood. After those years are over you will come to appreciate that time of your life for the relatively carefree experience it was.
What you do after graduation depends largely on where you want to be and how quickly you want to get there. Some people have life plans started once they learn how to talk, while others are still at the planning stage when they hit 18.
There is no one size fits all plan because every choice means sacrifice and every path leads to more than one destination. One path is the road of university, college, or career training in a non-trades field.
This path is for you if you are ready to select a career path, did reasonably well in an academic program at school, and are able and ready to study and learn in a traditional setting. If you are thinking of university or college you will need good grades in high school or you must be willing to take extra time to upgrade in a post-secondary college prep program.
Just because your grades right after graduation were not great does not mean that college or university is not an option for you. This simply means it may take longer for you to get there, or that you have to attend a less prestigious college.
For career training programs, your grades may be less important but could come into to play when seeking financial aid for tuition. The biggest hurdle faced by many people wanting to go on to post-secondary programs like university or college is the high cost of tuition and books.
Extremely good grades can help in getting full or partial scholarships, but student loans are available to everyone. You can visit the Financial Aid Center at the college you plan to attend to find out more about your funding options.
While a difficult time in high school should in no way deter you if you really want to go on to a college or university be aware that the learning environment in college is the same, but more concentrated. If this is not for you, you may want to consider a trade program.
Trade school is where you go to learn a skill or craft, like becoming an electrician, plumber, carpenter, master builder, mechanic, auto body technician, mason, heating and refrigeration technician, etc.
You enter in to a program where you learn the skills hands on, become an apprentice in a specified job and eventually take a test. This is for you if you thrive in a hands-on learning environment, if you have an interest in a skill, and if you enjoy physically demanding work that is also mentally challenging.
Trades work is just as mentally challenging as fields like law, business, journalism, and medicine. Where it differs most from these professions is in how you are trained not in how smart you have to be to do the work.
Training is intensive and in most jobs you are actually working in an apprenticeship position within 6 months to a year. Depending on the job you choose and the program you enter in to it can be a few years before you become a ticketed journeyman.
A journeyman is considered an expert in a given trade and passing a journeyman’s exam is akin to passing the bar in law or completing a specialty in medicine. As a skilled worker you can easily be self-employed if so inclined.
Over the years trades have been unfairly stigmatized as a fall back career for people who could not perform in an academic setting. This is untrue and has led to a serious shortage in qualified skilled workers.
A career in a trade pays very well, is mentally stimulating, physically demanding and no one day on the job is ever the same as the last. You should definitely consider it if you are interested.
Tommy Greene is a certified CNA and has worked in health care for the past 15 years. He has great advice on what education is necessary to become a Medical Assistant Utah.
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