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Alternatives If a Four-year College Education Isn’t an Option

In most, if not all, constitutions around the world, education is cemented as a right that all citizens should have. But even with this notion, a college education remains to be a privilege. In the United States, only 36 percent of the population spent more than four years in higher education and have at least a bachelor’s degree. In 2019, only 36.6 percent of women had a bachelor’s degree, while there were only 35.4 percent of men.

Many people don’t pursue a college degree for many reasons. For one, they feel that furthering their career lies beyond the four walls of a classroom. But for many, a college education is too expensive. Private universities and state universities’ tuition fees for a four-year degree costs about $45 to $55 thousand per year. There are many options for students who wish to finish their college education. There are scholarships and loan opportunities. But their socioeconomic situation most probably gets in the way. They needed to focus on work to start earning a stable income.

Fortunately, there are many other learning opportunities and recognition other than a four-year college education. We need to find the best one for us and our choice of career.

Recognition of Prior Learning Certification

If there’s one thing that we have that full-time college students don’t have, it’s work experience. Our need to start working right after high school can lead to rewards for our education. This is where a recognition of prior learning (RPL) Certification will come in.

By getting an RPL Certification, we’re getting our work experience officially recognized. For example, suppose we have experience working in an office, holding a management or supervisory position, or even owning a business. In that case, we can get an RPL Certification for business. This will help us polish our résumés and further our careers. Just because we didn’t sit down inside classrooms, wrote papers, and took tests, it doesn’t mean that we didn’t gain a wide range of knowledge, skills, and mindsets.

Massive Open Online Courses

Young woman studying at home

Whether educators would like to admit it or not, the internet has helped a lot in furthering the education of many. The best way it did so is through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These courses are readily available online, and they’re often free of charge.

Many high-ranking universities such as Harvard University and Yale University offer free courses for the public. But private companies are also offering free online courses. An example is Google through the Google Digital Garage. One of the classes that we can take is the fundamentals of digital marketing. This course has the seal of approval from the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and the Open University. After going through the 26 modules and 40 hours of the course, we can get officially certified by the said institutions.

Coding Boot Camps

Today, being tech-savvy is no longer just a huge plus on our résumés. It’s a necessity. The good thing is there’s a dedicated learning opportunity for this, which are coding boot camps. Unlike MOOCs, coding boot camps come with a price. But there are many benefits to them.

One is that we could directly learn from experts in a concentrated setting. We can easily reach out to them so that we could have a more thorough learning experience. Second, we get to meet people who have the same professional interests as ours. Who knows? Maybe we will meet our future partners for a tech startup at a coding boot camp. Again, much like the previous examples above, coding boot camps come with a certification widely recognized by employers around the world, making it a little bit easier for us to secure a job.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training

If we’re already sure about the career path that we’ve chosen, then going through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) may be the best learning opportunity for us. This form of education is already specific to the job that we would want to have. Here, we’ll learn the tricks of the trade before we start the actual jobs. After going through the training, we will earn the proper certification that will help us capture the attention of potential employers.

Don’t get it wrong. Earning a college degree is essential. But because not everyone can pursue it, it would be good to present an array of viable options that would help them have a successful career. With the technology, teachers, and other learning institutions that we have now, it’s clear that we can try different alternatives beyond our primary and secondary education.