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how long do you have to go to school?

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To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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Mohamed’s Answer

Going to school can be a short time or a long time depending on your major and your pace. Full time students spend in general about 16 years from elementary school to their Bachelor's degree which is the minimum recommended. However many vocational and technical schools do not require more than 2 or 3 years after the high school diploma and lead often to high paying job. Many of these technical and vocational school require a state licence. After the Bachelor's degree you may spend 1 or 2 years for a Master's if you study full time and about 6 more years for most PhD degrees. Hope this will help.

Mohamed recommends the following next steps:

Make your choice between technical, vocational and liberal arts degrees.
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Rob’s Answer

Hi, I would echo some of the responses above. First, junior college is a great way to meet some of the General Education requirements for a 4-year degree at a far lower cost. Get your feet wet in college that way. Take some classes to find out whether you are really interested in something. Try out some things -- again at a far lower cost than a 4-year school. Then you can transfer to a university with those GE credits + a better understanding of where you want to focus for your degree. And I wouldn't get too hung up even on picking a major. The key is that you get a degree in something and get some practical experience (internships, etc.) while you're in college. Like I majored in Journalism and I haven't worked at a newspaper since shortly after I graduated 33 years ago. :-)

As suggested above, you may also want to pursue a trade and therefore go to a vocational school straight out of high school. If you think you might be more interested in a job like this (plumber, electrician, etc.), talk with your counselors at high school about programs that are available. Also, you can call local companies in that field and talk with them about what they recommend, what they offer, etc. When you're a junior or senior, even ask for an informational interview.

Good luck!

Rob
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Michelle’s Answer

Hi Hector! It really depends on what you specifically what to do. I see you included writing. So, for example, I'm a writer of fiction. So, going to school for writing is nice but not absolutely necessary. If you do want to have a degree in creative writing, it's generally a 4-year program. You can also take classes at junior college or even online.

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

Speak with a counselor/career counselor to discuss your career plans and educational options.
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Judith’s Answer

You may wish to try online writing programs to experience if this is a field which you genuinely would like to explore. There are a number of places where tuition is optional such as EdX and Coursera, where you can experience writing courses at top schools.

Junior colleges are an affordable way to continue your writing, literature and other forms of experiential writing. This may help you to focus your interests before you consider the more costly four year schools. It may also give you more life experience during the additional time to discern what you are most interested in continuing.

You could also sign up for writing gigs at "Writers Work." For a nominal fee, they will avail you of writing gigs and you can use their software to make proofreading and other tools facilitate better articles.

Judith recommends the following next steps:

Write the pros and cons of a writing career.
Check benefits available in specific types of writing.
Try work on your own and in office settings.
Enumerate your position after gaining a period of experience.
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