Alternatives To Traditional Colleges

Alternatives To Traditional Colleges


While many people assume that a college education is the only path to a successful career and lifestyle, that is no longer the case. A number of factors have conspired and caused recent high school grads, and their parents, to rethink the wisdom of the traditional college education.

One of those factors is the rising cost of college tuition and associated costs. Even without the added expenses of books, lodging and incidental expenses, a four-year college degree could cost tens of thousands of dollars or more every year. Those high costs can leave students with debt, even before they land their first job.

Fortunately, there are a number of smart alternatives to traditional colleges. Here are just a few things high school graduates and their families might want to consider.

Trade Schools

While some people have a dim view of trade schools, these specialty educational institutions serve a valuable purpose in the modern world. Whether you are looking for the best flight training in North Carolina or a great truck driving school in Wisconsin, you have plenty of options.

It is important to note that many of the careers these schools prepare their students for pay as well, if not better, than careers available to the average college graduate. Whether those graduates find work as private pilots, truck drivers, welders or plumbers, they can certainly enjoy a job with good pay without the high cost of getting a traditional four year degree.


Apprenticeships are still quite popular in European countries, and they used to be widespread in the United States as well. In some parts of the country apprenticeships have been making a comeback, with experienced tradespeople and craftsmen passing on their knowledge to the next generation.

Whether formal or informal, an apprenticeship can be a great way to learn a trade and prepare for life in the outside world. If someone you know is an experienced professional, ask them about an apprenticeship. You can learn a lot, gain valuable job skills and keep your options open.

Two-Year Degree Programs

Not all jobs require a four year degree from a traditional college. There are some great jobs that require only an associate’s degree, and getting one can take as little as two years.

From veterinary assistants to registered nurses to networking and security specialists, there are plenty of career paths open to holders of two-year degrees. You can save even more by seeking out classes at a community college, but no matter what path you choose an associate’s degree can be a great value.