Not having a college degree doesn't have to keep you from professional success. In this article I'll give some examples of ways you can get ahead with a college degree.

I’m not knocking a college education, but if you don’t have one it doesn’t have to be a barrier to professional success. In this article I’ll give some examples of ways you can get ahead with a college degree.

Trade School

Many cities have trade schools or community colleges with vocational programs. There are many programs that are two years or less that can lead to lucrative careers. Examples include:

  • Web Developer: Median Annual Salary $57,662
  • Radiation Therapist: Median Annual Salary $66,823
  • Electrician: Median Annual Salary $50,740

Click here to read about more jobs for trade school graduates.

Apprentice Programs

If you don’t have the money to attend a vocational program, but want to learn a trade consider an apprentice program. The Department of Labor website provides information on how to find programs with hands-on career training in fields such as health care, construction, and advanced manufacturing.


Most people think that internships are only for college students on summer break, but that’s not true.  Internships are simply short-term programs that provide short term hands-on work experience. There are both paid and unpaid internships. Obviously there will be greater competition for those with pay.

Sometimes it is worth the short term sacrifice to take an internship with little to no pay, to gain the experience. Many internships are even part-time, so if you have to take a unpaid internship you can get another part-time job to generate some income.

Find The Right Entry Level Position

Once you have a little training under your belt, you’ll start to look for an entry level position. Sometimes you may be looking at a pay cut in the short term, but consider the opportunities for advancement.

I originally completed a trade school program to become a certified massage therapist. I quickly realized this was not a good long-term career for me as there was not room for advancement and most employers in that field provide benefits. I used my experience as a lead therapist to get a paid internship in HR. Then I used that experience to get an entry level position in property management as a leasing consultant. After a year, I was promoted to assistant property manager will potential for more upward mobility in the future.

Put Your Money To Work For You

While you’re working to get ahead,  you should also put your money to you by following a budget that is in line with your financial goals. Click here to learn simple steps for creating a budget.

The best way to save money is through mindful spending. Get started today with this free budget worksheet.


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