5. HVACR TechniciansHVACR technicians (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration technicians) help you stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.To enter the field, you can look for an apprenticeship or attend a trade school for six months to two years.“After 15 years of installing and repairing furnaces and air conditioners, I am very happy [with] the experience and knowledge I’ve gained,” Dan Robbins wrote. “With hands-on experience and a bit of HVAC schooling, I went from a warehouse clerk to a small-time business owner making a modest living.”Median pay: $45,910Job growth (2014-24): 14 percentSee Open Jobs 3. Elevator MechanicsWow. Can you believe the median salary of this gig? As you might imagine, elevator mechanics install and repair elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other types of lifts.Elevator mechanics learn their trade through a four-year apprenticeship – which might be why elevator mechanic Casey Planchon said you should “start young, while you’re healthy and strong.”“The job has its ups and downs,” Planchon said. “But the pay, benefits, and satisfaction of building and fixing elevators, escalators, and moving walkways are the best of all the trades. If you decide to pursue this path, push hard and be safe.”Median pay: $78,890 per yearJob growth (2014-24): 13 percentSee Open Jobs Want to earn a decent income when you grow up?If you believe the hype, you probably think you have to go to college — or live in your mom’s basement for the rest of your life.I’m here to tell you that’s wrong. There’s another avenue out of the basement: trade careers.Don’t believe me? Fast Company named skilled trades one of the five jobs that will be the hardest to fill in 2025, noting they “have large numbers of workers retiring but fewer young people choosing these careers, which are also difficult to offshore or fully automate.”And the best part? Trade careers don’t require four-year degrees (and all the student loans that come with them).The next time someone tells you college is the only answer, reply with this stat: According to Explore the Trades, only 35 percent of future jobs will require a four-year degree or higher.And then show them this list of booming trade careers, which is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Note that average job growth across industries is five to eight percent, so a growth rate of 14 percent or more is considered “much faster than average.”1. Wind Turbine TechniciansAccording to the BLS, wind turbine technician is the fastest-growing occupation in the U.S. Plus, working on wind turbines means you’re contributing to an important source of green energy.To enter this exploding career, you must attend a two-year technical school and complete at least one year of on-the-job training or an apprenticeship. And you can’t be afraid of heights or confined spaces.“My job is physically strenuous, so it pays more than a lot of jobs in the area,” Reed McManus wrote. “It brings a lot of joy to me at the end of the day when a turbine has been down for some reason and we’re able to fix it, finally see it fire up again, and produce energy.”Median pay: $52,260Job growth (2014-24): 108 percentSee Open Jobs 2. ElectriciansYou’ve undoubtedly heard of electricians and what they do. But did you know it was such a lucrative career? Or that it was growing so quickly? Probably not.To learn this trade, most electricians complete a four- or five-year paid apprenticeship, which consists of 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training per year.“Four years does sound like a lot of time, but don’t forget that you are ‘earning while learning,’” electrician Jerry Higgins wrote. “[It’s] completely worth it, however, and one of the reasons is that most everyone agrees that a journeyman electrician holds the BEST job of all the construction trades.”Median pay: $57,720Job growth (2014-24): 14 percentSee Open Jobs 4. Industrial Maintenance MechanicAlso called maintenance machinists, industrial maintenance mechanics diagnose and repair issues with (you guessed it) industrial machines.Unlike many jobs on this list, you don’t need to obtain an apprenticeship first. Instead, you’ll receive on-the-job training, which can last a year or more.Wondering if it’s the right path for you? OwlGuru offers a quick career quiz specifically for people who are considering the industrial machinery industry.Median pay: $49,100Job growth (2014-24): 16 percentSee Open Jobs The important thing to remember? A four-year college is not the only path to financial security.Although it can be wonderful, it can also be an expensive mistake — especially if you’re not sure which career you’d like to pursue.So before you go into debt for a degree you might not use, explore all your options, including gap years, volunteering, and, of course, trade careers like the ones above.This article was originally published on Student Loan Hero. It is reprinted with permission.
Amazon believes an exemption is in the public’s best interest because it progresses Congress’ goal to launch commercial small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in the US faster. –Christina MulliganAmazon announces new mobile web development tools for AWS at NYC SummitAmazon debuted an updated mobile SDK and new Cognito, Zocalo and Mobile Analytics services at the 2014 Amazon Web Services Summit in New York City.The company detailed the new and updated developer products and services in a blog post explaining how these mobile development offerings will make it easier to build AWS-powered mobile apps. In the updated AWS Mobile SDK, new features include a DynamoDB object mapper for iOS, an S3 transfer manager and support enhancements for Android, Amazon’s FireOS and iOS/Objective-C.The Amazon Cognito service is focused on data synchronization and user identity for developers to manage data synchronization across devices. Amazon Zocalo is a secure enterprise storage and sharing service that can be managed from any device, and Amazon Mobile Analytics uses raw app data to calculate and report various metrics to developers.For more information, check out the AWS blog post. –Rob Marvin Kids programming robots to learn new skillsWith just a smart tablet and Angry Birds, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers are making it possible for kids to program robots. The researchers have paired an Android tablet paired with a small humanoid robot, and kids are teaching it how to play Angry Birds just by dragging their finger on the tablet and flinging the birds across the screen. While the kids are playing Angry Birds, the robot is watching and recording what’s happening in it’s memory, and then mimics what the child did when it is their turn to play.“The robot is able to learn by watching because it knows how interaction with a tablet app is supposed to work,” said Ayanna Howard, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech. –Christina MulliganAmazon wants the FAA to allow them to test their delivery dronesAmazon is petitioning the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for permission to test their drones, Amazon Prime Air, in the United States. Currently, Amazon is limited to conducting R&D flights indoors or outside the country because it is a commercial enterprise.“Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs, and investments of this important research and development initiative in the United States by conducting private research and development operations outdoors near Seattle,” Paul Misener, VP of global public policy at Amazon, wrote in a letter to FAA.