6 Steps to Get Started | Future Ready Iowa

6 Steps to Get Started

Future Ready Iowa

A Step-By-Step Guide to Get Started

Going back to school is a big decision!  It may be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.  Future Ready Iowa is here to help! Use this guide to help you get started, plot a course, and create your path!


  1. Talk to someone who can help you get started.
  • Contact your area college, university, technical institutions or IowaWORKS office to speak with a Future Ready Iowa Navigator.
  • Create and engage with your support system:
    • This is a very important step in your path to success. Whether you are starting a new program or going back to school, your support system can help you along the way.
  1. Choose your path. 
  • Connect to Career Coach and answer a few questions that will match your interests to the career possibilities available to you.
  • Research the program options on Career Assessment.
  • The information on FutureReadyIowa.gov can inform you about high-demand jobs and training opportunities throughout the state.
  1. Choose a program, school, or registered apprenticeship.
  • Once you have identified an area of study, use this interactive tool to find out what programs are available: Career Coach Website
  • Reconnect with an advisor if you need assistance with the application process.
  1. Create a plan to pay for education and training.
  • There are multiple sources that may be available to help pay for your education and training.
  • Many of the funding possibilities will require the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  This task may seem daunting, but help is available. Visit Student Aid Website   for more information about the application process.  Submit the application as soon as possible
  • Connect to FutureReadyIowa.gov for additional resources to help you create a plan.
  1. Apply to your program.
  • Most applications can be submitted on-line through the college or program you are planning to attend.  There may be a required application fee, which can also be paid online.  There are other ways to process an application payment if you chose not to use a credit or debit card. 
  • Submit your transcripts or diplomas from prior learning experiences with your program application.
  1. Begin your education journey!
  • The road to the finish will be different for everyone.  There may be some bumps along the way, but don’t let them discourage you.  Reach out to your support system and ask for help.
  • Work with an advisor to map out your course plan and schedule.
  • Plan ahead and dedicate enough time to complete your school work.
  • Celebrate each success because there will be many along the way.