Great Ways to Make Money Without College

We’ve all heard that if you want a really good job, you’ve got to have a college degree.  While it’s true that, on average, college graduates do still make more than non-grads, at least for the first 10 years or so after graduation, the gap isn’t nearly as big as it used to be.  Also, more and more college graduates are starting their adult lives with so much debt that loan payments eat into the “extra” money they earn over non-college graduates.  In today’s world, many employers do require degrees for positions that used to be available for anyone with a good work ethic who was teachable.  The good news is that there are at least as many employers who are starting to realize that a college education doesn’t necessarily outweigh real-world experience.  In addition to such employers, there are a number of other ways to make a decent living without a college degree.

property-for-rent

Starting a rental service out of your home can be a good way to make money.  If you have equipment like a pressure washer or power tools, consider renting them to homeowners at a rate comparable to (or maybe just a little less than) your local home improvement store charges.  Quite often, you can find used equipment at garage sales on or Craigslist to bulk up your own inventory.  If you live in an area where TV or movie filming happens, you might even be able to rent your house, vehicle, bike, camper, or antiques to a production company.

If you love the outdoors, consider turning that passion into a career.  If you’re an avid hiker, camper, or white-water rafter that knows all of the best wilderness spots around, you could use that knowledge to organize retreats and guided adventures.  If you pride yourself on your survival skills, you could make money teaching those skills to others.

If you consider yourself a tech expert in terms of social media, you might be able to sell yourself as a social media consultant.  Many of today’s larger companies have a dedicated social media team, but a lot of smaller businesses don’t.  Offer your paid services as a consultant who can show small business owners the power of advertising and connecting to current and potential customers via social media.

Real estate is an area that’s been a moneymaker for many people for many years.  If you have enough up-front capital, you can partner with experienced developers or speculators.  You can also now find real estate crowdfunding sites to help you get your foot in the door.  Before sinking any money into any investment, make sure you do as much homework as you can to ensure that your investment partners are legit.

Lastly, and perhaps most solidly, consider a career as a skilled tradesman.  Welders, electricians, and plumbers (among others) will always be in demand.  Always.  These are jobs that simply cannot be replaced by technology.  Most skilled trades offer apprenticeship programs that allow you to be paid while you learn.  A job as a skilled tradesman guarantees a steady paycheck.  An affinity for the work and a commitment to learning and growing could earn you certification as a master of your craft, a designation that comes with a paycheck many college graduates would envy.

Why Integrating Schools is Important

Legally speaking, American public schools must be integrated, meaning that no student is turned away based on skin color.  Once upon a time, simple integration was seen as the answer to the problem of minority students receiving an education that was far inferior to the education provided to white students.  Over the years, though, the idea of integration as a way to level the playing field and improve racial equality in America has proven to be easier said than done.  Today, since so many neighborhoods are still separated by race and economics, many schools reflect these divides.  Unfortunately, these divides have resulted in most of our worst-performing schools being located in poorer, largely minority neighborhoods.  This lack of diversity and still-lopsided playing field in terms of public education is a problem that we must find a way to remedy or risk falling further behind the rest of the world in terms of the ability of our young people to succeed in an increasingly diverse world where quality education is critical, as is the ability to confidently face a world where we’ll meet and work with people from all races and economic backgrounds.

Multi-ethnic children standing in front of school bus.

The first step in correcting the problem is acknowledging it.  The focus can’t be only on a school’s demographics; it also needs to be on academic quality.  In other words, just saying that a school has a racially-diverse student body isn’t enough.  Instead, focus needs to be on making sure that all children have access to a high-quality public education.  Too often, the best performing schools are in mostly-white, higher-income neighborhoods.  There is absolutely no reason that the United States should not commit whatever resources are necessary to ensure that all public schools offer the same quality of education.  There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that higher-income white students are any more likely to achieve academic success than lower-income minority students.  The reason that so many test scores seem to say otherwise is due to the quality of the schools, not the ability of the students.

Many argue that redrawing school districts to force a more diverse student body is the solution.  Again, though, this won’t benefit all students.  Any minority students sent to higher performing schools will surely benefit, but those left at or sent to lower-performing schools will remain below par or quickly get there.  Many charter schools, including some in racially diverse and lower-income areas, have proven that race and financial class don’t have to be factors that affect a student’s chances to learn and succeed in school.

Finding ways to make all public schools racially diverse and first-class in terms of education offered is the best, maybe the only, way to ever really level the playing field for all Americans.  Additionally, students of all races who come from racially-diverse, high-performing schools tend to have an easier time adjusting to college or university life, as colleges and universities tend to be very racially and culturally diverse.  Those who go straight to the workforce from high school also benefit because they are already completely comfortable with the racial diversity that they’ll face “in the real world.”

In short, if we want an America where every child has an equal opportunity at academic success, we need to find a way to ensure that no school is allowed to offer its students a lesser-quality education simply because those students are not white and/or come from low-income households.