By Joyce Lain Kennedy
Tribune Media Services
Joyce Lain Kennedy is a syndicated career advice columnist whose column appears in The Virginian-Pilot on Sundays. A reader asked about high-paying job alternatives for those who do not want to get a four-year degree. Here is her answer:
Your question has moved to the front burner on many family stoves. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor offers answers. Consider these annual median wage figures that are grouped by academic requirements to enter the industry:
* Two-year associate degree: air traffic controllers $108,040, general and operations managers $94,400, construction managers $83,860, dental hygienists $68,250, mechanical engineering technicians $50,110.
* Postsecondary non-degree award: first-line firefighters $68,240, commercial pilots $67,500, powerhouse electrical repairers $65,230, auto insurance appraisers $56,230, first-line production supervisors $53,090.
* High school diploma: various managers $96,450, transportation and distribution managers $80,210, first-line police supervisors and detectives $78,260, nuclear power reactor operators $75,650, fashion designers $64,530.
These 15 examples are drawn from the 80 occupations identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in a new report, "High wages after high school - without a bachelor's degree" by Elka Torpey. You can read it online in the Summer 2012 issue of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly (bls.gov/ooq).