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The stress of appearing underqualified for a position can put many people off the job hunt. Luckily there are jobs that don't require a degree. While a college education looks great on paper, some industries instead place a higher value on dedication and skill.

It might seem as if the scope of viable career paths tightens for those people looking for jobs without a degree. While it certainly can be tougher, a ​recent report released by Georgetown University revealed that there are still 12.9 million good jobs available for job seekers who only hold a high school diploma.

Forming a valuable career without college is, therefore, anything but impossible. However, job seekers will need to explore the available options and choose a career path suitable to them.

The Ups and Downs of College

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For many, committing four years and tens of thousands of dollars towards a college degree just isn't feasible.

For high-school graduates, the pressure of diving straight into student debt is all around them. Yet, no thanks to policymakers, as competitive industries are flooded with new graduates, it's becoming harder and harder for applicants to land a job, even with a degree.

Instead, those on the fence should consider both options, including jobs that don't require a degree at all.

The economic burden of a four-year college degree

Over the past few decades, college tuition fees have steadily i​​ncreased on a much steeper line than inflation. With attention to future projections, there's no sign of things slowing down.

For high-school graduates and those looking for a meaningful career, this means that a college degree is becoming much harder to finance. Not to mention, the higher cost of living is leading many to work double-jobs just to pay for living expenses while juggling study and their personal life.

It's no wonder why many are looking for jobs that don't require a degree to get ahead with on-the-job training and career-building straight from the get-go.

Education in a new world

The advent of universities undoubtedly helped to shape and expand education across the globe. While universities still have a mighty hand in shaping employment policy, it's crucial for job seekers to consider the future of education.

The instant availability and ease of access to the world's information through improved communication networks have given us unlimited learning resources. That is evident in the growth of cost-friendly online learning programs for both foundation education or continuing education.

Furthermore, there's a definite shift for employers placing a higher value on high-quality, accredited online learning programs when considering candidates. To stay relevant, universities will need to recognize and adapt to this shift.

But what does this mean for those looking for jobs that don't require a degree? Depending on your ideal industry, you will need to consider the added value that these courses provide to potential employers.

Can I Still Get Paid a Decent Salary with Jobs That Don't Require a Degree?

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Typically, graduates who hold a bachelor degree will get paid a higher salary in entry-level positions. However, it's easy to forget that those same people have worked towards their career roles for the past four years.

Comparatively, jobs that don't require a degree can get employees ahead by providing on-the-job training. Not to mention, this early start can provide opportunities for promotions that can equal or surpass entry-level graduate salaries within the same period.

When it comes to long-term salary trends, it's more challenging to distinguish pay disparities. However, dedicated employees who bring value to a company may be offered upskilling opportunities and might even be sponsored to complete a college study program further down the line.

Jobs That Don't Require a Degree

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So, looking for jobs that don't require a degree? Why not start with some of these options? While formulating this list, we considered a degree to be a four-year tertiary bachelor study program.

It's crucial to understand that some positions may require a shorter, two-year associates degree. However, we will mention this under those particular positions below.

Furthermore, our research is supported by the current Bureau of Labor Statistics projection data.

Transport and storage specialists

When looking at industry growth trends, it's hard to miss the transport and storage industries. Thanks to an explosion in eCommerce, there is a multitude of jobs that don't require a degree. Entry-level positions include warehouse staff, logistics operators, and road transport specialists.

For these positions, a high-school diploma is sufficient in landing the job. In saying that, some certificates and courses may be applicable, including truck licenses and safety certifications for specific roles.

Additionally, career progression to management and supervisor roles is very possible for these entry-level jobs that don't require a degree.

Elevator installers and services

Another often overlooked but highly lucrative industry is elevator installation and servicing. The core of the work will be machinery and hydraulics systems. So, if you're interested in this type of work, you can earn over $75 000 per year with just your high-school diploma.

These positions typically begin with apprenticeship based programs.

Power distributors and dispatchers

With close to 50,000 job openings projected for the coming years, electrical work is one of the best jobs that don't require a degree. Position requirements vary; however, all have long-term on-the-job training and offer opportunities for career progression.

Some positions will require apprenticeship training, but you won't need a college education.

First-line sales supervisors

Both retail and non-retail sales supervisors are continuously proving that you can earn a reliable income and have substantial career progression opportunities without the college debt.

Entry-level positions typically require no more training than a high-school diploma, while some lower positions won't ask for one at all.


Not surprisingly, welding and mechanical repairs and assembly positions are careers that have over 8,000 new job openings in the short-term future. These types of positions do require an apprenticeship when starting, but you will be earning money from day one.

Sales agents

Although some online and over-the-phone sales roles do require a college degree, there are plenty of positions in this field where employers don't look for that college certificate.

Base starting salaries might be a little lower than other jobs that don't require a degree. However, many of these positions have other incentive benefits attached, such as commission on sales.

In fact, many employees prefer performance-based incentives rather than being paid for hours worked.

To land a good sales job, employers typically look for a background in customer service or front-line sales.

Construction worker

Although admittedly a broad category, the majority of construction roles are jobs that don't require a degree. For the majority of positions in the construction industry, you will receive on-the-job training and also typically, an apprenticeship program.

Construction jobs are great for those that prefer working with their hands. Furthermore, these positions are useful as they provide valuable hard skills to employers.


Every child's (well, most anyway) first dream job: the firefighter. If you're looking for a meaningful career, firefighting positions are extremely valuable. With altered weather patterns from climate change, firefighters are predicted to be more in-demand than ever before.

Although, for this role, you will typically require a two-year associates degree.


If you love the idea of working in the hospitality or cooking industries, then cheffing is one of the best jobs that don't require a degree. Job seekers won't need more than a high-school diploma for entry-level positions.

However, certified chefs will typically require a two-year associates degree.

Air traffic controller

For applicants seeking a challenging and high-responsibility career, air traffic controller positions are a great choice. Great attention to detail and an aptitude for managing stress are vital for these positions.

Although they don't require a bachelor degree, the majority of employers will expect a shorter, two-year associates degree.

YouTuber or blogger

If you have a knack for social media and content creation, then becoming a professional YouTuber or blogger can be a very lucrative career. Although a little more challenging, the idea of working for yourself and taking advantage of the social media boom is very attractive for many people.

These kind of jobs aren't precisely hireable positions. However, many successful online content creators gain employment in digital marketing positions based on their proven abilities.

Creating a Successful Career from Jobs That Don't Require a Degree

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How is a job seeker going to know what career path they want to take before they've ever even worked in the field? That's a question worth asking. While financial security is high on most people's list of values, what's more important for the individual is enjoying a job that brings meaning to their lives.

Admittedly, planning career paths can be a stressful experience. Luckily, job seekers don't have to require a college degree to enjoy a successful career. In the early stages of exploring potential job prospects, the most critical factor is not rushing into a degree that you'll regret.

Instead, seriously consider the options of jobs that don't require a degree.

Do you have any questions or suggestions for jobs that don't require a degree? We'd love to hear from you. Don't be afraid to leave a comment or suggestion below.

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