Choosing the right educational path

After high school, what then? Your children need to choose something to do when they finish high school. They might go to work, enroll in college, join the military, travel, or pursue some other activity. In preparing to make this big decision, there are three important points both you and your children should remember:

  1. Education or training after high school is important for virtually all career paths. Education or training may occur in a variety of different ways, but learning needs to continue and be life long.
  2. College does not necessarily mean pursuing a four-year degree while living on a college campus. There are many types of education and training programs that prepare for specific careers or can be used as stepping stones to 4-year college degrees.
  3. The path taken right after high school will likely be the foundation for future opportunities, but nothing is set in stone. It is critical to think in the long-term. After all, it can take time to achieve one's goals. Our education system offers opportunities to pursue learning at all stages of life. Don't shortchange one's goal if the path is extended by personal circumstances.

There are many ways to pursue education and training after high school. The method will, of course, depend on your children's goals. For many occupations, there is a variety of ways to prepare although some methods are generally preferred by specific employers. The following are the most common training methods:

There are many careers in which your child may be interested - such as architect, lawyer and doctor - that require education beyond a bachelor's degree. These degrees include:

How does my child know which type of training program to pursue?

If your children have career goals, their education plans emerge through research into the occupational requirements. You might want to review the section on High school education plans for the steps your children will want to take to identify their goals and create their plans.

The key question your children will need to answer is "How do I get there?" They will need to research information about their goals to find out the kinds of paths that they may take after high school graduation. A comprehensive career information resource like Oregon Career Information System (CIS) provides information for the majority of occupational areas in the state and the nation. It describes the preparation requirements, including options for formal education, work experience, on-the-job training, and military training, for all occupations. It also connects these occupations to recommended programs of study and training and the schools that offer these training programs.

Your children can also interview people in their career interest areas about how they prepared for their work. Although they may find some unusual individual career paths, people in occupations can also tell them what types of education and training are most valued by employers.

Parts of this information were adapted from the Oregon Career Information System (CIS) with permission.