Blog Post

Exploring Post- High School Career Options

By | Mar 11, 2024

High school graduation is an exciting milestone in a young person's life. It marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. For many, the question of "What's next?" looms large. Fortunately, there is a wide array of career options available to high school graduates, each offering unique opportunities for personal growth, financial stability, and fulfillment. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common career paths available to high school graduates and how to choose the right path for you.


Higher Education

One of the most traditional paths for high school graduates is to pursue higher education. This can include attending a four-year university or community college. There are hundreds of different areas of study to choose between, from liberal arts and sciences to specialized programs in fields like engineering, nursing, or graphic design. Higher education can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary for a wide range of professions and often leads to increased earning potential over time. 


Is Higher Education for Me? 

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to go to college. Some factors to consider are:

  • Choosing a major: Colleges offer a vast array of majors, from Marketing to Environmental Science. Before choosing a college, make sure that they have a program that you are interested in. You don’t have to declare a major right away, but it helps to have at least a general idea of what you want to study. 

  • Tuition Costs and Student Loans: When considering higher education, one of the most important factors to consider is the cost of tuition.  More often than not, students take out Student Loans to help pay for their tuition. Some colleges offer private student loans, but federal student loans are very common.

  • Financial Aid: Financial aid is exactly what it sounds like– it is money granted to students to help pay for their education. However, not every student is eligible for financial aid. In order to determine if you are eligible for financial aid, a lot of colleges and universities require you to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid–oftentimes referred to as FAFSA. If approved, you are eligible to accept financial aid which will go toward your tuition. Please note that for some grants you are required to be enrolled as a full time student. 

  • More Independence: College is different from high school in many ways. You will most likely have a lot more down time than you did in high school. This will test your time management skills and allow you to be more independent. If you plan on living in a dorm or apartment on campus, you will have a lot of independence as well. Going to college fast tracks your independence. You will have to make decisions that your family members would usually make and you will have to be more responsible for yourself.



For those not interested in higher education, there is another great option. Apprenticeships are an excellent choice for those who want to gain practical experience while earning a wage. Many trades, such as plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, and welding, offer apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships are an attractive option for those who like to work with their hands and prefer a more direct route into the workforce. 


Is an apprenticeship program a good fit for me?

If you are thinking about looking into an apprenticeship program, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Choosing a program: There are many trades and programs to choose from, including plumbing, hvac, welding, steamfitting, and more. Keep your career goals in mind when choosing your program. Also, make sure that you do thorough research on the program you are considering so that you are prepared and know what to expect. 

  • Wages: With apprenticeship programs, you are considered an employee even while you train. This means you get to earn money while you learn! Most programs' wages vary, so make sure you know that when looking at multiple programs. 

  • Practical experience: Apprenticeship programs provide you with training so that you develop practical skills. For most programs, you have mostly hands-on learning as well as supplemental classroom instruction. For those who like to work with their hands, an apprenticeship program may be the best option for you.

  • Job Security: There will always be a demand for skilled workers because skills like plumbing and welding can not be done by machines, therefore there will always be plenty of jobs available. People will always need plumbers, carpenters, HVAC technicians, etc.


Military Service

Joining the military is another pathway for high school graduates. The armed forces offer a range of career options, including roles in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. Military service provides valuable training, discipline, and often educational benefits, such as the GI Bill, which can be used to fund future higher education endeavors. It's also a way to serve your country and gain a strong sense of purpose.


Is joining the military the right path for me?

Joining the military is a huge commitment. If you are considering joining, there are many factors take into consideration:

  • Physical demand: Every branch of the military basic training. Basic training is a little different for each branch, but all of them are designed to prepare you mentally and physically for the challenges you will face later on. During training, you will learn a lot, including discipline, teamwork, and how to handle a weapon. All branches also do what’s called a Physical Fitness Test, often referred to as the PFT. This tests your physical fitness to see if you are fit for the physical demands of being in the military.

  • Military Benefits: Active members of the military receive many benefits including dental and vision insurance, as well as a pension. You also have the GI Bill, which is used to fund higher education endeavors. This means that you have the opportunity to get a higher education for free. Be sure to research the benefits to make sure you understand what is available to you.

  • Serve your country: Joining the military gives you a strong sense of purpose and allows you to serve your country. 

  • Commitment Obligations: Every person who joins the military is obligated to commit for 8 years (4 years in active duty followed by four years in a reserve unit). While the military offers many benefits both during and after one serves, it is not one that you can "dip your toe" into. 



If you have a business idea or a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship may be your calling. Starting a business allows you to be your own boss and take control of your financial future. Entrepreneurship comes with its challenges, but it can be incredibly rewarding for those with a strong work ethic, creativity, and determination. There are many resources and support available through various entrepreneurship programs and organizations.


Is entrepreneurship right for me?

There are many aspects of entrepreneurship that you should know about of you want to become an entrepreneur:

  • Be your own boss: becoming an entrepreneur means that you get to be your own boss. You get to make all decisions for your business and control every aspect of it.This comes with pros and cons. If you are very self-motivated, this will not be a problem for you. However, if you typically struggle to stay motivated, it may be more difficult to be successful as an entrepreneur.

  • Financial risks: When you start a business, it is a financial risk. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs invest a good amount of their own money into the business to get it off the ground and running. It is a good idea to research the market of which you plan on being in. Some markets are more profitable than others.

  • Sacrifices: Being an entrepreneur means that you have to sacrifice time– and sometimes your pay– to keep the business running. You will be investing a lot of time and money in your business. 


Going straight into the workforce

For those who want the opportunity to explore many different career paths right out of high school, going right into the workforce may be for you. There are many opportunities out there to find a career path that is fulfilling. Some examples of the industries you can work in right out of high school include retail, factory work, and the police force.


Should I go right into the workforce?

Going straight into the workforce has its benefits and its downsides. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Get right to work: Going straight into the workforce allows you to start working right out of high school. This also gives you the freedom to explore different jobs and discover what you like. 

  • No degree required: There are many jobs that you can get right out of high school without a college degree. Factory work and the police force are two examples. 

  • Develop the skills you want to have: Unlike higher education, which requires you to study a broad range of subjects not related to your area of study, joining the workforce allows you the freedom to develop specialized skills. This can be achieved through online courses, certificate programs, etc. 


The Bottom Line

High school graduates today have a wide array of career options to choose from, each with its own set of advantages and opportunities for growth. Whether you opt for higher education, an apprenticeship, military service, entrepreneurship, skilled trades, healthcare, or information technology, the key is to pursue a path that aligns with your interests, values, and goals. Your post-high school journey is a time for self-discovery and growth, so explore your options, seek guidance when needed, and embark on a fulfilling career path that leads to success and personal satisfaction.

And if you're looking for a great apprenticeship opportunity in Maryland or Delaware where you can get paid while you learn then get in touch with us.