Jobs That Pay Well, No College Diploma Required

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Openings for jobs that pay a “decent wage” to those without a four-year college degree are more abundant in Youngstown than the other seven largest metropolitan areas in Ohio, a study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland finds.

Kyle Fee and Lisa Nelson wrote the study, “Opportunity Occupations in Ohio: Identification, Online Postings and Employee Education Preferences.” Fee is a regional community development adviser, Nelson a community development adviser.

One reason Youngstown (and Canton and Toledo) fared so well in their study, Fee and Nelson say, is “employer preferences [for candidates with four-year degrees] are least restrictive.” That is, employers do not insist on a candidate having a baccalaureate as a condition of being hired.

Ohio employers, they write, are less insistent about applicants having earned a college diploma than all U.S. employers

Also, the cost of living is lowest in Youngstown-Warren, lowering the threshold of what defines a job that pays well.

Youngstown and Ohio lag the nation in the percentage of residents whose jobs require a college or post-graduate degree, Fee and Nelson found, which might account for the larger percentage of the workforce in the Valley without college diplomas.

They write, “Registered nurses are the largest source of employment for someone without a four-year degree to earn a decent paycheck; however, the shift toward higher levels of education is consistent with the National Academy of Medicine’s recommendation to increase the percentage of bachelor-degreed nurses.”

Mercy Health hospitals in Youngstown and Warren hire and employ RNs without a four-year degree in nursing, a spokeswoman said Wednesday, but encourages them to earn a B.S. in nursing as well.

Calls to the human resources department of ValleyCare Health System of Ohio were not returned.

In the Youngstown-Warren region, registered nurses are paid $55,557 on average. A little more than three-fourths of the 4,670 in the profession in the Mahoning Valley lack a baccalaureate, the authors say.

Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses number 2,210 in Mahoning and Trumbull counties and their average wage is $36,338. O*NET says 98.7% have not graduated from college.

The highest paid in the Mahoning Valley whose employment does not require a college degree are general maintenance and repair workers. On average they earn $90,090 and, depending on whether O*NET (the Employment & Training Administration’s Occupational Information Network) or BGT (Burning Glass Technologies) is the database, 62.1% or 48.2% respectively lack a college degree.

Of the 3,900 heavy and tractor-trailer tuck drivers in the Valley, 94.5% (O*NET) or 86.9% (BGT) have not graduated from college but on average earn $39,894 annually.

Bookkeepers, accountants without a CPA license and auditing clerks are paid $32,340 on average. Of the 2,430 so employed in the Youngstown-Warren area, 81.8% (O*NET) or 75.5% (BGT) never completed four years of college.

First-line supervisors of production and operating workers constitute 1,340 of the workforce in the Valley and earn $51,563 annually. Of the 1,340, 76.4% (O*NET) or 68.4% (BGT) do not have a four-year degree.

First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers earn $43,181 on average. Of the 1,680 so employed, just more than 60% never received a college diploma.

Wholesale and manufacturers’ sales representatives (excludes technical and scientific products) account for 1,910 of the Valley workforce and are paid $45,386 on average. While O*NET says only 23.4% lack college diplomas, BGT puts the figure at 61.6%.

Many jobs today are posted on the Internet rather than listed in the help-wanted sections of daily newspapers, Fee and Nelson note. “Even if job seekers without a four-year degree are able to overcome one barrier to employment by accessing the Internet, another barrier remains in that opportunity occupations [those that pay well and don’t require a college degree] are posted online at lower rates than jobs [that require] higher levels of education.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.