Great Jobs Without a Degree
Can I get an excellent job without a degree? That’s the question on many people’s minds these days, which isn’t surprising when you consider this statistic:
The average amount of student loan debt per borrower upon graduation from a 4-year college was close to $35,210 in 2022.
Not many young people want that debt load when they’ve just graduated and have yet to earn a paycheck. Likewise, older adults who want a more lucrative career aren’t eager to go into debt for a college diploma.
We believe that you can still have a great job without a degree.
What Jobs Don’t Require College Degrees?
Here’s a list of awesome professions that won’t require you to have a degree. Some of them may require some training or certification, but there’s excellent earning potential and job security.
As long as businesses and homes need electricity, electricians will be in demand. In fact, the need for electricians is expected to grow 8% through 2029 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
To be an electrician, you’ll need to complete 6 to 12 months of trade school and then go through an apprenticeship. As a fully licensed electrician, you can expect to earn an average of $56,000 annually.
2. Teacher’s Aide
Love being around kids? In many school districts you can become a teacher’s aide with high school diploma and a clean criminal background check. It pays about $25,000 annually, plus your day will end around 3:00 pm and you’ll get summers off!
3. Hair Stylist
If you have a high school diploma or a GED, then you can enroll for hair styling school. You’ll go through 9 to 12 months of training and then be required to pass your state’s licensure exam.
After that, you can go to work in a salon as a licensed hair stylist. A good portion of your salary will come from tips. You could earn an average salary of $25,000 to $45,000 depending on what part of the country you’re in.
4. Power Plant Operator
As a power plant operator, you’d be in control of the machinery that generates and distributes electricity to your service area. You’ll also be keeping a close eye on how much power consumers use so you can make the necessary adjustments.
It’s a big job that requires a high school diploma and certification through the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. It pays close to $80,000 annually.
5. Elevator Installer
Think about all of the elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and chairlifts you see every day. Someone has to install and repair them. Why not you? If you have a high school diploma and a union or employer to sponsor you, then you can enter into an elevator installation apprenticeship. You’ll earn while you learn, and once you’re full licensed you’ll have the potential to earn $75,000 to $85,000 per year.
6. Shipping and Logistics Manager
With an annual salary of close to $95,000, this is definitely a great job that you can get without a degree. This job entails making sure goods are shipped from point A to point B in the most cost-efficient and quickest way possible.
You’ll need a high school diploma to enter the field and years of on the job training before you reach your maximum salary potential. But with more and more people relying on online retailers, this job will continue to be in demand.
7. Ophthalmic Medical Technician
In this role, you’d be assisting ophthalmologists (eye doctors) with a variety of tasks, such as patient intake and conducting eye-exams. You’d be trained on the job and could make about $37,000 per year.
If you don’t mind the sight of blood, then this might be a great job for you—no degree required. Phlebotomists are trained to draw blood from patients and volunteers.
You can work in a variety of settings including hospitals, research laboratories, blood donation centers, doctor’s offices, and more. The average annual salary is $40,000.
9. Solar Panel Installer
These specialists install photovoltaic panels that transform sunlight into energy for homes and businesses. It’s a growing field as the country continues to rely on more renewable sources of energy.
Plus, you just need a high school diploma to get into the field. You’ll start as an apprentice and may need to take a few trade school courses. But you can eventually earn up to $45,000 per year.
10. Dental assistant
If you want to help people have better smiles, but don’t have a four-year degree, then consider being a dental assistant. You’ll work alongside dentists, assisting them during procedures, sterilizing equipment, maintaining medical records, and more.
You can learn on the job, but in some states, you may need to pass an accredited dental assisting program, which can last 6 to 12 months. It’s worth it however, as you have the potential to earn close to $39,000 per year.
11. Veterinary Technician
Are you an animal lover? Then why not get a job where you can help them stay happy and healthy? Think of a veterinary technician as a nurse for animals. You’ll assist the veterinarian during check-ups, procedures, and interactions with the pet owners. You’ll spend your day with cute pets while making about $45,000 per year.
All of these are examples of great jobs you can get without a degree. These professions pay well and will continue to be in demand for at least the next decade.
However, we also wanted to make you aware of some jobs that should be avoided, even though they don’t require a four-year degree.
What Jobs That Don’t Need a Degree Should I Avoid?
Although these jobs require little more than a high school diploma to get hired, they’re not good career choices. Even if it’s easy to get hired, most of the jobs listed here are actually disappearing so job security is questionable.
1. Postal Service Worker
Once considered an excellent career option for those with no education beyond a high school diploma, this is a job to be avoided. The United States Postal Service has been downsizing its workforce for the past decade and its future remains uncertain.
2. Travel Agent
With online travel sites and discount airlines becoming prominent in recent years, it’s easier and cheaper for people to book their own travel. That’s why the travel agent is becoming obsolete.
3. Bank Teller
This was once a great entry-level position for someone with no college degree. Today, however, the opportunities to be a bank teller are shrinking. Thanks to banking apps and highly sophisticated ATMs, there’s little need for anyone to enter a bank for everyday transactions.
The jewelry business was very sparkly in the 1980s and 1990s, but today, many young people would rather put their money into buying a home or paying down student debt.
Unfortunately, job prospects for florists are wilting. The floral industry as a whole has been on the decline and job opportunities are drying up.
No Degree? No Problem!
Going to college isn’t the right path for everyone. If you choose not to go to college, you still have plenty of exciting career options that pay well. The important thing is to find the job you want and make sure you get whatever training is required.
Empire Resume can help you land once of these great jobs by creating a winning resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile for you. Contact us today at 801-690-4085 or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about our free resume review.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.