We've all heard the horror stories of huge college debts and few jobs upon graduation, so more students are looking for alternatives.
For example, rather than attending a 4-year college, Erica Coleman instead decided to study nursing at a technical college.
"Compared to some of the other colleges, it’s a huge difference,” said Coleman. “Thousands of dollars, makes a huge difference."
Community colleges and trade schools may not have the prestige of a university, but for a fraction of the cost, they are turning out graduates who are finding good jobs.
"There are great jobs that don't require a four-year degree,” said Harry Snyder, the workforce development director at a vocational school. He said many college-bound kids don't even consider vocational schools, but he says they should because there is a demand for those students.
"Last week we had some welders start work, and they were making 23 dollars an hour right out of school,” he said.
That’s 46-thousand dollars a year.
Snyder walked me through the diesel engine repair classroom, a field where companies are paying top dollar.
"They're about 18 to 20 dollars an hour starting off; about 40-thousand dollars a year. You get into overtime, you can make 50, 60-thousand dollars a year."
He said that can be 60-thousand dollars a year without the cost of a college degree. He said you just need a year of schooling that costs about $9,000.
Another popular field is air conditioning. "Heating ventilation air conditioning, talking about the summer heat, those are great jobs right now,” said Snyder. “They are looking for technicians as we speak." The average starting salary: 35-thousand dollars and you can work up to $50,000 in a few years.
CNN lists a number of $50,000 jobs that don’t need a four-year degree, including:
--police. fire fighting, and emt. work.
--auto body repair.
--and air traffic control.
Ashley Pence is studying to be an emergency medical technician, and is thrilled to be able to help others, and not have huge college debt. "It's a quick, easy path for me,” she said. “It works very well financially, it's a lot cheaper than going to a 4-year college."
Sure, most good paying jobs require either a degree or several years of training. You can't just graduate high school and land a job as a plumber or air traffic controller, but if you are willing to take the training, you could have a lucrative future ahead of you.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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