Higher education: finding the path that fits you

A young male student looks through book stacks.

Which path will you take?

As you look ahead to college and ultimately finding a career you enjoy, know that there many different paths you can take. The one thing they have in common: most require some kind of education after high school.

Which path will you take?

  • 2-year college
  • 4-year college
  • Community college transfer to 4-year college
  • 4-year college then graduate school
  • Technical college or trade school

Deciding what’s important to you is the first step in shaping your experience after high school.

Different factors might drive your choice:

  • Passion for a specific career
  • Goal to save money
  • Balance of work and school
  • Dream of attending a certain school
  • Desire to explore different career options

Things to consider while choosing your path

Money and jobs

Typically, the more education you get, the higher your earning potential will be.

Degree Annual salary
Doctoral degree $84,396
Professional degree $89,960
Master’s degree $69,732
Bachelor’s degree $59,124
Associate’s degree $41,496
Some college, no degree $39,108
High school diploma $35,256
Less than a high school diploma $25,636

Look at jobs with growth

Growing fields offer more job opportunities, which often means more flexibility for you, and sometimes greater earning potential for high-demand jobs. www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm. College graduates have greater job security than those without a degree. Other mitigating factors are in place, like the type of degree someone has or the occupation.

  • Bachelor’s degree = 3.5% unemployment rate
  • High school diploma = 6.0% unemployment rate]1

1Source: http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

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