This one's a great recession-proof career for those who enjoy courtroom drama. It offers job security as the courts must continue to function in good times or bad, notes Laurence Shatkin, co-author of 300 Best Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree.
Science lovers who watch 'CSI' might like this line of work. Clinical lab techs examine tissue and body fluids under a microscope and test them for diseases. This field is expected to grow as new diagnostic methods continue to be developed. Entry into the field requires at least a two-year training course from either a technical college or hospital.
If you enjoy working with your hands, this job's got that, along with the satisfaction of knowing you're helping people stay comfy indoors. You can earn the required certificate to get started in as little as nine months.
In areas of the country that still have a strong manufacturing base, there's demand for people who can program the robots that do much of today's assembly-line work, says Bryan Albrecht, president of Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis. "You need strong analytical decision-making skills, where you can diagnose a problem in a machine," he says.
Working in prisons can be stressful and hazardous -- so it pays well. Corrections can also be a good option for those who want to work the night shift, as prisons must be staffed 24/7. Local and state prisons may accept high school graduates without further training.
Demand for security systems, Web cams and fire alarms is increasing, author Shatkin says, because the price of these systems is falling. The National Alarm Association of America says training can be done in less than two weeks and costs under $1000.
People who enjoy tinkering with their cars -- and live near an airport -- might consider this field, which pays better than automotive repair. Unless Americans suddenly give up their love affair with cheap travel, this field is expected to see continued steady growth. Roughly 170 schools nationwide are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to offer the needed training, which usually takes between 18 months and two years.