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What are your education options?

With a projected two-thirds of all new jobs requiring a college degree or training beyond high school, it’s more important than ever that you understand your options. Make sure you know what kind of high school diploma is best for you, and then read about your college degree options and types of institutions.

You can also search for colleges with the College Navigator tool. Search by size, type, major and more.

High School Diploma Options

Indiana offers several types of diplomas:

  • Core 40: The Core 40 diploma is designed to prepare you for many college programs and careers. However, some four-year Indiana colleges now require the Core 40 with Academic Honors (or Academic Honors Diploma, AHD). Some technical programs and some apprenticeships might want you to have the Core 40 with Technical Honors (or Technical Honors Diploma, THD).
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): Some Indiana high schools offer the International Baccalaureate diploma. This diploma is designed to prepare you intellectually, personally, emotionally and socially to live in a rapidly globalizing world. You can choose courses in languages, business and more.

Not sure which diploma to complete? The Core 40 with Academic Honors will open the most college options. Remember: it's always easier to aim for Academic Honors and then switch to the regular Core 40 diploma than it is to try to upgrade to an Honors diploma in your junior or senior year. Aim for the stars!

If you have special learning needs and your parents and teachers agree that another option is best for you, you may be able to earn Indiana’s General diploma instead of the Core 40. The Core 40 is the best choice to prepare you for the education and career ahead of you, however, so only choose the General diploma if you’re sure the Core 40 is not for you.

Read more about all these options.

Degree Options

  • Apprenticeships
    Learn specialized skills while getting paid for working. Many apprenticeships focus on careers that require a lot of technical skill, such as electrical work.
  • Associate Degrees
    Two-year degrees in Indiana’s growing industries are available at community college campuses throughout the state.
  • Bachelor's Degrees
    Traditional four-year degrees are offered at Indiana’s colleges and universities. Read about choosing a major and making the most of your experience.
  • Certificates
    One-year workforce certificates will get you on a career path fast. Decide if this is the track for you.
  • Master's and Doctorate Degrees
    Want to take your education beyond a four-year bachelor’s degree?  Find out more here.
  • Military Training
    Serve your country and take your education to the next level. Some programs allow you to enroll in a traditional college (with paid tuition!) while others take place at military-only institutions.

Types of Institutions

Not sure what type of higher education institution will match your education goal? Read more below.

  • Community college: Offers two-year degrees (associate degrees) at a low tuition rate. Community colleges, also called two-year colleges, are also an affordable way to earn credits that can transfer towards a four-year degree (bachelor’s degree). Community colleges do not usually have on-campus housing. They often cater to students who work full-time.
  • For-profit college: Run as a business, usually offering one-to-two-year degrees in high-demand industries. Watch out for for-profit colleges that are not accredited (in Indiana, look for accreditation by the Commission on Proprietary Education), sound too good to be true or charge high tuition. Compare college costs at IndianaCollegeCosts.org.
  • Four-year college: Offers four-year bachelor’s degrees and often master’s and doctorate degrees. Many four-year colleges provide on-campus housing and are ideal for full-time students. Four-year colleges can be private or public.
  • Proprietary college: Another word for a for-profit college.
  • Private college: A non-profit college, sometimes operated by a religious organization. Private colleges are usually smaller than public colleges and offer mostly four-year bachelor’s degrees. Private colleges charge higher tuition than public colleges, but you should compare college costs at IndianaCollegeCosts.org to see if you qualify for grants or scholarships.
  • Public college: A college supported by state funding. For Indiana residents, Indiana public colleges have lower tuition than private colleges. Public colleges can be two- or four-year institutions.
  • Research institution: A college with professors who do research in their fields as well as teach. Most four-year public colleges are research institutions.
  • Two-year college: See “community college”.
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