Dream Weaver

Dream Weaver

Building Dreams: Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) has constructed a Career and Technical Education (CTE) building near the Salt Lake International Airport. During construction they had sign that said "Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do."

The whole purpose of CTE education is to give you the skills you need to accomplish your dreams, through work.

While you are considering your career choice and the education needed to accomplish this goal, please consider the best route to learning what you need to learn. Many colleges and some Universities have been transforming their methods. They have begun to focus on CTE education as a way to train individuals for work without the burden of repeating High School in college.

A college Associates degree (AA or AS) is basically a redo of your high school years. College does in two years what high school accomplished in four. At the rate of around six-thousand dollars a year.

If you don't build your dream; Someone else will hire you to build theirs." ― Dhirubhai Ambani, Against All Odds: A Story Of Courage, Perseverance And Hope

Now, many industries still require a full degree, especially for their advanced positions. But learning should be a life-long pursuit, and with evening classes, hybrid and online courses you can complete degree work under some pretty crazy schedules. You can get these degrees later in life when you have some experience to go along with your education.

For those who qualify, you may even be able to get "paid" to go to school using the PELL Grant. And many colleges will even match the cost of school to the amount of grant that you get whenever the PELL money is less than the full cost of tuition.

Every summer before registering for college classes you should complete a FAFSA. This is the qualifier for the PELL Grant. Your income, expenses and family contributions change each year so you should reapply each year as well.

Look for Scholarships, you can use both the PELL and scholarship money to "pay" yourself for going to school.

Ask your employer about tuition reimbursements. Many employers will cover the cost of tuition for classes that you pass (sometimes with a "C" or higher). Many of the people that I know with advanced degrees had their degrees paid for by their employer. (Why would you pay to get a degree when your employer would pay for it?)

But again, the most important thing it to match your educational costs with your employment requirements:

  1. Does your industry really require a degree? Are you going to earn this degree because that is what "everyone else is doing?" Remember, there are other ways such as certificates and licenses (which still may be offered by a college).

  2. How long will it take for the increase in wage to cover the cost of the degree? If it takes more than just a few years I would seriously reconsider getting the advanced degree.

  3. What additional opportunities will the degree create? The degree better to do more than simply give you a raise. The degree should create several other opportunities for advancement or transfer.

Whatever your decision, get the most out of it and remember to Go Be Great!


  • From your job research worksheet, does your chosen field REQUIRE a college degree? If not, what additional training/certification is needed?

  • What is the purpose of CTE courses? What CTE courses have you already taken? Have these changed your outlook about what you want to do when you grow up?

  • How do you feel about repeating high school and paying for it? What do you think you could do to minimize this cost?


Lecture Guide

PowerPoint: Student Grants & Loans

Teachers Pay Teachers Files