A college degree is an investment in one’s future. However, this is not necessarily the right educational path for every student as not everyone can afford the cost of a university degree. The good news is that even if you don’t have a degree, you can still get a well-paying job.
There are many companies that offer high-paying jobs to applicants with only a high school diploma, GED, or training certificate. To qualify for these jobs, all you need is the right skills and experience. In this article, we will discuss the best careers you can access without a degree.
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What Skills Do You Need to Land a High-Paying Career Without a Degree?
Business knowledge comes in handy regardless of the career path you choose. Understanding the needs of the customers and how you can use your skills to meet them is crucial. To design and implement the best products and services, you must also be familiar with common business practices in your industry. Likewise, you must be aware of the internal and external factors that may impact the company and be ready to adapt to them.
Even if you are not in the tech industry, understanding software, hardware, and the Internet is necessary for most jobs. Companies rely on a wide range of technology solutions to operate and this means that their employees must be comfortable using computers and other hardware to communicate with colleagues and complete other tasks.
Verbal and written communication, as well as listening abilities, are key assets for any modern employee. Excellent communication skills help you express your thoughts clearly and concisely, avoiding confusion and misunderstanding with your colleagues. Recruiters look for these skills in most job candidates.
Organization and Multitasking
Being able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and complete them on time is another skill that will put you above other candidates. Candidates that are adept at setting priorities, meeting deadlines, and achieving project goals have a much higher chance of getting the job.
Likewise, recruiters look for employees with leadership and team management skills. If you are able to develop an effective plan of action and can resolve problems quickly, you are much more likely to be offered the job.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Critical thinking entails making sound judgments and devising solutions for any problem at hand. In most workplaces, you are likely to encounter unexpected situations that require advanced analytical skills. It is critical that you are aware of your surroundings, ask pertinent questions, and can come up with creative solutions.
What Education Do You Need to Get a Good Career?
A higher education, such as obtaining a master’s degree or a doctorate, will open the door to high positions across a wide range of industries, including engineering, medicine, healthcare, and education.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend years in school or pay exorbitant tuition fees to secure your future. There are many great job opportunities that don’t require a university degree, particularly in tech, customer service, and hospitality, among other industries. These positions provide a competitive salary, good benefits, and professional development.
To access many of these jobs, all you need is the right combination of technical skills, expert knowledge, and work experience. Below, we show you a few of these profitable careers that do not require a four-year degree.
Why College Is Not for Everyone
The most common reason students are unable to attend college is financial constraints. While there are many financial aid options and scholarships available to help young people afford college, some choose alternative educational paths for various reasons.
Some students may be interested in pursuing a career in sports, music, dance, or painting. Some rather invest their time and resources in developing and exploring their talents than obtaining a college degree. These people usually pursue their passion while working part-time to support themselves.
Although college is a good way to prepare for your future career, it is not for everyone. Every student has different educational needs, and for some attending college is simply not the right option. The good news is that even without a four-year degree, you can still have a stable job and a good life. There are numerous education alternatives that can help you get a lucrative and rewarding job.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get a Lucrative Career?
Enrolling at a coding bootcamp can be a stepping stone to some of the best careers out there. Many tech industry professionals don’t have a college degree. In fact, hiring managers in this sector often prioritize proven hands-on experience in the field over educational credentials. Coding bootcamps can be the ideal avenue to secure this hands-on training.
Seventy-four percent to 90 percent of coding bootcamp students get a job within six months of graduation. This is a very high job placement rate and makes coding bootcamps an attractive option for anyone looking to join the workforce fast.
How to Get a High-Paying Job with a GED
Enhance Your Skills
The skills you bring to the table will determine whether or not you get the job. Your skills should prove to the recruiters that you are the best fit for the position you are applying for. Enrolling in short courses, bootcamps, or certificate programs can help you learn and acquire the necessary skills. Look for training centers that offer programs in the field you want to work in.
Get Work Experience
Employers are looking for candidates with demonstrated hands-on experience, particularly for job postings that do not require a specific degree. Internships and apprenticeships can provide you with hands-on experience. You can also apply for entry-level positions to gain work experience.
Prepare Your Application Documents
To apply for any job, you will need to put together a strong resume and cover letter. Depending on the position, you may also need to submit certifications and a portfolio of your work. Your portfolio should include your best projects in the field to demonstrate that you are the best candidate for the job.
Grow Your Network
Your professional network can open many job opportunities. As you advance in your career, it is important to connect with different professionals and companies to grow your network. Classmates, teachers, instructors, and former colleagues can all be part of your professional network.
Look for a Job
After acquiring the required skills and growing your professional network, you are finally ready to begin applying for jobs. Job boards such as Glassdoor and Indeed are excellent places to look for openings. Before submitting your application, read the job description carefully.
High-Paying Careers Without a College Degree
|Real Estate Agents||$82,898||4%|
|Health and Personal Care Aides||$27,080||33%|
*Figure taken from the BLS page for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers
Best Careers That Don’t Require a Degree: A Closer Look
The demand for web developers is increasing as more businesses use websites for advertising and product promotion. A bachelor’s degree is not always required for this position, but practical experience is highly desirable. You can learn the programming languages used in web development by enrolling in the best coding bootcamps.
Administrative assistants perform tasks such as data entry, file sorting and management, answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, and responding to customer inquiries. Some of the most popular admin assistant positions are executive assistants and virtual assistants. Employers often require excellent communication skills, organizational skills, computer skills, and time management skills.
Most companies that hire administrative assistants require a GED or a high school diploma, but some prefer applicants with associate degrees. You can also obtain certificates from training programs to improve your chances of getting hired.
