Dream Careers Don’t Always Require a College Degree

Official Talascend Release
June 30, 2015

graduation cap and rolled up diploma with ribbon

Well-intentioned parents, guidance counselors, college advisors and career coaches dispense advice to young adults about what they should do when they grow up. Depending on who’s dishing it out, that advice can cost anywhere from zilch to quite a bit of money. Chances are high that most advice given will steer you in the direction of college (e.g. becoming a doctor, teacher, lawyer or engineer—all careers requiring four or more years of college education). Pursuing a profession that requires advanced degrees and taking on loan debt to pay for it may be fine if that’s what you want to do. Everyone should follow their passion. But, college isn’t for everyone and that’s okay too. There are more options. Here’s why...

The U.S. workforce is aging. According to the U.S. Census Bureau some 10,000 baby boomers in the U.S. will turn 65 every day until approximately the year 2030. That’s a lot of people reaching retirement age and it doesn’t take a college degree to know that not all of those people are doctors, teachers, lawyers or engineers. They are skilled workers that have important – and lucrative—jobs; from welders and tool and die fabricators to medical technicians and mechanics.

Many state workforce agencies have taken note of this trend and are doing their part to educate everyone from recent high school graduates not sure of the right path to take, to more seasoned professionals looking to make a career change. In a recent article from MLive.com, Michigan's Talent Investment Agency Director, Stephanie Comai, was quoted saying that the state expects to have “6,700 jobs open every year from now until 2022 in the skilled trades." That high number has prompted a robust campaign complete with celebrity host, Mike Rowe, from the hit reality television show Dirty Jobs. He, along with other people who actually have these jobs, have launched a series of informative videos of skilled trade professionals at work.

Maybe you just don’t know if college is for you; there are other paths to take and plenty of professionals willing to help you get on the right one. Trade schools, apprenticeships and community college certified programs can all assist you with paid, free or lower cost training to introduce you to these alternate career opportunities.

In addition to the very qualified folks mentioned throughout this article, staffing agencies can also play a helpful role. Firms that specialize in skilled trades are in 'the know' with companies who are hiring and companies who are willing to train or even pay for training for the right candidate. They can offer real time market intelligence that you might not find from others. They can tell you what skill sets are hot and what skill sets are fizzling. They can get your foot in the door for long-term job opportunities. And, finally, staffing firms can counsel you and help you translate any of your previous experience from one career to another if you’re looking to make a move.

For example, Talascend recently placed a young professional who earned his GED and served in the Navy. "While serving in the Navy, our candidate received a number of credit recommendations from the American Council on Education based on his military training including AC/DC circuits and electrical safety," said Donna Spencer, Lead Recruiter at Talascend. "That training armed him with a number of transferrable skill sets and, when coupled with his strong work ethic, made him an ideal fit for one of my clients—a worldwide manufacturer of various kinds of heavy machinery and equipment. The client was desperately looking to fill an Associate Engineer position in one of their facilities in Illinois. I’m pleased to say that we were able to place him in that role and he continues to be happily employed."

The bottom line, while a college education is terrific for some, it’s not for everyone. A high cost degree is not a guarantee to a happy life/successful career. If you dread four or more years of school, learn about other options that will set you on a path to success. Think outside the college box and consider learning a skilled trade. U.S. based manufacturers have plenty of jobs to choose from when you do and we think that’s better than okay.

About Talascend

Talascend is a Veteran Owned Business that is dedicated to the success of our nation’s civilian and veteran personnel. To date, the Talascend organization has a staff of 60 experienced and tenured recruiting professionals, a contract community of nearly 700 employees working on-site at our partnering accounts, and a candidate community of 700,000+ engineering, technical and skilled trade professionals.

With 75 years of staffing success, Talascend has been one of the most reliable and effective providers of strategic staffing solutions for clients serving multiple industry verticals needing top talent in engineering, technical, and skilled trade disciplines. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, the Talascend companies have worked with some of the world’s largest and best-known organizations on an extensive range of high-profile projects nationwide. If you are looking for a new career, or to grow your workforce, contact us today!