We talk a lot around here about getting and using a college degree, but you know what?
A four-year university stint isn’t the only path to workplace success.
Unfortunately, employers don’t seem to be getting the message.
A new CareerBuilder study reveals that 41% of the companies surveyed are hiring workers with undergraduate degrees to fill jobs that used to be held by employees with high school diplomas.
Organizations say degree-holding employees produce higher quality work, are more productive, and have better communication skills.
While it seems like the deck is stacked against non-degreed employees, part of the issue may simply be that the workforce is flooded with college grads looking for jobs, and companies are more than happy to snap them up.
After all, nearly 70% of recent high school graduates are enrolled in college.
But I Don’t Want To Spend Four Years In College!
If you don’t have the time, interest or money to pursue a four-year degree, don’t worry.
You can still find great jobs without a degree. Here’s how:
1. Get a job that doesn’t require a degree.
- Wind-turbine technicians can make as much as $71,000 a year
- Subway and streetcar operators pull in around $77,000 a year
- Forest firefighters earn about $40,000 in a six-month season
- Computer user support specialists make as much as $22 an hour
2. Attend a trade school.
Electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians and other hands-on, skilled trade jobs will always be in demand as long as people want to keep their lights, toilets and air conditioning working (so, forever).
“The vast majority of available opportunity right now requires training, not a liberal arts degree, not a four-year education. And trades are not bad jobs, “says television host and trade school advocate Mike Rowe.
“It’s time to change our perceptions about these career paths.”
3. Pursue an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships teach you the skills you’ll need to succeed as a mechanic, carpenter, construction worker or in other trades.
Apprenticeships are on-the-job training learned in a real-world environment, rather than a trade school classroom.
Unions or organizations for the trade you’re interested in learning can point you in the right direction to get started down the path to apprenticeship.
Or search the Department of Labor’s apprenticeship database to find out what’s available near you.
4. Enroll in a community college.
The types of awesome, well-paying jobs available to community college graduates may surprise you.
Registered nurses, police officers, construction and building inspectors, boiler operators, and respiratory therapists all can potentially make more than $75,000 per year with a two-year degree.
5. Acquire a professional certification..
In some cases, a professional certification is all you need to land a great job.
Certification programs cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, but it’s still far less time and money than you’ll spend on a four-year degree.
Your turn: Have you opted out of getting a four-year degree to pursue a different education path?
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. If she didn’t love writing so much she’d probably try her hand at becoming a farrier because that sounds like a cool job.