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For those who are passionate about writing, there are numerous opportunities available. Companies hire writers to create content that promotes their products and services. Some of the duties and responsibilities of writers include researching and gathering appropriate information for content, as well as writing, editing, and proofreading articles, and creating user guides.
Writing job postings typically require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication or Journalism, but employers will consider applicants with strong writing skills even if they do not have a degree. A strong portfolio and a blog site that showcases some of your best work will be extremely beneficial in your job application.
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents work with real estate brokers to assist their clients in marketing, selling, or purchasing a property. They must have strong marketing skills, excellent communication skills, and active listening skills, as well as integrity and a strong work ethic. A bachelor’s degree is not required to be a real estate agent, but you must obtain your license. Real estate agents are usually paid in commissions.
Software developers design and develop software programs such as mobile apps and games. They create software solutions to meet the needs of the clients. The software development industry is growing in popularity, and many companies are looking for software developers. To qualify for this position, you must have strong knowledge of software engineering and hands-on experience with programming languages such as C and Python.
Employers often require a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology or Computer Science for this position, but some recruiters prefer applicants with relevant experience. You can learn software development by enrolling in the best coding bootcamps that offer a variety of short courses and training. With strong skills, you can earn over 80K without a degree in this role.
Digital marketing uses the internet to promote products or services. This can be social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing. More companies are taking advantage of technology to advertise their products. To become a successful digital marketer, you must have strong marketing and research skills, as well as creativity and tech-savviness.
Although a bachelor’s or graduate degree in marketing or a related field may be required for this position, you may still be qualified if you have digital marketing skills. To make your job application stand out, you must use your portfolio to showcase your skills and best experiences. Digital marketers earn an average annual salary of $54,672, according to ZipRecruiter.
DevOps engineers create and implement development tools for process automation. They should be knowledgeable in automation with excellent programming skills and have an eye for detail and experience working with operating systems such as Linux. They should also have strong problem-solving skills. DevOps job growth continues to rise as more companies hire DevOps engineers.
According to PayScale, DevOps engineers earn an average annual wage of $97,090. Recruiters typically require a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering or similar fields, but a certificate of training from a coding bootcamp or short courses can be considered. Even if you don’t have a degree, you can still learn DevOps principles by enrolling at bootcamps.
Agricultural managers run agricultural facilities. They supervise farmers and keep financial records and other important documents. They are also in charge of marketing and sales and ensure that the farm complies with government health and safety policies. Agricultural managers earn an average annual salary of $61,897, according to ZipRecruiter.
While careers in this industry often require a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering, agricultural managers do not have specific qualifications and can be hired with only a high school diploma. The most critical requirement for this career is that applicants have prior experience working in local farms.
Health and Personal Care Aides
Personal care aides or health aides assist and help patients with disabilities or chronic illnesses with their daily activities. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, this career is in high demand in the healthcare industry, with a job outlook of 33 percent.
A high school diploma and a personal care assistance (PCA) training certificate are frequently required for this career. Personal care aides are typically employed in nursing homes or at the patient’s residence.
Electronic repairers are primarily responsible for troubleshooting and repairing electronic devices or electrical equipment. Electronics repairers must be well-versed in electronics, have extensive knowledge of hardware tools, and have strong analytical and problem-solving skills. They earn an average wage of $32,947, according to ZipRecruiter. This position requires at least an associate degree or a diploma from a vocational school.
Companies That Offer Entry-Level High-Paying Jobs
- Amazon. This company offers a wide range of entry-level jobs from multiple industries such as information technology, software development, operations management, content writing, finance, and marketing.
- IBM. IBM has many career opportunities for beginners such as developers, data scientists, designers, marketing professionals, and product managers.
- RingCentral. You can apply for an entry-level position at RingCentral in different industries such as marketing, business development, and software engineering.
- Spectrum. This company offers entry-level jobs in customer service, sales management, and technician positions.
- Epsilon. If you want to work remotely, you’ll find many job opportunities at Epsilon. This company hires software engineers, developers, and analysts.
Where to Find the Best Careers That Don’t Require a Degree
This job site has many job openings from all over the world that do not require a degree. Indeed advertises jobs in various industries, including engineering, information technology, business, healthcare, and customer service.
Employers also take advantage of social media to find the best candidates. Facebook has also grown in popularity as a platform for job posting. Many Facebook groups post job openings and assist job seekers in connecting with potential clients.
Freelancing and remote work have become more common nowadays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Freelancing provides a variety of high-paying jobs that are ideal for professional development. Remote jobs include software engineer, writer, web developer, and customer support representative.
Consider a College Degree Later in Your Career
Even if you don’t have a degree, many career opportunities are available to you. All you need to do is work hard to develop the skills required for the type of job that you are interested in. Many employers nowadays place a higher value on skills and experience than academic qualifications.
You can always consider enrolling in a college degree later in your career, once you have saved enough to afford the costs associated with a university degree. Earning a college degree later in your career will give you access to higher positions and a bigger salary. Fortunately, nowadays there are many online degrees that adapt to your schedule, no matter how busy it is.
Best Careers Without a Degree FAQ
Yes, you can qualify for a good job as long as you have the skills that employers are looking for.
To get a job without a degree, you need to improve your skills and gain experience in the field. You should also make sure you have a strong resume and portfolio.
Yes, it is hard to get a job without a degree. Even people with advanced degrees struggle to find a job. However, if you have the right skills and experience, you should be able to land a job in your field with enough effort and determination.
No, you don’t need a degree to enter the tech industry. Many tech jobs require skills and experience that can be obtained through bootcamps and short courses.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.