Two Non-College Occupations with Great Growth Potential - VA Benefits Blog

Two Non-College Occupations with Great Growth Potential

by Ron Kness on November 15, 2012

Let’s face it: Not everyone is cut out to go to a two or four-year college. However, there are several occupations that have great growth potential and only require two years or less of vocational training. The two occupations discussed in this blog post are on the Department of Labor’s high demand list, meaning they qualify for VRAP funding.

Truck Driving

In a few months, you can graduate from a tractor-trailer truck driver training course and be out on the road earning a living. While planes and trains move a lot of goods and material, at some point in the transportation process, it most likely has to go in a truck, either on the front end to get from the point of manufacturer to the transportation head or on the back end from the point of debarkation to the consumer.

As the economy improves, the demand for goods will increase, which will require more trucks and drivers to move goods and material. The Bureau of Statistics predicts a need for 649, 400 truck drivers between 2010 and 2020. The estimated growth for this occupation is estimated to be 20% to 28% – well above average. Right now, there are more than 200,000 truck driving jobs open.

If you like to drive big rigs, be your own boss (for the most part) and spend much of your working time alone on the road, this could be the job for you. If you have the Post 9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill, not only will it pay you to take the course, it will help reimburse you for the costs of the CDL test and endorsements. If you don’t have any GI Bill benefits left to use, you could complete the whole program using VRAP if you meet the eligibility requirements.

If you have military experience driving heavy rigs and you are still serving, you might be able to get your CDL now, so you are ready to get a job driving as soon as you are out.

Diesel Mechanics 

As the trucking industry ramps up due to an improved economy, so will the need for diesel mechanics.  Somebody has to keep all those trucks moving up and down the roads. The Bureau of Statistics predicts this industry will need 87,800 more diesel mechanics between 2010 and 2012. That is a 10% to 19% growth estimate, which is considered average growth.

While the training program is longer than for that truck driving, you can still complete a program in as little as two years at a vocational school and is covered by the GI Bill. If you are using VRAP, only your first year would be covered and you would be responsible for paying for the second year of schooling. But getting half paid for is better than nothing.

Both of these occupations have great growth potential and can get you into a career in as little as two years or less. While neither career is as glamorous as having a college degree, both fill a real need as they facilitate getting goods from the farm or manufacturer to the store shelves.

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