It’s worth noting that more than 80 million workers in the US labor force do not hold a college degree. Among them, the majority have either completed some college courses or hold an associate degree (36.2 million), followed by those who only have a high school diploma (35.2 million). There are also around nine million workers who lack a high school diploma or a GED. As expected, workers with higher education levels, as a group, tend to experience lower levels of unemployment.
The decline of the trades
The trades are a viable alternative to college but reduced technical training schools, apprenticeships, and pathways to these professions have become prevalent. But labor in the trades is in high demand, with Constructive Dive reporting that around half a million construction workers are missing in the US. The lack of availability of labor leads to delays in construction, which can lead to the project having a higher cost than a developer or public entity foresees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes data that allows one to identify the highest-paying jobs by educational attainment each year. It is evident from these lists that trade jobs are among the highest-paying careers available for those who do not hold a college degree. In fact, in some instances, these jobs pay more than the ones offered to college graduates.
For those without a high school diploma, the list ranks athletes and artists as the highest-paid professionals. For those in other fields, the next ten jobs with the highest salaries and that are seeing employment growth are:
For those with a high school diploma, the list looks a bit different:
A high school diploma or a GED can double a worker’s earnings if they can secure one of the jobs on that list.
For those with some college or an associate degree, the list looks like this:
When considering your career path, it’s crucial to take into account the future of your chosen profession. If you’re looking for a field with a growing job market, it’s important to choose an expanding industry with more opportunities. On the other hand, if you pick a profession that’s expected to rapidly decline in the coming decades, your job prospects may be limited.