If you hate the idea of being stuck in a classroom, here are six engaging degrees you could earn in as little as two years.
There are people who are "school people" and others who aren't. You know the first type: people who love to spend every moment surrounded by academia, who often become professors, and who are working on what seems like their 10th master's degree.
Then there's the other type. The ones who cringe at the thought of reading a book or writing a research paper; you can spot them by how quickly they're running away from the college campus.
If you fall into the second camp, this article is for you. Believe it or not, there are plenty of degrees you can earn that take minimal schooling - possibly two years - to complete and that combine an interactive element with book learning.
Intrigued? Keep reading to learn about six hands-on associate's degree programs for people who hate school.
Sure, you don't have the patience for medical school, but that doesn't mean the entire medical field is off limits. An associate's degree in medical assisting could take only a fraction of the time needed for medical school, but you'll learn how to help doctors with administrative and clinical tasks.
How It's Hands-On: Michael Provitera, career expert and author of the book "Mastering Self-Motivation," says that this degree is great for people who hate lectures or school, because students learn the information and curriculum through a hands-on approach.
"Earning an associate's in medical assisting can be dynamic in nature because you get time with real patients during your training. For someone who hates school, the simple act of actually seeing the eyes of actual patients that they help - along with their loved ones - gives them a bit more incentive to go to class."
What You'll Learn: The College Board says that by earning this degree, you'll have a foot in both the clinical world and the administrative one. So what kinds of things could you learn? Along with intro to medical assisting, the College Board reports that you may also study medical terminology, medical software applications, and pharmacology.
Protecting a community as a police officer or serving justice as a judge wouldn't bore anyone. A criminal justice degree could lead to engaging careers like these that give back to society. With this associate's, you'll explore the fascinating intersection of crime, law, and the justice system.
How It's Hands-On: "This degree is great for people who hate lectures or school, because learning about what it takes to be a criminal justice professional means you get the chance to work out in the field with criminal justice leaders," notes Provitera.
"Shadowing those people gives you the opportunity to view first-hand the day-to-day activities that yield the power of the gavel to keep our streets and communities safe," he adds.
What You'll Learn: The College Board notes that this is an interdisciplinary major, so you'll learn about all aspects of the law, from the psychology behind criminal behavior to the way law enforcement agencies operate. In this track, you could study subjects like policing society, criminal law, and criminology.
Here's another health care-related degree that won't have you groaning each time you walk into class. An associate's degree in health information technology puts you front and center of the cutting-edge medical technology of the future. Sounds pretty exciting to us!
How It's Hands-On: "Many students don't like school because they feel like the work they do there doesn't matter. However, students who earn this degree can rest assured that they're learning valuable skills that could end up saving someone's life down the line. Just knowing that can get someone excited to learn more and stay engaged," says Provitera. "Additionally, students who study for this degree are quite literally on the forefront of health care legislature and how it will impact our communities."
What You'll Learn: Students in this major learn how to prepare and maintain medical records and their information systems, according the College Board. If you choose to pursue this degree, you could study everything from medical terminology to health care law to the fundamentals of medical science.
When you think about going to school for anything in the legal field, your mind probably jumps immediately to law school. And we all know that law school equals countless hours of dreaded library time - a death sentence for someone who hates school. However, earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies could set you up for a legal career without the headaches of a law degree.
How It's Hands-On: "The associate's in paralegal studies can be dynamic in nature, because you get insight into what it takes to yield the power of a lawyer without having to step into the courtroom," Provitera says.
Joe Weinlick, vice president of marketing at Beyond.com, a career network focused on helping people grow and succeed professionally, adds that those pursuing a degree in paralegal studies learn how to support lawyers in a variety of activities, including maintaining and organizing files, legal research, and drafting documents.
"Learning organizational skills keeps you on your toes all day long, so those that hate school don't have too much time to sit around in the classroom and get bored," he notes.
What You'll Learn: Paralegal studies will prepare you to complete research, conduct investigations, and keep records under the supervision of a lawyer or court, according to the College Board. Typical courses could include civil procedure, ethics, criminal law and procedure, and litigation.
Still interested in finding a career in the medical field that's extremely hands-on but won't put you in a lecture hall for the next eight (or more!) years? You should check out an associate's degree in nursing, which could have you spending more time in scrubs than behind a desk.
How It's Hands-On: Weinlick says that because those with nursing degrees work in a variety of different locations, including nursing homes, hospitals and adult care centers, much of the training to earn this degree is done outside of the lecture hall.
"Earning your degree in nursing puts you front and center with medical technology and patient care. Nurses are rarely sitting down - and when you get to the part of your studies where you're following real nurses in the field, you won't be sitting still very long either," he says. "The medical field is constantly moving and shaking, so you can be sure that earning your nursing degree gets you ready to jump right in post-graduation."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
What You'll Learn: Along with intro to nursing, the College Board says you could also study clinical nursing practice, maternal and child care, and administration of medications. Here's what we hear: hands-on, hands-on, hands-on!
Maybe you've always had a sweet spot for youngsters and find yourself happier when you're watching after them, but you've been deterred by the years of schooling it takes to pursue a career that would allow you to work with children more frequently.
An associate's degree in early childhood education could be perfect for someone like you who dislikes boring lectures. You could complete it in as little as two years and spend a portion of your time working with kids instead of reading a textbook.
How It's Hands-On: "While you're earning this degree, you'll have observational time with kids, showing you how important your work in this field could be," says Weinlick. "You're literally impacting the minds of children and watching them blossom right in front of your eyes before you even graduate. That's a pretty powerful incentive to ace your next test."
What You'll Learn: The College Board says that common courses for those pursuing this degree could be child development, classroom management and behavior, and parent-child relations. Over the course of your degree, you'll gradually move from observer to active participant, learning how to create a caring and stimulating classroom.
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