15 Great Jobs You Can Get Without a Bachelor’s Degree
Traditional logic says that education is usually a cornerstone in life, particularly for those who are trying to improve their social mobility or get ahead in the rat race. While that does hold true, going to college or getting a pricey degree isn’t the only way to climb the earnings’ scale. Getting solid training or learning a useful skill can also earn you a living, even if it means foregoing a bachelor’s degree from a university.
For those of us making the decision to skip the degree, the folks at CareerCast.com have put together a list of some of the most promising and lucrative fields in the labor market today. As CareerCast’s brief notes, these positions and many others are the types of jobs that are in high demand, and that present real opportunity for many in the lower and middle classes.
What often ends up happening is that individuals have the choice between taking on a massive amount of debt to get a degree, or settling for what will likely be a less-lucrative career path in the future. CareerCast says that the combined student loan debt in the U.S. now tops $1.2 trillion, and that workers without a degree typically only make 84% over the course of their lifetimes than those with a degree, per a Georgetown University study.
As for what can even those odds, CareerCast mentions entrepreneurial prowess, volunteer work, apprenticeships, and technological know-how as ways to bypass the traditional college process. By networking and self-educating in certain fields, like computers and business, many people are able to develop their skills and pack their resumes with enough real-world experience to rival a four-year degree.
In fact, there are many successful individuals who do not have a degree — Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and even Bill Gates immediately come to mind.
Clearly, it doesn’t take a college degree to make a significant impact on the world. Without the aforementioned individuals, who never graduated from college, you likely wouldn’t be reading this right now. So if college seems out of reach or simply not financially feasible, fear not.
As for the positions that CareerCast came up with that composes their list, most, if not all, do require some sort of training, and perhaps a two-year or associate’s degree. Others require an apprenticeship, or other on-the-job training. Just because you’re not going to be sitting at a desk in a huge university doesn’t mean there won’t be a learning curve, after all.
For the jobs outlined below, expect an average training period of two years or so. As you’ll see, these aren’t positions for unskilled workers — they just don’t require you to have a bachelor’s degree to get your foot in the door. Georgetown University’s study, cited earlier, found that more than one-third of all jobs in the United States do require a four-year degree just to meet minimum qualifications.
As degrees become more common, more positions will list them as basic requirements for even applying. While it can be argued that the actual value of a degree is, in some ways, diminished by how relatively common they are in this day and age, it can still be hard to justify the price of attaining one — which can swell to more than $20,000 per year at a public university, when all factors are considered.
Even online degrees come at a high price, averaging more than $43,000.
If those numbers make you sick to your stomach, or fill you with anxiety, then keep reading. The jobs listed below may be exactly what you’re looking for. Here they are, the top 15 career paths that do not require a four-year or bachelor’s degree, ranked in no particular order, along with their annual median salary, and projected hiring outlook in 2022:
|Job Title||Annual Median Salary||Projected Hiring Outlook|
|Computer Service Technician||$48,900||17%|
|Medical Records Technician||$34,160||22%|
To review the entire list, and read more about the list itself, visit CareerCast.
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