3 Alternative High School Education Paths

Explore these educational options to help you find a career.

In high school, the primary goal set before you is to graduate with a diploma. The downside is, a lot of students struggle to reach that goal. Many classes are taught in ways that just do not work for everyone. If the daily grind of conventional high school is not giving you what you need, it could be time to try something new.

Here are three alternative education programs that can teach you the skills you need to start a solid career straight out of high school.

1. Dual Enrollment

Many high schools offer dual enrollment classes in which students earn both high school and college credit. Some of those classes are advanced levels of regular high school classes—but not all of them. You can take dual enrollment classes in career and technical subjects like welding, nursing, or computer programming. At graduation, you will end up with a high school diploma and a license or certification to start a career in a particular industry.

2. Youth Apprenticeships

Several high-paying careers begin with apprenticeships, such as electricians, carpenters, cooks, and engineers. Not only do apprenticeships give you hands-on experience, but you also get paid for the time you are learning. Many apprentices start out getting paid minimum wage and earn higher rates as they level up through the apprenticeship.

3. School-to-Work

Does the “learn and earn” concept sounds appealing, but apprenticeships not so much? Then a school-to-work program might be a better fit for you. Students in school-to-work programs go to school for half the day, then go to work for the second half.

The school part of the day is usually individualized learning, targeted on the subjects a student needs in order to graduate. Everyone in the classroom could be working on something completely different, and the teacher is there to explain concepts and help if you get stuck.

The work portion of the program places students in jobs with mentors who provide on-the-job training. You get paid for your work time, and you gain experience that will make you more marketable for future careers. School-to-work programs partner with many industries, including the food, beauty, hospitality, and entertainment industries.

Ready to Learn?

Want to see what alternative education can do for you? Talk to your guidance counselor to find out what programs are available in your school district.

Written By Jessica L. Mendes