Interested in continuing your education to better your career, but not sure where to start? Click on this easy-to-read chart to learn more about education needed for career paths and the possible financial aid services available:

Have questions about education and careers?
See below for answers!

What is the Last Dollar Scholarship and how do I apply?

The Last Dollar Scholarship is a state-wide program available to all Iowans planning to earn a post-secondary credential in a high-demand job.

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is all you need to do to apply!

To visit North Iowa Area Community College for more details and assistance,

Please Click Here

What is a high demand career?

High Demand Careers are those that have the largest number of positions currently available in your area. Most require some type of training. To learn what High Demand Careers currently exist in Iowa,

Please Click Here

Not sure what career is right for you?

Below are some FREE tools to help you determine what career might be best for you – just click on a link, answer a few questions and see how your interests and skills might fit into possible careers.

Need further assistance with Career Exploration?

A. Want assistance with career exploration to move into the workforce as quickly as possible? Contact:

IowaWORKS-Mason City

  • 600 Pierce Avenue
  • Mason City, IA 50401
  • 641-422-1524

B. Want assistance with career exploration to further your education? Contact your local college:

North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) Admissions

  • Pierce Administration Building
  • 500 College Drive
  • Mason City, IA 50401
  • 641-422-4245
  • Returning NIACC Students: 641-422-4207

To see NIACC’s Career Planning Guide:
Please Click Here

Buena Vista University (BVU)-Mason City

  • 500 College Drive
  • Mason City, Iowa 50401
  • 712-749-1950

LaJames College

  • 24 2nd Street NE
  • Mason City, IA 50401
  • 641-424-2161

C. Are you undecided about your career goals or path, where to get started, or how to juggle training and work? Contact:

IowaWORKS-Mason City

  • 600 Pierce Avenue
  • Mason City, IA 50401
  • 641-422-1524 (then prompt 8 for Title I program)

How long does it take to earn a certificate or diploma (assuming full-time)?

  • Certificate = 6 weeks to 9 months
  • Diploma = approximately 1 year
  • AA or AAS = 2 years
  • Bachelors = 4 years
  • Masters = Bachelors plus 1-2 additional years, depending on program

What is FAFSA? Why do I need it? What documents do I need to complete it? Who helps me with it?

  • FAFSA stands for FREE Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • The FAFSA will tell you what financial assistance is available to you for your education.
  • To complete the FAFSA, typically you will need your taxes and W-2s from 2 years prior to enrollment (for example: if you want to enroll in 2019, you will need 2017 taxes and W-2s). Situations vary so it is best to contact your local college Financial Aid office.
  • For help, you can contact any of the following:
NIACC Financial Aid Office

  • Pierce Administration Building, Room: 102
  • 500 College Drive, Mason City
  • 1-888-466-4222 Ext. 4168
  • Email:
BVU Financial Aid

  • Activity Center on NIACC Campus
  • 500 College Drive, Mason City
  • 712-749-1954
  • Email:

  • 600 Pierce Avenue
  • Mason City, IA 50401
  • 641-422-1524
North Iowa Community Action Organization

  • COPA/Outreach
  • 641-423-7766

Do I need a transcript? Does it cost money?

  • Yes, you will need a High School transcript. You request an official transcript from the school you graduated to be sent to the college you plan to attend. Costs for transcripts vary from free to $5.00.
  • If you earned a GED or HiSET, you will need to provide those final test scores.
  • If you have earned any previous college credits, you will need to request transcripts from those colleges to transfer any earned credits. You can contact the college you attended for your transcript; again costs vary, but typically $1.00-5.00.

Do I need an ACT/SAT score to enroll? If I do not have that, do I have to take the test before I can enroll?

  • NIACC utilizes the Accuplacer Assessment for student placement, so it is not necessary to have an ACT/SAT score. However, NIACC will accept ACT/SAT scores if completed within the past 3 years.
  • BVU Mason City location does not require ACT nor SAT scores to enroll.

Is there an application fee to apply for school? Can I apply online?

  • NIACC does not have an application fee. You can apply online at:
  • BVU does not have an application fee. You can apply online at:

When does school start? Are there classes in the summer? Can I study online? Can I take classes at different times if my work schedule varies?

  • Typical college courses begin at the end of August and Mid-January as well as in May and June; these are the semester start times for NIACC. BVU has 6 term start dates throughout the year and each term is 8 weeks long.
  • Yes, courses are available day or night, in a classroom and online. Please note that different programs have different class schedules so it is best to check with the college for class time availability.
  • Taking courses online is the best way to accommodate for a flexible schedule.

Does Mason City Public Transit go to NIACC, during the day and at night?

  • Yes, Mason City Public Transit goes to NIACC via the Northeast/Purple Route – to see on the map,
    Please Click Here
  • Mason City Transit operates from 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on certain holidays.
  • For more information about Mason City Public Transit,
    Please Visit

Are there any resources the college or community offers in regards to childcare, health or other financial assistance for the student?

The answer is YES, there are resources offered that you can reach out to for assistance!
Here are a few:

  1. Many EMPLOYERS offer education assistance, so be sure to inquire at your workplace!
  2. IowaWORKS
    641-422-1524 (prompt 8 for Title I program)
  3. North Iowa Community Action
  4. Government Childcare
  5. North Iowa Area Community College
  • PACE :
    Pathways for Academic Career Education and Employment (PACE) is a support program designed to help those with limited income who lack the necessary funds to reach their educational goals, and those with challenges that have prevented them from pursuing or meeting their educational and employment goals.

    Heather Wright
    PACE Pathways Navigator
    641-422-4312 or

    Kristy Molencamp
    PACE Pathways Navigator
    641-422-4078 or
  • GAP: Gap Tuition Assistance provides funding to eligible applicants enrolling in a GAP approved certificate program in occupations including information technology, health care, advanced manufacturing, and transportation. Non-credit certificate programs are not eligible for federal financial aid, GAP Tuition Assistance bridges the funding gap for those students pursuing short-term certificates. GAP covers assistance with your direct training costs, including tuition, books, required fees and equipment for GAP approved classes.

    Connie Glandon
    NIACC GAP Tuition Program Director
    641-422-4332 or
  • TRIO: Student Support Services (SSS) is a federally funded grant project which helps eligible students stay in college and graduate. The goal of SSS at NIACC is to promote academic and personal success of all participants. The Project offers counseling, tutoring, college survival skills, orientation classes, career exploration, transfer assistance, and cultural awareness.Recipients of these services must be citizens or legal residents of the United States who are currently enrolled full-time in a credit program. Participants must meet at least one of the following eligibility requirements: first generation student, low income, and/or students with a physical or learning disability.

    NIACC Student Services Office
    Pierce Administration Building
    641-422-4105 or 1-888-GO NIACC, ext. 4105

Questions about any of this?

Please contact us and someone will be in touch with you right away!