SCHOOL’S OUT: Check Out These Alternatives to the Typical 4-Year College

Art of Manliness – One-quarter of college grads are in jobs that don’t require a degree. And of the 30 jobs projected to grow the fastest in the next decade, only 7 require a standard 4-year degree.

For some professions – like many of those in STEM fields – college is absolutely the right choice. But for many, it ends up being a waste of time and money. For some, college even limits your career options, as you get strapped into thinking you have to go into a certain major (most often business) in order to be successful. That’s just not the reality, however.

Below, [AOM] highlighted 10 very legitimate options to consider after high school:

1. Start a business.

There are over 22 million individuals who are self-employed in the U.S., with no employees other than themselves. That’s about 14% of the entire American workforce. With drive, initiative, and a quality product, it may be more attainable than you think to make it on your own. In fact, some of the most successful men of the 20th and 21st centuries were entrepreneurs without a college degree.

2. Attend community college.

While community college doesn’t carry the prestige of the 4-year university, there are numerous benefits to this alternate path:

  • Saves boatloads of money
  • Makes the transition to college easier
  • Gives you time to define and refine your interests

3. Get into a trade.

Trade schools offer specific vocational training for a wide variety of skilled careers. Sometimes this means getting an associate’s degree at a community college, but many times it’s simply a year or so at a technical school. These careers are often associated with “blue collar” jobs, and unfortunately often carry some negative stereotypes in today’s culture.

The reality is that there are literally millions of people who work in skilled labor jobs, and they’re paid well, especially compared to college graduates. The average starting salary for a college graduate is $45,000, while the average salary of someone who went through trade school is $42,000. Not much of a difference, and the trade school graduate is entering the workforce at least two years sooner.

4. Be an artist.

If art is your passion – be it music, painting, sculpting, etc. – you should strongly consider not attending a 4-year college. While established artists average around $60k a year in earnings, it takes a little longer to get to that point. After getting a degree, you’ll be strapped with debt, and will you have really advanced your craft beyond what you would have anyway?

5. Take online classes.

Online college-level courses have boomed in the last couple years, with Coursera and EdX leading the way. While YouTube and a variety of websites freely offer lectures for the public to consume, Coursera and EdX offer certificates of completion, and with a small fee, those certificates can be university-verified.

Read the rest at: Art of Manliness

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