For as long as most of us can remember, it’s been drilled into our heads that going to college is the only way to ever make something of yourself. It’s the only way to get into a job field that will pay enough to support yourself and your family. That may have been the case in years past, but nowadays, that’s no longer true. There are other career options, many of which will even pay as much or more than the jobs that require college degrees.
So, if you’re a teenager trying to decide what you want to do with your life, but you know college just isn’t for you, here are five alternative options for you to consider.
Alternative Career Options After High School
Joining a branch of the military is a great alternative option to attending college. Not only will you set yourself up for the possibility of a life-long career, but you’ll get to travel the world and see and experience things you may not ever get to otherwise. You’d have job stability for as long as you want it. You’d have free room and board, great health benefits, and, if you did decide at some point down the road to go to college, the military would pay 100% of the tuition.
There are many job opportunities within the military, including but not limited to:
- Aircraft Mechanic
- Intelligence Analyst
- Operations Specialist
- IT Professional
- Military Officer
Masons build and repair various structures using concrete, bricks, and stone. It’s a physically demanding job that’s hard on the knees and back, and it involves lifting heavy loads regularly. All you need to enter this job profession is a high school diploma and on-the-job training. The average annual salary for this line of work is near $50,000.
Types of work masons perform:
- Pouring concrete sidewalks and stairs
- Laying stone or bricks or pouring concrete for driveways, parking areas, or decorative patios, etc.
- Placing stones or bricks with mortar on buildings and other structures
- Building chimneys or repairing damaged chimneys
- Restoring historical buildings and structures
3. Licensed Practical Nurse
Nursing is always a growing career field, and if working in healthcare interests you, but you don’t want to go to college to earn a degree, then you should consider becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN). To become an LPN, you need a high school diploma and you’ll have to attend a vocational program. You can obtain your practical nursing license in as little as 12 months. The annual salary outlook for LPNs is between $40,000 and $50,000 depending on where you live and the kind of institution you work in.
LPNs can work in:
- Nursing homes
- Doctors’ offices
- Home health care
- Government facilities
- Traveling nurse
4. Over-the-road Truck Driver
If you want to travel the country and don’t mind spending weeks at a time away from home, then you may want to consider a truck driving job. To become a truck driver, you need a high school diploma and you need to attend a training program to learn how to safely drive such a big piece of machinery. Most truck driving companies offer training courses to those who are new to truck driving. The annual salary for an over-the-road truck driver varies depending on experience, how long you’re on the road, how far you drive, and the company you work for. However, salaries range between $30,000 and upwards of $90,000 if you’re driving for a company. Later on down the road, you’d have the option to purchase a truck and become self-employed. Self-employed drivers can earn much more per year.
If you like hard work and working with your hands, a job in construction might be the right fit for you. You don’t need a college education to work in construction. While it might be beneficial to attend an apprentice program to gain the skills needed and to prove to an employer that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to do the work required of you, many employers will hire entry-level workers with no knowledge or experience and will offer them on-the-job training. Construction workers can make good money with opportunities for advancement within the field. The annual salary for construction workers varies depending on factors such as experience and the type of construction.
Explore More Options
The five options listed here are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to good jobs that don’t require a college education. Keep in mind that while there are numerous jobs you can enter into straight out of high school with no previous training or experience, there are also a host of jobs that you should consider that may require some schooling or attending a training program and obtaining certification for. Licensed Practical Nurse is one of those types of jobs, but there are also others such as:
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Real Estate Agent/Broker
- Police Officer
- HVAC Professional
- Broadcast Engineer
- Computer Support Specialist
- Court Reporter
This list is not extensive as there are way too many to list them all here. Just know that it is possible to make a good living and be financially secure in a job of your choosing without a college education. Find out what might be interesting to you, know your strengths, and move forward into a rewarding career.