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High Paying Non-College Career Options: Vocations & Entrepreneurs / By: Trenati Baker


Senior year is a very stressful. Besides balancing courses necessary for graduation, participating in extracurricular activities, and (for some students) working, seniors are pushed to apply to colleges and for scholarships. Many young people feel like they must attend college in order to be successful. However, where does that leave students who do not want to go to college or fear that it is not a good fit?

First of all, do not panic! Although on average college graduates earn on average more than non-graduates (see page 12), according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 60% of U.S. workers do not have a bachelor’s degree. Does this mean that they must be impoverished? No! There are over 35 high-paying occupations that do not require college degrees, with air traffic controller and radiation therapist being the highest paying [US Bureau of Labor Statistics]. Plus, there are a variety of ways students can pursue post-secondary education without attending a traditional 4-year college. These options include becoming an entrepreneur, attending technical, trade, or vocational school, and participating in community job-readiness programs.

Youthbuild is a combination of these options. Youthbuild is an international non-profit organization that helps low-income students take control of their future by providing them with resources and opportunities that will lead them to success. In addition to the high school/GED academic credentialing and college preparation, Youthbuild offers a multitude of job readiness workshops including resume writing, interviewing, and communication skills. Additionally, Youthbuild offers 9-12 month construction and health care tracks that introduce students to the fundamentals of each field and allow students to earn credentials as well as gain hands-on experience. All in all, Youthbuild is one of many organizations that introduce students to their post-secondary options or as Shawna Huley, College and Career Transitions Manager of Lake County’s Youthbuild, put it, Youthbuild helps students “obtain long-term self-sustainability to create a better future for not only themselves, but their children and the family members they may support.”

If you think that college isn’t right for you, look closely at all of your career and vocational training options and know that no matter which you choose, with dedication, you can obtain long-term self-sufficiency.


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