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Do Kids Need College?

What Lies Ahead

Ultimately, even for kids who don't feel cut out for college, education beyond a high school diploma is essential. Many high-growth careers over the next decade—including network systems analyst, financial examiner, and exercise trainer—will continue to require some type of schooling. But it's how kids choose to get extra knowledge that matters—and there are options. "The new educational landscape includes alternatives way beyond a bachelor's degree, including two-year degrees and industrial certifications," says Smith. Before your teen tosses her college applications, though, keep this in mind regarding earning potential: While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 14 of the 20 occupations with the most openings over the next decade won't require a college education, many of these jobs—health aide, customer service rep, retail salesperson—offer low pay.