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Career Paths to Avoid College Debt

Let’s face it: College isn’t for everyone. Sure, college can be a great way to expand your horizons and make yourself more desirable in the job market, but these benefits come at a cost— according to, the average student in 2021 had $37,172 in student loan debt. On top of that, student loan debt has become the second highest category of debt in the country, equaling $1.7 trillion in 2021. We want to give you a few tips on career paths you can take if you want to avoid college debt at all costs but still want to be able to make a good amount of money.

Non-College Careers

If you want to avoid becoming a part of the statistics we talked about above, we don’t blame you. There are other career paths that can provide lucrative income without the need to spend years in class or taking out thousands of dollars in loans:

  • Trade schools: For those uninterested in four-year degrees, trade schools are a great option. Electricians, plumbers, welders, and other skilled jobs are always in demand and offer comparable salaries to jobs that require degrees.
  • Starting your own business: Entrepreneurship can be a challenge, but for those with the work ethic and the desire to have complete control over their workday, starting your own business is a great option. 
  • Entry level work: There’s nothing wrong with forgoing college to dive headfirst into the work force. While entry level work can be hard, those who are loyal to companies can rise through the ranks and attain management positions that offer equivalent salaries to those who have higher education degrees.
  • Military service: Many people who skip college find rewarding careers in military service. Military training offers a wealth of benefits, including medical coverage (for both you and your family), reliable pay, and on-the-job training. They will also pay for you to go back to school if you decide to get a degree once you have completed your time of service.

Passing on the Loans

Although college can open new career pathways for high school graduates, the student loans that accompany them are no small issue. Fortunately, those interested in skipping the process altogether have a variety of open career paths that offer similar compensation and benefits as the jobs that require college degrees.

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