Degree Not Required: 15 Jobs You Can Land Without Going To College

By Beth Braccio Hering, Special to CareerBuilder

Not all career paths wind through a college campus. Consider these jobs for which a degree isn't a prerequisite:

1. Welder

Mean annual wage: $35,220*

Welding involves using extremely high heat to melt and fuse pieces of metal together permanently. About two-thirds of welding jobs are in manufacturing industries. Many employers report difficulty filling positions requiring knowledge of the latest technologies.

-- Find welder jobs

2. Hairdresser

Mean annual wage: $26,510

Opportunities in this field are expected to grow faster than average as aging baby boomers seek coloring treatments and other advanced services. Many stylists enjoy flexible hours, and more than 40 percent are self-employed.

-- Find hairdresser jobs

3. Animal caretaker

Mean annual wage: $22,070

Bathing, grooming, feeding and exercising animals are among the tasks of workers employed by kennels, pet stores, shelters, zoos and individual households. Job prospects are promising, as the companion pet population is expected to continue growing.

-- Find caretaker jobs

4. Tree faller

Mean annual wage: $38,660

A physically-demanding occupation, fallers cut down trees using chain saws or mobile felling machines. They use knowledge of tree characteristics and cutting techniques to control the direction of its fall and minimize tree damage. Fallers train on the job through logging companies and trade associations, with safety instruction being a top concern.

-- Find tree faller jobs

5. Security guard

Mean annual wage: $26,870

Concerns about crime, vandalism and terrorism continue to increase the need for guards. Most states require licensure that involves a background check and some classroom training, with more stringent requirements for armed guards. Duties may include using monitoring equipment, checking identification and searching vehicles.

-- Find security guard jobs

6. Tile and marble setter

Mean annual wage: $41,830

Setters apply tile and marble to floors, walls, ceilings, countertops and patios. Trainees progress from carrying materials to cutting tile and applying grout. Most salaried setters are employed by contractors working on nonresidential projects, while most self-employed setters work on residential projects.

-- Find tile and marble setter jobs

7. Pest control worker

Mean annual wage: $32,480

Both residences and businesses rely on exterminators to rid structures of bugs, rodents and other pests. Through a combination of study and on-the-job training, pest control workers learn how to set traps, safely use pesticides and identify points of entry. Jobs are more plentiful in warmer climates and larger cities due to the greater number of pests in these areas.

-- Find pest control jobs

8. School bus driver

Mean annual wage: $28,660

All bus drivers must obtain a commercial driver's license with proper endorsements, which requires a skills test of operating a bus safely and a knowledge test on rules and regulations. A clean record is important, and liking children is helpful.

-- Find school bus driver jobs

9. Groundskeeper

Mean annual wage: $25,430

Groundskeepers perform a variety of tasks, including sod laying, mowing, trimming, planting, watering, fertilizing, digging, raking and sprinkler installing. They are employed by landscaping firms, educational institutions and local governments. The field is expected to grow as aging homeowners need help maintaining their yards.

-- Find groundskeeper jobs

10. Telecommunications line installer

Mean annual wage: $50,080

Employed by construction contractors, utilities and telecommunications companies, installers put in new cable to provide telephone, television and Internet connections to businesses and residences. Much of the work takes place outside and can involve heights and confined spaces. Formal apprenticeships are common.

-- Find telecommunications installer jobs

11. Customer service representative

Mean annual wage: $32,780

Nearly every business and industry needs representatives to help with customer inquiries. Reps may provide information online, by phone or in person. Training focuses on the company and its products, the most commonly-asked questions, system operation and communication skills. Bilingual reps are particularly in demand.

-- Find customer service representative jobs

12. Coin, vending and amusement machine servicer

Mean annual wage: $31,950

Servicers install, maintain, stock and repair slot machines, food and beverage machines, jukeboxes, arcade games and other similar machines. Not surprisingly, the metropolitan area with the highest employment level in this occupation is Las Vegas.

