Although college often leads to higher pay (Graph 1), people can use occupational information provided by the Oregon Employment Department to find other options for a higher paying job. Since college or community college isn't for everyone, good career planning for some people means sorting through many occupations to find those jewels for which they can qualify without college and that pay well. This article does some of that sorting.
Only six of the selected occupations had a median wage of more than $30 per hour, so it isn't sensible to expect to make a fortune by working in most of these jobs. But the typical wage for these occupations is about $23 per hour, or around $920 for a 40 hour week, which is more than the U.S. average for someone with an associate's degree.
Gathering information about licensing and training providers is important when pursuing one of these occupations because many, if not most, require licenses, classes, or special experience. One reason they pay better than average is that there are barriers to entering many of them. The smaller the supply of qualified workers for an occupation, the more it tends to pay.
Community colleges and union apprenticeships are a source of training for many of the occupations that require post-secondary training. Community colleges try to offer training programs that fit with their local industries; they don't all offer the same training. Several community colleges offer automotive mechanic technology and emergency medical technician training. Unions and apprenticeships are important for some of the construction occupations, such as carpenters and electricians.
For more information on occupations in Oregon, visit the Occupational Information Center at www.QualityInfo.org.
|Select High-Wage, High-Demand Occupations in Oregon by Required Training|
|Post-Secondary Training||Average Annual Openings||2012 Median Wage|
|Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer||878||$18.75|
|Computer Support Specialists||376||$22.80|
|Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitter||208||$29.08|
|Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics||200||$19.76|
|Computer Specialists, All Other||159||$33.89|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||156||$22.76|
|Sheet Metal Workers||115||$23.08|
|Insurance Sales Agents||112||$24.64|
|Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics||102||$17.82|
|Long-term On-the-job Training|
|Maintenance and Repair Workers, General||412||$17.83|
|Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers||220||$17.36|
|Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers||179||$29.90|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists||159||$21.14|
|Industrial Machinery Mechanics||120||$23.54|
|Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers||114||$21.30|
|Claims Investigators, Examiners, and Adjusters||103||$30.96|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Workers, All Other||94||$19.01|
|Moderate On-the-job Training|
|Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants||380||$22.06|
|Sales Representatives, Services, All Other||294||$24.24|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||156||$24.92|
|Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks||101||$18.91|