There are many different pathways to kick-starting your career– and many do not involve the traditional college experience. Below are some common alternatives to four-year universities.

Technical Colleges

Also known as vocational or trade school, technical college prepares students for specific jobs in the workforce. Technical college professions may include becoming a nurse, an electrician, a paralegal, a cosmetologist, a chef, and many others. Unlike four year universities, technical colleges do not require students to take general education courses. Instead, students begin working in their field of study immediately. Hands-on training and relevant internship experiences are emphasized in this setting.

Technical Colleges of Florida:
ATA Career Education

Academy for Nursing and Health Occupations
*Aviation Maintenance
Bradford-Union Technical Center
Brewster Technical College
Charlotte Technical College
City College
*Compu-Med Vocational Careers, Corp
*Concorde Career Colleges
*Daytona College
*DeVry University
Erwin Technical College
First Coast Technical College
*Florida Education Institute
*Florida Institute of Ultrasound
*Florida National University
Florida Panhandle Technical College
Fort Myers Technical College
*Full Sail University
*Future-Tech Institute
George T. Baker Aviation Technical College
Haney Technical Center
*Herzing University
*Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers 
*Kaplan University
*Keiser University
Lake Technical College
Lively Technical Center
Locklin Tech
Lorenzo Walker Technical College
McFatter Technical College
Manatee Technical College
Marchman Technical College
Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College
*National Aviation Academy
*New Professions Technical Institute
Orange Technical College
*Orion College
Pinellas Technical College
*Rasmussen College
Remington College
Robert Morgan Educational Center
Sheridan Technical College – 
*South Florida Institute of Technology
*South University
Suncoast Technical College
Technical Education Center Osceola
The English Center – 
Traviss Technical College
*Tulsa Welding School
Ultimate Medical Academy
*Universal Technical Institute
Virginia College
Withlacoochee Technical College
*Indicates for-profit schools

State Colleges

State colleges are traditionally non-residential campuses that offer certificates, two-year, and four-year degrees in a wide range of program areas. State colleges are subsidized by the state government, making them an affordable option.

State Colleges of Florida:
Broward College
College of Central Florida
Chipola College
Daytona State College
Eastern Florida State College
Florida Gateway College
Florida Southwestern State College
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Gulf Coast State College
Indian River State College
Lake Sumter State College
Miami Dade College
Northwest Florida State College
Palm Beach State College
Pasco-Hernando State College
Pensacola State College
Polk State College
Santa Fe College
Seminole State College
South Florida State College
St. Johns River State College
St. Petersburg College
State College of Florida
Valencia College



The General Educational Development test or GED is designed for those who did not complete high school and do not have a high school diploma.  The GED is a set of 4 tests that when passed certify the test-taker as having the equivalent of a high school education. Those interested in taking the GED should study for each subject test and locate a testing center near them.

Test-takers can choose to take each test individually, or take all 4 tests on the same day. The price for each individual test is $32. The total cost for all 4 tests is $128. For more information on each subject test, click here.

Why is taking the GED important? Not only will the GED increase your job prospects and likelihood of being promoted, it is also the first step towards any higher education degree. Additionally, people who earn their GED certificate earn, on average, over $10,000 more a year than those without their GED certificate or high school diploma.

When can I take the GED? Unlike the SAT or other standardized tests, the GED is not given on any specific date. Instead, test centers choose which days and times they will be providing the test(s). Those interested in taking the GED should register for the GED online and then look at the test date availability for the testing centers nearest them.

For Sarasota County test-takers, the following locations are the nearest GED testing centers:

Suncoast Technical College- Bldg 3 Floor 2
4748 Beneva Rd
Sarasota, FL 34233

Manatee Technical College – Main Campus
6305 State Road 70 East
Bradenton, Florida 34203

Manatee Technical College – Adult Education
5505 34th St. West
Bradenton, Florida 34210

Pinellas Technical College – St. Petersburg
901 34th St. South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33711-2209

Charlotte Technical College – Building A
18150 Murdock Circle
Port Charlotte, Florida 33948

How do I study for the GED? The GED offers practice courses at most testing locations. Click here to search for local classes near you. Alternatively, many tutoring companies and private tutors offer individualized help with the GED. To find a tutor near you, utilize online and personal resources. Reaching out to local high schools and community colleges is a great place to start. Many teachers will offer private tutoring in their spare time. Lastly, self-studying is a practical and economic option. To begin self-studying, invest in a GED Test Prep Book and take multiple practice exams.

To register for the GED today, head to

Florida test-takers must be 18 or older. If you are under 18 but still wish to take the GED, you must complete an Underage Waiver and submit it to your district representative for approval, prior to scheduling your test. Sharon Sargent is Sarasota County’s district representative. She can be reached at or (941) 924-1365 ext. 62110. For test-takers not located in Sarasota County, use this list to find your district representative. Once your Underage Waiver has been submitted, it usually only takes 3-5 days to be processed. Click here to download the Underage Waiver.  For more information on this and other testing policies, go to