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Not Going to College? Consider These Alternatives

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There’s no denying the fact that college isn’t right for everyone, and increasing tuition has many people wondering whether going to college is even worth it. If you’re on the fence about the matter, it can be a tough decision to make.

It’s important to realize that not going to college doesn’t automatically mean you’re headed for a string of low-paying, dead-end jobs. In fact, jobs that do not require degrees—and pay well—are out there. Other professions require training that’s available at vocational schools or two-year community colleges, which are usually considerably cheaper than traditional colleges and universities.

What is a Vocational School?

Vocational schools are often known as trade schools or technical institutes, and some are even called career schools. They generally exist to teach job-specific skills that are needed to perform a particular job.

Common programs that are available at vocational and trade schools include:

  • Automotive repair / ASE certification
  • Hair / Nail technician training
  • Culinary Arts
  • Floral Design
  • Medical Technician training, such as an X-ray technician
  • Dental Hygiene training

What is a Community College?

Community colleges are sometimes known as junior colleges, technical colleges or two-year colleges (as opposed to a four-year college or university.) Community colleges may offer some of the same technical training programs that are offered at vocational schools, but community college students can also earn a two-year associate’s degree in hopes of transferring to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Community college students often include non-traditional college students, or older adults that are returning to school after being in the workforce or raising a family. Some high school students even take community college courses while they are still in high school, and other students simply take classes for the sake of learning, not for college credit.

Community college tuition is generally considerably cheaper than tuition at four-year colleges and universities, and because campuses are typically small without dorms or residence halls, a lot of money can also be saved by living at home rather than paying room and board.

Common programs that are available at community colleges include:

  • Nursing
  • Law enforcement trailing
  • Paramedic / firefighter training
  • Daycare / preschool teacher certification

High Paying Jobs without Degrees

There are plenty of other college and university alternatives that result in education and jobs. According to AOL’s Daily Finance, James Altucher recommends that young people start a business or travel the world. Forbes reports that high-paying jobs that do not require college degrees include air traffic controllers, financial advisors, powerhouse substation mechanic and transportation inspectors.

Career Information

If you’re not yet sure what educational or professional path is best for you, StateUniversity.com’s thousands of Career Profiles offer insight on training requirements, salary expectations and even basic job duties.


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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