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Getting a Job Without a College Degree [AUDIO]

No degree? No problem. A new study from Georgetown University indicated there are 29 million well-paying jobs ($35,000 to $75,000) for workers without a four-year college degree.

Some of the positions, like a commercial truck driver or insurance agent, require only a high school diploma. Others, such as those involved in construction, do require some type of advanced training. However, a bachelor’s degree is not the only way to obtain that training.

U.S. jobs for workers without a bachelor's degree (Georgetown University)
U.S. jobs for workers without a bachelor’s degree (Georgetown University)

Thousands of people in New Jersey, and millions across the country, are utilizing career and technical education (CTE) as an alternative to the full university commitment.

The report, Career and Technical Education: Five Ways That Pay Along to the B.A., detailed five major sub-baccalaureate CTE pathways: employer-based training, industry-based certifications, apprenticeships, post-secondary certificates and associate’s degrees.

The pathways, which also serve as a less expensive option, are available for high-schoolers and adults alike. They can be found at community colleges and technology centers; they also have a strong presence at New Jersey high schools.

“New Jersey is really fortunate in that we have 21 county vocational technical schools that offer both high school and adult students career and technical education programs,” said Judy Savage, Executive Director of the New Jersey Coalition of County Vocational-Technical Schools.

Savage continued, “A student who is in a CTE program is going to gain not only career skills, but also an in-depth understand of the career and the pathway.”

About 31,000 students are enrolled in CTE programs at the state’s vocational schools. High-schoolers still meet all regular academic requirements like science and physical education, but also focus on a career track that is aligned with industry standards. Adults can obtain career-focused credentials through short-term training.

Savage noted many people choose to utilize CTE in addition to obtaining a four-year degree, and they tend to graduate from college at a higher rate and in a shorter amount of time. In fact, using the jobs gained from CTE has helped them earn enough to put themselves through at least four years of college.

“Career and technical education is a great jump-start, whether you want to go straight to the workforce, or straight to a two or four-year college,” she added.

The demand for such alternatives has been high in the Garden State. Some schools have not been able to serve all the students wishing to participate. Savage said her council has had talks with the state legislature and education department about the need to expand CTE programs, but growth is difficult due to the current state of the economy.

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