Long answer: Nearly all of the best paying jobs in the United States require some sort of a degree/certificate or college education, so it's in a person's best interest to pursue learning after they finish high school. Some people feel this is not an option due to the insanely high costs of tuition in the United States. It's rather difficult to go to college here without accruing absurd amounts of debt. This is different from other places in the world like Denmark, Greece, and Argentina-- just to name a few-- that provide free education. It sounds discouraging for those in the U.S. hoping to educate themselves, but what is there to help the situation? Well, here are a few things.
1) HOPE scholarship. This can help to pay for a lot of the tuition cost. The rules for eligibility probably vary, so look up more information online. What I can say for certain is you'll be required to keep your grades up to have this advantage. Low GPAs have no hope, boys and girls.
2) FAFSA. This stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is what the U.S. Department of Education uses to determine how much financial aid you can get. More information about this can be gained from your school counselor or online research.
3) Websites that buy/sell new and used college textbooks. Books are expensive, and using a website to help you get better deals goes a long way. After you're finished using them, you can sell them back to regain some of your losses!
One major (pun intended) thing to consider is what you're actually going to school for. For some this will be an easy decision, but others may have to think about it for days, weeks, or even months. This isn't a decision that should be made lightly, you should spend a lot of time thinking it over. Why should so much thought be put into it? There's many cases of people getting their degree from college only to wind up at an entry-level job such as McDonalds. This happens because their choice of major doesn't have many jobs in demand for it, so they are forced to take what they can get in order to pay the bills.
So there's a choice to be made, will you pursue your passion or will you choose a career solely because of how much money it pays? If you have a true passion, I believe that should be followed and used to try to make a living. I'm a bit of a dreamer though. If you don't have much passion toward anything, research the statistically best paying subjects to major in and make sure it's a career you'd be fine with.
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
So while tuition used to be more affordable and it used to be of more worth to actually go to a university, nowadays it's still something you should do. There's nothing wrong with going to a small community college, either. If you REALLY don't want to pursue anything higher than a high school diploma, here's a list of the 15 highest-paying jobs that don't require a college degree.
|Rank||Job Category||Median Annual Pay||Projected Job Growth, 2012 to 2022|
|1||Supervisors/Managers of Police and Detectives||$78,270||4.9%|
|2||Elevator Installers and Repairers||$76,650||24.6%|
|3||Nuclear Power Reactor Operators||$74,990||0.5%|
|4||Detectives and Criminal Investigators||$74,300||2.0%|
|6||Power Distributors and Dispatchers||$71,690||-0.9%|
|7||Supervisors/Managers of Non-Retail Sales Workers||$70,060||-0.8%|
|8||Media and Communication Equipment Workers||$68,810||-1.5%|
|9||Power Plant Operators||$66,130||-10.8%|
|10||Business Operations Specialists||$65,120||7.4%|
|12||Electrical Power Line Installers and Repairers||$63,250||8.9%|
|13||Subway and Streetcar Operators||$62,730||6.5%|
|14||Petroleum, Refinery and Pump System Operators and Gaugers||$61,850||-5.1%|
|15||Gas Plant Operators||$61,140||-8.8%|