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Best Jobs Without a 4-Year Degree

No 4-year Degree? No Problem! Promising Careers Doing What You Love.

By Kelly Richardson

These times, they are a-changing! Especially in the working world. In the old days, your career position (and your salary!) depended on earning a strong high school grade point average, going into massive debt with loans for a college education, and graduating with a diploma that said to the world not much more than "I paid a lot for this certificate." Most of the time, the major selected was not what the student would really want to do for the rest of his or her life anyway.

Well, those days are gone. Now, you don't need a traditional four-year degree to make a living. You can select a course of study and a job doing what you love and earn good money in the process. And the great thing is...it's never too late to start. We'll talk about some promising careers with real appeal and how to start the training process so you can make your change.

What's Out There for Me?

According to Claudell Gentry, counselor in the School of Business Administration at Georgia State University,

"We have seen a recent and identifiable trend of frustrated students leaving the colleges and school sectors and begin training for careers that offer students the opportunities to do things that highlight their personal interests and skill sets."

While Mrs. Gentry admits this trend is hurting the college bottom line, she also explains how it gives the students a renewed sense of purpose. And that is the heart of the matter. The truth is there are a host of jobs and careers that you can enter without a degree or any college experience whatsoever. There are a host of trade and technical school programs that are affordable and will fit your interests perfectly.

If You Love What You're Doing, It's Not Really Work!

The old axiom still rings true today. The key is to find a trade or technical school that offers programs that fit your interests and passions. You are more likely to be successful doing a job in which you are genuinely interested. For example:

Culinary School

There is nothing more satisfying than serving up smiles from the kitchen of a famous restaurant of a high-profile hotel, and oftentimes nothing more profitable. A quality culinary program will allow you to make your love for food a career. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, job openings for chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers are expected to be plentiful through 2012.

Fashion Design School

You have great taste and an eye for detail. You share your talents with the fashion world. Your education in fabrics and patterns will earn you a good salary and ensure that you are doing something you love.

Real Estate School

Do you love to be a part of that high-end deal? Do you love the idea of bringing parties to the table and working through the details of the sale of a piece of property? Then becoming a real estate agent is your ticket to excitement. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, real estate agents and brokers will continue to experience employment growth due to the increasing housing needs of a growing population, as well as the perception that real estate is a good investment.

Be in Demand...Anywhere You Live!

There are a variety of exciting positions you can train for that are in constant demand all over the country. And the training for these positions is significantly less than the amount of time it takes to earn a college diploma. For example:

Criminal Justice School

If the thought of pursuing a criminal or leading a critical investigation does not get your blood pumping, then nothing will. The need for qualified police officers, investigators, and corrections officers continues to skyrocket. The U.S. Department of Labor predicted that by 2010 there will be more than a 29% increase in the demand for FBI Officers, Police

Cosmetology School

Making people beautiful is one of the most important positions in any industry. Cosmetology is a lucrative profession, and students might just find themselves working on the stars in movies or television one day. Cosmetologists become experts in skin care and beautifying design.

Auto Mechanic School

Cars are what make this country great. And the people who fix our cars are equally important. As an auto mechanic, you will enjoy a handsome salary and the satisfaction of working with your hands to get people back on the roads. Dealers face an annual shortage of 35,000 technicians through 2010, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Computer School

Quality computer training will give you entry to the most explosive industry in the last 20 years. The need will continue to grow, as will the salaries. Computers permeate nearly every facet of our lives and knowing how to operate and repair them makes you valuable. According to the United States Department of Labor, computer systems analysts, database administrators, and computer scientists are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations through 2012.

Massage Therapy School

Stress has become a stable and recurring factor in the declining health of this country. Becoming a massage therapist will place you in instant demand and place you in a position to demand impressive fees for your services.

Better Late Than Never

According to GSU's Gentry, the lure of an enjoyable, stable career is luring many people away from the traditional corporate schedule as well as encouraging those to seek out specialized training later in life.

"With the rise of career-specific training and the development of a variety of financial aid options, more individuals are choosing to make a career change at various stages in their lives."

What does this mean for you? It means you no longer have to wonder "What if?" It has never been easier to switch to a career path that you can feel good about. Combining your talents and interests with specialized and focused training will set you on a path of success. Get started now!

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