For decades, obtaining a bachelor's degree has been regarded as the ultimate ticket to prosperity in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is no longer the case. Fresh college grads earn an average of $55,000 with a staggering $30,000 in student loans. This path isn't sustainable or necessarily smart for everyone.
For individuals looking to be financially secure quickly and without debt, many high-paying skilled trade opportunities are available that don't require a college degree. Electric lineman, police officers, installers and repairers, transportation inspectors, dental hygienists, IT workers, and other vocations not only pay well but are also in great demand. Many are also recession-proof, meaning that employees are insulated from the broader economic climate and will always be employed.
Below are just a few trade jobs that pay extremely well and have no need for multi-year degrees, bachelor's degrees, or education requirements.
Air Traffic Controller
Air traffic control is the airline industry's most overlooked job. They organize aircraft movements into and out of airports. They keep everything moving behind the scenes and are the linchpin of the whole industry. If you're a critical thinker who loves to keep your brain active, this may be a great job for you!
The position of a construction manager is one of the most difficult trade school occupations. A construction manager's responsibilities include, in general, every aspect of building projects. Project management, coordination, budgeting, and supervision of the building process are just a few of the responsibilities inherent in this job.
Construction managers frequently spend much of their time at the office and on-site locations where new projects are being built. These jobs come with many obligations, a variety of standards and are susceptible to long hours.
HVAC technicians are responsible for maintaining, repairing, and troubleshooting a variety of heating and cooling systems. Refrigeration systems, heating units, and other types of equipment and technology are all examples.
Many individuals wonder if they can make more money without a college education. HVAC technicians prove this to be true. Be an HVAC technician if you want a solid job market, to be a top earner, and have the potential for a lengthy and successful career.
Fast Food Chain Manager
Although this may seem unusual, it's a good idea to know that even in the fast-food business, there are high-paying occupations. If you're interested in a high-paying job with a median salary of over $100,000, keep your mind open, and who knows, you soon might be running the show of your favorite fast-food place.
Plumbing service work is another high-paying skilled labor profession. Plumbing and the plumbing service industry are both competitive and lucrative. Plumbers may be found working in a variety of locations, including businesses, homes, construction sites, and even nuclear power plants!
The job outlook for plumbers appears to be solid, ensuring employment stability. As a result, the skilled trade of plumbing has made the list as one of the finest and highest-paid trade professions today.
Working as an electrician entails maintaining electrical power, installing and repairing electrical systems, and much more. It includes dealing with such things as lighting and communications systems, as well as power boards and control systems.
Fiber Optics Tech
Installers of telephone, cable/fiber optics, and other types of networks are known as cable/fiber optic technicians. They must handle any line or equipment repairs in addition to the installation of new equipment. These can range from minor service centers to major service centers, as well as larger installation facilities for home and business requirements.
The life of a truck driver can be very tough, but man, does it pay well. Just look at Walmart; they are paying their truck drivers $110,000! Truck drivers move products and materials between manufacturing, distribution, and retail facilities. Other responsibilities include monitoring their vehicles for mechanical issues and performing basic repairs.
A home inspector is a skilled professional who assesses and reports on the condition of a house. The job of a house inspector is to ensure that structures are safe and sound. Home inspectors must be able to comprehend and evaluate a wide range of structures. House inspectors rely on job training, technical expertise, engineering knowledge, and sound construction practices to guarantee constructions' structural integrity and safety.
Civil Engineering Tech
Civil engineers are often trained in technical or trade schools in order to become civil engineers. Civil engineers are involved with and responsible for the planning of projects, including everyday infrastructure features such as structural design.
Engineers working in the field spend a great deal of time in their offices, working with blueprints, designs, project plans, and using current construction technologies. Civil Engineering is a sure-fire way to a six-figure salary and many other benefits.
Landscape architects are professional designers who work on residential or garden design projects. Their goal is to pick plants and other elements that fit the location and improve the outside space. Depending on the climate, their plans may include vegetation, water features, stone paths, or other architecture.
Ultrasonographers use an ultrasound transducer, which is a medical instrument that generates images of the interior of the body using sound waves.
Ultrasonographers may focus on imaging the heart, blood vessels, muscles, joints, or any combination thereof. Ultrasonography images are then studied by doctors who look for abnormalities.
Police officers, also known as cops or law enforcement, prevent and investigate crime, enforce laws, and respond to emergencies. While producing detailed reports and giving testimony in court is part of the job description, you'll spend most of the time outside the workplace on foot, in your car, or even on horseback.
Boilermakers construct, install, and maintain boilers, tanks, and vats that hold liquids or gases such as oil and other chemicals. Boilermaking is a physically demanding job; boilermakers are frequently exposed to the elements and work long, hard shifts.
Electric line installers are responsible for putting in, maintaining, repairing, and troubleshooting electric lines, electrical power systems, and even telecommunications and fiber optic outages.
Electric lineman may be called upon to work in a variety of settings, including businesses, factories, schools, office buildings, as well as homes.
In Summary: Do you have to have a higher degree to be successful?
A resounding no. Trade school occupations are wonderful alternatives for those looking for well-paying employment. Trade school graduates enjoy many of the same advantages as college grads, including a higher median income and greater opportunities to advance their careers.
Is a college education, technical or professional degree, or trade school necessary for a higher salary? The answer is unquestionable yes, but the return on investment when it comes to trade school employment is perhaps one of the best. Trade schools are also more cost-effective alternatives to college and university programs since they allow students to graduate in a shorter period of time with little to no debt.
Don't get caught up in the traditional path of college + crippling debt; most of the time, its not worth it. And as you can see from this article, there is a very good chance you may have a more successful and higher-paying career than your college graduate counterpart. Good luck!