Specialized jobs including aircraft mechanics and heavy- equipment technicians can surpass $100,000, and industry groups and states are incorporating that into their advertising campaigns. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Like other college prep schools, Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School north of Tampa, Florida, touts its 100 percent college acceptance rate to burnish its image and recruit students.

This year it could fall short of that mark for the first time in a while. Instead of shooting for the University of Florida or another four-year college, graduating senior Cassian O’Neill is leaning toward installing water heaters and fixing leaky toilets as a plumber.

“I don’t want to sit at a desk all day and work on a computer,” said Cassian, 19. “I want to do more hands-on work, so

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