Since I was interviewed twice in two months regarding the high cost of college, I thought I would share some top jobs that don’t need a bachelor’s degree. Most people are shocked to learn that of those entering a bachelor’s degree (thinking it will be four years), the actually graduation rate SIX years later is just 59%. Career counseling can help save individuals and families time, money and heartache! Do be sure to graduate from high school, and some type of training, certification or apprenticeship is a yes!

Employment Projections 2018-2028. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 4, 2019 News Release,

Of the 10 fastest growing occupations, projected 2018-2028, the first five do not require a degree:

  1. Solar Photovoltaic Installers, 63.3% increase, $42,680 median wage May 2018
  2. Wind Turbine Technicians, 56.9% increase, $54,370 median wage May 2018
  3. Home Health Aides, 36.6% increase, $24,200 median wage May 2018
  4. Personal Care Aides, 36.4% increase, $24,020 median wage May 2018
  5. Occupational Therapy Assistants, 33.1% increase, $60,220 median wage May 2018

CLICK HERE for the rest of the top ten and the full news release.

Highest Paying Jobs without a Degree, Best Jobs U.S. News and World Report, January 7, 2020

This data is part of a comprehensive report with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and interviews. The report includes information on mobility, stress, balance, unemployment rate and job links to vacancies.  Helpful is more salary data beyond the median wage, so can give a more realistic view of starting salaries. Job growth is noted at the end of the job descriptions, so keep reading. Numbers of actual expected to be created is important to know in addition to growth because if it is a very small field, even with rapid growth, opportunities may be limited.

Top 10 highest paying jobs without a degree:

  1. Patrol Officer, 5% growth with 34,500 jobs, $61,380 median wage
  2. Executive Assistant, -19.8% growth losing 123,000 jobs, $59,340 median wage
  3. Sales Representative, 1.7% growth with 23,300 jobs, $58,510 median wage
  4. Electrician, 10.4% growth with 74,100 jobs, $55,190 median wage
  5. Wind Turbine Installer, 56.9% growth with 3,800 jobs, $54,370 median wage
  6. Structural Iron and Steel Worker, 11.5% growth with 9,200 jobs, $53,980
  7. Plumber, 13,6% growth with 68,200 jobs, $53,910 median wage
  8. Hearing Aid Specialist, 15.9% growth with 1200 new jobs, $52,770 median wage
  9. Sound Engineering Technician, 1.6% growth with 200 jobs, $52,390 median wage
  10. Brick Mason and Block Mason, 9.7% growth with 8400 jobs, $50,950 median wage

CLICK HERE for details about these jobs, the rest of the top 25 jobs, and specifics about report methodology.

10 Highest Paying Jobs without a College Degree Paying more than $79,000, April 24, 2019

Also sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with just slightly older data, these fields are also worth a look:

  1. Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers, $94,730, 7% growth
  2. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators, $94.350, -10% growth
  3. First Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives, $89,030, 7% growth
  4. Power Distributors and Dispatchers, $86,410, -3% growth
  5. Commercial Pilots, $82,240, 4% growth
  6. Detectives and Criminal Investigators, $81,290, 5% growth
  7. Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay Electrical Repairers, $80,200, 4% growth
  8. Elevator Installers and Repairers, $79,780, 12 percent growth
  9. Power Plant Operators, $79,610, 1% growth
  10. Media and Communication Equipment Workers, $79,580, 8% growth

CLICK HERE for the article, including brief descriptions. It was source from prior Bureau of Labor Statistics data which had projections until 2026 rather than the more current 2028.  This is a good example of how employment projections data changes, so career decisions should be based on more than wages and growth because the job market can change. Making sure you have skills and interests that fit is important too.

In this past Sunday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article (link at end), I was interviewed about the impact of the high cost of college on education decision-making. Though I commented on the realities that most can no longer afford to go to college to “find themselves,” I do believe that a life choice should be more than simply a well-paying, in-demand job.  Yes, a person needs to know job market information, but if you are miserable or unsuccessful, that’s really not enough for the long term.  A poor career choice can negatively affect your relationships as well as mental and physical health. There are many education paths and levels that can lead to success and happiness.

Making grounded education and career choices involves FIRST looking at yourself in terms of interests, skills, values and personality and THEN exploring what is out there that relates specifically to you, not the whole world of work.  Career counseling helps individuals do this through insightful conversation, career research, and exercises, including career inventories (which by the way are not meant to ”tell you what you should be” even if you wish they would!).

I love helping high school students through retirees answer the question “what do I want to be when I grow up.”  And if you are thinking of going back to school, it is especially critical to be clear and grounded before investing time and money.

Speaking of money, HERE IS THE LINK TO THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW ARTICLE.  Lots of good data there!

Welcome to the first blog entry of my completely revised, spiffy website! Thank you for your interest in my take on career planning and business etiquette to help people be more confident and competent in this aspect of life. Besides practical tips and information, I also like to share stories that can educate and inspire. So I would like to share links to five of my favorite older newsletter posts that are important to me or don’t quite lend themselves to be rewritten, yet still could be useful.

Take Your Passion and Make it Happen

Thank You Notes: My Etiquette Take on a Post Office Sign

Student Loan Forgiveness

Is a Degree Worth It?

Perfection Reflection and Intuition Insights