With the job market the way it is, and unemployment so high, many people have returned to school for further education to come out more employable in the end. It is a good use of time while unemployed, and can lead to a more profitable job, but it may not be for everyone. On top of that, the cost of education has been on the rise and so it may be out of the reach of many people.
There are, however, some decent high-paying jobs that do not require a four-year degree and can be stepped into with simply an associate degree. An associate degree is a two-year degree and can be acquired at a local community college at about a third of the cost of the in-state tuition fees of a four-year college.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that there are about eighty occupations out there that do not require a bachelor’s degree to acquire, and that have an average annual salary of $50K, with some much higher. Here are just three example of the types of jobs that fall into this category:
Nuclear Technicians: I can imagine many people immediately cringe at the thought of working with something nuclear, and have concerns with the safety of it all. Even so, nuclear power is still one of the leading sources of electricity in the US, and with the nation’s one hundred and four power plants needing a steady flow of manpower, and a projected increase in job openings of over three thousand in this decade alone, it is a position worth considering. This career includes keeping the systems running at the plant, as well as field work testing radiation levels using specialized equipment. An associate degree in nuclear science or a similar field is all that is needed to step into a position, receive the on-the-job training needed to work in a field with an average salary of $68K.
Air-Traffic Controllers: Surely we’ve all heard of the buzz in the news over the years, of the controversy and incidents in this field with workers who have been distracted at one point or another. This position requires close and constant observation and concentration, and because of that, can be quite stressful. Because of the high demand of concentration, this position can be quite tiring, which can cause some people without the needed stamina, to step aside and quit the position. If you feel you have what it takes to handle the pressures of this position, can acquire an air traffic management degree and step into a position with an average annual salary of $108K.
Funeral Services: It sounds kind of morbid to some when they think of a job in the funeral services business. This career has positions like service managers, directors, morticians and undertakers. Those who work in this field say their satisfaction comes from helping those who are mourning to smoothly get through the initial steps of losing a loved one. It is a demanding field, at times requiring long hours, late hours, weekend, and being on call most of the time. If you have embalming skills and the ability to relocate, the job prospects are even better. All it takes for this field is a degree in mortuary science and state certification, and you can step into an average annual salary of $54K.
These are just a few of those careers that can be joined without a four-year degree that are worth looking into, and be sure to check out the BLS’ latest edition of Occupational Outlook Quarterly for up-to-date additional jobs and information in this area.