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Restless Teenager Resisting College? 4 Hands-On Careers for High School Graduates

Many parents push their kids toward a college degree after high school, but this isn’t the only way for young people to get on a path to an engaging career. There are a number of trades and occupations that offer opportunity for both physical and mental engagement, as well as room for advancement. Most of these careers do require some education and training, but these programs are typically aimed at developing practical skills and hands-on experience.

Construction Worker

Construction is a major industry throughout the country and there is relatively high demand for qualified workers on all kinds of projects. Many workers are employed through contractors to work on public roads and structures, while others deliver services for private developers. There are many different positions and skills involved in construction work, so new members of the profession have a lot of options when defining their career.

Casino and Gaming Manager

Casinos and gaming establishments also employ large numbers of people with hands-on skills rather than a college education. Gaming managers may oversee individual tables, conducting different games and consistently engage with clients. There is often opportunity for advancement for talented people in the gaming industry as long as they hone their skills and build a broad professional network.

Plane or Helicopter Pilot

Modern aircraft may have dozens of safety features, including a comprehensive autopilot system, but pilots still serve an irreplaceable role in planes and helicopters. Becoming a pilot doesn’t require a college degree, but it does require completion of training and certification programs. Employers typically start all new hires on a lengthy training and mentoring program to make sure they are ready before taking command of commercial flights.

Welding Specialist

Welders provide crucial services for companies in dozens of different industries, ranging from construction to vehicle maintenance. Rather than pursue a college program, prospective students can also consider completing a customized welding program and developing specialized skills. Since there are so many potential applications, many welders specialize in particularly industries to define their career and open up more job opportunities. While this career path can be rewarding and stable, it also requires substantial mental and physical endurance, as well as sound judgement.

For many people, college is an appropriate and productive path toward a fulfilling career. However, parents shouldn’t assume that it’s the only way for their kids to find a worthwhile or rewarding professional life. There are hundreds of different jobs that are perfect for people who prefer hands-on experience to academic pursuits.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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