The 15 Best Jobs That Don’t Require A College Degree

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The job pool is a crowded place these days and recent college graduates are feeling the brunt of the competition. College graduates still outpace those without degrees by earning as much as 84% more throughout their careers, but there are also plenty of stable and even lucrative industries that buck the four-year degree requirement. And while the annual median salary for college grads might remain significantly higher than the rest of the population, daunting tuition and looming debt are fair reasons to think twice, or at least look at a degree through the cold lens of potential return on investment.

Graduate Student Woman Think Future

A new study published by Careercast gathers a list of more than a dozen of the best jobs and careers if you don’t have a college degree and proves that there’s more than just a handful of options out there. Even though these jobs don’t call for a four-year degree, almost all of them require some form of industry-specific training or the completion of a certification program. Still, for some jobs, like administrative assistant or bookkeeper, the minimal training and work experience requirements make for easy entry.

Generally, the median salaries featured here are significantly lower than those from a comparable list for grads, but the projected hiring outlook, or growth potential, for each career is noticeably strong. And even though the payout is less without a degree, some titles (like dental hygienist) can fetch more than $70k a year. (The dental hygienist field is also one of the most stable-looking of the bunch with a projected hiring outlook of 33%.)

Check out Careercast’s list of the 15 best job prospects that don’t require a college degree ranked by median salary below.

DENTAL HYGIENIST
Annual Median Salary: $70,210
Projected Hiring Outlook: 33 percent

REGISTERED NURSE
Annual Median Salary: $65,470
Projected Hiring Outlook: 19 percent

WEB DEVELOPER
Annual Median Salary: $62,500
Projected Hiring Outlook: 20 percent

MULTIMEDIA ARTIST
Annual Median Salary: $61,370
Projected Hiring Outlook: 6 percent

RESPIRATORY THERAPIST
Annual Median Salary: $55,870
Projected Hiring Outlook: 19 percent

ELECTRICIAN
Annual Median Salary: $49,840
Projected Hiring Outlook: 20 percent

COMPUTER SERVICE TECHNICIAN
Annual Median Salary: $48,900
Projected Hiring Outlook: 17 percent

PARALEGAL ASSISTANT
Annual Median Salary: $46,990
Projected Hiring Outlook: 17 percent

APPLIANCE REPAIRER
Annual Median Salary: $43,640
Projected Hiring Outlook: 21 percent

CARPENTER
Annual Median Salary: $39,940
Projected Hiring Outlook: 24 percent

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Annual Median Salary: $35,330
Projected Hiring Outlook by 2022: 12 percent

BOOKKEEPER
Annual Median Salary: $35,170
Projected Hiring Outlook: 11 percent

MEDICAL RECORDS TECHNICIAN
Annual Median Salary: $34,160
Projected Hiring Outlook: 22 percent

PERSONAL TRAINER
Annual Median Salary: $31,720
Projected Hiring Outlook: 13 percent

SKINCARE SPECIALIST
Annual Median Salary: $28,640
Projected Hiring Outlook: 40 percent

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Jay is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer and music journalist.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Everyone, I’m very surprised to not see NDT technician on this list. Based on the 2015 salary survey (found Here: http://www.pqndt.com/NDT-salary-Survey/PQNDT-2015-Salary-Survey.pdf) on average a level I tech makes about $65,927 per year at $20.97 per hour. And that’s something you can achieve in months, not years. You do not need a degree to do this job. In fact you can get you entire education for around $7,000.00-$9,000.00 dollars and in less than 8 months. There are even online schools so you don’t have to change your whole life around to get your required education. Most people start around $20.00 per hour and get into the mid 20’s to 30’s per hour after several months. I personally know several people who got their full education within 6 months and got starting wages in the 30 dollar per hour range at their first job out of school. I don’t understand why is this such an under represented industry on job lists such as this. It is extremely important work. NDT Technicians do inspections on the vital infrastructure of our country; from Bridges and railways to oil/gas pipeline, brake pads, landing gear and plane wings. Our daily safety is dependent on these technicians. If you want to learn more about how to become a Non-Destructive Technician try googling “NDT online school” and check out what’s available. We need high quality people in this high demand high paying career field. Or you can visit http://www.trainingndt.com for more information about a career in Non-destructive testing.

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