What Are Junior Colleges?

Junior colleges are typically public institutions that allow students to earn either associate's degrees or certificates in a variety of subjects. This article provides some insight into what junior colleges are.

Junior Colleges

Generally, junior colleges are designed for high school graduates who need vocational or liberal arts based training. Junior colleges, also known as community colleges, usually offer classes covering a variety of subjects and award either associate's degrees or certificates to program graduates. Graduates usually either enter the workforce or continue their education at a baccalaureate-granting institution.

Important Facts About Junior Colleges

Programs Law enforcement, licensed practical nursing, registered nursing, computer technologies
Possible Careers Paralegal, preschool teacher, dental hygienist, automotive technician
Online Availability Online programs are available
Common Courses Sociology, culinary arts, journalism, biology, management

Admission Requirements

People typically only need a high school diploma or its equivalent to be admitted to most junior colleges. Admission to a junior college is generally not competitive, and everyone who meets the schools' criteria is usually admitted. It is important to note that some professional certificate programs may have certain prerequisites, so admission into those might not be as easy.

Degrees Available

A number of students take general education courses at junior colleges before transferring to 4-year colleges or universities to earn a bachelor's degree, but junior colleges do award professional certificates or 2-year associate's degrees to those who complete programs. Those who receive associate's degrees in some fields, such as technology-based fields, are able to enter the workforce upon completion of a program. Many certificate programs are designed for those who already have an associate's degree but need specialized training for specific jobs.

Vocational Training Programs

Junior colleges usually provide students with the opportunity to study a wider range of subjects than traditional colleges and universities because they offer vocational training programs in addition to standard academic options. Students can learn skills for careers like machine maintenance, emergency medical assistance and office assistance at junior colleges. Since 4-year degree programs that cover these subjects aren't typically available, training in them can be found at junior colleges.

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