How many times have you heard in the past month that everyone needs a college education? We feel like we hear it at least once a week. But the fact is that not everyone needs or should have a college education. It’s possible to even make the case that some college degrees are not worth the paper they were written on. For example, a degree in Early Childhood Education will earn you a median annual wage of just $39,000. A degree in Studio Arts is worth only about $42,000 a year and one in Human Services and Community Organization will get you a median annual salary of just $41,000. In comparison, you could be an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse and enjoy a median annual salary of $41,974. And you could get licensed probably in about a year.
There are some other good jobs available where a college degree is not required. First, there is the aforementioned Licensed Practical Nurse where the projected job growth is 11.1%. There is a high demand for healthcare professionals and as noted above, you don’t have to invest half a lifetime in becoming one. Since you’re investing less time and money to become an LPN you will earn less than, say, registered nurses or nurse practitioners but thanks to our aging population you will still have a very bright career.
Another job that taps into our country’s increasing need for healthcare professionals is Surgical Technologist. The occupations that are classified as “technician level” are one of the biggest secrets in America. It would take you only about 18 months to become certified and the median annual salary for these people is $42,786. That would put you several thousands of dollars ahead of someone who spent four years earning a degree in Early Childhood Education. What does a Surgical Tech do? They assist surgeons by passing them instruments and related supplies. And if you were to advance to a surgical first assistant, which would require some extra training, you would be allowed to assist in surgical procedures.
Computer User Support
The job growth for this occupation is projected to be 19.8%. Most companies prefer people with degrees but it’s pretty typical for people to take paths to this career who aren’t degreed. Computer user support specialists help their coworkers fix their computer problems from set up to shut down. A lot of employers prefer to hire computer support people that have certification that proves their skills. It generally costs only about $145 to take the exams required to earn this certification and when you do you could look forward to a median annual salary of $46,592.
Electrical Power-line installer
There continues to be a great demand for these jobs due to the our increasing population and expanding cities. In fact, the job growth for electrical power line installers is projected to grow 13.7% in the years 2014 to 2024. These jobs offer a median annual salary of $64,168 and require just a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, you will need to do an apprenticeship that typically takes five years. Apprenticeships are actually a good path to a great career. Not only would this eliminate the cost of going to college but you would probably earn about $50,000 a year while apprenticing.
If you thought you would need a college degree to become a commercial pilot think again. Pilots employed by airlines typically do need a bachelor’s degree to get started. However, you could become a commercial pilot with just a high school diploma. Of course, you will need flight training that will be both expensive and expansive. This begins with getting a private pilot’s license, which can cost anywhere from $3000 to $9000. You would then need to have at the minimum another 250 hours to get a commercial pilot’s license, plus you would need more licenses to fly multi-engine planes and to get an instrument rating. However, what you get in return is a median annual salary of $73,528. The job growth for commercial pilots is also excellent as its projected to be 15% between the years 2014 to 2024.
Insurance sales agent
Everyone needs insurance. If you’re selling it, whether it’s property and casualty, health, life or long-term care, you should be able to have a good career as job growth is projected to be 9.8% between now and 2024. If you choose to sell long-term or health insurance you should do especially well thanks to our aging population. The median annual salary for an insurance sales agent is $47,632 and the job requires only a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, you will need to take some coursework and learn about finance, business, and economics. It will also be helpful if you are good at public speaking as this would increase your career prospects. Depending on the state where you live it’s likely you’ll need to be licensed to be an agent, which will mean passing an examination and continuing to take classes that focus on consumer protection, insurance laws and other areas of the business.
The job of being a plumber has a median annual salary of $48,194. Like the other jobs highlighted in this article, it requires just a high school diploma or the equivalent. While there is already a large number of workers in this area, there are expected to be 75,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. One of the best things about this job is that you can get started right after high school or with a five-year apprenticeship that typically pays as much as 50% of what a fully trained plumber earns. Once you complete your apprenticeship you’ll be a journeyman plumber and will be able to do some tasks on your own. Stick with the job long enough and you’ll become a master plumber and will earn even more.
Yes, you can become a private dick and earn a median annual salary of $45,698. This job offers great projected growth with openings expected to grow 11.7% between now and 2024. Paranoia has become almost a national pastime and for good reason. With everything going digital there are more and more cyber-crimes reported every day including identity theft, which has spurred the need for investigative help. Some detective work requires only a high school education but for others you may need a degree. As an example of this, if you were to specialize in computer forensics or insurance fraud you might need a bachelor’s degree related to them. If you decide to work for yourself, as do many private detectives, you’ll need to learn while you earn and any previous experience related to the job will be a plus. In most states, you will need to be licensed and the requirements for this licensing varies.
Office support supervisor
This job comes with a median annual salary of $50,211. Administrative assistants and secretaries provide those personal touches that can’t be replaced by a machine. As a result, many businesses will continue to need the support of these people. You can generally pick up the skills necessary for an entry-level clerical or administrative position in a few weeks of on-the-job training. However, for a supervisor position you typically will need a few years of related work experience along with evidence of your leadership and organizational abilities. You would then be in charge of coordinating the activities of clerical and administrative workers, of which there are now millions in the workforce.
It helps to know all your options before assuming that you cannot be financially well-off if you do not have a college degree. Obviously, there are career options but find one that you would love to be involved in every day.