Top 5 Jobs for College Dropouts

careers for college dropouts

College isn’t for everyone, and the rising costs of quality institutions can be very off putting to some. Student loans are a great option to help pay for your education, but taking on debt is a bad move for some students. Dropping out of college can limit your potential career opportunities, but there are still plenty of jobs available for these candidates. So, if you attended college in the past but decided that it wasn’t for you, then consider one of the following positions to help you get back on your feet. Starting a career should be your top priority if you’ve decided to drop out of school.

1.)    Firefighter

Being a firefighter doesn’t require a degree, but landing a job can be difficult since fire departments are closely knit communities. It’s recommended that potential candidates pursue a background in EMT work because the skills are interchangeable. The basic requirements involve being eighteen years old, a resident of the state, and a high school graduate. Focus on getting in shape because the work is physically demanding. After you pass your physical and written exams, the job opportunities will start rolling in. The average salary for firefighters is $40,000 per year, but they typically work longer than average shifts. Less days on the job mean ample time for a second job. Start getting to know your local firefighters, because getting your name out there can be an important step.

2.)    Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers have their own set of educational requirements. You’ll need to attend an FAA sponsored program for several years to qualify. Air traffic control doesn’t require a traditional college bachelor’s degree. It’s a high paying career, but the nature of the work can be highly stressful. Your hours and career duration are limited to prevent employees from burning out. The ability to focus on multiple activities for hours on end is a requirement for air traffic controllers because lives are at stake.  The average salary for air traffic controllers is $122,000 per year, and the benefits that the federal government provides are excellent.

3.)    Video Game Tester

The video game industry is huge. The bigger game titles require massive development teams to ensure successful completion of each product. When a game is being created, the developers run into issues along the way, but they can be hard to find. This is where game testers come in. To the average video gamer, this seems like a dream job, but the nature of the work is actually pretty difficult and repetitive. You’ll play sections of the game over and over looking for bugs and glitches. It’s not an excellent paying job with an average salary of $35,000 per year, but it can turn into a high level position later down the road. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door with a major video game design company.

4.)    Casino / Gaming Manager

Landing a career as a casino or gaming manager can be achieved without a college background. However, it’s highly advised to seek out relevant certifications. Obviously a college degree in hospitality would help, but if an educational background is a barrier then consider a two-year community college or technical school program. Casinos will usually provide training to the right candidate, and it’s more about fitting the casino culture. A great place to start is landing a lower level job as a table dealer. Do an excellent job and constantly ask about potential promotion opportunities. The average salary for casino / gaming managers is $66,000 per year.

5.)    Web Designer

Landing a career as a web designer can happen with no formal education. Self-taught employees can be just as effective as computer science gradates. Focus on building a solid portfolio and even consider working in a freelance capacity. Freelance work is an excellent way to gather more work experience. The average yearly salary for web designers lies around $60,000 per year. Web design is entirely results based. If you can successfully complete the work on time and provide high quality material to your clients then success is guaranteed. Word of mouth can travel quickly.

If you have the opportunity, it’s always recommended that you pursue a college degree. The American job market is very competitive so anything that can set you apart from the pack is recommended. However, a college education is certainly not a requirement for finding an excellent career. There will be plenty of options if this is the path you choose.

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Matthew Welch

Jobdiagnosis blog author Matthew Welch is an SEO strategist and content marketer from Boston, MA. Read blog content relating to job search by Matthew Welch.

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