A Matter of Degree

Six cutting-edge jobs you can get without a piece of sheepskin.


[For the rest of MoJo’s Mini College Guide, read 10 Cool Schools, 8 Unusual Scholarships, and Give ‘Em Hellraisers.]

Solar panel installer 

What it takes: A one-week licensing class, no fear of heights, sunscreen
Average salary: $44,000

Hybrid auto mechanic
What it takes: Standard auto repair training, plus about 70 hours of specialized classes
Average salary: $66,000

Retirement plan specialist
What it takes: Licensing exam, ability to calm freaked-out boomers
Average salary: $57,000

Organic farmer
What it takes: Green thumb, will to resist the lure of Roundup
Average salary: Depends on how chichi your farmers market is

Nuclear reactor operator
What it takes: Three-year apprenticeship, exam, immunity to Homer Simpson jokes
Average salary: $78,000

Food cart purveyor
What it takes: Location, location, location
Average salary: Commensurate with drunkenness of clientele

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Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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