-- Find machine servicer jobs

13. Locksmith

Mean annual wage: $37,550

Locksmiths install and repair locks and other devices to safeguard homes, businesses and property. They also make duplicate keys, generate new keys to replace lost ones and respond to emergency calls to open doors that have been locked accidentally.

-- Find locksmith jobs

14. Bartender

Mean annual wage: $21,310

Besides filling drink orders, bartenders check the identification of customers and maintain inventory of bar supplies. With tips being a substantial part of earnings, good people skills are a plus.

-- Find bartender jobs

15. Plumber

Mean annual wage: $50,360

One of the largest and highest paid construction occupations, plumbers install and repair the water, waste disposal and drainage systems in residential and commercial buildings. Plumbers also install bathtubs, showers, sinks, toilets, dishwashers, waste disposers and water heaters. Licensure typically requires two to five years of experience and passing a test covering the trade and local codes.

-- Find plumber jobs

*All wage figures per Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010

Next: America's Youth Reconsiders Skilled Trades

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can't blame the government , we the people allowed this to happen. we now need to choose carefully to put the rite person in the rite position. forget about what party u belong to, that's what got us into this mess putting party first, just try and vote for the rite person.

October 07 2011 at 7:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lets all be tree fallers - lotta demand for those in flordia. heheheehe!

October 06 2011 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

it doesnt matter what degree or exp you have. employers always want more. if you have 2 degrees, they want three. if you have 5 years, they want 6. they call you to an interview just to tell you how dumb you are. if the smarty general managers really knew what they are doing, then why is the country in shuch a funk?

October 06 2011 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The forgot to mention.....President of the United States!

October 04 2011 at 1:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

October 04 2011 at 12:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fun to watch people talk about how low the pay is, when a lady in India will work 10 hours a day six days a week to earn the paltry sum of $50.00 USD per month, also uneducated labor and what the new labor Force America is now forced to compete with, get used to it, or go to MIT or read Tim Ferris four hour work week and start creating jobs for these people yourself. The entire mindset of working for some one else must change in America or you too will be only earning around $100.00 per month if your lucky.

October 03 2011 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In what universe can a family of 4 survive on these salaries, unless of course, this is the take home after tax earnings. Once you take taxes out of 50k, pay for health insurance, food, car insurance (don't have a car payment) rent or mortgage, there's nothing left.

October 03 2011 at 7:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to justforfam's comment

THE universe where all four work to get no where!

October 06 2011 at 9:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Another thing is most employers have moved almost all of their jobs AWAY from traditional college degrees. Going to school for most liberal arts ones, and even some math and science ones are so out of touch with real job skills, and furthermore, almost no employer recognizes traditinonal college education. Many jobs are created with licenses or special training. How many jobs are created with traditional 4 year degrees, much fewer. You are almost better off not even having 4 year education today. Until colleges fix the training to real world skills or employers start recognizing them, it is often not worth the investment.

October 03 2011 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to toddisit's comment

If most employers have moved their jobs away from traditional college degrees, why do most employment ads state for experience - 2 or 4 year degree required. Employers should move away from the traditional degree requirement as most college kids today are dumb as a box of rocks. Education was much better (and tougher) before "No Child Left Behind" - now every child is left behind because the bar has been lowered almost to the ground. If you want an education today, go to a trade school - they can't lower the bar there. If the bar gets lowered there, bad things happen

October 03 2011 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Funny cause I don't have a college education and I'm an operation manager the "runs" a mid sized trucking company. I've had many great jobs and feel that my experience and expertise are what "real" companies are looking for rather then a diploma in an unrelated subject.
Could you have found any worse jobs then the ones listed?
and most of these jobs require some sort of certification.

October 03 2011 at 4:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

If he or she or it sounds too good to be true, it's not. Stop being so gullible, where you live on a principal of immediate gratification. If anything sounds good, it's not. It has always been a rule of life that it is impossible to get something for free or nearly free.

October 03 2011 at 3:45 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to charlstern's comment

Do you ever get tired of rambling?

October 03 2011 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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