Money Matters: No bachelor's degree? In Texas, that's not a prob

Money Matters: No bachelor's degree? In Texas, that's not a problem

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A new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce shows that in Texas and around the country, the number of good paying jobs for workers with less than a bachelor's degree is growing.

The report found that over the past 25 years, nearly half of the states in the U.S. have added jobs that pay well without requiring a four-year degree. The bulk of these jobs go to workers with an associate's degree or other post-secondary training.

Texas currently has the second highest number of non-BAchelor's degree jobs in the nation, behind California.

Here is a list of states with the highest number of good jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree: 

  1. California (3.4 million)
  2. Texas (2.6 million)
  3. Florida (1.7 million)
  4. New York (1.6 million)
  5. Illinois (1.2 million)
  6. Pennsylvania (1.2 million)
  7. Ohio (1.1 million)
  8. Michigan (1 million)
  9. Georgia (913,000)
  10. New Jersey (891,000)

Of those without bachelor's degrees in Texas, about 56 percent of workers are employed in blue collar industries, with 44 percent in skilled services industries like financial services, business services and healthcare services.

The report indicates traditional blue collar jobs like construction and utilities are thriving.

Currently, the state's job market consists of 50 percent with a bachelor's and 50 percent without.

As for the Hub City, more and more jobs are in demand as Lubbock continues to grow.

Kevin McConic, Executive Director of South Plains College Lubbock Center, knows how vital certificates and associate's degrees are for students pursuing work.

"You see Lubbock, we're building restaurants, we're building homes, so we need people that know how to tile properly, we need people that know how to frame and we need people to know how to paint, all of those."

SPC Lubbock Center prepares its students for jobs in the technical field with programs in fire academy, welding and auto tech.

"Right now in our auto tech program, we've got companies in Lubbock calling us saying 'hey do you have students in your program that we need? We need people to come and work.'"

The average age of blue collar workers is high, meaning there's a supply and demand issue for these workers.

"When there's less people to do that work, it's going to become more expensive because that skill set, that knowledge set that those folks have, there's going to be less of it," McConic said.

According to the report, the median earnings of non-bachelor degree workers in Texas in 2015 was $57,000.

"[Our students] paid money to go to a program and it's going to pay off for them when it comes to getting out, so we don't want people coming out and getting a nominal paying job," McConic said.

South Plains Colleges are currently registering students for classes.

In Lubbock, school districts like Lubbock ISD, Lubbock Cooper ISD and Frenship ISD are now preparing students to be "career-ready" instead of pushing them into a four-year university. 

While bachelor's degrees overall still carry significant earnings power, non-ba degrees provide solid routes into jobs in high demand with a solid payoff. Young people shouldn't discount those pathways as promising options.

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