Most people entering the workforce or trying to find a career rather than just a job will run into strict degree requirements for many positions. As job seekers get closer to positions with decent salaries, a bachelor’s degree becomes more of a requirement and less of a preference. Fortunately, positions that require degrees aren’t the only ones offering a decent salary. Learn all about the best jobs with salaries that do not require a college education.
Jobs that don’t require a college degree
There are numerous jobs available that emphasize having hard skills rather than advanced education or extensive experience. Instead of four years of college, you can meet the requirements for these jobs by going through vocational training, an apprenticeship or a certificate program. Certain jobs require an associate’s degree rather than a bachelor’s degree, but it’s not always required.
Here are the best salaried jobs you can find that don’t require four years of college:
National Average Salary: $68,000 per year
A web developer is responsible for developing and updating websites to create a more intuitive and useful user experience for a variety of different clients. The necessary skills to become a web developer can be acquired in college, but even then, you don’t always need to earn a degree. You can also learn the necessary skills from online courses and specialized classes. As long as you’re able to get a relevant certification like a Microsoft Developer Certification or Zend Certified PHP Engineer Certification, you could qualify for positions with a median salary of around $68,000.
Wind turbine technician
National Average Salary: $54,000 per year
Green energy is becoming more and more prevalent, and that means more wind turbines are being built across the country. If you live near wind turbines, it’s likely they need technicians to keep them running properly. To become a wind turbine technician, you have to earn a certification rather than a degree. Classes for this certification are readily available, and you can typically complete them in no more than two years. This job features a median salary of around $54,000.
National Average Salary: $52,500 per year
Plumbing is an essential aspect of just about any residential or commercial building. Plumbers ensure that the plumbing is functioning as it should be, and they make good money doing so, with a median salary of around $52,500. To become a plumber, you typically have to go through a year or two of technical school or work through an apprenticeship, the latter of which is paid.
National Average Salary: $40,000 per year
If you like helping people and want a job that lets you stay on your feet, becoming a massage therapist may be a satisfying path that doesn’t involve college. Instead, you’ll have to obtain the necessary certifications and licenses, which can vary by state. Fortunately, these certifications and licenses can be obtained by completing training programs that take far less than four years. In fact, the longest programs typically take only two years. Depending on your state’s requirements, you could be licensed and making a median salary of around $40,000 in a matter of months.
Tool and die maker
National Average Salary: $24.89 per hour
A tool and die maker is a manufacturing machinist who uses mechanical tools to create other tools. Computers are heavily involved as well, so a bit of IT experience is required for most positions. Fortunately, the necessary IT experience and all the other knowledge required can be gained through vocational programs and apprenticeships. Some positions even offer on-the-job training, which can be useful if you have a bit of experience in the industry already.
National Average Salary: $67,000 per year
Becoming an ultrasound technician or a medical sonographer used to strictly require a bachelor’s degree in sonography, but this is starting to change in many doctor’s offices and hospitals. In fact, you can get qualified as an ultrasound technician with just an associate’s degree or by completing a certificate program that lasts just a year. The median salary for an ultrasound technician is around $67,000.
Computer support specialist
National Average Salary: $53,000 per year
A computer support specialist can take on a variety of roles. Some support specialists work as part of an IT department for a business, while others work for IT companies that other businesses can hire. Whatever the role, you can typically obtain all the hard skills you need by completing a certification program. This position is especially suitable for people with exceptional verbal and written communication skills, as those soft skills aren’t so easily taught. Computer support specialists earn a median salary of around $53,000.
National Average Salary: $84,000 per year
Computer programming is a quickly growing field that always benefits from qualified people to fill available roles. While it is possible to get a bachelor’s degree in programming, fewer positions are requiring such extensive education to qualify. Instead, you may be able to obtain the necessary skills from a certification program or coding boot camp. Considering the relevance of programming to the current job market, boot camps and certification programs are relatively easy to find. Computer programmers make a median salary of around $84,000.
National Average Salary: $61,000 per year
A radiologic technician works in hospitals and other medical facilities, operating equipment that emits radiation for medical treatment and procedures. This can range from performing X-rays to utilizing MRI machines on patients. Typically, a radiologic technician only needs an associate’s degree, but there are some certificate programs that can be completed in as little as a year. The median salary for a radiologic technician is $61,000.
National Average Salary: $79,000 per year
Elevator technicians are especially needed in urban areas, but these technicians can find work in other areas as well. As you might expect, the job involves installing, maintaining and repairing elevators, escalators and moving walkways. You can gain the necessary skills through an apprenticeship that already comes with some base pay. Once you obtain the necessary certification, you can earn a median wage of around $79,000.