You can get a great new vocation and land terrific jobs without a degree. And you can make more money and have more control over your life if you choose the right new vocation. Of course, you’ll need to change some of the way you think about your work…but we’ll get to that. First, let me tell you who this post is written for.
This post is for you if any of the following 3 conditions are true:
a. You are out of work and need to find a new job.
b. You have kids who recently graduated from college and they can’t find a job.
c. You have kids who are about to graduate high-school and you are debating whether or not they should go to college or a vocation school.
When I graduated high-school, it was a given that if you wanted to find a good job, you had to go to college. I don’t think that’s true anymore. I’m not sure of what the unemployment rate is for recent college graduates but I know it’s got to be high. If I was starting all over again, I’d look into jobs that had the following qualities:
- I could master quickly.
- There is a great demand for.
- Can’t be outsourced.
- Can lead to opening my shop in a relatively short time.
- Vocational skills training was available for free.
- Will reward me if I work hard and provide outstanding service to my clients.
If you use these 5 criteria, there are a number of jobs that qualify and seem to be much more attractive than going to college. And for the right person, skipping class can be really smart.
There are plenty of good jobs you can get without to college for a 4 year degree. And what’s better, you can get trained for those jobs quickly and less expensively than if you go the college route. That means you’ll be collecting work experience (and a big fat pay check) 3 or more years sooner than your friends. This also means you’ll be able to get out of debt faster if you have the issue now. You’ll be working while they’re sipping those Chai Grandes at the local fu fu coffee boutique pouring over their 19th Century English poetry books.
But I want you to think of your first 4 years on the job as your training. Don’t tell yourself, ” I want to make more money now”. Just like college is much more than a 40-hour week, your first years in your vocation will require more than working 9 to 5 if you want to be successful. Go to work. Put in 110%. Don’t think about the money for the first 4 years. And don’t worry if you have to start out part time in a side job. Think about this time as an investment and be smart about your investment. At night, continue to learn. Go the extra mile for your customers and boss. You’ll advance faster than you can say,”E Plurabus Unum” while you’re friends are still trying to satisfy their foreign language requirement for graduation.
And while we’re on the subject, the following jobs are equal opportunity – men and women alike. While you don’t see many blue-collar jobs going to women, it makes no sense for you to discount these ideas just because you are female. In fact, as you’ll see, the jobs below are typically male-dominated but that will give you a huge boost if you happen to be female and excel in the field.
You’ll stand out and be noticed and it can be a huge marketing advantage for you. And just because you don’t have a 4-year degree, it doesn’t mean you can’t be extremely successful. Vocational jobs can lead to being a successful business owner. While I obviously think there is a lot of value in having a degree, I have to admit that the most successful clients I have don’t have degrees. They worked their way up such organizations as UPS or IHOP…or they opened their own shops soon after they attained the skills they needed.
Having said that, here are the jobs that qualify:
Everyone needs a good mechanic they can trust. Am I right? Just think if you were that person? You’d have more business than you knew what to do with.
When I roll my car into the shop, I usually get a repair bill that includes labor billed out at $75 an hour. That’s $75 an hour you could be collecting – plus the mark-up on the parts. Sounds like a sweet ride to me. To start down this road, you obviously have to be good with your hands and be OK with a little grease behind the fingernails. If you meet those qualifications, you can easily get a job as an apprentice. Once you start, work your tail off, save as much money as you can and start planning on opening up your own shop within 3 years….just about the time your pals are getting out of college and getting slapped with those huge student loans they have to start repaying. You’ll notice that one of the common characteristics of every one of these 4 vocations is that they can all lead to you having your own shop. Many of the successful entrepreneurs I know used that exact formula to become wealthy. Why not you?
2. Repair Person
When the dishwasher, fridge, or garbage disposal go out, most people are frantic to get it fixed ASAP. That’s where you come in. In order to land a job as a repair person, you don’t need education…just a little self-confidence and experience. Again, you can land a job as an apprentice and work hard. Look for opportunities to go the extra mile and acqumulate your own tools. If you deliver 110% for your customers, you’ll also have more jobs than you can handle and within a very short time you’ll be able to launch your own business and hire all the shlubs who just graduated and can’t find work.
3- Plumber / Electrician
These are two of the options I’d be thinking about most seriously if I was graduating high school right now. In fact, no matter how bad the economy is, landing a great job isn’t tough if you have these skills. Of course you’re going to have to be careful and smart. After all, you don’t want to electrocute yourself or create a flood in your customers homes. But assuming you are able to master these skills, you’ll become an apprentice and within no time, have tons of work.
The beautiful thing about sales is that you can make as much money as you want as long as you take care of your clients. And you don’t need a 4 year degree to be successful. What I like about this profession for young people is that it’s well-suited for those who don’t need to make a lot of money at first. It might take a while to work up to a decent income but once you do, life will be good. As a young person with limited responsibilities, you can afford to make very little at first as long as the position has real potential for future growth. This is the quickest route to having your own business there is. If you are honest, personable, smart and work hard, there will be no stopping you. Just be careful about where you go to work. Everyone will want to hire you – especially if you are on 100% commission. But you are investing your time so make sure you’re investing it wisely.
Going to college is the right move for some people. But for many others it’s a complete waste of money and time. The costs aren’t just the tuition and room and board. They also include the money you won’t be making and skills you won’t be learning while you’re sitting in class.
If your objective is to make a great living, have security and freedom, you owe it to yourself to consider these and other vocations rather than going to college. If you went to college, did it help? How? Would you do it again? If you work as a trades person, what was your route of success?