Why do you want to go to college? Before you answer, know that the cost (therefore, the debt burden) of a four year program is on the rise; conversely, the possession of a degree does not guarantee a job with a suitable salary. Don't stress, you have good options.
If you're facing this decision and you aren't sure which path to choose, keep two things in mind. First — and most importantly — there are many reasons to pursue an education that have nothing to do with money and power. Don't discount these factors as you move forward. At the same time, contemplate how much these additional factors matter to you — maybe they do, perhaps they don't.
On the other hand, you may not recognize the number and depth of opportunities available to non-degree holders. Even if you only have a high school diploma (or equivalent) you have the potential to get a job with competitive pay. Without monthly debt bills to pay, you may face a faster climb to a financially stable life. Each of the positions below do not require a college degree of any kind and offers a median salary of at least $50,000 per year. (Note: All median salaries were calculated based on reportings from 2012.) While some require relevant experience or on-the-job training (or both), all are accessible without a college degree. Review the list and learn more about each position by visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Real Estate Brokers and Agents
Facilitate the sale and purchase of residential and retail properties.
Median annual wage: $58,350
Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators
Visit the scenes relevant to an insurance claim and estimate the cost of clean-up, repair, and recovery.
Median annual wage: $59,960
Correctional Officers, Supervisory Level
Supervise correctional officers in juvenile and adult facilities.
Median annual wage: $57,840
Handle the construction, maintenance, and repair of tanks that hold boiling fluids and gasses.
Median annual wage: $56,560
Petroleum Pump Operators and Gaugers
Operate and maintain pumping equipment at petroleum extraction and refinement facilities.
Median annual wage: $61,850
Handle and deliver mail (including packages) for the US postal service or a private carrier.
Median annual wage: $63,050
Subway and Streetcar Operators
Operate trains, collect fares, and keep passengers safe.
Median annual wage: $62,730
Power Plant Operators and Auxiliary Equipment Operators
Handle any number of available positions at power generation and distribution stations.
Median annual wage: $66,130
Farmers and Agricultural Managers
Own, operate, or manage a farm, ranch, or agricultural production facility.
Median annual wage: $69,300
Non-Retail Sales, Supervisory Positions
Manage or oversee a call center or sales facility that serves customers by phone.
Median annual wage: $70,060
Some of these positions require a launch period or entry level training that can last anywhere from a few weeks or years, but all provide a path to stability and security without a steep tuition investment. For additional guidance as your make your career decisions, explore the resources at MyPerfectResume.