Friday, February 24, 2006

Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree


Though it was once conventional wisdom that you needed to have a four-year college degree to be successful, many employment experts believe that maxim has become myth...

So while a college degree was de rigueur for the baby boom generation, that's not necessarily the case now. In today's highly technical and service-related market, workers are judged more on their skills than their sheepskins.

The article lists several jobs and their pay. Top on the list:

  • Air traffic controller
  • Annual income: $102,030


    Robert said...

    Sure, you don't have to have a college degree -- just the ability to handle more pressure than any human being was meant to handle!

    On the other hand, that salary makes me wonder if I went into the wrong business.

    Robert said...

    Does being an air traffic controller require algebra knowledge? :)

    David said...

    I do not think this is true of air traffic controllers anymore. IIRC, the FAA now requires applicants to major in air traffic control in college (there are several colleges offering such majors) prior to attending the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City.

    Doesn't make a lot of sense to me except as a way of offloading training costs, especially given the current and anticipated controller shortage.

    Darren said...
    In addition to the pre-employment test, applicants must have 3 years of full-time work experience, have completed a full 4 years of college, or a combination of both. In combining education and experience, 1 year of undergraduate study—30 semester or 45 quarter hours—is equivalent to 9 months of work experience.

    Sounds like you don't *have* to have civil schooling, although I wonder what kind of work experience you might have that would be transferable.

    Silvermine said...

    My brother just has a GED and made more than that as a sys admin.

    David said...

    I think the BLS data is out of date. See this link:

    ..which indicates one must participate in the Collegiate Training Initiative (unless one is a former military controller or some such)

    Wulf said...

    First, when was it conventional wisdom that you needed a four year college degree to be successful? I don't remember that.

    Second, pre-college work experience as an ATC would probably be all military, wouldn't it? That's all I can think of.

    Darren said...

    CNN's words, not mine.

    Kalroy said...

    Well, you don't need a college degree, but you do need a serious hard assed work ethic.

    Wiremen (electricians who are welders too) make big bucks. Industrial electricians, structural welders, millwrights, plant maintenance mechanics, etc. One thing they all have in common, however, is an apprenticeship that requires more time commitment and sweat than a college degree.

    So it's not like they're simply making good money without a degree. They're making money with an even greater training commitment than a degree. Oh, and though most of them make 50k-70k, not many make over 100k. Oh, and if you can get a remote job, you make big money. 100k plus for most craft jobs overseas, but they're not easy to get and it seriously helps to know someone.