It’s been widely held up in American society that the path to the most fulfilling and prosperous careers is through college education. Enrollment for undergraduate degrees increased dramatically from 1970 into the mid-1980s and has continued to rise in the last 15 years.
But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to fulfillment, to finding your grind. Maybe four years in college classrooms isn’t a fit for your interests, or your financial situation, or your temperament as a young adult. Maybe you’re more the type who likes to blaze your own trail. If university life doesn’t seem right for you, here are five promising careers you can begin pursuing right out of high school.
1. Creative Writer
Imagine using your creativity to write a book and having it published. Whether it’s a children’s book, a screenplay, or a murder mystery novel, everyone loves to read colorful and imaginative fiction. Find your audience and allow people to fall in love with your characters and creativity.
Annual Salary: $44,000 (entry level)
Do you love to move your body, whether it’s dance, exercise or live performance? Being a choreographer means you can combine all of your creative, artistic and musical talents. Crafting new dance routines and performances allows you to think outside of the box every day when you’re at work. Choreographers get to collaborative with theater, music video and film directors. It’s art on the move.
Average Salary: $49,000
3. Real Estate Agent
Helping people search for their dream house or sell their current property is very rewarding. Not only is your job very hands-on and spontaneous but you get to guide people at pivotal moments in their lives. There is a high demand for real estate agents today; they work every day all over the country when someone sells a house, business or any piece of property. While you do not necessarily need a bachelor’s degree, you will need to take a class to become a licensed agent in your state.
Average Salary: $54,000
4. Social Media Manager
Are you a skilled communicator and a lover of the internet? Social media managers oversee all the action on their clients’ social media accounts. Some celebrities hire social media managers to update their fans on their work or what’s going on in their everyday lives. In addition, all kinds of businesses — from corporations to online startups to brick-and-mortar shops — hire social media managers to help promote and advertise their products online.
Average Salary: $55,000
5. Commercial Pilot
There’s hardly a boring day in the life of a pilot. Imagine traveling all around the world — and getting paid! Working for an airline means spending your days interacting with passengers who want the excitement of visiting a new place or the comfort of knowing they’ll reach their destination safely and on time. In addition to flying planes, pilots must be tech-savvy in their monitoring of weather and air traffic. While a college degree isn’t required, pilots do go through extensive training to become licensed and proficient in air travel technology.
Average Salary: $79,000