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Current Location: Skip Navigation LinksHome | Get Set for Life | Educational Choices | Different Educational Options

Different Educational Options

Traditional Education

Refers to long-established customs found in schools that society has traditionally deemed appropriate. Traditional education emphasizes lectures or demonstration of the material, seat work and students learning through listening and observation. Instruction is generally based on textbooks, lectures and individual written assignments.

Search Maricopa County Education Service Agency or Arizona Department of Education for traditional schools in your area.

Online/Virtual School

Online Education

A virtual school or cyberschool describes an institution that teaches courses entirely or primarily through online methods. Instructional models range from fully independent self paced (asynchronous) courses to semester based virtual (synchronous) teacher facilitated courses. Class sizes range widely with anywhere from 25 students to as many as 200 students in each class section. Students keep in contact with teachers and collaborate with other students through web communication tools provided in the course delivery. In some cases students communicate by phone with instructors.

Private Schools

A school supported by a private organization or private individuals rather than by the government or a school supported wholly by the payment of fees. See private schools in your area.

Private Schools

Private school requirements
Check each school's Web site or call the school directly. Many private schools require an application form, teacher recommendations and past report cards. Some schools require you to interview and take a formal assessment test. Some performing or visual art schools require students to demonstrate their talent with an audition or a portfolio of work.

Charter Schools

Charter schools provide additional academic choices for parents and pupils. Charter schools are public schools that serve as alternatives to traditional public schools.

Search for a charter school in your area.

Charter school requirements
Check the school's Web site or call to see if there are any added requirements such as an application form. Charters don't usually have an enrollment boundary and can recruit students from a larger geographic area. Some schools have a lottery system when there are more student applications than available slots. Some performing or visual art charter schools require students to demonstrate their talent with an audition or a portfolio of work.

Alternative Schools

Alternative schools are operated by a school district and serve a specific student population. Students served include those with behavioral issues, those identified as dropouts, students in poor academic standing, students that are pregnant and/or parenting or adjudicated youth.

Maricopa County Regional School District (MCRSD)
MCRSD is an accommodation school district for approximately 2,500 students in transition throughout the year. As students enter the system, they work with district faculty to develop an individualized Education and Career Action Plan which will include their current coursework plan, career aspirations and several extended learning opportunities for development of individual academic and career goals.

Vocational/Technical education

Vocational training and certification programs offer a wide variety of courses in many careers. The entry requirements differ greatly. Some programs require a GED or high school diploma for acceptance into the course. Others offer a combination of GED classes and vocational training. Some programs are free of charge; others require tuition payments. A selected few might pay you a stipend. Training/certification programs also vary in duration. Most Nurse’s Aide programs, for example, last for about six weeks, while computer training programs average six months. Some programs are held during the day and are full time. Others are offered through night classes and allow part-time attendance. To get more specific information about certification and training programs available in our area, contact Maricopa County Workforce Connection.

Vocational / Technical Education

Following are a few of the Technical/Vocational schools in the area:

Job Corps – is the nation’s largest career technical training and education program for students ages 16 through 24

Maricopa Skill Center is a hands-on training center designed to prepare you with the skills you need to start a career.

The East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) is a career training center for high school students and for adults who want to continue or enhance their education in today’s competitive job market. Programs are offered tuition-free for high school students from ten districts. Adult and continuing education programs are offered at competitive tuition rates with a flexible schedule.

Western Maricopa Education District (West MEC) - West-MEC is a public high school district dedicated to providing innovative Career and Technical Education programs that prepare students to enter the workforce and pursue continuing education.

Arizona Vocational Schools – Directory for online and campus vocational, technical and trade schools

Career and Technical Student Organizations

Colleges and Universities

In order to get the job you desire, sometimes it requires you to obtain a certification or a degree from a community college or university. Explore these options further:

Community Colleges
"Community college" provides a program not exceeding two years' training in the arts, sciences and humanities beyond the twelfth grade. Private and community colleges offer many certification and Associate’s Degree programs. To get accepted into a two-year college, applicants must have either a high school diploma or GED. Some two-year colleges require that applicants submit SAT scores. Most schools offer extensive tutoring and academic support services. Many students transfer to four-year schools upon completing their Associate’s Degree. To be considered a full-time student you must be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours. Most two-year schools do not offer on-campus housing. Scholarships and financial aid is available to qualifying students. Click here to explore Maricopa Community Colleges

College / University
College Education An institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects including Liberal Arts, Education, Nursing, Business Administration, Engineering, and pre-professional programs (pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-law, pre-veterinary). A university is a corporation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education.

To get accepted into a four-year college, applicants must have a high school diploma, GED, or Associate’s degree as well as have taken the SAT and Achievement Tests. Many four-year schools offer the option of living in a residence hall (dormitory) or commuting from home. Some schools offer the option of co-operative education that allows students to spend certain semesters applying the knowledge they gained in the classroom to actual businesses in a temporary paid position. All schools have extensive academic support services. To be considered a full-time student you must be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours. Scholarships and financial aid is available to qualifying students.


Maricopa County Workforce Connection - provide Maricopa County youth with quality programs designed to assist in overcoming barriers to education and employment.


Arizona Career Information System (AzCIS) - designed to provide educational, career, and occupational information to students. Website is sponsored by the Arizona Department of Education.

College Depot - FREE full service college planning

Maricopa County Community Colleges - list of community colleges in your area

Arizona Call-A-Teen Youth Resources (ACYR) - dedicated to developing a well-educated and highly skilled emerging work force, by ensuring that youth obtain the academic, vocational, personal, and social skills necessary to complete the requirements for a high school credential and enter postsecondary education or training.

Great college tips - college test and preparation, researching the college that best suits you, applying, financial aid and more.

Visit the Resources page