Student loan debt is spiraling out of control and changing the direction of a lot of young people’s lives. Rather than buying homes or saving for retirement, people straight out of college are saddled with huge amounts of debt. According to Value Penguin, the average student debt in the United States is $32,731. The costs of tuition and student loan debt have gone up 302% since 2004.
The total student loan debt stands at $1.52 trillion in the U.S., and there are 44.7 million borrowers currently.
All of this may mean that fewer students decide to go to college as time goes on, and they may be looking for careers that afford them a high salary without the debt of student loans.
Current, the following are some relatively high-paying jobs you can get without a four-year college degree.
Truck driving jobs aren’t necessarily seen as glamorous, but there are a lot of benefits to this line of work. First, there’s job security. There are many open truck driving jobs,and it’s not a position that’s likely to go anywhere anytime soon. A lot of companies will even pay sizable bonuses to bring new drivers on. First-year truck drivers can make anywhere from $45,000 to $55,000.
There are a lot of different types of truck driving options available—for example, you don’t always have to do long-haul routes even though that’s what most people associate with the career field.
There’s a sense of freedom with trucking, and it’s good if you’re an introvert too.
Electricians can work in different settings,including offices, but also homes. Electricians can work indoors, outdoors or both, and a college degree isn’t required for this position. What is required to be an electrician is usually a vocational program, and electricians also typically go through on-the-job apprenticeships.
The median salary is $54,110, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 9% increase in jobs by 2026.
The healthcare industry is a great place to work, with an aging U.S. population requiring more medical care than ever before. While many healthcare careers require an advanced degree, some don’t. Being a respiratory therapist is one such option.
A respiratory therapist helps treat patients who have respiratory diseases, disorders,and have trouble breathing. They may work in a respiratory care department, or anesthesiology. Respiratory therapists may also work in pulmonary rehab.
Also called RTs, these professionals will evaluate patients’ Lung Capacity Test, and if necessary, they will administer oxygen or ventilators to patients who can’t breathe on their own.
Medical Records Technician
A medical records technician is also known as a health information technician. The primary responsibilities revolve around organizing and maintain data and information related to health care. This can include both print and electronic records. A medical records technician might update patients’ charts, track outcomes, and organize data to include in clinical databases. A medical records technician can work in a medical office, a hospital,or an outpatient clinic, and the average salary in 2015 was $40,430.
A dental hygienist works in a dental office primarily, and the median salary for the position is $74,070. Dental hygienists have a low unemployment rate of only 0.4% as well. A dental hygienist does teeth cleaning and works on educating patients on the best ways to care for their teeth and the right products to use.
Also, in addition to working in dental offices, more medical centers such as doctors’ offices and clinics are hiring dental hygienists as part of their effort to offer more holistic health care.
U.S. News and World Report ranks dental hygienists as #2 on their list of the Best Health Care Support Jobs.
Computer User Support Specialist
A computer user support specialist is someone who helps people fix problems with their Mac and PC devices. While this role doesn’t necessarily require a 4-year college degree, most employers do want to hire people who have certain certifications to show they have the necessary technical skills. Many of these certifications include courses that take only a few hours to complete.
Power Line Installers and Repairers
Finally, another high-paying job you can get without a college degree is a power line installer and repairer. According to Kiplinger, the median annual salary is $69,040, and the projected job growth between 2017 and 2027 is 16.7%. Most power-line installers and repairers do an apprenticeship for around three years, which includes technical instruction and on-the-job training.