Career Alternatives to College

By August 10, 2017College

Career Alternatives to College

After you step off that stage at high school graduation, diploma in hand, you are faced with only one question: what next?

Though some people will argue that higher education is the only next step for a good future, there are plenty of high-paying career options that do not require a degree. If the world of academia does not appeal to you, do not worry: continue reading to find a wide variety of legitimate and successful college alternatives for your future.

Attend a trade school

Though American media occasionally portrays “blue collar” jobs in a negative stereotype, this portrayal is far from the truth. The reality is that skilled labor jobs are paid very well, occasionally even better than college graduates. Trade schools require less schooling than a traditional college, often two years or less, and have a greater job stability than college graduates. Trade schools offer training in a wide variety of career options, including construction, welding, landscaping, photography, electrical, forestry, painting, woodworking and much more. is an excellent resource for finding trade school options near you.


Take a job and work your way up the company ladder

If you’re completely unsure about what you want for your future, consider simply taking a job and working for a year while you decide your future path. Even minimum wage positions offer promotions to management. Having a strong work ethic, respecting your customers and superiors, and being proactive is the best ways to help you move up the chain.

There are many life-long careers that you can earn simply by working hard and moving up the ladder, and they require no formal education beyond high school. Some examples include: Construction Supervisors and Claims Adjusters make an average salary of $60k; Power Plant Operators make an average salary of $66k, and Elevator Installers have an average salary of $77k.


Become a real estate agent

Real estate agents earn an average salary of $57k in Texas and have an even higher income potential for those that work that much harder. Though you do need to take a few real estate courses to pass the state licensing test, the education costs are generally less than $1000, which is far less than the debt you would incur from a 4-year university. Visit the National Association of Realtors website for more information on this career option.


Start a business

An estimated 10 percent of the U.S. workforce is self-employed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2015. This equates to about 15 million people who have started businesses and work for themselves. Many highly successful entrepreneurs do not have a college degree, including Steve Jobs (founder of Apple), Richard Branson (creator of Virgin Mobile), Dave Thomas (founder and CEO of Wendy’s), and David Green (founder of Hobby Lobby).

With today’s access to the wide range of information on the Internet, paired with the ease of instant and mobile communication, starting a business has never been easier than in our day and age. If you have strong interpersonal skills, and a business idea you are fiercely passionate about, you could be well on your way to being your own boss.

Though college isn’t your only option for a successful future, there are many benefits to receiving a secondary education. With so many career options available, it’s important to understand the impact of your educational choices. Educate Midland empowers students to achieve their highest educational potential, and has partnered with over 40 local businesses to impact education in Midland. Visit our website to learn more.

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