PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – There are many college degrees, like nursing, that lead to high-paying jobs.

College isn’t for everyone though. A lot of high school graduates are choosing careers that pay well and don’t require a college degree.

It’s not unusual for a college graduate to wind up with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Some high school students are looking for a different path.

“It’s been within the last year that our students that are leaving high schools in our region are coming straight as high school graduates to Haney to pursue a career path,” Angela Reese, Director of Haney Technical College said.

Reese said Haney offers 18 programs that take about a year to complete. The classes prepare students to take their state boards of certifications. Others are looking beyond high school.

Chad Wallis is a graduation coach at New Herizons school. He said many high school students don’t know what types of opportunities are available to them.

“In terms of a change or a shift, I really haven’t been in the field long enough to know if there’s been a major shift. But I do notice that most students that come in are unaware of the options they have and a lot of them think they don’t have the money, time, resources, and support to be able to fill those dreams they have to extend education,” Wallis said.

Wallis said he’s helped students discover job opportunities that don’t require a college degree or vocational schooling. He believes students who are exposed to those different jobs will have more motivation to pursue them after they graduate.

“Most of the students here are not looking for a four-year degree. They’re looking to graduate and get right into the work field as soon as possible,” Wallis said.

Bay, Gulf, and Franklin County high schools all have navigators who can help advise students about college and career opportunities. High school counselors can also be a big help in guiding students to careers after graduation.