Two generations ago, a college degree was often seen as the only path to a well-paid job. But recently, more and more trade careers and alternative career paths are paying just as much as graduate-level jobs, without the student loan debt. Here are five great examples of high paying career choices that don’t require a degree.
According to salarysite.com, personal trainers can make up to $63,400 a year, which is rather impressive. Certification is typically required to work as a personal trainer, though personal trainers may earn multiple certifications to broaden their client base.
For example, someone may get certified as a personal trainer and start earning money while going through a two-year long program to become a yoga instructor. Your career path could lead you to run a fitness facility or own it outright.
Air Traffic Controllers
While air traffic controllers may face some of the most stressful situations we may ever see, you don’t have to earn a college degree to work in this profession. You must have a high school diploma. To become an air traffic controller, you must complete the training program for air traffic controllers and earn the requisite credentials. If you can cut it, the job pays quite well.
Nuclear Plant Operator
While there are nuclear engineers and physicists, you don’t have to be either one to work in as a nuclear plant operator. Once you have a high school diploma, you can apply for one of the three to five-year power system operator apprenticeships that train you to become a nuclear plant operator.
If you already have experience in the trade or college courses in power engineering, your apprenticeship will be shorter. If you’re wary of going into a nuclear plant, know that wind turbine technicians earn about as much and have very strong long-term career prospects.
There are college degrees in computer science and programming, but those aren’t necessary to become a web developer. Many web developers are self-taught. If you have a good portfolio of work or a solid reputation with clients, the lack of a degree doesn’t matter. The only requirements are that you’re good at what you do and keep up with the technology your clients expect you to know. This career field is expected to see continued employment growth for at least the next ten years.
You don’t have to have a college degree to become a realtor. All you need is a high school degree and to complete the requisite real estate training courses. Then you can pass your exam and earn your realtor license.
It can be difficult to get good data on what realtors earn because there are so many realtors who do it part-time. Full-time realtors are almost certainly earning more than the average realtor salary that gets reported. In fact, you have the same unlimited upside potential in any commissioned sales position, and some of those positions don’t require certification at all. The challenge is meeting sales targets and never letting up. If you’re a top seller, there’s no limit to what you could earn, and you could become the manager of a team.
There are a number of good paying careers with strong prospects for those who don’t want to go to college. These jobs are found in many industries, and many of them have great opportunities for advancement.