What education or training is right for you?
Type of education or training Description of education or training How long education or training will take to complete When you complete this, you will:
High school diploma or high school equivalency This is what you get when you graduate from high school or complete an alternative to a high school diploma, usually earned by meeting the requirements of the Minnesota Adult Diploma or taking the GED exam. Preparation for the Adult Diploma or GED takes as long as you need, Adult Basic Education can help you prepare
  • Qualify for many jobs
  • Qualify to enter college or a post-high school training program
Find an Adult Basic Education (ABE) location near you This includes English as a Second Language (ESL or EL), goal-specific elementary or secondary level skills such as work-related math, computer, reading, writing and other basic skills. This education is available statewide at no cost to adult learners. As little as one month or as long as needed
  • Learn English or improve literacy
  • Refreshed basic skills
  • Improve entry-level job prospects
Short-term Training These are typically short classes offered through community organizations or programs at schools that last two years or less. This training allows you to learn or refresh software, business, language or other skills. Up to 2 years
  • Qualify for many jobs
  • Advance in a career
Certification This is a credential that you earn by taking a test to prove your knowledge or skills. Test: 1 day 
May require work experience and/or training
  • Meet job requirements 
  • Stay competitive in your field
Apprenticeship This is a formal combination of training and full-time paid job. Apprenticeships are offered for many occupations through employers, unions and associations. 1 to 6 years
  • Enter a high-skills, high-pay field
  • Train while earning wages
Internship This is formal on-the-job training and can be paid or unpaid. 1 month to 1 year
  • Make contacts and gain work experience 
  • Explore a career of interest
College Degree A credential you earn by completing a 2-or 4-year program at a public or private college or university Typically, 2-4 years
  • Qualify for many professional careers
Graduate Degree

A Master's Degree is required for some professional positions, including some teaching and nursing positions

A Doctorate is required for some professional positions, including dentistry, law, medicine, optometry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

A Master's Degree requires 1-2 years of full-time academic work 

A Doctorate can require 6 or more years of full-time academic work

  • Qualify for specific high-skills, high-pay professional careers
  • Advance in a career
Professional Development This is any learning activity that helps you keep up-to-date in your field. This can be offered through an employer, through a professional association or another organization. Ranges from 1 day to ongoing
  • Keep job skills up-to-date
  • Meet requirements of some fields and some employers