Top 20 Jobs That Don't Require A College Degree

top jobs no college degreeBy Aimee Groth


In a tough economy where just about half of graduates are landing jobs in their fields, there's been a lot of debate lately about the value of a college degree.

Careercast.com put together a list of the top 20 jobs that don't require a college degree, ranked by average starting salary, income growth and employment growth. Income growth refers to percentage of growth from starting earnings to the top level; and employment growth refers to the projected increase in number of jobs through 2020 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here's the list:


1. Dental Hygienist
  • Average Starting Salary: $45,000
  • Income Growth: 109%
  • Employment Growth: 37.70%

2. Online Sales Manager
  • Average Starting Salary: $40,000
  • Income Growth: 255%
  • Employment Growth: 25.00%

3. Web Developer
  • Average Starting Salary: $43,000
  • Income Growth: 179%
  • Employment Growth: 21.70%

4. Medical Secretary
  • Average Starting Salary: $21,000
  • Income Growth: 114%
  • Employment Growth: 41.30%

5. Paralegal Assistant
  • Average Starting Salary: $29,000
  • Income Growth: 159%
  • Employment Growth: 18.30%

6. Stenographer / Court Reporter
  • Average Starting Salary: $26,000
  • Income Growth: 250%
  • Employment Growth: 14.10%

7. Heating / Refrigeration Mechanic
  • Average Starting Salary: $26,000
  • Income Growth: 158%
  • Employment Growth: 33.70%

8. Surveyor
  • Average Starting Salary: $31,000
  • Income Growth: 190%
  • Employment Growth: 25.40%

9. Executive Assistant
  • Average Starting Salary: $29,000
  • Income Growth: 131%
  • Employment Growth: 12.60%

10. Insurance Agent
  • Average Starting Salary: $26,000
  • Income Growth: 342%
  • Employment Growth: 21.90%

11. Industrial Machine Repairer
  • Average Starting Salary: $30,000
  • Income Growth: 127%
  • Employment Growth: 21.60 %

12. Cosmetologist
  • Average Starting Salary: $16,000
  • Income Growth: 163%
  • Employment Growth: 15.70%

13. Hair Stylist
  • Average Starting Salary: $16,000
  • Income Growth: 163%
  • Employment Growth: 15.70%

14. Tax Examiner / Collector
  • Average Starting Salary: $30,000
  • Income Growth: 207%
  • Employment Growth: 7.30%

15. Sales Representative - Wholesale
  • Average Starting Salary: $27,000
  • Income Growth: 304%
  • Employment Growth: 15.60%

16. Construction Machinery Operator
  • Average Starting Salary: $26,000
  • Income Growth: 173%
  • Employment Growth: 23.50%

17. Electrical Technician
  • Average Starting Salary: $34,000
  • Income Growth: 138%
  • Employment Growth: 1.90%

18. Architectural Drafter
  • Average Starting Salary: $30,000
  • Income Growth: 140%
  • Employment Growth: 3.20

19. Teacher's Aide
  • Average Starting Salary: $17,000
  • Income Growth: 112%
  • Employment Growth: 14.80%

20. Sewage Plant Operator
  • Average Starting Salary: $25,000
  • Income Growth: 156%
  • Employment Growth: 11.60%


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58 Comments

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debrahoolihan

I am a Registered Dental Hygienist. I have been in practice for 35 years. You absolutely are required to have a degree in most of 50 states. You are required to have an Associate Degree in Science and also have to pass National and State Boards. You also have to take continuing education classes to keep your license current. I also had to go back to college and take extra classes so that i could deliver local anesthesia and nitrous oxide as that was not available to dental hygienists in 1977 when I proudly graduated from Lansing Community College. I also am required to be CPR certified and go through OSHA training on a regular basis. Please get your facts straight before you go off spouting such inaccuracies. And be careful in the states where college degrees are not required. Your "dental hygienist" may have been trained by his or her employer and only given the information that he or she was willing to impart. The "dental hygienist" may have worked at McDonalds the week before!
Sincerely, Debbie, R.D.H.

July 08 2012 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
omalamilla

Dental Hygienists in most states require at least an associates of applied science with one year of pre-requisites in order to be accepted to any hygiene program. Upon graduation the hygienist must take and
Successfully pass a national board exam and a state board practical exam. Your information is
Incorrect.

June 24 2012 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
toya4002

I went to Lincoln Tech for an 11 month course for HVAC right outta high school. I graduated in June and in August I had a job with Sears as a Refrigeration Mechanic for about 14$ an hour. 3 months later I got a job with the feds as a Mechanic Helper for about 18$ an hour. Six months after that (this May) I was just offered a job as a Chiller/Boiler (among other things) operator for about 26$ an hour and I'm about to turn 20! Better yet I've been working with an independent HVAC contractor and make a liitle money with him also. I had people tell me that I should just go to college and get a degree in something first then pursue a trade and that didn't make much since to me since I always reasoned that if I couldn't find a reason to go to college I wouldn't do it. I don't think college is unnecessary, certain fields require college level courses and I might take some courses (thermodynamics) myself to further my career but to spend the kind of money to go to college and treat like a High School Diploma (which in most cases are tuition free) is absurd to me.

June 12 2012 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dki

Other jobs that don't require a degree:
CEO
COO
CFO
Founder
Co-Founder
Chairman of the board
Almost all high level positions don't require degrees, they require you to be smart, driven and Passionate. Remember that a degree might actually hurt you more than help. Aim high and even if you fail you'll still do better than these low-level positions.

June 09 2012 at 4:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ashley

i am looking into becoming a Dental Assistant sometime next year.. I dont need to go to school for it but it is highly desired.. and just to get a certificate. on the other hand most Dental Assistants go on to become Dental hygenist (i will prob do that as well) because the pay is double for only about a years worth of education.. You DO need to have an associates and go to school to become a Dental Hygenist. but not an assistant. wow, im not even a journalist and i found out better research than this one did.. also dental hygenist make about 60,000 grand a year. maybe i should be a journalist.

June 07 2012 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cometize

I don't know where this site gets its information from. I am a registered and licensed Denat Hygienist. The entire country has been SATURATED with Dental Hygienists who CANNOT find work. You must certainly have graduated from an acredited Dental Hygiene School. Associate in Science required from a 2 year college and have passed state exams. I would caution anybody interested in this profession as a solid career choice!

June 03 2012 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cometize's comment
pjszymanski

Thanks for the info! The government and other employment forecasts say that this is a booming field with many job openings and future growth. I wanted to get real info from real people. How do you get accurate info about a career field or job?

August 08 2012 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
perrycox3

sewage plant operator, really?

June 01 2012 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LaShonda

Most of these jobs require at least two years of college, a substantial amount of college credits, or some kind of technical training and the average earnings listed are not accurate.

June 01 2012 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to LaShonda's comment
Karen & Liz

I completely agree. What a waste of time. Looking for helpful information not wishfull and erroneous information.

June 14 2012 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pjszymanski

Yes, even if some of the jobs don't require a degree, most of them still require some post-secondary training.

August 08 2012 at 10:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
renee.swanton

Don't need a College Degree to practice Dental Hygiene???? WRONG! I am a Dental Hygienist you DO have to have a College Degree to pratice in a Dental Office.....maybe you don't need one if your working out of your garage!! Someone needs to do their homework!!

May 28 2012 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to renee.swanton's comment
renee.swanton

"practice" I left the "C" out.....don't want any trash talk for spelling something wrong :)

May 28 2012 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SHELDON

Who are they kidding, none of those jobs pay a living wage.

May 28 2012 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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