10 of the Best Jobs for People Without a College Degree

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You’ve heard it time and again: If you want a good job, you need to go to college. People who’ve earned at least a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $1,101 per week, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those with no more than a high school diploma earn $668 per week – $433 less.

But if you’re looking for work and don’t have a four-year degree, don’t despair just yet. There are still job opportunities out there for people who haven’t gone to college, and they don’t all involve flipping burgers.

CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International have compiled a list of what they predict will be the hottest jobs in 2016 for people who don’t have a four-year degree. Drawing from more than 90 state and national employment resources, they looked at the number of job ads posted each month for certain occupations between January and September 2015. Then, they compared that with the number of monthly hires. Those careers with a large gap between the number of job postings and the number of hires made the list.

“For over 100 occupations in the U.S., there is far more job posting activity than hiring month to month,” Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, said. “While many of these jobs are in the technology and health care sectors, there are also plenty of opportunities in areas such as marketing, sales, and transportation.”

Most of the jobs on CareerBuilder’s list have median hourly wages of more than $20 an hour. While none typically require a college degree, some additional training or certification may be needed for certain jobs. Still, the list shows that jobs do exist for the 71% of Americans over age 25 who haven’t earned a bachelor’s degree.

Here are the 10 hottest jobs in 2016 for those who don’t have a college degree.

1. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck driver

truck driver

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hiring gap: 984,669

Median wage: $19/hour

More than 1 million jobs for truck drivers were posted every month, but the average number of monthly hires was just 106,355. Trucking is a tough gig, which may account for the big gap. Long-haul truckers spend weeks or months at a time on the road away from their families, and many truckers quit once they decide the wages aren’t high enough, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

2. Food service manager

Hiring gap: 33,408

Median wage: $23/hour

Roughly 52,000 jobs for food service managers were posted each month, but only 18,724 hires were made. These people work in restaurants, cafeterias, and other places where food is prepared and served.

3. Computer user support specialist

Hiring gap: 30,937

Median wage: $23/hour

More than 645,000 Americans worked in tech support in 2015, yet there’s still more jobs than there are people to fill them. Roughly half of the 63,533 jobs posted in this field each month in 2015 went unfilled.

4. Insurance sales agent

Hiring gap: 18,834

Median wage: $23/hour

Selling insurance can earn you decent money, provided you know how to close a sale. That’s because many agents’ earnings are based on commission. An average of 40,909 jobs in this field were posted each month but only 22,075 people were hired.

5. Medical records and health information technician

Hiring gap: 13,896

Median wage: $17/hour

Healthcare is expected to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States in the next decade, according to the BLS. Not all those jobs will go to doctors and nurses. Medical records technicians, who organize and maintain patients’ medical records and data, are in high demand, with 21,505 jobs posted each month in 2015 but only 7,609 monthly hires.

6. Surgical technologist

surgical tools

Source: iStock

Hiring gap: 7,714

Median wage: $21/hour

Surgical technologists assist other healthcare professionals in operating rooms. Jobs in this field are expected to grow by 30% through 2022. Currently, only 3,150 surgical technologists are hired every month, though there are more than 10,000 average openings.

7. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialist

Hiring gap: 5,647

Median wage: $21/hour

Thousands of people are needed to maintain the trucks, buses, and other vehicles that help the American economy run. Still, there’s a big gap between the more than 19,000 jobs in this field advertised monthly and the 13,427 people who are hired to fill those positions.

8. Transportation, storage, and distribution manager

Hiring gap: 5,070

Median wage: $41/hour

Don’t want to drive or repair a truck? There are still opportunities in the transportation industry. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers are the highest-paid workers on this list but only half of the more than 10,000 openings are filled each month.

9. Purchasing agent

Hiring gap: 4,674

Median wage: $29/hour

Purchasing agents are responsible for buying the supplies, equipment, and services that a business or organization needs to function. Roughly 16,500 jobs in this field (excluding those in wholesale, retail, and farm products) are posted monthly, but just under 12,000 hires are made.

10. Medical secretary

Hiring gap: 3,107

Median wage: $15.50/hour

As with other health-related occupations, there should be increased demand for medical secretaries in the coming years. A high school degree should qualify you for many positions, according to U.S. News & World Report, but earning a certificate or completing additional training could give you a leg up. In 2015, an average of 23,893 jobs in the field were posted each month, but only 20,786 hires were made.

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