No degree required

17 Dec 2018

11 Hot Careers That Do Not Require a Degree

This is an informative list of promising careers that do not require a degree. We have done the research for you based on median pay and growth outlook.

College is not cheap. The average bachelors degree takes 4 years of studying and costs $105,070.  Ouch! As a result, our nation owes $1.5 trillion in student debt.


That’s a lot of zero’s!

If you are career minded but don’t want to invest such serious time and money into a bachelors degree you have a lot of exciting options.

Here is a list in no particular order of the most promising careers that do not require a college degree in the United States.  They offer the best combination of growth outlook and median pay.

For a benchmark, in the US the average 10 year growth outlook is 7%.  The median pay for all occupations is $37,690.  The median salary for people with college degrees is $59,124.

11 hot careers that do not require a degree

1. Transportation & Distribution Manager
Median Income: $92,460     Growth Outlook: 7% (average)

Plan, direct, or coordinate transportation, storage, or distribution activities in accordance with organizational policies and applicable government laws or regulations. Includes logistics managers.

2. Construction Manager
Median Income: $91,370   Growth Outlook: 11% (hot!)                     

Plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish. Many have a main office but spend most of their time working in the field where they monitor the project and make daily decisions about construction activities. The need to meet deadlines and respond to emergencies often requires construction managers to work many hours.

3. Elevator Installer
Median Income: $79,480     Growth Outlook: 12% (hot!)

Install, fix, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts. Often work in cramped quarters inside crawl spaces and machine rooms. May be exposed to heights in elevator shafts. Repairers may be required to work overtime when essential equipment needs repair and are sometimes on call 24 hours a day.

4. Construction Equipment Operators
Median Income: $46,080     Growth Outlook: 12% (hot!)

Drive, maneuver, or control the heavy machinery used to construct roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures. Work in nearly all weather conditions. They often get dirty, greasy, muddy, or dusty. The majority of operators work full time, and some operators also have irregular work schedules. Some construction projects, especially road building, are done at night.

5. Boilermaker
Median Income: $62,260     Growth Outlook: 9% (above average)  

Boilermakers assemble, install, maintain, and also repair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases. They perform physically demanding work. They may travel to worksites and be away from home for extended periods.

6. Electrical Installer
Median Income: $57,210     Growth Outlook:  1%

Install or repair a variety of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and other industries. Many work in repair shops or also in factories. Installers and repairers may have to lift heavy equipment and work in awkward positions. The majority worked full time in 2016.

7. Building Inspector
Median Income: $59,090     Growth Outlook: 10% (strong)

Ensure that construction meets local and national building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and also contract specifications. Spend considerable time inspecting worksites, alone or as part of a team. May have to climb ladders or crawl in tight spaces. Most work full time during regular business hours.

8. Line Installer
Median Income: $64,190     Growth Outlook: 8% (above average)   

Install or repair electrical power systems and telecommunications cables, including fiber optics. Likely to encounter serious hazards on the job, including working with high-voltage electricity, often at great heights. The work also can be physically demanding. Although most work full time during regular business hours, some work irregular hours on evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays when needed.

9. Aircraft Mechanic
Median Income: $61,260     Growth Outlook: 5% (slightly below ave)

Repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft. Consequently, they work in hangars, in repair stations, or on airfields. The environment can be loud because of aircraft engines and equipment.

10. Electrician
Median Income: $54,110     Growth Outlook 9% (above average)

Install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories. Electricians work indoors and outdoors in nearly every type of facility. Almost all electricians work full time, which may include evenings and weekends. Potential on-the-job injuries include electrical shocks and burns, cuts, and falls.

11. Plumber
Median Income: $52,590     Growth Outlook: 16% (hot….more than double ave!)

Install and repair pipes that carry liquids or gases to, from, and within businesses, homes, and also factories. Plumbers work in factories, homes, businesses, and other places where there are pipes or septic systems. They are often on call for emergencies, so evening and weekend work is common.

In summary, college is not required to enjoy a successful career.  It is no longer true that a degree is the best way to earn big money and have a great job. In reality, there are many amazing careers that do not require a degree.

Do you have questions about careers that do not require a degree?  If so, I’d love to hear from you!  Send me a private message about this or anything career related.


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JT Driscoll
JT Driscoll has helped more than 3,000 professionals advance their careers. Recognized as one of the most accomplished employment experts in the United States, he built 3 successful recruiting firms before launching Hire Guide. Connect with JT on LinkedIn or Facebook to receive practical employment tips. Feel free to send him a message about your career.