Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Middle of California
Re: Jobs without a college degree
I think the real question you need to ask yourself when considering pay vs. degree or non is whether you're doing what you want to be doing and whether you're pursuing a job or a career. There certainly are well paying positions out there without college requirements but they are becoming few and far between. It's also has a lot to do with the field in which you enter, there are some that you simply cannot do the work without some type of formal training.
I chose accounting because it's the family business for the most part, that and I tried about everything else. The general rule with accountants or CPA's is that in any business they are the first ones hired and last ones fired. Not to mention a decent CPA in my area can charge 150 an hour and not break a sweat, but that's after a fair amount of personal time mastering the profession, and it's one that generally requires a lot of time to cut your teeth. This isn't necessarily true for other degrees or certificates. What I would consider to be the more fluffy BA degrees can take a lot less time to complete and merit the same amount of pay, but at the end of the day in times of downsizing (much like now) their holders tend to get cut first and have a more difficult time getting back into the workforce when able.
I actually think it's a sad state the country is in when a person can't actually freely choose a profession but are instead forced into one by the economic conditions. I realize that is pretty much the state of MOST people working, but because we're talking about college we are assuming that you are making some sort of decision about your profession. With where we are headed the manufacturing industry is going to be non-existent and you are either going to be in the service industry, working in an office, or cleaning up after the people working in the office. The choice between pliers, a pencil, or a broom doesn't seem like much of a choice to me.
I'll be honest in saying that most the people I've known over my life who didn't go to "college" do earn more than I do in a year, but at the same time, I don't mind what I do. I make my own hours for the most part while sitting in an air conditioned office listening to music. Considering where I've been, I know that I couldn't have that without a college degree.