Estimate Time1 min

3 alternatives to 4-year colleges

Traditional 4-year colleges that lead to a bachelor’s degree aren’t always the right path for everyone, whether it’s because of cost, time, or career interests. Here are some other options you may want to consider.

1. Consider community colleges

Community colleges offer 2-year associate degrees and certificates that help prepare you for a certain career and, if needed, position you to transfer to a 4-year college to earn a bachelor's degree. They’re often an affordable choice with relatively low tuition.

2. Look into vocational-technical and career colleges

Vocational-technical and career colleges offer specialized training in a particular industry or career, such as culinary arts, firefighting, dental hygiene, and medical-records technology. They typically offer certificates or associate degrees.

3. Join the military

The military can be an attractive path for many students after high school, with perks that include a competitive salary, free health care, room and board, paid college tuition through the GI Bill, and retirement with benefits after 20 years.

Learn more about money

The Fidelity Youth® Account gives teens the power to save, spend, and invest their money.

More to explore

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.