15 Jobs That Were Easier To Get A Decade Ago

'Degree inflation' may be to blame

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By Lydia Dallett

Most job seekers know all too well that it's getting harder and harder to get a good-paying job without investing in additional education. As the New York Times noted, a college degree has become the new high school diploma: a minimum requirement for even low-level positions.

Meanwhile, jobs that used to require just a high school diploma are now asking for an Associate's degree or even a Bachelor's, a phenomenon economists have termed "degree inflation."

Business Insider worked with Laurence Shatkin, an occupational information specialist, to find out which jobs are now harder to get into today (i.e., have higher educational requirements) than they were 10 years ago. To come up with the list, Shatkin compared U.S. Labor Department data on educational requirements for jobs in 2002 versus in 2012.

There are a number of factors that are driving up job qualifications, such as record rates of college attendance and graduation over the past few years. Overwhelmed with resumes and applications, employers often use education as an easy way to filter out candidates.

Shatkin says the infusion of technology across industries has also raised the skill level needed for certain occupations. "This is probably what happened to [civil and electrical] drafters, who now need an Associate's degree," he says.

Below, check out some of the jobs that are harder to get into now than they were a decade ago:

Actors
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Some college, no degree
Median salary in 2012: $42,140

> Find a job as an actor

Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers
Education requirements in 2002: Bachelor's degree
Education requirements in 2012: Doctoral or professional degree
Median salary in 2012: $87,240

> Find a job as an administrative law judge, adjudicator, or hearing officer

Agricultural inspectors
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Bachelor's degree
Median salary in 2012: $42,160

> Find a job as an agricultural inspector

Air traffic controllers
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Associate degree
Median salary in 2012: $122,530

> Find a job as an air traffic controller

Camera operators (television, video, and motion picture)
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Bachelor's degree
Median salary in 2012: $40,300

> Find a job as a camera operator

Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Bachelor's degree
Median salary in 2012: $66,150

> Find a job as a captain, mate, or pilot

Coaches and scouts
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Bachelor's degree
Median salary in 2012: $28,360

> Find a job as a coach or scout

Cooks (private household)
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Postsecondary non-degree award
Median salary in 2012: $23,470

> Find a job as a private cook

Firefighters
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Postsecondary non-degree award
Median salary in 2012: $45,250

> Find a job as a firefighter

Forensic science technicians
Education requirements in 2002: Associate degree
Education requirements in 2012: Bachelor's degree
Median salary in 2012: $52,840

> Find a job as a forensic science technician

Interpreters and translators
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Bachelor's degree
Median salary in 2012: $45,430

> Find a job as an interpreter or translator

Physical therapists
Education requirements in 2002: Master's degree
Education requirements in 2012: Doctoral or professional degree
Median salary in 2012: $79,860

> Find a job as a physical therapist

Preschool teachers (except special education)
Education requirements in 2002: Postsecondary non-degree award
Education requirements in 2012: Associate degree
Median salary in 2012: $27,130

> Find a job as a preschool teacher

Proofreaders and copy markers
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Bachelor's degree
Median salary in 2012: $32,780

> Find a job as a proofreader or copy marker

Truck drivers (heavy and tractor-trailer)
Education requirements in 2002: High school diploma or equivalent
Education requirements in 2012: Postsecondary non-degree award
Median salary in 2012: $38,200

> Find a job as a truck driver

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