A college degree is definitely something to strive for, but it's not for everyone. With the variety of vocational training programs available, you don't have to amass tens of thousands of dollars in debt from a traditional four-year college to land a high-paying job. We submit for your consideration lucrative trades you might want to get certified for, with the corresponding median annual wage according to the 2020 Occupation Outlook Handbook from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you're the creative type with a green thumb and a passion for making your outdoor spaces look beautiful, landscape design could be your calling. Meet with clients to assess their style, preferences, and needs. Use computer software to generate a mock-up of your garden plan. Landscape designers must be knowledgeable not only about plants and their care but also spatial requirements, hardscaping, installing water features and pathways.
They should also be aware of how to work with the environment rather than against it, how to incorporate native plants, how to solve drainage issues, and how best to keep the area maintained. Customer service and budgeting skills couldn't hurt either.
National average salary: $54,862
If you're the sleuthing type who knows how to locate things like leaky gas lines, termites, rotting wood, along with any other structural problems like foundation cracks, disintegrated flooring, or roof issues, consider becoming certified to be a home inspector. Home inspectors have the option of working for themselves or providing their services for an existing company. They go through extensive training to understand the complexities of a home's electrical, structural, plumbing, and heating systems to provide accurate reports that locate any weaknesses of a building.
Home inspectors will also know the various construction methods so they can identify the strengths and weaknesses of each. They must also be comfortable climbing ladders and navigating attics or crawlspaces. Unfortunately, they can't train you not to get over your fear of spiders, so anyone with arachnophobia might want to reconsider.
National average salary: $52,066 per year
Construction managers have a high degree of responsibility, and their salary reflects it. They have the leadership skills to hire and manage the construction crew involved in a construction project and oversee the process. They must be knowledgeable and organized to ensure the appropriate permits have been received and that building codes are up to regulation.
They work closely with architects and engineers, evaluate blueprints, and acquire the appropriate building materials necessary for the project. They are analytical problem-solvers able to provide estimates in time and cost for a project. A construction manager must also possess excellent customer service to nurture company/client relationships to grow business loyalty.
National average salary: $97,180 per year
Radiation therapists often have a bachelor's degree, but you can get there quicker by starting with a two-year associate's degree. They undergo extensive safety training to ensure they know proper safety protocol to limit their radiation exposure. While it may take longer to achieve this career than the other ones listed here, the work you do is a reward in itself.
You'll work as part of an oncology team, administering treatments to cancer patients to help shrink tumors and speed them to recovery. A good bedside manner is imperative since you'll maintain close contact with patients to explain what you're doing during treatments and update their medical records after each session. You must be comfortable operating complex machinery and taking the necessary precautions to keep the patient and yourself safe from radiation.
National Average Salary: $86,850 per year
These diagnostic medical sonographers are trained to use medical equipment for diagnostic purposes. This equipment generates sound waves to produce images of various body parts like the heart, joints, and blood vessels.
Ultrasonographers work closely with doctors and can specialize in areas such as women’s reproductive health or pediatric care. A caring and compassionate attitude is necessary for any field where you'll have close contact with patients. This one's no different, as you may have to consult with and provide information to patients about the procedure.
National Average Salary: $70,380 per year
Whether you're just getting started in the working world or have been out there for a while and are looking for a change, there's a variety of options to get trained in to get you working in a lucrative field. Find your (new) spot in the working world!