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Is getting a college degree for a career in real estate a waste of money?

Broker ranks among best-paying job for recent high school graduates

Money dollar bill house

For decades, the common refrain has been that those without college degrees will make far less in their careers than those with a degree.

But, the truth is, for some professions, the above statement just isn't true.

There are jobs out there that pay great, college degree or not. And this is important because going to college has never been more expensive.

In fact, student loan debt has exploded in the ten years, recently crossing the $1 trillion mark. The average graduate faces what, 15, 20 years of student debt repayments at interest rates as high as 8%?

So that's why some of us can be forgiven when we say, FORGET THAT!

Ok, let's slow down, there is still some truth in the adage that college can yield higher pay. According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, high school graduates earn, on average, 62% of the salary of college graduates.

For workers between 25-32 years of age, a bachelor’s degree is worth a yearly salary of $45,500 on average. By contrast, a high school graduate will earn an average salary of $28,000.

Among those in the same age range, the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree is 3.8%, but for those only graduated high school, the unemployment rate is 12.2%.

But the news isn’t as bad as it may seem for high school graduates. Success and riches can be had without too much difficulty, as long as they pick the right industry.

According a new study from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists, there are 115 occupations that require a high school diploma and pay more than $20 per hour on average.

Of those jobs, 70% typically require moderate to long-term on-the-job training or apprenticeships and 30% typically require short-term or no on-the-job training.

And, among the top ten highest-paying jobs for high school graduates that require only short-term training or no training at all is real estate broker.

Per the report, real estate brokers earn a median hourly salary of $29.48 in a job that, in their words, requires no on-the-job training.  

According to the report, there are 51,154 real estate broker jobs in the country currently. Furthermore, interest in pursuing this as a career grew 6% in the last four years.

Real estate brokers earn the fourth most among high school graduates in the jobs that require short-term or no training.

That's behind transportation, storage and distribution managers (who earn $39.27 per hour); first-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers (who earn $34.27 per hour); and gaming managers (who earn $31.99 per hour).

Coming in at number ten on the list is property, real estate and community association managers, who make $26 per hour and have seen job growth of 7% since 2010.

According to the report, there are 170,463 property, real estate and community association managers.

So if you do the math on it (40 hours per week times 50 weeks per year), that means the average real estate broker earns $58,690 per year, which is far above what the average college graduate makes. 

Then again, the average real estate broker probably works far more than 40 hours per week and probably doesn’t take two weeks of vacation either.

So, the four years saved not chasing a degree is going to be more than made up with all those extra working hours.

And balance to the universe is restored.

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