The Best Careers That Don't Require a College Degree - Penn-Mar

The Best Careers That Don’t Require a College Degree

Posted on February 16, 2023

One of the most important aspects of our lives is finding something that we are interested in doing as a job or career. This is how we’ll spend a large portion of our lives, so it’s always crucial to think of an occupation that you like, you can do for an extended period of time, is meaningful to you, can support you financially, and more.

However, landing the job of your dreams can sometimes come with certain requirements and qualifications. One of the most common ones is a college degree. But sometimes a college education isn’t always feasible or desired. Fortunately, there are still plenty of great jobs that don’t require a college degree.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 103 occupations that require no formal education, 322 occupations that require a high school diploma or the equivalent (like a GED), 100 occupations that require some education past high school but no degree, and 169 occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best careers that require no college degree.

What Are Some of the Best Careers With No College Degree Necessary?

There are many careers that do not require a college degree, but still offer great opportunities for growth and success. Some of the best careers in this category include:

  • Construction Laborer – Working as a construction laborer is a physically demanding job, but it can be very rewarding. Construction workers are responsible for building and maintaining buildings, roads, and other structures. They can work on both residential and commercial projects, and may specialize in areas such as carpentry, masonry, or electrical work. This field has a mean annual wage of $44,000.
  • Electrician – Electricians install and maintain electrical systems in homes, businesses, and industrial settings. They work with wiring, circuits, and other electrical components, and may also be responsible for troubleshooting and repairing problems. This is a skilled trade that requires extensive on-the-job training, but not necessarily a college degree. Electricians make a mean annual salary of $63,000.
  • Plumber – Plumbers are responsible for installing and maintaining the pipes, valves, and fixtures that are used to distribute water and gas. They may also be responsible for installing and maintaining septic systems and other waste disposal systems. This is another skilled trade that requires on-the-job training, but not necessarily a college degree. Plumbers have a mean annual wage of $63,000.
  • Truck Driver – Truck drivers are responsible for transporting goods across the country. They may drive long-haul tractor-trailers, or shorter distances with delivery trucks. This career typically requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which can be obtained through a training program or on-the-job training. Truck drivers make a mean annual salary of $50,000.
  • Real Estate Salesperson – Real estate salespersons help people buy and sell properties. They may work with buyers to find the right property, or with sellers to market and sell their property. This job typically requires a real estate license, which can be obtained without a college degree. The mean annual wage for a real estate salesperson is $61,000.
  • Personal Trainer – Personal trainers help people achieve their fitness goals by designing and supervising exercise programs. They may work in gyms, fitness centers, or other settings. Personal trainers typically receive on-the-job training, and may also be required to have a certification from a professional organization. Personal trainers and fitness instructors have a mean annual salary of $45,000
  • Hairdresser/Barber – Hairdressers and barbers provide hair cutting, styling, and coloring services to clients. They may work in salons, barbershops, or other settings. This is another career that typically requires on-the-job training, and may also require a certification from a professional organization. The average annual salary for hairdressers and barbers is $29,000.
  • Chef/Cook – Chefs and cooks are responsible for preparing food in restaurants and other food service settings. They may work in a variety of settings, such as fine dining restaurants, fast food restaurants, or institutional settings. Depending on the particular job requirements, you may need a certification from a professional organization or receive on-the-job training. Chefs and head cooks make $50,000 on average per year, while regular cooks make $29,000.
  • Healthcare Workers – While many people think careers in healthcare require a college degree (or more)—like doctors, surgeons, nurses, and more—there are actually many other jobs in healthcare that allow you to make a positive difference with the work you do, even if you don’t have a degree. Some of the best careers in healthcare that don’t require a degree include medical assistants, nursing assistants, licensed practical and vocational nurses, home health and personal care aides, and direct support professionals (DSPs). These jobs typically involve on-the-job training, but there are also formal training programs available. Healthcare support occupations have an annual mean wage of $32,000.

These are some of the best careers that don’t require a college degree, but there are also hundreds of other occupations out there that can provide you with a rewarding career, regardless of whether or not you hold a college degree. You must consider what is most important to you, but now you know that there are many different great jobs accessible to you.

If you’re looking for a great career that doesn’t require a college degree, consider a career in healthcare by becoming a direct support professional! At Penn-Mar Human Services, our mission is to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live courageous lives full of self-determination, independence, and equity. Our approach is innovative, person-centered, and successful. Through meaningful employment, community inclusion, and residential choice, the people Penn-Mar supports are empowered to live their best lives. 

If you’re interested in a career in healthcare and want to make a difference in the lives of others, consider filling out an application to join our team! We offer a wide range of employee benefits and competitive compensation. You can also get involved by learning more about our services or signing up to volunteer with us today!

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