There are many paths to a successful and fulfilling career. Let’s take a closer look at some different options and consider whether they might be right for you.
Getting a Job
You might be ready to head to work after high school. College – and student debt – isn’t for everyone, and plenty of great careers don’t require a four-year degree. But before you accept a job offer, give some thought to your career plans. Check out Uncover Your Interests for help with choosing the right path for you. As you think about jobs, consider these tips:
- Think long-term. What’s your big-picture career goal? What do you see yourself doing in five, 10, or 20 years? Will you need education or special training to get there?
- Make an appointment with your high school counselor. They can give you ideas and connect you with resources.
- Check out the New Hampshire Office of Workforce Opportunity. They offer career information, job listings, resume assistance, and more. You can get in-person help at NH Works Career Centers located around the state.
- Check out a job fair. The New Hampshire Employment Security website keeps an updated list of virtual and in-person job fairs.
- Talk to family and friends about what they do. Ask around to connect with people in your community. Find someone in the field you’re interested in. Ask to talk to them or shadow them for a day.
- Look for an internship, apprenticeship, part-time job, or volunteer position in the field you’re interested in.
- Explore all your options. You might be ready to start earning money. But remember that there are options that let you earn while you go to school. Part-time or full-time work and co-op programs are just a few choices.
- Book an appointment with a Granite Edvance counselor for more ideas, resources, and support.
Getting an Apprenticeship
An apprenticeship is a great way to start your career. You’ll benefit from hands-on training, job experience, a paycheck – and no student loans!
You can get an apprenticeship in a wide range of fields, including skilled trades, construction, early childhood education, healthcare, and more. Registered Apprenticeship programs include classroom instruction and may offer college credits. Most apprenticeships take several years to complete, and your pay typically increases over time.
Talk to your high school counselor if you’re interested in an apprenticeship. And learn more about New Hampshire apprenticeships from ApprenticeshipsNH and the New Hampshire Employment Security’s Apprenticeships page.
Joining the Military
Joining the military after high school can be a good choice. Generally, you’ll join one of the branches as an enlisted member for four years of active duty and four more years of reserve service. You’ll get training in a job specialty, and you can get help with college tuition, too. To join the military, you must:
- Be at least 17 years old,
- Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test,
- Have a high school diploma or GED, and
- Pass the military entrance medical exam.
You’ll want to learn about the six branches of the military:
Each branch offers different job training and career opportunities. Once you know which branch you’re thinking about, contact a recruiter. It’s okay to talk to multiple recruiters from different branches. The recruiter can help you with next steps.
The military offers lots of benefits, including tuition assistance. Learn more about how to join the military at USA.gov.
Taking a Gap Year
What exactly is a gap year? The Gap Year Association defines it as “a semester or year of experiential learning, typically taken after high school and prior to career or post-secondary education, in order to deepen one’s practical, professional, and personal awareness.” It means setting aside a defined period of time after graduation to explore. A gap year can include travel, work, internships, volunteering, or other experiences. You might want some time to figure out your next step, or to get some job experience before you choose a career path.
Whatever your goals, it’s a good idea to make a plan and a timeline for your gap year. It’s also important to know what you’ll do after your gap year, rather than leaving things open-ended. You might feel less motivated to go to college after time away from school, so having a solid plan can help you stay on track. Talk to your high school counselor to get ideas and start mapping out your ideal gap year – and what will come next.