29 Million Middle-Class Jobs Available Not Requiring a College Degree

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A college degree is important to your earning power.

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Statistically, people with college degrees earn more than those without, and people with graduate degrees earn more than anyone. So then the debate becomes about which kind of education is most beneficial to your earning potential–for instance, does your undergraduate major really matter?

But in some fields, a college degree means less. A new study out of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that there are 29 million available jobs that pay middle-class wages ($35,000- $72,000), but don’t require a university degree. Almost 40% of them pay $50,000 or more.

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In our postindustrial age, these jobs have shifted away from being largely blue-collar jobs: Now, one-third of them are blue-collar, half are white-collar office jobs and about 15% are in health care. Men hold 18 million out of these 29 million jobs, and the best of these jobs are in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, plus in health care, in which more then 80% of jobs pay middle-class wages.

Other jobs that pay as well as those that necessitate a college degree are operations managers, police officers and electricians.

There is a catch, though: CNN Money points out that most of these jobs do require some form of secondary training, a two-year degree or a certificate, and that they’re mainly available on the coasts.

Still, while a college degree is important, it isn’t always everything.

If you’re considering college but need financial help, start by reading Student Loans 101, then use our free checklist: I Want to Take Out a Student Loan.