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4 Good Jobs that Don’t Require a 4-Year Degree

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It's difficult to make good money without a college degree, and research shows that the gap is widening. According to Labor Department statistics, Americans with a four-year degree earn about 98 percent more per hour than those without one.

It’s difficult to make good money without a college degree, and research shows that the gap is widening. According to Labor Department statistics, Americans with a four-year degree earn about 98 percent more per hour than those without one.

commercial pilots

(Photo Credit: Jetstar Airways/Flickr)

However, the cost of higher education can feel prohibitive to many, and the ROI varies significantly from school to school. The fact is, not everyone has a college degree. Securing a good job without one might not be as easy, but it is possible.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Recently, Kiplinger analyzed 784 occupations in order to identify the best jobs that do not require a college degree. Let’s take a closer look at their top four.

1. Licensed Practical Nurse.

Median hourly wage – $17.95

Projected job growth, 2014-2024: 20.0 percent

Healthcare positions are meaningful and fulfilling, but best of all, they’re in high demand, so securing one of these jobs (and the requisite post-secondary certification) will likely provide occupational security for years to come. Most certification programs take about 24 months to complete. If you’re drawn to this field, pursuing some training isn’t likely to be something you’ll regret.

2. Surgical Technologist.

Median hourly wage – $18.47

Projected job growth, 2014-2024: 24.7 percent

There may not be as many jobs available for Surgical Technologists as there are for Licensed Practical Nurses (about one for every seven) but for those who do land one of these choice positions, the pay and job security are pretty good. A post-secondary certificate is also required for this work, and the process usually takes between 12 and 24 months to complete. The country’s growing healthcare demands are drawing a lot of folks toward these kinds of jobs. Why not join them?

3. Computer User Support Specialist.

Median annual salary – $40,842

Projected job growth, 2014-2024: 17.0 percent

Like the healthcare industry, the technology field has been expanding steadily for years with no signs of stopping anytime soon. If you enjoy this kind of work, why not pursue the HDI certifications that will help you prove your skills to perspective employers? The job could even lead you toward other positions, such as Mobile Applications Developer, a title that was listed by Kiplinger as one of the best jobs for the future.

4. Commerical Pilot.

Median annual salary – $60,086

Projected job growth, 2014-2024: 15.0 percent

While Airline Pilots typically do have degrees, those working as Commercial Pilots often have just high school diplomas. However, extensive (and expensive) training is required for this type of work. But, if you’ve always dreamed of high flying your way through the skies, there might not be a better investment.

For more information, check out the full report.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you know of any good jobs that don’t require a degree? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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Syed ishfaq bukhari Recent comment authors
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Syed ishfaq bukhari

May be my opinion will not fit on every humanbeing, but the universal truth of experience can not be kept hidden. The developing technology has made it possible for a limited heads to lead even experts in electronics. Well a no of such examples still exist everywhere in globe.

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.