An alternative higher education is a program intended for students after completion of a secondary education degree, who wish to have options other than traditional programs. This type of study may be offered by a college or university, though many programs are available from other sources such as vocational schools. The idea behind this type of alternative higher education is for students to have a way to continue learning other than traditional programs at a university. Different fields and professions may place varying degrees of value on this type of education, which is an important factor regarding any student’s plans.
The purpose of an alternative higher education is to provide students with a method for acquiring post-secondary education outside of a traditional program. “Higher education” typically refers to tertiary programs such as those found at a college or university. These types of methods of learning involve students attending classes led by teachers, taking notes, and writing papers and doing other homework to prepare for a test. An alternative higher education gives students a chance to learn new materials after completion of secondary education, such as high school, without using the standard system established by colleges and universities.
There are a number of forms that alternative higher education can take, including art schools and vocational programs that focus on skills over knowledge. An art school is not inherently an alternative to programs at a college or university, since it can ultimately award a similar degree to those found at other schools. The type of degree awarded by an alternative higher education program is typically what sets it apart, including an alternate diploma or certificate. Vocational programs often provide this type of certificate or licensure for students, rewarding them with documentation that demonstrates their skills, rather than an indication of years spent in study.
An alternative higher education program may work well for students in certain disciplines, while other industries are not quite as receptive to these courses. Students interested in working in a technical field, such as Information Technology (IT), for example, can often pursue education for this field in an alternative program. Knowledge from courses that focus on lecture and studying can be helpful in these fields, but they may not be as effective as a program that demonstrates mastery of certain computer systems. In fields such as education or medicine, an alternative higher education is often not available and professional licensure typically relies on completion of a traditional degree.