The fact is that college just isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t learn effectively in a classroom setting, while others want vocational training and wish to enter the workforce with practical skills rather than a liberal arts or engineering degree. Good news: there are jobs for those who don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Here are the top 5 high paying jobs that do not require a 4-year college education, according to an article from Business Insider.
1. Air traffic controller. Earning a median national salary of $122,530 (2012), air traffic controllers have the high-stress job of monitoring and directing the incoming and outgoing air traffic around the country. Although you don’t need a Bachelor’s Degree to enter this line of work, an associate’s degree (2 years) is required.
2. Transportation and distribution manager. This vague-sounding occupation has a median wage of just over $81,000 (2012.) People in this line of work are responsible for overseeing all transportation operations within a company. This job requires a high school diploma as well as 5 years or more of work experience.
3. Police supervisor. Coordinating the activities of members of the police force could net you $78,000 (2012), provided you have less than 5 years of work experience and a high school diploma.
4. Radiation therapists. Hankering to go into a medical setting, but don’t want to go to school for 4-8 years? You can check in and observe patients in the hospital with an associate’s degree and get paid $77,000 (2012) per year on average.
5. Elevator installer/repairer. If you love manual labor, you can get paid upwards of $77,000 (2012) a year for building, maintaining, and repairing elevators, escalators, and moving walkways.
It’s okay to not want to go to four more years of school right after you graduate high school. There is nothing wrong with taking a few years to get some work experience and then revisiting career options later in life. There is so much pressure to be young, rich, successful, and happy and it’s often forgotten that it is incredibly difficult to obtain all four of those things at the same time.
Dana* offers her story of how she decided to go an alternate route.
“My parents were very adamant about wanting me to be happy over being rich and successful at a young age. I was raised being constantly reminded of my youth and how that is one part of me that will fade whether I like it or not.
“My mom used to tell me that money can grow no matter how old you are, but that being young only recedes. Senior year I decided to take a few years off in between high school and whatever came next. I mean, I wasn’t impractical about it. I got a job as a waitress and lived at home for the first couple of months, but then I got an apartment with some of my friends who were going to school in the city. I cannot tell you how much I have loved the direction my life is going.
“I’m 21, not in school, and don’t really have any plans to be as of right now. There is so much freedom we have the potential to claim when you’re 18-19, and I didn’t want to waste that in a library somewhere studying Chemistry. Of course, I do want a meaningful career and the means to support myself and a future family, but I know I can obtain that without having my Master’s or Ph.D. College can come later, or it doesn’t have to come at all. Either way, I am happy. I have time for myself to travel and explore. All without a college degree.”
That being said, it’s wise to think long and hard before you choose any path post-high school, be that college or otherwise. A level of spontaneity is exciting and a bit of impracticality can be a very good thing, but it’s also important to remember that this is your life and you only have one so live it in a way that will make you happy.