Your Options After High School
Very few high school students are certain about what job or career they would like to enter. Even for those students who believe they have settled on a career field, it is likely that they will experience several jobs or careers over a lifetime of work. In such a climate of change, it is more evident than ever that going to college or gaining specialized training after high school will dramatically increase one's chances of living a financially comfortable life as an adult. You have A LOT of choices!
Types of Higher Education
- Colleges offer four-year Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees. Some also offer a two-year Associate of Arts (AA) degree and Associate of Science (AS).
- Colleges can be specialized or they can offer a broad curriculum.
- Professors see teaching as their primary responsibility and classes tend to be smaller than those in universities.
- Universities can offer the two-year and four-year degrees, as well as graduate degrees in advanced studies beyond four years.
- Universities can be larger than colleges and usually include a liberal arts college, some professional colleges, and graduate programs.
- Universities offer a huge course selection and may have extensive resources. Class size varies, depending on the size of the university, the subject area, and the course level.
- University professors are usually involved in both teaching and research. Graduate students, rather than professors, teach some of the classes.
- Community or junior colleges offer two-year liberal arts programs or specific career training programs.
- After completing their studies, students receive a certificate or an Associate degree. Many students then transfer to a four-year college or university to continue their education.
- These institutions are for students who know what they want to do and have chosen certain specialized occupations. Many colleges of technology also function like a community college and offer general courses that students can use for transfer.
- Programs of study at colleges of technology prepare students for specific careers and may last weeks, months, or years, depending on career requirements.
- Students usually receive a license, a certificate, or an associate degree.
- Tribal colleges are small colleges that offer certificate programs and two-year Associate degrees—a few offer four-year degrees.
- While tribal colleges mostly serve American Indian students, especially those living on reservations, they do welcome all students.
- There are 33 tribal colleges in the nation. Many of them are located in Montana.
- Military Academies are highly competitive four-year schools that offer superior programs in science and engineering.
- To qualify for a Military Academy, students must be a U.S. citizen, 17-22 years of age, single, and in good health. Students must be a high school graduate, nominated by a member of congress.
- Upon graduation, students receive officer rank and are required to serve in the armed forces for a specified period.
- The U.S. Military Academies are the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
Options Other than College
- The military offers qualified high school graduates a good salary and free job training. It provides a disciplined structure as well as opportunities for career advancement.
- The four major branches of the military are Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. Other opportunities include the Coast Guard, the National Guard, the Reserves, and college ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps).
- The length of commitment to the military depends on whether a person enlisted after high school or completed a process to become an officer. At minimum, an individual will complete nine weeks of basic training before beginning service.
- Individuals get paid for service and usually earn funding for college after their term of service.
- Apprenticeship is an organized system through which an individual learns the practical skills of a trade. The learning process is supervised by a craftsman who teaches you the skills on the job.
- Depending on the craft or trade, training can last from one to four years. While learning a craft, individuals must take classes on subjects related to the trade, usually provided by the employer, a college of technology or through correspondence courses.
- The apprentice earns while he/she learns.
- Examples of apprenticeships include automotive, utilities and energy, plumbing, and construction, among others.
- Full-time work for high school graduates varies, but most jobs are available in the service industry (retail, food industry, etc.)
- Most jobs available for high school graduates do not require formal, structured training.
- The full-time worker usually earns money on an hourly basis.
Colleges & Universities in Montana
Montana University System Institutions
- MSU Bozeman
- MSU Billings
- Montana Tech of the University of Montana, Butte
- University of Montana, Missoula
- MSU Northern, Havre
- University of Montana Western, Dillon
- Dawson Community College, Glendive
- Flathead Valley Community College, Kalispell
- Miles Community College, Miles City
- Gallatin College, Bozeman
- MSU Billings College of Technology
- MSU Great Falls College of Technology, Great Falls and Bozeman
- Highlands College: Montana Tech College of Technology, Butte
- University of Montana MissoulaCollege of Technology, Missoula
- University of Montana Helena College of Technology
- Carroll College, Helena
- Rocky Mountain College, Billings
- University of Great Falls
- Blackfeet Community College, Browning
- Dull Knife Memorial College, Lame Deer
- Ft. Belknap College, Harlem
- Ft. Peck Community College, Poplar
- Little Big Horn College, Crow Agency
- Salish Kootenai College, Pablo
- Stone Child College, Box Elder