Before students consider college, it is important that they be aware of the many careers that require certifications and more specialized career training. Not all careers require a college degree and, given that the average price of college tuition has increased 1,120 percent since 1978, cost and career options may be a factor in whether a student goes on to pursue a four-year degree or which college he or she chooses. Despite the expense, colleges don’t always provide the training students need to find work after graduation.
Even with an abundance of college graduates looking for work, some industries can’t find enough qualified workers with technical certification and specialized career training.
In response to increasing demand, many colleges and high schools now offer career-focused courses.
What Is a Career Certification?
A career certification is recognition from an agency or board that the certificate holder has undergone specific training or mastered specific job skills. Many of today’s career programs are technical in nature. These programs provide hands-on instruction to students as early as in high school and offer certifications that may take just a few months to two years to complete.
Which Jobs Require Career Certification?
Actually, many students with a bachelor’s degree must still earn a career certification before they are eligible for certain occupations. In some industries, students may be able to skip the four-year degree and earn their career certification instead—in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost.
Some of the fields with jobs that require career certification include information technology, health, business, law enforcement, financial planning, industrial safety—the list goes on and on.
Can a High School Student Earn Career Certifications?
High school career training allows students to graduate with technical skills and career certifications they can use to find a job immediately upon graduating.
During high school, students may have three options for career training:
- Dual Credit Courses: Dual credit courses allow high school students to earn college credit. These classes satisfy the requirements for both high school and college credits, enabling students to graduate with a career certificate or associate degree in addition to a high school diploma.
- Career Certification: Many cities have magnet schools and charter schools specifically focused on providing students with career certifications. And some online high schools offer such career certification training. These schools ensure students graduate with the tools necessary to work in numerous high-tech careers without additional expense.
- Career-Focused Courses: If your child’s high school does not offer career training, he or she may be eligible for supplemental courses online. Your state may offer career-focused electives through online programs, but private courses are also an option. These courses meet high school requirements but have additional career-focused elements that students can use in future jobs.
Although a four-year degree is necessary for some career paths, other jobs require the training that a career certification or two-year degree provides. If you are considering career training for your high school student, take a look at online alternatives through K12.com, which offers career-focused education options for high school students.