10 Job Paths, No 4-Year Degree

As the costs of higher education soar, and the marketplace becomes saturated with bachelor’s degrees, there are many who wonder if a four-year degree is really the path to a good, high-paying job. Could you do as well with technical training or an associate’s degree? You probably could, if you chose the right career. If four years (or more) schooling doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, here are 10 decent jobs that you can do — without a four-year degree.

Clinical Lab Tech

According to Edu in Review, a clinical lab tech makes, on average, $47,801 a year. That’s not bad, considering you can usually do this job with a two-year training course from a hospital or technical college to qualify. An interest in medicine and science is helpful, since you will be using microscopes and other technology equipment to look at body fluids and tissue.

Margin Department Supervisor

CNN points out that someone who oversees the credit department of a company can make as much as $83,579 a year. You might need to go through some specific training, and it would help to have an associate’s degree in a finance or business related field. And you have to be able to deal with the guilt associated with denying credit to some customers.

HVAC Installer

Do you like working with your hands? If so, you can learn to be an HVAC installer in as little as nine months. You will need to get the proper certification, but it only represents a fraction of the time that a four-year degree takes to earn. If you do a good job, reports AOL Jobs, you could make $44,814 a year.

Dental Hygienist

There are a number of dental hygiene programs in the U.S. that grant associate’s degrees. Look for an accredited program, and be aware that you will need to pass clinical exams as well as written exams. However, once you are licensed, reports U.S. News and World Report, you could make around $66,570 a year. Plus, if you decide that school is for you after all, you can go back and get a bachelor’s or master’s degree and teach in a dental hygiene program.

Environmental Science Technician

Interested in a green job? You might be able to find one as an environmental science technician. While you can get on the job training, with no education, for these jobs, U.S. News and World Report points out that you should have an applied science certificate or an associate’s degree. With the right training and experience, you can make as much at $65,000, although median earnings are around $40,230.

Home Care Aide Supervisor

If you are organized and can handle directing others, you can work as a home care aide supervisor. You will be in charge of the aides that care for the disabled and elderly in their own homes. You have to be committed to quality. Some companies prefer those who act as supervisors to have some formal training as a nurse or other health care professional, but you can usually get medical assisting training, or become a RN in less than four years. CNN reports that these professionals make around $56,157 a year.

Solar Energy Installer

Another green job, a solar energy installer can make pretty good money. There has been interest lately, due to tax credits for green home improvements, and it might be a good time to get in. You will need training and certification, but AOL Jobs reports that the median salary is $44,460 a year.

Court Reporter

One of the recession-proof careers out there is court reporter. There will always be crime, lawsuits, and a need for someone to act as a recorder while these issues or sorted out in court. Edu in Review reports that, on average, court reports can expect to earn $47,275 a year. You might need an associate’s degree and/or some professional training, but you don’t need a four-year degree.

Subway/Streetcar Operator

If you can handle moving objects, you might be able to qualify as a subway or streetcar operator. Public transportation is becoming increasingly important, and, according to College Toolkit, the career has a reasonably good outlook. The mean annual salary is $49,330, but some operators make up to $59,520 a year. You don’t need a degree, but some cities prefer that you have experience as a city bus driver. You can usually take a training course to qualify as a bus driver, and then move up from there.

Radiation Therapists

You can do this job for many employers with an associate’s degree in radiation therapy. You may also need a certification in radiation therapy. Some employers will hire you with a technical certification in radiation therapy. You may also need to be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Therapists. There are accredited programs that can help you get through this process quickly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the middle 50% of radiation therapists make between $59,050 and $87,910 a year.

You don’t need a four-year degree to find a good career. You might need some training to get the best pay for some careers, but if you are willing to learn a skill or trade, it is possible to have a good job, even during a recession, without attending years of college.

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