Career Interest

Is Machining right for you? Click here to find out more.     

How Do I Start

Find out more to build your pathway and find ways to become a Machinist. 

Career Prep

Looking for resources to prepare for your career? This is the place. Click here. 

Get to Work

Click here for resources and guides to help you find a job in manufacturing. 


It's common to hear that additional education after high school is needed to achieve higher income and success in your career. We know that individuals who receive additional training and education after high school out-earn those who do not receive additional development. However, this does not mean only a 4-year degree from a university. There are MANY options to choose from.  Let's explore a few of them. 



A career pathway is just what it sounds like - your pathway to your career. 

You can't change where you are today. You are where you are at this moment. However, you have TOTAL control over where you are going. The pathway ahead to your career is what we will now design. 

When you decide what you want to do, the "Pathway" will outline how you get from where you are to where you want to go. There is not one single way to get there. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to any career. many have taken several approaches to get to where they are today. Sure, there are traditional approaches that may even save you time to get to that career you want. But we also know that everyone has different considerations and circumstances that affect what works for them.


Our goal is to help you find the best way that works for you. Let's explore these pathways and how to get you to your goal. 


Here are a few educational pathways to help prepare you...

There are many paths available to prepare you for your career.  The choices often depend on the type of career you want to pursue. Even within each career, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to preparing for your journey. Below are several options available for you to consider. 

4-Year University



2-Year College





Industry Recognized Certificate (IRC)

High School: Dual Credit / Running Start

A Bachelor's Degree from a University is a great option for those seeking to pursue many professional careers. Engineers, Accountants, Teachers, Registered Nurses, Scientists, and many others require a 4-year degree. Others such as Doctors, Attorneys, and Professors begin with a 4-year degree and pursue advanced degrees such as a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree (PhD or similar).


An Associates Degree (AS) or Applied Associates Degree (AAS) from a Community College is another way to begin your career. This is the best approach for several trades, and may be a cost-effective way to complete their first two-years of their 4-year degree. For those in the trades, such as Welding, Machining, Carpentry, and many others, this is a common path to career preparation. For others pursuing a 4-year degree, many attend Community College for the first 2-years to save considerable money as they complete the first two years of studies toward their bachelors degree.


Registered apprenticeships provide participants an opportunity to "earn as you learn." Apprenticeship programs combine classroom learning with on-the-job experience under the mentorship of trained professionals who teach you the skills of the trade in the actual work environment. You gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities over the course of the program. By the time you complete the program, you typically work toward your journeyman certification to gain the training and hands on preparation to work in your career.


Several careers can begin with a Certificate program from a Trade School. Some certificates can be obtained through a 1-year (or less) program at a Community College while others may be obtained through other private programs. Careers such as Welding, Cosmetology, Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting, Pharmacy Technician, Massage Therapy, and many others can begin with a certificate program in even less than a year to start your career.


Other careers can begin with certifications and special training from providers that are recognized by employers. For example, a welder with multi-week basic training courses that are offered by local providers may be enough to get your foot in the door. Food servers will require essential training that is taken online. ASE offers certifications in the Automotive Industry. Other training may require online certifications, in-person classes, or a combination. There are many options available that may be valuable to get you started outside the typical education pathway.


If you want to begin your career preparations while in high school, you can begin with programs such as Running Start or other Dual Credit programs. Running Start typically allows students to attend the local Community College and take college courses. These classes count toward both their high school credits and their college program. If this is not available (or if it is, a different approach is preferred), you may have other options available to earn college credit while completing your high school diploma. This helps you save time as you learn the same information (no need to retake the same class), save money (take the class for $0 tuition), and get to the workplace faster. Ask your career counselor for more information about programs near you.



Grab your copy of the CAREER GUIDE by the WA Workforce Training & Education Board.

It is downloadable and provides a guide to exploring your career options. 

Get a copy from the website here

Download copy here

Below is more information for each of the pathways listed above. Ask your Career Counselor for more information on each resource or contact the location directly. 

4-Year University Pathway

A 4-year university pathway is a traditional approach to preparing for professional-level careers in Engineering, Management, Accounting, Healthcare, Technology, Science, Education, and other careers. Graduates earn a Bachelor's Degree and most move into their first professional positions. Others may continue either immediately following their undergraduate programs or after some work experience to earn graduate degrees (e.g., Master's Degrees, such as an MBA) or postgraduate degrees (e.g., Doctoral or Jurisdoctoral Degrees) to become doctors or lawyers. 

Find Education

Use the Career Bridge tool to locate the right program and school in Washington to meet your needs. 

Common Questions about Four-Year Degrees

See a list of FAQs provided by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges that may answer many of your questions about attending college or university programs. 

List of Four-Year Colleges and Universities in Washington State

Click here for a list of all four-year institutions. You can then be directed to the website for each institution to learn more about their programs and requirements. 

2-Year College Pathway

The 2-year Community College pathway is common for those seeking an Associate's Degree to pursue a trade or those who want to begin their 4-year studies in a college environment (often for benefits of cost or convenience) and then transfer to a 4-year institution.  Several links related to this pathway include the following. 

Two-Year Community Colleges in Washington State

Check out WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges' list of all 34 community and technical colleges in the state. You can also go directly to their website and apply to their programs. 

Two-Year Colleges Offering 4-Year Bachelor Degree Programs in Washington State

Click here for a list of all four-year institutions. You can then be directed to the website for each institution to learn more about their programs and requirements. 

Financial Aid Resources

College & University (Applies to 4-Year, 2-Year, and some Apprenticeships)


Paying for College

The WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges prepared a site to help you understand how to pay for college. This site provides resources to learn about options and how to afford the training you need to get ahead. 

WA State Guide to Financial Aid

Provides additional resources to find and apply for financial aid to help you cover the costs of higher education to prepare you for the career of your choice. 

Complete the FAFSA

The first step to obtaining assistance through financial aid is to complete your FAFSA form. This site will get you to the form to complete. Fill this out to be eligible for resources, information, and access to financial aid support. 

Application for the WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid)

This is another source of financial aid for those who don't file a federal FAFSA application. If you have already completed the FAFSA (federal financial aid application), you do not need to complete this form unless your college asks you to.  (This is typically for individuals who may be undocumented or do not otherwise qualify for federal financial aid.)

College Success Foundation: Resources for Students from Underserved Populations 

Get the support you need to be successful in your higher education experience. 


WA State Department of Labor & Industries: Find an Apprenticeship Program

Find an apprenticeship specific to your occupation or career interest. 

Career Bridge Apprenticeships Resources

Find an Apprenticeship (Career Bridge)


Find a Certificate Program

Check out the Career Bridge resource site to find a Certificate program in your area of interest. 

Industry Recognized Certificate (IRC)

Find a Certificate Program

Check out the Career Bridge resource site to find several Industry Recognized Certificates programs in your area of interest.  

High School: Dual Credit / Running Start

Graduation Pathway Options: WA State Board of Education

There is more than one way to successful completion of your high school journey. Check out the ways to get through high school and into your career. 

High School and Beyond Plan: WA State Board of Education RequirementsSee the requirements for all high school graduates from the WA State Board of Education. 

Work Based Learning Resources (Washington Workforce Portal)

Check out information about how to turn hands-on work experience into high school credit. 



College & Career Compass (Washington)

Includes several resources designed to help users prepare for college. Contains tools to highlight ways to prepare for and succeed in college activities.