You know the industry in which you would like to be employed, but you do not have the qualifications yet to enter that field. There can be multiple ways to enter a career field.
If your career requires higher education, or training past your high school diploma, then you will need to attend college.
There are more options today in how you earn a degree. One way is to enroll in a degree program and another is to enroll in fast track training.
Knowing the difference between the two can help you decide which path will help you meet your goals.
What Does it Mean to Get a Degree?
Obtaining a college degree typically means you attend a Community College, College or University where you can receive a diploma in a field that matches your career choice.
The school you attend plans your entire curriculum from start to finish and there may be classes you must take as a pre-requisite to another course.
Associate degree programs are set up to be completed within a two-year time frame and bachelor’s degrees within four years. These timelines are based on a person attending full-time, or at least four courses, every semester.
Some students can shorten this time frame by attending summer courses or by taking more than four courses during a semester. Many people, however, take a longer time completing a degree program due to conflicting work schedules, financial or personal obligations that may interfere with them taking a full course load.
Obtaining a full-time job in your career field happens once you have completed the degree program since having a diploma is a requirement set forth by the employers in your field. Sometimes the requirements are set forth by the State. For instance, a physician must have a medical degree, license and pass state board exams before practicing medicine.
Some students choose a fast track training program to help them get into the workforce sooner.
What is Fast Track Training?
Fast track training programs usually take no longer than one year to complete. Some can be completed in less than a year.
Fast track training is not offered for all fields of study. But it is offered for some careers, including jobs in the business, healthcare, technology and law industries.
Fast track training has a goal of getting you to work as fast as possible. While it cannot get you into the upper level careers, it does get you started toward that goal. Fast track training allows you to land entry level jobs in your field of choice.
There are characteristics of both fast track training and degree programs you can consider before making a final decision.
Degree programs are typically completed with students attending classes in person and run by a qualified professor. The professor provides multiple learning opportunities through lectures, hands-on activities, group work and more.
Degree programs do not begin adding practicums and internships until most of the coursework is completed.
Fast track training programs are focused more on giving the student as much on the job experience and course material as possible in the least amount of time. Meaning, you will be attending labs, workshops and practicums while also attending classes.
Degree programs are established to help students progress from introductory level courses to more in-depth courses. These classes are built on top of one another, giving students the basics at the beginning and advanced instruction in the final courses.
At SBBCollege, Associate degrees generally take a little under two years, and bachelor’s degrees are just over three years.
Fast track training programs are just that, fast. They are developed to prepare a student for work in less than a year. In nine to twelve months, students obtain all the course work and hands on experience needed to obtain an entry level job in the field of their choice.
Employment While in College
Many students today need to work while attending college. Whether you are an adult learner or just graduating high school, you may need to work to support your educational goals.
Degree and fast track training programs are both structured formats. However, they both also allow you to work while attending. Keep in mind, working while taking college classes can extend the length of time it takes to graduate.
To get the best of both worlds, fast track training can help you get started in your chosen field. Then you can work in a job you love while also obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree to help you rise to a higher level in your career.
Your Preferred Educational Style
Your best learning style can help determine which type of education to pursue. If you are strictly a hands-on learner, who needs to implement what you learn to retain it, then fast track training may be for you.
Fast track training has much more kinesthetic applicability. On the other hand, degree programs consist of mostly in-class instruction, with some practical hands-on experiences towards the end of the program.
Your Short-Term vs. Long-Term Goals
Your goals for your career are important when choosing between a fast track and degree programs. If your short-term goals include working in your field of study as soon as possible, getting real world job experience and avoid being in college for an extended period, then fast track training is perfect for you.
If your long-term goals are to be in top management, or to receive top pay in your field, more education will be required. This means you will be expected to earn a degree.
Asking yourself simple questions can help you clarify these goals. For instance, do you want to be a medical assistant, or do you want to be a physician? You can fast track to be a medical assistant, but a physician requires a degree.
To further help you decide, reach out to a career counselor or an academic advisor. They are trained to help you make decisions like choosing between a fast track or degree program.