High Paying Careers Without Four Year Degrees

High Paying Careers Without Four Year Degrees
Learn how community colleges and associate degrees can lead to high paying careers.

As the costs of all school programs are rising, community colleges are offering more affordable education plans that prepare young professionals for some of the top paying careers. As CNN comments on the top paying jobs, “though a college degree is not a requirement for these positions, all require moderate to extensive on-the-job training or apprenticeship. In addition, dental hygienists, radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists, and commercial pilots require an associate degree at a vocational or technical school.”

Ultimately, as some of the top-paying careers only require a two- year degree, certification, or select courses, community colleges are offering financially affordable and rewarding pathways for future success.

Moving Towards a New Career Frontier

The correspondence between higher education and higher income is now becoming history; according to CNN, “Though it was once conventional wisdom that you needed to have a four-year college degree to be successful, many employment experts believe that maxim has become myth. While a college education increases a worker's chances of earning more money, it's certainly not the only reliable path to well-paid and rewarding work.”

While most lucrative jobs require post-high school training, most of the top-paying careers do not require a four-year degree – and thus, community colleges really stand out against 4 year universities. In fact, “there are […] (approximately) 50 million jobs out there that don't require a bachelor's degree and pay upwards of $40,000 a year.”

According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, eight of the top ten fastest growing careers do not require a bachelor’s degree—and this is projected to be true through 2014! In looking at our present job market and the anticipated career demands of the future, occupations in the fields of “health technology, plumbing, firefighter and automotive repair are less vulnerable to outsourcing. After all, if your car breaks down in Indiana, you're not going to fly someone in from another country to help you.”

Career planning expert Michael Farr and statistician Laurence Shatkin have vigorously studied information from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, supporting the information in their recently published book, The 300 Best Jobs That Don't Require a Four-Year Degree. Among the top-paying careers are jobs in education, sales, law enforcement, administration, transportation, and the list continues. In analyzing the changing times, it is evident that “while a college degree was de rigueur for the baby boom generation, that's not necessarily the case now. In today's highly technical and service-related market, workers are judged more on their skills than their sheepskins.”

The Top Paying Careers

According to Farr and Shatkin, some of the many jobs ranked near the top of the list of careers that do not require a degree ar: air-traffic controller, police and detective supervisor, and firefighter.

Air Traffic Controller

Community colleges across the country are now offering associate degree programs in Air Traffic Controlling. These programs prepare individuals to “apply technical knowledge and skills to air-traffic management and control,” while often providing students with supplemental training from the FAA Flight Control Center.

Instruction also includes flight control lessons, how to use radar and electronic scanning technologies, flight plotting, radio communication, interpretation of weather that potentially impacts flights, instrumentations of flight used by pilots, and how to maintain the flight-control center and control-tower logbooks.

Police and Detective Supervisor

Since many careers in law enforcement do not require formal higher education, occupations as a police officer or a detective supervisor rank among the top paying jobs. Although post-secondary school is not mandatory, many law enforcement agencies strongly recommend completing post-secondary classes to become better prepared for the police academy and work in the field. In fact, “many entry-level applicants for police officer jobs have an associate or bachelor's degree in law enforcement, administration of justice, criminal justice, police science, or public administration, and command a higher salary because of that degree.” The diverse opportunities for police and/or detective associate degrees are widely available in community colleges throughout the country.

Here's information on a career as a police detective.

Municipal Fire fighter and Prevention Supervisor

The community college firefighting programs will provide students with the science, background, and practical experiences to work in the field. The academy programs are known to be quite rigorous, and provide students with hands-on-work, usually including live-fire training. With this, students are often strongly recommended to complete medical and physical prerequisites prior to entering the academy—which are offered at various community colleges. As Glendale Community College describes, “due to the intense physical requirements it is highly recommended that students take the Fitness and Conditioning for Firefighters […] prior to enrollment in the academy. It is extremely important to begin a class in good physical condition.” Paired with this, students must normally also complete various medical training pre-requisite courses as well.

Making a lucrative income, even one with six figures, no longer requires a four-year degree. Instead, your local community college can be your foundation for enjoying a very successful, profitable career that even gives back to the community.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @communitycollegereview

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