In competitive job market, vocations prove successful

If you are reading this, chances are you are someone with at least a bachelor’s degree or are in the process of pursuing one. So you likely are expecting a decent job with a decent wage after college because, hey, you did your time at a higher education institution. You earned it.

The problem is that the market is saturated, full of recent grads looking for work and they all feel the same way.

While getting a degree was once seen as the only path to financial comfort, it is no longer the case. Colleges are becoming more expensive and kids are attending college at higher rates. We just have more kids with more debt.

We’ve come too far. But for those in high school still, there are extremely viable, lucrative options that do not require a college education. These options are called vocational jobs.

According to, a website that ranks colleges and salaries of their graduates, the starting salary of a student graduating from Geneseo is $37,500, an amount that lands them 12th on the list of the 15 schools in the State University of New York system. SUNY Maritime College is first with $59,400. There is good news, though. The mid-career salary for Geneseo grads is $76,800, which lands the school fifth on the list. Maritime again tops this list at $116,000.

To be clear, I am not saying you should pursue more schooling after your undergraduate studies. I am saying just the opposite. Because, again, if you were to get a master’s degree, that market will be relatively just as saturated as the one before.

For some reason, vocational jobs get a bad rap, like a person has failed if they end up working on their hands and knees. They are jobs for the “screw-ups.” Well, do you know how to build a home or wire a house or fix the broken pipe under your sink? I certainly do not.

According to, the median salaries for some vocational jobs are as follows: A painter earns $35,430, a plumber earns $47,750, an electrician earns $49,320 and a construction manager earns $84,240. These are the medians, but they are all at or above what students are set to make after graduating from Geneseo.

It should also be noted that most of the salary ranges for these jobs topped out at over $100,000, well above what we are told we will make in the middle of our career. Assuming they didn’t attend college before entering the vocational work force, these workers have zero debt.

One of the most practical jobs out there, although it requires at least an associate’s degree, is nursing. There is always a demand for nurses, and the room to move up the career ladder or increase your pay is immense.

I guess the main argument to essentially denounce my own education is that it should be more visible to high school students how worthwhile working can be without ever setting foot in a college classroom. I know that it was made clear to me that college was the only way to be successful.

When you think about it, there is some irony around all of this. Those with degrees work in buildings that have flooring, electricity, drywall and plumbing. So without these laborers that are essentially pushed aside in society, we wouldn’t even have an office to hang our diploma.