Society has been marketing college to students for decades. The idea of working smarter, not harder is pushed — some would say shoved — down students' throats. The truth is that college is just not for everyone. There are plenty of lucrative career paths out there for anyone with the drive and determination to succeed.
1. Real Estate: Getting your real estate license involves a simple series of classes over a six to eight-week period. The classes teach you the basics of the law, but the key to success lies on your shoulders. Real estate is really about learning to market yourself to clients. It can be tough to get those first few clients, but once you do, the sky is the limit with income potential.
2. Massage Therapy: There is no more relaxing or rewarding environment to work in than a massage studio. Every client that you see is happy to be there and leaves thoroughly relaxed. What other job field can say that about their line of work? Massage therapy schools are available across the country and can help train you in various massage techniques, from Swedish to hot stone, and set you up for success.
3. Certified Nursing Assistant: Becoming a CNA is the first rung on climbing the healthcare ladder. CNA training programs only take a few months to complete and can lead to careers in either long-term care facilities or hospitals, providing direct patient care under the direction of a nurse. For those who wish to keep climbing that ladder, there are specific programs to help you move from one position to the next, CNA to LPN programs, LPN to RN, and, finally, RN to BSN.
4. Building Trades: The building trades, from surveying to framing, electrical to plumbing, will always need people willing to work hard. You can enroll in a trade school, join an apprenticeship program, or even choose a vocational program while still in high school to learn the ins and outs of your desired trade. Mike Rowe, social activist and host of "Dirty Jobs", is a fierce advocate for skilled trade jobs and the need for people to continue to fill such positions in society.
5. Truck Driving: Sometimes the call of the open road is much appealing than a cubicle. If you'd rather be out there, truck driving school can teach you everything you need to know to drive a big rig and pass your CDL exam. Most programs only take a few months of your time before you are literally out on the road.
6. Computer Programming: Believe it or not, computer programmers are so in-demand that many companies will hire one without a college degree. The candidate just needs to be proficient in a particular coding language. There are plenty of online academies that offer classes in different coding languages where you can become proficient without the cost of a four-year degree. SQL and Java are most in-demand at the moment.
If you know college is not where you want to be, look at any of the career paths above that will take you where you want to go.