While a college degree is usually seen as the ticket to economic security, a new study shows that there are still plenty of other ways to bring in a steady income.
According to a recent report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and Civic Enterprises, there are 29 million jobs in the United States with annual salaries of over $35,000 for those who don’t have a college degree. These “middle” jobs require some education or training beyond high school but a bachelor’s degree usually isn’t a necessity. Of these jobs, 11 million pay $50,000 or more.
“People can still acquire middle class wages if they work in sub-baccalaureate health care and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields,” Andrea Porter, communications director for the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown, told the Fiscal Times. “There has been a stigma to CTE (Career and Technical Education) jobs, and parents often discourage their children from enrolling in vocational courses. We found, however, that within CTE occupations, over 80 percent of jobs in STEM and health care pay middle class wages.”
So what are these middle jobs?
According to the Fiscal Times, here are the top 10 highest-paying jobs that don't require a four-year degree:
- CEOs (average salary: $95,000)
- Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers (average salary: $84,000)
- Air Traffic Controllers and Airfield Operations Specialists (average salary: $81,000)
- Sales Engineers (average salary: $80,000)
- Computer Network Architects (average salary: $79,000)
- Computer and IT Managers (average salary: $78,000)
- Fire Fighting and Prevention Supervisors (average salary: $77,000)
- Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers (average salary: $72,000)
- Radiation Therapists (average salary: $71,000)
- Electrical and Electronics Engineers (average salary: $70,0000)
Those without bachelor’s degrees still, on average, out-earn those with only a high school diploma so the report’s authors recommend that non-degree holders seek out associate degrees and vocational courses.
“Parents and teachers should encourage students to become more informed about their career paths and should still encourage them to pursue a college degree,” Porter said. “But during these hard times, skills and experience, whether through certifications or other options, can also help ensure a middle class job.”
Read the full report here (PDF).
10 Top Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a BA Degree [Fiscal Times]