You dropped out of college, or decided straight out of high school that college was not your thing. Here’s some advice if you are looking for a job: Stay out of Washington. Don’t go to New York. Forget about San Francisco. If you want to make anything near a decent wage, head for Toledo, Des Moines or Birmingham.

Most of the 140 million Americans over 25 who lack a bachelor’s degree face pretty dim job prospects. The median wage for workers with some college education but no four-year degree is $835 per week, about 10 percent less than it was at the turn of the century, after inflation. Workers with a bachelor’s degree typically make one-third more.

Underneath the grim average, however, the truth is that there are better-paid jobs available to workers without the requisite college credential. The trick is finding them. They are not always in the most obvious places.

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