Re­ward­ing op­tions

Many po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive ca­reers do not re­quire a col­lege de­gree

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - CLASSIFIED MARKETPLACE -

High school stu­dents have long been en­cour­aged to en­roll in sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion to fur­ther their fu­ture ca­reer prospects.

Col­lege is not for every­one, though. Luck­ily, while a col­lege de­gree is a pre­req­ui­site for many ca­reers, it is not manda­tory for ev­ery job.

In fact, there are many po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive lines of work that do not re­quire a de­gree. These ca­reers of­ten ap­peal to young peo­ple who are dis­cour­aged by the high cost of col­lege, or those who have grown tired of the class­room at­mos­phere.

Many lines of work that do not re­quire a col­lege de­gree do re­quire trade-school cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. The good news is that trade school typ­i­cally takes less time to com­plete than a more tra­di­tional four-year de­gree, and such cour­ses of study tend to be less ex­pen­sive than col­lege de­grees.

These fac­tors may be why the United States Bu­reau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics noted that eight of the na­tion’s 10 fastest­grow­ing oc­cu­pa­tions do not re­quire a bach­e­lor’s de­gree. The fol­low­ing jobs are po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive but do not re­quire a col­lege de­gree.

Ship cap­tain

A cap­tain will nav­i­gate a ves­sel and man­age the crew. Ad­di­tion­ally, he or she must com­ply with in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal laws. Cap­tains can ex­pect an av­er­age salary of $87,000.

Web devel­oper

Many web de­vel­op­ers are self-taught, and many more sup­ple­ment their nat­u­ral skills by tak­ing a few classes here and there. Web de­vel­op­ers earn very good salaries, with a me­dian salary of $75,000.


Plum­bers, brick­lay­ers, mar­ble set­ters and ma­sons have been in high de­mand for cen­turies. De­pend­ing on the busi­ness and whether a trades­man is self-em­ployed, he or she can earn a con­sid­er­able salary and en­joy a good liv­ing with­out hav­ing to earn a col­lege de­gree.

Home-health-aide su­per­vi­sor Home-health-aide su­per­vi­sors mon­i­tor the qual­ity of care per­formed by aides for pa­tients at home and help de­velop a care plan for those pa­tients. Much of the train­ing for this pro­fes­sion oc­curs on the job, and work­ers re­ceive sat­is­fac­tion from help­ing those in need.

Lo­co­mo­tive en­gi­neer

Many en­gi­neers be­gin as rail trans­porta­tion work­ers and con­duc­tors be­fore mov­ing up to an en­gi­neer po­si­tion. Driv­ing a train re­quires knowl­edge of the me­chan­i­cal op­er­a­tions of the lo­co­mo­tive and aware­ness of safety reg­u­la­tions. A lo­co­mo­tive en­gi­neer can earn as much as $70,000 an­nu­ally, if not more.

Air traf­fic con­troller

Be­ing an air traf­fic con­troller — a lu­cra­tive po­si­tion — is a very de­mand­ing job and one that sub­jects work­ers to sig­nif­i­cant stress. Air traf­fic con­trollers are re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing a safe and or­derly flow of air traf­fic to pre­vent col­li­sions or traf­fic buildup at air­ports. Many air traf­fic con­trollers com­plete train­ing through avi­a­tion-re­lated pro­grams or mil­i­tary ser­vice. Salaries can reach six fig­ures.

Although col­lege is the next step for many high school stu­dents, it is not nec­es­sar­ily the only path in­di­vid­u­als need to take. Many high-pay­ing and re­ward­ing ca­reers are avail­able to peo­ple with­out col­lege de­grees.

Photo by Metro Cre­ative

A num­ber of ca­reers, in­clud­ing those of plum­bers, brick­lay­ers, ma­sons and others, re­quire trade-school cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or on-the-job train­ing rather than a col­lege de­gree.

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