By Center for Personal Finance editors
If attending college isn't for you, don't fret: Now could be an opportune time to pursue a career that doesn't require a four-year degree.
There were 3.1 million job openings in August, and many were in trades or other skills-based fields, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, released Oct. 12.
That number is slightly fewer than the 3.2 million job openings reported in July. However, the total number of openings is up 26% since the end of the recession in June 2009, according to the survey.
The survey listed job openings in areas such as construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation, and utilities. Many employers are struggling to fill these positions because they are unable to find workers with the skills to do the job.
Consider setting up an informational interview or a job shadow. Think you're up to the task? Use these guidelines to prepare for a rewarding career off the traditional college path:
- Learn what's out there. Use CareerOneStop, sponsored by the Labor Department, or the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the BLS to research alternative occupations and the skills and requirements involved. Many jobs may not call for a college degree, but they still might require special certification or training.
- Talk it over. Reach out to companies or workers in fields that interest you. Consider setting up an informational interview or a job shadow to get a better idea of what the occupation entails. If the career that interests you requires some extra training through a technical school or certification program, make an appointment with a counselor to learn more about the process.
- Consider an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs allow you to receive paid, on-the-job training for specific careers. Lengths of apprenticeship programs can vary, but most programs take about four years to complete. When you complete your apprenticeship, you'll be nationally certified to work in your industry. The Labor Department's Registered Apprenticeship program can help you get started.