While the focus of most high school advising centers seems to give the impression that college is an essential first step toward a rewarding career, life doesn’t always play out that way.
According to the latest census data, only 27 percent of Americans over age 25 hold bachelor’s degrees or higher.
Despite these statistics, the evidence is clear that the lack of a degree has not trapped students into dead end jobs as lowly fry cooks or dishwashers.
Independent studies have identified 16 jobs in growing industries, that pay more than $25,000 a year available to workers holding an associate’s degree or less. Most of these positions in various fields including nursing, carpentry, bookkeeping, plumbing and electrical engineering are entry level positions requiring little to no previous work experience.
There are several reasons people choose to start a career before going to college:
- Many high school graduates lack either the interest or maturity to keep pace with the more self-paced college lifestyle
- Some students have families and children to support or contribute significant income to their parent’s household and cannot afford to quit their current jobs to accommodate an undergraduate curriculum
- Financial costs are too great and aid options may not be available
Going Against the Grain: Pros and Cons
While the decision to pursue a career before a college degree may not meet societal expectations, it does have its benefits.
In addition to allowing the student to continue to meet pre-existing financial obligations, time spent in the real world job market allows students the relevant opportunity to weigh the demands of demands of their current career against their desire to enter fields accessible only through a college education. Also, this real world experience, especially in the fields of business or chemistry in some cases, can translate into college academic credit when and if a student does decide to pursue a college degree.
A number of issues must be taken into account in the decision to pursue a career before going to college that is as complex as the students facing them. An honest assessment of your personal needs and obligations, not to mention financial resources and motivation need to be taken into account.
Flexible Options to Work and Learn
More and more colleges and universities are adapting their requirements to allow on-line, night school, or other scheduling options for those already engaged in a career desiring the opportunities a college degree will provide.
The U.S. Army has for decades enticed high school graduates with the G.I. Bill, legislation that pays for new recruits college tuition upon completion of a certain number of years in the Army.
Following are a few more examples of non-traditional training and education programs designed to better accommodate working students who seek to further their education and job prospects.
Alternatives to Post-Secondary College Degrees:
Job Corps is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive residential education and job training program for at-risk youth, ages 16 through 24. Private companies, state agencies, federal agencies, and unions recruit young people to participate in Job Corps, where they can train for and be placed in highly specialized job fields such as welding, carpentry and business.
A number of othertraining and education programs exist for students seeking career-training options after high school.
Top 16 careers that do not require a four-year college education:
- Registered nurse, $48,090
- Customer-service representative, $26,240
- Sales representative (in no technical wholesale and manufacturing), $42,730
- Truck driver, heavy and tractor-trailer, $33,210
- Maintenance and repair worker, general, $29,370
- Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerk, $27,380
- Executive secretary and administrative assistant, $33,410
- Secretary (not legal, medical and executive), $25,290
- Carpenter, $34,190
- Automotive-service technician and mechanic, $30,590
- Police and sheriff’s patrol officer, $42,270
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurse, $31,440
- Electrician, $41,390
- All other sales and related workers, $35,170
- Computer-support specialist, $39,100
- Plumber, pipe fitter and steamfitter, $40,170
Be guided on what you should after high school life by going through the link below: