Where

Are The

Jobs?

Choose Your College Path  

to a Good Career

Well-paying jobs with opportunity for growth require 
education or training past high school. Getting industry-
recognized credentials for jobs that are available now is 
easier and less expensive than you might think. 

All of these pathways, including technical certifications, 
are considered forms of college and can lead to career 
laddering jobs with good wages.

Technical Certifications 

Offered at Technical Colleges

Usually 2 to 18-month programs

 

 

Apprenticeships offer free training with 

a paid job that leads to a certification

Bachelor’s Degrees and Beyond 

Offered at Colleges and Universities

4 years and beyond for more advanced programs

A.S. (Associate of Science) Degrees 

Offered at Community Colleges

2-year programs, focused on a specific career path

Local Employers Are Looking 

for Trained Workers 

This guide was developed by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative 
to provide students, parents, guidance counselors or mentors 
with information about high demand jobs in our region* and the 
educational pathways for obtaining those jobs. 

The intent of the guide is to provide students with quality 
career options, while also helping local employers increase 
their pipeline of skilled workers in order to foster growth and 
prosperity in our region.

Skills Needed for In Demand Jobs

The majority of jobs in the future will require some education after 
high school, but most won’t require a four-year college degree. 
According to the National Skills Coalition, more than half of 

Florida jobs will require a technical certificate or 2-year degree.
These middle-skill jobs, which require education beyond high school 
but not a four-year degree, make up the largest part of America’s and 
Florida’s labor markets. Key industries in Florida are unable to find 
enough sufficiently trained workers to fill these positions.

 

Source: National Skills Coalition analysis of long-term 

occupational projections from state labor/employment agency.

Florida Job Openings by Skill Level 2013-2021

Low-Skill  

21%

High-Skill  

28%

Middle-  

Skill  

51%

Requires  

technical 

certification or 

2-year degree

Requires  
High School 
Diploma or Less

Requires  
4-Year Degree  
or More

*The job examples on the following pages were chosen based on the Florida 

Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Supply/ Gap report for the Southwest 

Florida region, accessed January 2017, which shows jobs in highest demand and their 

average wages that have been rounded.

Where

Are The

Jobs?

In Demand

Technical Certifications

for Middle-Skill Jobs

Technical College, 2 – 18 months 

In Demand

Apprenticeships 

for Middle-Skill Jobs

A paid job along with free technical 

college leading to a certification 

Practical 

Nurse

(LPN)

Average Wage: $21/hr. 

$43,000/yr.

Nursing  

Assistant

 (CNA)

Average Wage: $13/hr.  

$27,000/yr.

Pharmacy  

Technician

Average Wage: $15/hr.

$31,000/yr.

Machinist

Average Wage: $18/hr.

$37,000/yr.

Web or App  

Developer

Average Wage: $27/hr 

$55,000/yr.

Medical  

Assistant 

(CMA)

Average Wage: $15/hr.

$31,000/yr.

CDL  

Truck Driver

Average Wage: $18/hr.

$37,000/yr.

Executive  

Assistant

Average Wage: $21/hr.

$44,000/yr.

Dental  

Assistant

Average Wage: $18/hr.

$38,000/yr.

Automotive  

Service  

Technician

Average Wage: $19/hr.

$40,000/yr.

Accounting / 

Bookeeping 

Clerk

Average Wage: $16/hr.

$33,000/yr.

Heating Air  

Conditioning  

Mechanic

Average Wage: $20/hr.

$42,000/yr.

Electrician

Average Wage: $20/hr.

$41,000/yr.

Plumber

Average Wage: $19/hr.

$40,000/yr.

In Demand

Associate of Science (A.S.) 

Degrees for Middle-Skill Jobs

Community College, 2 years

Where

Are The

Jobs?

Computer 

Systems 

Administrator

Average Wage: $28/hr. 

$58,000/yr.

Business 

Administrator/

Supervisor

Average Wage: $22/hr.

$46,000/yr.

Registered 

Nurse (RN)

Average Wage: $30/hr.

$63,000/yr.

Software 

Developer

Average Wage: $29/hr.

$61,000/yr.

Physical  

Therapy 

Assistant

Average Wage: $27/hr.

$55,000/yr.

Insurance 

Agent

 

/

 

Risk 

Management

Average Wage: $28/hr.

$58,000/yr.

What’s the difference between A.S. (Associate of Science) 

and A.A. (Associate of Arts) degrees?

An A.S. degree is a career-oriented degree focused on a 

specific occupation.
Alternatively, the 2-Year A.A.(Associate of Arts) degrees at 

community colleges provide the foundation for transferring  

to a 4-year institution with the required general education 

classes for a bachelor’s degree program.

Where

Are The

Jobs?

In Demand

Bachelor’s Degrees  

for High-Skill Jobs

College or University, 4 years

Engineer

Average Wage: $40/hr. 

$82,000/yr.

Financial 

Planner

Average Wage: $25/hr.  

$51,000/yr.

Teacher

Average Wage: $27/hr.

$56,000/yr.

Computer 

System Analyst

Average Wage: $34/hr.

$70,000/yr.

Marketing 

Manager

Average Wage: $27/hr.

$57,000/yr.

Registered 

Nurse (BSN)

Average Wage: $32/hr.

$67,000/yr.

Business 

Administrator

Average Wage: $35/hr.

$72,000/yr.

Accountant

Average Wage: $29/hr.

$61,000/yr.

In Demand

Advanced Degrees

for High-Skill Jobs

Bachelor’s and Beyond

College or University, more than 4 years

Physician 

Assistant

Average Wage: $54/hr.

$112,000/yr.

Physical 

Therapist

Average Wage: $43/hr.

$90,000/yr.

Occupational 

Therapist

Average Wage: $39/hr.

$82,000/yr.

Find the Educational Path That’s  

Right for You:

Florida Shines 

https://www.floridashines.org/  

Provides college planning tools and information about educational 
programs available in the state.

Career One Stop  

https://www.careeronestop.org/ 

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, this site offers career 
exploration tools like skills and interest assessments, as well as  
salary and job demand information.

Mapping Your Future 

http://mappingyourfuture.org/guidetolife/  

  

Has printable Guides to Life After High School for every grade of  
high school, providing planning recommendations for each year.

Your Next Steps:

College Can be Affordable:

Federal Funding – All students should complete the FAFSA (Free 
Application for Federal Student Aid) at 

https://fafsa.ed.gov/

. The office 

of Federal Student Aid provides Pell Grants (which don’t have to be 
paid back), loans, and work-study funds. The average annual Pell Grant 
award in 2016 was about $3700, with a maximum of about $5700.

State Funding – Students should also complete the Florida Financial 
Aid Application at 

https://www.floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org/ua/

sawstua_uaform.asp

 in order to apply for state-funded scholarships 

and grants, such as the Bright Futures merit-based scholarship and 
the needs-based Florida Student Assistance Grant (FSAG ).

College-Based Aid – Most higher education institutions have 
scholarships and needs-based grants available as well. Check with 
the financial aid office at the school(s).

Private Aid – Many foundations nationally and locally offer college  
scholarships, including funding for technical programs. Your local 
Education Foundation or high school guidance counselor can provide 
links to these. 

This guide was produced by

In partnership with

1800 2nd Street, Suite 102

Sarasota, FL 34236

941-328-6985

Visit our website for  

details about CareerEdge  

programs and services:  

careeredgefunders.org

You can also contact us via email: 

careeredgeinfo@uwsuncoast.org

CareerEdge
@careeredgefund
@careeredgefunders

unitedwaysuncoast.org