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### Top High-Paying Non-Degree Jobs in Florida

Florida has accumulated student debt exceeding \(100 billion, as reported by the U.S. Department of Education. This places Florida as the third state with the highest federal student loan debt, trailing behind California with \)146.7 billion and Texas with \(112.7 billion. The average debt for borrowers in Florida stood at \)38,065 as of September 2023.

Amidst the escalating costs of attending public colleges in the United States, many high school students are exploring alternative pathways instead of pursuing a traditional four-year degree. Recent data indicates a significant decline in college enrollment, with over 1 million fewer students enrolled last year.

Florida offers several lucrative career opportunities that do not mandate a college degree, with some professions boasting salaries that surpass double the average income of college graduates in the state.

Top 10 Highest-Paying Jobs in Florida Requiring No College Degree

Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the top 10 high-paying occupations in Florida that may not necessitate a college degree, along with their annual mean wages:

  1. [Occupation 1]: $131,610
  2. [Occupation 2]: $97,290
  3. [Occupation 3]: $95,700
  4. [Occupation 4]: $92,130
  5. [Occupation 5]: $85,510
  6. [Occupation 6]: $84,610
  7. [Occupation 7]: $86,240
  8. [Occupation 8]: $76,600
  9. [Occupation 9]: $76,450
  10. [Occupation 10]: $74,660

Reasons Behind the Shift Away from Traditional 4-Year Degrees

A 2023 report by [Source] highlighted that high school students are increasingly apprehensive about the expenses associated with college education and the burden of student debt. The report, based on a survey of 1,000 teenagers regarding their post-high school plans, identified the following primary concerns:

  • Cost of post-high school education – 57%
  • Student debt – 50%
  • Uncertainty about career goals – 36%
  • Relocation and living away from home – 33%
  • Doubt regarding the value of post-high school education in terms of time and money – 24%

The report also revealed that over 75% of high school students believe that a two-year technical certification is sufficient, with only 41% considering a four-year degree essential for securing a good job.

Educational Ranking of Florida Compared to Other States

Florida secured the 21st position out of 50 states according to [Source]. The rankings considered factors such as the proportion of degree holders, educational quality, and gender and racial gaps in educational attainment. While Florida faced challenges in certain areas, it excelled in others, notably ranking 11th in university quality and claiming the top spot for the smallest gender gap in education.

Here is a breakdown of Florida’s rankings in key categories by WalletHub:

  • 35th, Percentage of high school diploma holders
  • 32nd, Percentage of associate’s degree holders or college-experienced adults
  • 26th, Percentage of bachelor’s degree holders
  • 27th, Percentage of graduate or professional degree holders
  • 11th, Average university quality
  • 32nd, Racial gap in educational attainment
  • 1st, Gender gap in educational attainment

Comparison with the Most and Least Educated U.S. States

Massachusetts emerged as the most educated state overall, leading in the percentage of bachelor’s and graduate or professional degree holders. It also secured the second position in average university quality. Here are the top 10 most educated states:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Vermont
  3. Maryland
  4. Connecticut
  5. Colorado
  6. Virginia
  7. New Jersey
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Minnesota
  10. Washington

On the contrary, WalletHub’s rankings placed West Virginia at the bottom in terms of educational attainment, followed by Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma among the least educated states.

  1. West Virginia
  2. Mississippi
  3. Louisiana
  4. Arkansas
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Alabama
  7. Nevada
  8. Kentucky
  9. New Mexico
  10. Texas

Contributing reporting: Lianna Norman, USA Today Network Florida