by Cheri Read | Featured Contributor
With the rising cost of education, it seems would-be degree seekers are searching for some smarter alternatives to making a living. With the average student loan debt in the United States today at $30,000, many post-millennials are drowning in debt before they ever cash their first paychecks.
So, what’s the answer?
Almost 70% of Americans have chosen to make a life without a 4-year degree. While some feel unable to attend college for one reason or another, a vast majority of those people have intentionally opted to make a living on a non-traditional path.
The parents of generation Xers touted the mandatory importance of a college education, but millennials and post-millennials are learning to march to the beat of a different drum. Shirking the suit and tie and the corporate clock-in, people are more time-conscious than ever. Working at the same 9-5 for 40 years and then retiring is no longer the norm. People want excitement, change and innovation.
In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to find decent paying careers that don’t require a 4-year degree. The field of technology, for example, is moving so rapidly, that many companies don’t care about the piece of paper as long as you have the skills to keep up.
Education is a wonderful thing, but you should be aware that there are many different types of education other than a traditional bachelor’s degree that can set you on a great career path.
Here are 5 of the best-paying careers that don’t require more than a 2-year degree:
1. Court Reporter
If you’re quick with your hands and love the thought of sitting in on courtroom trials, this just might be the gig for you. The average salary is about $52,000 and you can choose to be a contract worker and only take the jobs you want. The training for court reporting is usually around 2 years and can be done entirely online.
2. Web Developer
Web Developers bring in a median salary of around $75,000 a year. While there are some extensive training programs available, it is possible to be employed in this industry with less than a year’s training. If you know your stuff and love technology, the sky’s the limit in this career field.
3. Nuclear Medicine Technologist
The median salary for this in-demand career is $71,000, but many nuclear medicine technologists bring in closer to $85,000. A knack for science and a 2-year degree will get you in the door of almost any medical facility nation-wide.
4. Dental Hygienist
The annual salary range for a dental hygienist is about $50,000-$90,000 and only requires a 2-year degree to get started. If you like the idea of working closely with dentists and patients to improve dental health, you might really love this career.
5. Freelance Writer
Last, but certainly not least, is online freelance writing. It’s one of the most versatile and fastest growing careers today. While a keen eye for grammar doesn’t hurt, there are a ton of successful professional writers who, by their own admission, struggle with different aspects of the written word. There is literally no limit to how much you can earn with a lot of hard work and dedication, not to mention the fact that you can work from home in your pajamas! This job requires no formal education or training; just a willingness to learn the tricks of the trade and hustle!
These are just a few of the many great-paying career paths you can choose without spending 4 years in college. If a formal education isn’t for you, you might just be cut out to take a shorter path, or if you’re really brave…make your own!
Cheri Read is a successful freelance writer, West Texas girl, single Christian mom & blogger. She has a decade of experience in career research and advising, and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. She loves helping women discover what they are meant to do and showing them creative ways to do it.
She also has more than a decade of experience in finding ways to earn extra money from home, adding to her list this past year, her budding freelance writing and blogging business, which is quickly on the way to becoming her full-time gig. You can learn more about the writing biz and how she does it over at cheriread.com. Her writing specialties include careers, personal finance, Christian living and digital marketing.
Cheri loves the Dallas Mavericks, her kids, grandkids, Jesus and writing (not necessarily in that order). When she’s not working on her blog or freelance writing assignments, you will probably find her drinking diet root beer and binging on Gilmore Girls on Netflix.