WHAT'S NEXT: Orlando Northington on Associate Degrees
By Arkansas NEXT on Friday, September 25, 2020
Graduation year: 2020
Attending: Arkansas State University Mid-South in West Memphis
Working Toward: Associate degrees in Aviation Maintenance and Education
End Goal: Become an aviation maintenance technician
Orlando Northington was first introduced to aviation maintenance during his senior year of high school. He decided to pursue it as a career because he enjoyed the hands-on work and loved how unique the field is.
“A person should want to get out [of] their comfort zone and try something different,” Orlando says. “Not only will you enjoy the different things introduced in aviation, but you can make a lot of money in this field if you stick with it.”
Orlando is making good use of his time during the two-year program. He goes to class from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. He has enjoyed all of his major classes at ASU Mid-South and says that pursuing an associate degree is one of the best options, because it gives you the options to attend school, save money and receive the exact degree you want (fast). “With the [associate degree] journey, you can be doing your dream career and making money in a shorter time span,” he says.
For those interested in the aviation program at ASU Mid-South, Orlando’s advice is to always pay attention, because new information is constantly being thrown your way. “Don’t ever stop following your dream if this what you want to do,” Orlando says. “It will pay off all at the end.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Two-year colleges allow students to adjust to college gradually. Plus, students can get the courses needed for the first two years of a bachelor’s degree for less money. Others work toward a certificate in a specific area of a two-year associate degree.
The average yearly cost of a bachelor’s degree is about $40,000 and associate degrees are normally far less expensive. The average associate degree earned at a community college is priced around $4,000 per year in Arkansas.*
Most public two-year colleges have an “open door” admissions policy. All you need is your high school transcript or GED scores. Most don’t have a minimum GPA requirement.
Dorms aren’t the norm, so a two-year college may be best if you want to live at home with your parents or try spreading your wings in your own apartment.
Once you’ve finished your two-year program, the job of your dreams is likely just waiting for you. An associate degree or two-year technical program generally prepares you for a niche career that is usually in high demand. There is no waiting around or taking a job you don’t really want. This path leads straight into the workforce.
"A person should want to get out [of] their comfort zone and try something different. Not only will you enjoy the different things introduced in aviation, but you can make a lot of money in this field if you stick with it.” –Orlando