I like options! When I graduated from High School I had pretty much been told you are going to languish away in a food services job or go to college for a four-year degree. I was also told there were three routes to do this, rich parents, debt, or scholarships. However, it turns out some food services jobs pay more than the job you might get after four years of studying. There are also so many more options to get a good career and so many more routes to get you there without going into debt!
***Note: I am a strong proponent of the gap year, where a person travels for a year after high school so they get an idea how the world works and how they would like to fit into it. It does not have to take a lot of money to travel. If you are interested, check out: 9 Tricks to Make Travel Cheap!
High Paying Careers with Training Included
Want to get paid to go to school? It is possible. Apprenticeships, often called the other 4-year degree are an oft-overlooked program. How it works: You start off as a paid apprentice in a field, you work a regular work under more advanced workers, slowly advancing, there is usually some course work they will provide, you advance in the program, usually gaining in wage and title until you are considered at Master. A good place to start is the United States Department of Labor or a simple google search of your area apprenticeship programs.
Not limited to:
Electrician: 60-70k a year
Lineman: 70-100k per year
Plumber: 50-60k per year
Sales is a career path that does not take any education to enter, minus some states which regulate Real Estate Sales, but even that is small. The pro and con of it are all based on you and most of them are commission based. There is uncertainty in the beginning, and for some used to getting a steady paycheck, it can be a difficult adjustment. Once you get experience and a proven track record, you will always be able to find a job, some positions up the food chain even have base salaries plus commission.
Salesperson: 0 – ???k per year
-Become a Driver
While not in the highest earning income bracket, this is a very good wage for no experience and they often will pay for you to get your Commercial Drivers Licence so you can do the job.
School Bus Driver: 30 – 40k per year
Semi Driver: 30 – 65k per year
Heavy Equipment Driver: 50 – 70k per year
While these careers arguably deserve to be paid much more, they are a well-paid profession that requires no education with all training provided. There are also many unseen benefits to belonging to the emergency services groups that do not come in the form of salary.
Firefighter 30-80k per year
Police Officer 40-85k per year
Emergency Dispatcher 20-45k per year
-Start your own Business
The range in this is huge, from people never getting off the ground to people making millions. This is where the buck stops with you, so your motivation will determine if you fail or succeed. Some inexpensive ways to venture into owning your own business are a service based industry. You can freelance any skills you may already have like writing, designing, tutoring, or photography.
Business Owner 0 -???k per year
I want to go to school for **INSERT CAREER** but I don’t want to go into debt what are my options?!
***Note: Please make sure you will find the career worth it, many degrees today don’t really get you very far. Also make sure it is something you will enjoy, try to shadow or volunteer in your field to get a better perspective of what life would look like. For a Top 100 list of jobs factoring in more than just salary see: http://www.careerprofiles.info/top-100-careers.html
-Get a job at a university for free tuition
At many educational institutions if you or an immediate household member work a job eligible for benefits you get an education for free. Many large colleges have all sorts of entry-level jobs that are benefits eligible.
-Get a job that will pay for your education
Some companies have benefits of paying for their employees to get degrees in related fields. Make sure to check your benefits packages to see what you might be eligible for. There are also some companies that will pay off your debt with a commitment to work for them, again this is by the employer so make sure to look for it.
Monster.com 5 Top hospitals that will pay for your education
businessinsider.com Companies that will pay for your tuition
-Get a scholarship when you pledge to work for an underserved population
Medical professionals can get $50k or $120 in scholarships depending on the level needed if they make a commitment to work in an underserved community for two years. More info: https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/
There are a ton of scholarships out there if you are willing to apply for them. Some are more complicated than others. More info: https://www.studentscholarships.org/
-Attend a school that will not charge you a tuition
Yes, they do exist. Some do this to promote specific occupations, religious teachings, or to offer free programs to low-income students. A great resource is: http://affordableschools.net/20-tuition-free-colleges/ however, it is an incomplete list, there are others. Make sure to check any schools you are interested in for programs they might have.
If you have served in the military or it is something that would interest you, there are programs for education assistance after you have served. See: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill
Did I miss any? Have you been in any of these professions or used these techniques? Were they worth it?