There is a meme embedded in society that you must go to college in order to have a great career. Despite this myth, just under two thirds of jobs in the workforce do not require a four year degree, and half of all college graduates are working in jobs that don’t require a four year degree. While that number was reported in 2016, it mirrors the 53% of grads who were jobless or unemployed in 2012 according to “The Atlantic”. Here are six great careers that don’t necessitate a college degree.
Welders have an average mean wage of $36,000 a year. If you learn advanced techniques like laser welding or brand new methods, your pay rate is higher because employers have trouble finding these skill sets in the workforce. Learn how to weld underwater to repair pipes or structures, and you’ll make twice that much.
Tree fallers may be lumberjacks, but not all lumberjacks are tree fallers. Tree fallers use chainsaws and mobile felling machines, but today they are as likely to be trimming back trees from power lines in suburban areas as cutting trees in the wilderness to build new suburban homes. And they earn an average pay rate of just under $40,000. Those that work for power companies and go out during storms to clean up the debris will make more. Tree fallers who work for arborists or landscaping companies may earn less but have more predictable schedules.
Electrical Power-Line Installer
Expansion of the power grid and maintenance of the existing power lines explains why this job category is expected to grow 12% over the next ten years. You only need a high school diploma and paid apprenticeship with the utility to do the work. The pay is high – around $66,000 a year on average. This is, in part, due to the risk of falls and electrocution if you make a mistake.
Service Sales Representative
The dirty little secret of sales is that you don’t have to have a degree to get rich. If you understand people and how the product can be solicited to them in a way they want to buy it, there are high school dropouts who have become wealthy as salespeople. Most companies won’t hire you without a high school diploma, but a college degree certainly isn’t necessary. You can improve your skills reading many classic books on sales for free. You can also get started via entry level jobs like telemarketing to earn the track record that will open up doors to more prestigious sales positions like B2B sales.
Tile and Marble Setter
These workers earn more than $40,000 a year on average. Like many other building trades, you may be able to be paid as a helper hauling materials and otherwise assisting while learning on the job. This is a classic example of Mike Rowe’s message that we have demonized manual labor while idealizing office work; a tile and marble setter on average makes more than bookkeeping clerks, but didn’t have to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt to do so.
HVAC or heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians repair and maintain the systems that keep the rest of us inside comfortable. Average pay is around $20 an hour, but overtime is standard and expected in the summer when people can’t pay enough to get their AC fixed in July. You can learn what you need to do for this job at an HVAC training school in a year or two. Another benefit of this job is that you can find work anywhere, whether fixing industrial chillers in the warehouse district or residential ACs in the suburbs. A common career path is working as a tech, moving up to team leader and eventually owning your own business.
If you don’t intend to pursue a college education, all these professions are great choices. Welders earn a decent pay rate, and it is even higher if you learn the newest technologies. Tree fallers earn a decent living and may be working with an arborist in your area. Electrical power line installers and tile and marble setters can start earning money as soon as they start apprenticeships. You don’t need a degree to succeed in sales, though understanding the customer is essential. HVAC technicians are well paid and can find work anywhere.