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You Don’t Need a Four-Year Degree to Do These Jobs

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Earning a four-year degree at a college or university can be expensive, and it’s just not the best option for everyone.

Luckily, there are plenty of well-paying jobs for high school graduates that serve as stepping stones to rewarding careers. Many of these positions come with on-the-job training and provides valuable skills for the future.

Here’s a look at just some of the options out there in some of Delaware’s fastest-growing sectors.


Position: Mason

What would you be doing each day?
Masons can expect to work in all weather and with various materials, lift and carry heavy objects, and read and assess technical drawings. Their responsibilities include texturing and polishing blocks of stone, installing dressed stone, mixing cement and mortar, and restoring old and damaged masonry works.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
You’ll get to work on new and exciting projects that could create additional jobs or attract tourists to your city. The work environment is often different every day as the projects evolve. The pay is also attractive, with salaries ranging in the mid-$50,000s.

How would you be making a difference?
Sometimes, you will be working on projects that have historical significance and you will help preserve them for future generations.

Position: Millwright

What would you be doing each day?
These professionals get to install, dismantle or move machinery and heavy equipment using blueprints, drawings or other designs. You will read and interpret blueprints, schematics and detailed repair drawings related to construction equipment and machinery.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
These jobs are critical to any construction project and pay in the mid to high $60,000s.

How would you be making a difference?
Millwrights work in one of the oldest and most respected trades in the world. You will be carrying on a great tradition.


Position: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

What would you be doing each day?
A diagnostic medical sonographer, also known simply as a sonographer, uses imaging equipment to capture ultrasounds. Sonographers are trained to analyze these sonographic images, which are used to help doctors diagnose and treat many medical conditions.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
Ultrasound is a non-invasive way to visualize internal organs, so it’s often the first imaging test performed after a physician finds disease in a patient. You might work with patients of any age, from infants to the elderly. Sonographers are a high-growth profession, and salaries in Delaware at the entry level average $58,380.

How would you be making a difference?
Diagnostic medical sonographers have an important role in conducting and interpreting initial imaging tests that may help narrow down a patient’s diagnosis and quickly get them the care they need.

Position: Phlebotomist

What would you be doing each day?
A phlebotomist is a person responsible for drawing blood for lab tests, transfusions or blood donations. You could be working in a hospital, clinic or blood donation center. You are usually the only person a patient sees in a lab. You draw blood samples from a vein, fingertip or, in the case of infants, their heels; prepare and label the sample; and submit it for testing.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
You will be meeting people of all ages and from all circumstances. You will be paying attention to detail, so the samples are marked correctly, following doctors’ orders and submitted correctly for testing. The average salary is $32,000; there can be bonuses because phlebotomists are in demand in most areas.

How would you be making a difference?
You can put fearful patients at ease and, with skill, draw their blood with little to no pain. You also free up doctors, nurses and other health professionals for other responsibilities.


Position: Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver

What would you be doing each day?
Truck drivers tend to get an early start to check weather conditions and potential delays before they get on the road. Once you start driving, you’re permitted to drive for 11 hours over a window of 14 hours (giving you time for breaks), then have to rest for 10 or more consecutive hours to recharge.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
Trucking offers you a chance to travel far and wide and meet people from a variety of different backgrounds. While you need to adhere to delivery schedules, there is a certain freedom to this job that you won’t get in a lot of other positions. For example, many trucking companies will allow drivers to take their pets along on trips. On average, drivers make close to $50,000 a year, but salaries can get much higher for certain specialized drivers, such as those who haul tankers, oversized loads or luxury cars. There are more than 500 job openings for truck drivers in Delaware each year.

How would you be making a difference?
If long-haul truckers stopped driving, most grocery stores would run out of food within days. Truckers are essential to the functioning of the economy because they get the goods we consume to the places where they need to go.

Position: Aircraft Mechanic and Service Technician

What would you be doing each day?
Aircraft engines need regular maintenance, so that will be a big part of your job. When there’s a problem with the engines, systems or technology on an airplane, you’ll be the one to diagnose, troubleshoot and repair it.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
If you like tinkering and solving problems, you already have some of the qualities of a good mechanic. But aircraft mechanics in particular have the opportunity to pursue a number of licenses or specializations that can make you sought-after in the aviation industry. Aircraft mechanics are well paid, with the average wage in Delaware just below $70,000.

How would you be making a difference?
Airplane mechanics play a major part in keeping passengers, crews and cargo safe by maintaining engines and systems in good condition, or fixing them when there’s a problem.

Position: Electromechanical Technician

What would you be doing each day?
Electromechanical technicians operate, test and maintain unmanned, automated, robotic or electromechanical equipment. The median annual wage for electromechanical technicians is $58,350.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
You get to work closely with electrical and mechanical engineers to help develop projects. Electromechanicaltechnicians also have the opportunity to work in a wide range of environments, including energy, plastics, computer and communications equipment manufacturing, and aerospace.

How would you be making a difference?
You’d play a crucial part in the development of new products that change the way the entire world operates.

Position: Electronics Technician

What would you be doing each day?
You’d play a huge role in the assembly, calibration, repair, troubleshooting and testing of equipment and systems. You can earn up to $60,000 per year.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
Electronics technicians have a lot of responsibility for the development of vital equipment. You also work closely with customers to provide back-up assistance relating to service inquiries or problems.

How would you be making a difference?
You get to work in several different industries, such as architectural, manufacturing, electromedical and other areas. There is also high potential for job growth due to the increasing demand for portable devices and integrated systems that are vital to the production of key products


Position: Software Developer

What would you be doing each day?
You would be working to keep systems operating at high capacity, meeting with teammates and personnel in other departments to talk about repairs, upgrades and new projects, and designing new software applications.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
In the banking industry, there are a lot of different needs that you can meet. Sometimes you would be working alone, other times in teams, to solve problems and design new programs. Positions are plentiful and salaries are competitive, starting at about $60,000.

How would you be making a difference?
There are opportunities to work through a problem or situation, followed by the satisfaction of achieving a resolution. You help others in the organization do their jobs better and more safely because their technology works well.

Position: Computer Network Support Specialist

What would you be doing each day?
Computer network support specialists analyze, troubleshoot, test and evaluate a company’s networks, servers and other data communications networks. Because a bank’s or financial services company’s network needs to function around the clock, work hours may be outside the traditional 9-to-5.

What makes this job exciting/worthwhile?
Fintech is a rapidly growing industry, and network support specialists are in high demand. While some employers may ask for a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree is sufficient in many cases. The mean wage in Delaware for this job is $62,601.

How would you be making a difference?
Computer network support specialists are crucial to keeping the operations of a bank or other financial services company running smoothly.

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