Student-loan debt is up to an astonishing $1.4 trillion. It has become a debt crisis. Government grants and support for postsecondary education has failed to keep up with the rising cost of college education. You do not have to take out massive loans to better your career prospects. There are many paths you can take that do not require higher education. There many jobs out that that require little to no schooling at all and pay well. In some cases, you can earn an associate’s degree in two years while other jobs only require a high school diploma.
Computer and Technology Careers
- Graphic Designer – You need to have a talent for creativity to really do well as a graphic designer. Formal education can help develop this talent, but the fundamental of the talent can’t be taught. Opting out of college doesn’t mean you opt out of doing your due diligence to learn graphic design software. Computer literacy is second only to talent. Combine your talent with mastery of graphic design software, and you will be on the road to success.
- Computer Network Support Specialist – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage in 2015 for computer network support specialists was $62,250. These specialists are responsible for keeping networks running smoothly by running test, troubleshooting, performing maintenance and analyzing problems. If you have a knack for computer networking, all you need is a certificate or associate’s degree to enter this field.
- Electrician – The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to see by 2022 an increase of 20-percent in the number of electrician jobs. Fully-licensed electricians will be paid the most, but you can still learn to be an electrician through an apprenticeship. There are not many jobs out there that will pay you to learn a trade.
- Commercial Driver – The earning potential is great for those that don’t need a regular 9-5 schedule. Not all commercial truck drivers are required to be on the road long days that extend into the night, but the hours can vary. The only requirement for this job is passing a commercial driver’s license test in your state.
Construction and Engineering
- Construction and Building Inspector – Individuals in this field earn a median annual salary of $57,340. Inspectors make sure that construction meets building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations and contract specifications. It does require at least five years of experience and on-the-job training.
- Architectural Drafter – These individuals use AutoCAD software to put architects’ drawings into an electronic format. A variety of employers hire drafters, so you aren’t limited to working for architectural companies. You can obtain the necessary education to become a drafter in a two-year program.
Office and Professional
- Paralegal – A two-year associate’s degree program is all that is necessary to qualify for a paralegal position. Lawyers earn the big bucks, but they also spend the big buck son securing an education. Lawyers hire paralegals to help with research and drafting legal documents.
- Retail Manager – Retail is not a hard field to get into, but it can be trying. Many companies offer compensation incentives to keep good managers on board and motivated. You can even start gaining job experience in high school. This is a great career if you enjoy customer service.
Medical and Dental
- Dental Hygienist – Qualifying for a dental hygienist position only requires an associate’s degree. The median annual salary is over $70,000. This is a growing field as well. This lucrative career is worth the two-year education commitment, and those two years will put you ahead of most bachelor degree holders.
- Nurse – There are many options when it comes to nursing. Because nursing is a tiered profession, there are various levels of school requirement. Certified nursing assistants only need to go through a certification program. Licensed practical nurses need to attend a long certification program, usually lasting about one year. Registered nurses require a bachelor’s degree.
There are many lucrative career options that require minimum schooling. Consider these options before you take out massive student loans that will dominate your decision-making. High-paying jobs exist that require an associate’s degree at the most. Going to college doesn’t guarantee that you will land the job of your dreams.