Considering the high cost of college these days, I’m not a die-hard proponent of “all kids need to go to college.” Twenty years ago, a college degree made a difference in income levels, but today I’d beg to differ. I also don’t tout the importance of college compared to the cost of tuition. When I read stories about how the typical college student graduates with an average of $27,000 in student loan debt, I begin to think we’re doing a disservice to some students telling them they “must” go to college to secure a decent job. At what cost?
With a little researching (and I mean barely any!), there are plenty of jobs out there that require no more than an associate’s degree, or two years at a local community college at a fraction of the cost, and pay hefty salaries compared to jobs that require a lot of college (hmmm..teaching, anyone?!) and don’t pay nearly as much. Some examples of these jobs include: *I’m assuming salaries aren’t starting salaries listed below.
- Computer network specialists – $59,090 annual wage, associate’s degree needed
- Engineering Technicians – $59,440 annual wage, associate’s degree
- Claims adjusters – $59,960 annual wage, high school diploma or equivalent
- Gas plant operators – $61,140 annual wage, high school diploma or equivalent
- Subway operator -$62,730 annual wage, high school diploma or equivalent
- Dental hygienists – $70,210 annual wage, associate’s degree
- Radiation therapists – $77,560 annual wage, associate’s degree
- Air traffic controller – $122,530 annual wage, associate’s degree (this job is notorious for high-stress work related issues and I recently read that they won’t look at anyone over 30 or 35 years of age)
This isn’t a complete list, you can see a more complete list here, or here. However, it’s a great start. Surprisingly (or not) is that subway operators can make more than other types of medical technicians, web designers, and a host of other careers. I’m sure it’s not the most interesting job, but hey, you get to run a train all day long.
A high school student who might not be able to afford a 4-year university could get some ideas from this list. Those switching careers could also benefit, especially if they don’t want to accrue debt or take two to four years out of their busy schedule to go to school, complete homework, possibly go into debt and all the other stresses that are included in returning to higher education for the sake of a career.
So it’s definitely possible to secure a decent salary without paying for a 4-year degree, it just depends on where your interests lie.
Do you have a job that doesn’t require a college degree? Do you think some people could benefit more from a 2-year degree rather than a 4-year one?