A few decades ago a high school diploma and some relevant experience was all you needed to break into an entry-level position and rise through the ranks of whichever company you decided to work for. College was less competitive, cheaper, and easier to get into. Now, if you want a high-level job that pays six figures, college is necessary. There have been some anomalies to this theory. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, for example, dropped out of college early to pursue their businesses. However, these are special cases, and unless you have a revolutionary or enterprising idea, it’s not likely to happen to you. If you graduate high school in 2014 and move directly to the workforce, your opportunities will be severely limited unless you have the proper connections. It is recommended that every high school graduate either learns some type of skilled trade, like HVAC or plumbing, or attends college to pursue a career that fits their lifestyle and matches their interests. It’s never too late to make a change, and if you are working in a stagnant career with little room for advancement, start saving up some money to learn a new skill or to get educated in a specialized area.
Options for a High School Graduate
Unless you have connections, once you graduate high school, your career opportunities are very limited. If you were working a part time job, you might have the option to get full-time hours, but these positions are usually hard to come by. You could also consider pursuing a general labor role, since the money is typically a little better. However, after years of hard labor, it really starts to take a toll on your body. Many career laborers have back and neck issues, as well as other ailments that prevent you from having the quality of life you dreamed about when you were a child. There are jobs available in food and beverage, which is probably one of the best options. Bartenders and waiters usually need experience, but there are plenty of entry-level positions. Management is usually willing to train the right candidate. With that being said, the average combined salary for the aforementioned is around 20,000 per year. It’s hard to support yourself on this type of income. If you make the decision to switch to a trade or attend college your earning potential will double, or even triple. Education is always a good investment if you have the proper drive and commitment.
Importance of Skilled Trade or Education
If you enjoy what you are doing for work, then it is recommended that you remain in your current position. As long as you can afford the things you need, and provide for your family if you have one, then you are successful. However, if you pursue a trade / education, it will be much easier to find a higher paying job. Most skilled trades pay around $30,000-40,000 per year. For those with college degrees, the number can be anywhere from $30,000-70,000 when you are starting out. It depends on which discipline you pursue. Typically, business, finance, and software developers earn the most starting out. Plus, if you do attend college, you’ll have to opportunity to attend graduate school. This gives you the chance to earn six figures. You’ll get to spend time studying something you love, and have the ability to reap the fiscal rewards once you graduate.
It’s a reality
The federal government wants people to get trained in either a technical school or college setting, because there are currently millions of jobs available but not enough people with the necessary skills to fill them. The unemployment rate is more of a factor of competition for unskilled positions. Every guy and his uncle is applying for these jobs because a vast majority of Americans called it quits after high school. Make the change now, and begin to educate yourself beyond your high school years. Once you land a higher paying role with better advancement opportunity, you will be much happier and more successful. The government will provide you with the necessary resources to get it done if you don’t have family support or personal monetary resources to pay for your education. It’s your decision—and it’s time to execute.