What Should My Child Do After High School?
My Child Do after High School?
Why a Post-High School Plan?
Statistics about education and careers in the U.S. reveal why
it's important to have a plan for life after high school:
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- 48 of the 50 fastest growing jobs in the U.S. require
some type of education beyond high school.
- People who don't have post-high school training are three
times more likely to be unemployed than those who do.
- People who have some training after high school make
more money and have better opportunities for career advancement
than those who have only a high school diploma.
- Freshmen who don't have a career goal or academic major
when they enter college are more likely to drop out.
- If your child has a solid plan before graduating, his
or her chances for success in postsecondary education increase.
How Can I Help My Child Prepare for Life After High
You can help your child prepare if you:
in middle school
You need to start planning the courses your child will take
in high school while still in middle school. The courses your
child takes in high school will greatly affect his or her ability
to make a smooth transition to postsecondary education and training.
Take action in high school
Help your child:
Focus your child on a career
- Identify the career or field in which he or she would
like to work.
- Discover the skills needed for his or her chosen career.
- Get as much education and experience related to his or
her career field as possible while still in high school.
This can be accomplished in many ways, including elective
classes, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, job
shadowing, internships and part-time jobs.
- Collect information on the post-high school training
needed to fit his or her career plan.
- Find the schools or colleges that provide the best training
for your child's chosen career.
- Look beyond just starting a training program, set a plan
for how to finish the program.
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- If your child does not have a particular career goal,
help him or her choose a post-high school program in a general
area related to his or her interests.
- Encourage him or her to take challenging courses and
continue to think about how he or she can use education
to pursue a rewarding career.
- Remember that it's okay for your child to change career
goals as he or she learns more about the world of work.
- Also keep in mind that it's better to have a plan that
changes than no plan at all.
What are the Options for Post-High School Training?
There are many ways to pursue education and training after high
school, depending on your child's career goals. Here are some
On-the-job-training. For some careers,
your child will need formal, on-the-job training. Examples include
flight attendant, bank teller or emergency dispatcher.
Apprenticeship training. In an apprenticeship, your
child works with experienced employees and completes classroom
training in a program that can last from one to five years and
results in an industry qualification. Apprentices are paid,
but at a lower rate than fully qualified workers in that field.
Careers that use the apprenticeship method include dental laboratory
technician, mechanic, heavy equipment operator, carpenter, welder,
cabinetmaker and electrician.
The military trains people in 140 occupations, and many of the
skills learned in these occupations can be used in civilian
jobs. Every recruit signs a legal contract for eight years of
duty. Usually, military personnel spend two to six years on
active duty and the remaining years in the Reserve forces. Service
members receive basic pay, allowances and benefits. They are
also eligible for tuition assistance at colleges and universities.
Certificate programs. Many community colleges, technical
schools and private career schools offer six-month to one-year
programs that lead to certification in a specialized field.
Careers that might require a certificate training program include
pharmacy technician, dental assistant, paralegal, computer equipment
repair, floral design and medical assistant.
degree programs. Community colleges also offer two-year
degree programs that result in an associate's degree. Careers
that require an associate's degree include office manager, nurse,
respiratory therapist, forestry technician and interior designer.
A person with an associate's degree can also use those credits
to transfer to a four-year college or university if they want
to pursue a bachelor's degree.
programs. State and private colleges and universities offer
four-year programs that lead to a bachelor's degree. Your child
has a better chance of completing a bachelor's degree program
if he or she has a study plan beforehand. A bachelor's degree
will prepare your child for an array of careers such as dietician,
forester, graphic designer, social worker and technical writer.
Education beyond a bachelor's degree. 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. With a post-high school plan, you and your
child will be better prepared for the time and money required
to reach those career goals.
For More Information
U.S. Department of Labor website on high-growth, high-wage
- U.S. Department of Education's Student
provides information on education, careers and more.
of Labor Statistics
- Did Somebody Say College? Susan Quattrociocchi,
Ph.D., Josephine Cripps, MFA, 2000.
Effects of College Career Courses on Learner Outputs and
Outcomes: Technical Report No. 26, (Byron Folsom, Florida
State University, Center for the Study of Technology in
Counseling and Career Development, 2000).
- Effects of a personal and career exploration course
on student retention/persistence, D. Schmidt, [Unpublished
study] Long Beach, CA: College of Education, California
State University, Long Beach, 1999.
- Helping undecided students select a major or career,
W. Bechtol, Journal of College Student Personnel, 19, 570-571,
Career Information System.