Teachers and parents push college because they want high school graduates to have the best possible shot at wealth and success, but the truth is that college simply doesn't suit everyone. Fortunately, there are plenty of engaging and high-paying careers that don't require a degree to start at entry level.


1. Hairstylist

If you have a flair for hair, you can work on getting into the beauty industry even while you're still in high school. There are some community colleges and vocational schools where you can learn the trade after classes, so it's possible to start right after graduation. Even if you don't start early, it doesn't take anywhere near as much time or money to learn to style hair as it does to go to earn a bachelor's degree.


2. Sales Representative

As a sales representative, you can make a six-figure salary without ever setting foot in a college classroom if you are passionate about it and work hard. This is a career where people who are naturally charismatic and persuasive excel, but anyone willing to thoroughly research clients, stick their necks out regularly, and graciously take rejection can be a good rep.


3. Electrician

Good electricians are absolutely essential, so getting the proper training will set you up for some decent pay and job security. Most states require two to four years in an apprenticeship program before you can be certified, so there will probably be some delay between graduating from high school and entering the industry, but acquiring this skill will give you no shortage of work.

blend images

4. Truck Driver

Until teleportation is a scientific possibility, trucks and truck drivers aren't going anywhere. There are plenty of perks to truck driving, including independence, job security, and the freedom of the open road. Plus, you might be surprised by how much money you can make in the first year after getting your commercial driver's license. It's recommended that you attend a truck driver's training school before getting behind the wheel of a semi.


5. Web Designer

Web design jobs are on the rise, with more and more individual professionals and small businesses getting with the times and adapting to consumer demands for attractive and informative websites. Even if there's no web design firm in your area, it's not hard to find freelance jobs. Just get used to having to tell friends and family members that you can't work for free, unless you really need to build up your portfolio.

As you can see, if you're willing to work hard and learn a skill, skipping college doesn't automatically condemn you to a life of eternal burger flipping. Check out a vocational schools database for more information about job options and training.