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The Highest-Paid Vocational Jobs

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Four years of college does not necessarily procure a high-paying job. The career buzz is on vocational trade schools. With a vocational trade, a person can earn a more-than-decent salary without spending those extra years in school. A vocational trade involves training for a specific industry, agriculture or trade. Vocational training may also be referred to as vocational education and training (VET) or career and technical education (CTE). The Bureau of Labor Statistics sites over 300 career options that do not require a bachelor's degree.

Air Traffic Controller

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According to Cable News Network (CNN), air traffic controllers are among the highest paid professionals not having to earn a bachelor's degree. The National Airspace System (NAS) is a network of people and equipment responsible for safe operations of commercial and private aircraft. Air traffic controllers are a part of the NAS who control and monitor air traffic, ensuring a safe distance between planes coming in and going out. Air traffic controllers working in the United States earn on average about $111,870 annually (as of 2008), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those in the middle 50 percent earn between $71,050 and $143,780, those in the lowest 10 percent earn less than $45,020 and the highest 10 percent earn more than $161,010. You can become an air traffic controller by completing a two-year aviation-related training program through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program. This program teaches the basics in aviation and air traffic control.

Real Estate Broker and Sales Agent

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CNN also names real estate brokers and sales agents in this category. Real estate brokers know the real estate market in their designated communities and know how to fit buyers with property that is within their budget. Real estate brokers and sales agents perform title searches to verify ownership. They also schedule meetings between buyers and sellers to plan details of transactions. Brokers and agents arrange negotiations and financing from lenders. According to BLS, real estate brokers and sales agents earn a median salary of $40,150 annually (on national scale) and those in the top 10 percent can earn up to $101,860 each year. Those in the middle 50 percent earn between $27,390 and $64,820 each year and brokers and agents in the lowest 10 percent earn less than $21,120. These professionals usually complete a vocational certificate program to begin working as brokers or agents. Vocational certificate programs can last anywhere from one to three years. Real estate brokers and sales agents must be licensed in every state and the District of Columbia. To procure this license, candidates must complete a comprehensive written examination. The written exam covers basic real estate transactions and laws on the sale of property.

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienist cleaning patient's teeth
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According to Parade Net, dental hygienists are among a group of professionals who earn a substantial salary without a four-year degree. Dental hygienists perform preventive oral health care with special tools and equipment. According to BLS, dental hygienists working in the United States earn an average annual salary of $66,570 as of 2008. Those in the highest 10 percent earn $91,470, those in the lowest 10 percent less than $44,180 ,and those in the middle 50 percent earn anywhere between $55,220 and $78,990. Dental hygienists must complete a training program through a two-year college or vocational program. They must also gain a license to practice through their prospective states.