Many people in the United States are still burdened by thousands of dollars worth of student loan debt years after graduating from college.
In a recent report, about 42.9 million people or one out of eight Americans carry student loan debt. As of the second quarter of 2021, the total outstanding student loans debt reached nearly $1.60 trillion.
While carrying a student loan debt has become a normal part of an average person’s life, it can be debilitating. The impact of debt on a person’s life is far-reaching. It can prevent the borrower from buying a home due to a low credit score, finding fewer employment options, and not saving money for retirement.
That is why many young people are making the decision not to pursue higher education. They either choose alternative ways of learning or go straight to work.
A college degree is no guarantee for success, and although it can open job opportunities, it is not for everybody. Some will thrive whether they have a college degree or not.
There are still great career paths waiting for those who want to bypass college, especially in the construction industry.
Many of the high-paying careers and do not require a degree are found in construction. The industry rewards people who are hard workers and willing to learn on-site. There are also plenty of options to choose from too. Those who want to become entrepreneurs can sell heavy equipment such as excavators. Others can start at the bottom as laborers who remove debris and build houses by hand.
Here are some other positions that do not require a college degree.
There are around 300,000 construction managers across the country, and more than half of them are working full-time without a degree. While many construction managers earned a bachelor’s degree before entering the workforce, it is not required.
However, this job typically prefers those who have gained mastery of the industry through extensive work experience. Before becoming a construction manager, you may have to have spent at least 10 years in the industry. It is a gradual career progression, but it is worth it.
A construction manager plans, budgets, coordinates, and supervises a project. They have to work with architects and engineers to make plans a reality. They are also expected to make major decisions that will guide entire building projects.
On average, construction managers get $95,260 annually.
A building must be structurally sound and safe before allowing people to occupy it. That is the job of a building inspector.
A building inspector assesses the quality of the building and checks that it complies with existing codes and regulations. You do not need a four-year college degree to become a building inspector. Over half of those currently working as building inspectors are without a degree. Yet, they earn a competitive median salary of $60,710.
However, familiarity with construction is necessary for this line of work. A building inspector has to know a lot about building materials and techniques, plumbing and electrical systems, and other related information. Those who want to become building inspectors are advised to earn a certificate, which is cheaper than a university, to learn everything you need to become a building inspector.
Brick Mason and Block Mason
A brick mason or a block mason is tasked to build walls, patios, fences, walkways, and other structures using bricks, concrete blocks, natural or man-made stones, and structural tiles. A staggering 92 percent of people who work as brick and block masons do not have a college degree. Yet, they enjoy a decent median salary of $53,100.
It still requires skills, so most brick and block masons undergo apprenticeships to learn and master the trade. Some take basic one-year programs at technical schools. Those who want to become brick and block masons have to know how to read and interpret blueprints and do basic mathematics. In addition, they have to be physically strong and agile to do their job properly.
Plumbers are some of the most in-demand workers in housing. They are needed during construction and after people start moving into a building.
It is a skilled role that requires extensive knowledge of water facilities, but it does not require a college degree. Those who want to learn how to work in plumbing can take an apprenticeship or go to plumbing schools which could take about two years to complete. Plumbers earn above $50,000 a year.
Not everyone should undertake thousands of dollars in student loan debt to the college. Some will do fine without a degree. Some careers pay well but do not require a college degree.