8 Great Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

8 Great Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

With today’s rising tuition costs and the slowing economy, going to college is a hard financial decision to make. According to CNN Money, around 40 million Americans have student loan debt. There are numerous articles out there that argue that the return on investment of a college education is extremely low, and not quite worth it. While I personally think a college education can be valuable (if done correctly), I certainly understand the financial hardships that come alongside the decision to pursue a 4-year degree. For many who find themselves supporting or caring for a family, or are already buried in debt, getting a college education is simply not an option. Thankfully, there are a variety of careers out there that don’t necessarily require a college degree, but still pay adequately. Here’s a list of 8 of them:

1. Chef

Median Pay: $39,307

If you have a creative mind and a passion for the culinary arts, then a sous chef is a great job to consider. Sous chefs aid executive chefs and perform a range of duties in the kitchen. This sort of job also adds valuable experience on a resume for those looking to pursue another role in hospitality. Also, there are some great perks, like restaurant discounts and free food!

2. Medical Assistant

Median Pay: $30,844

A medical assistant career is a great way to get into the medical field without having to spend plenty of time and money on medical school. This job is the perfect starting point for those interested in becoming a registered nurse, a medical office manager and more. While it does require a certification or registration, one can enroll in a medical assistant course any time after completing high school. There are a number of online medical assistant programs available to those who are not able to travel to school. This handy guide outlines the steps required to become a medical assistant, and allows one to research various schools and programs by each state.

3. Startup/Small Business Owner

Median Pay: $65,616

All you need to start your own startup or small business is an idea. This may sound idealistic, but some of the million dollar companies like DropBox, Wordpress, Tumblr (to name a few) were in fact created and founded by individuals who don’t have college degrees. Perhaps the most well-known college dropout is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, now valued at over 150billion dollars. With crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo and venture capital firms like FundersClub, it’s now easier than ever to get funding for your startup or small business. Maybe your idea won’t match the level of Facebook – but you’ll never know if you don’t try!

4. Freelance Blogger/Writer

Median Pay: $35,915

Imagine getting paid to write about something you truly passionate about. From travel blogs to home and garden publications, “freelancing” your work is a great way to earn money while also getting your voice heard and building up your authorial reputation. In today’s world the internet is a staple in most people’s lives, and the opportunities to write for an online publication or blog are more than abundant. One of the benefits of this sort of job is that you can work from home or any environment with an internet connection.

5. Web Developer

Median Pay: $54,771

If you are good with computers and willing to take some basic coding courses, a job in web developing could be a good fit. This job consists of designing websites, fixing glitches, creating content, and working on Search Engine Optimization. Web developers are increasingly in high demand, and web developing is one of the highest paying jobs you can get without a degree.

6. Mechanic

Median Pay: $41,456

This might not be the most glamorous of jobs, but it does pay well. Being a mechanic helps you cultivate skills that can take you almost everywhere. It’s an ideal job for someone who likes to travel or finds the need to relocate.

7. Salesperson

Median Pay: $41,604

If you are an outgoing person and enjoy interacting with different types of people, then a sales job is a good fit. Most businesses need to sell a product or service to make a profit, so there will always be an opening for a sales person. Sales careers teach you a variety of different skills (such as how to market yourself, how to talk to people from various backgrounds, etc.) and can be transferred into many other careers as well as your everyday life. Sales isn't a good fit for everyone, but if you are a successful salesperson you are almost certain to make a lot of money while expanding your professional network and simultaneously gaining useful life-skills.

8. Fire Fighter

Median Pay: $43,551

Riding in a fire truck is almost every boy’s childhood dream. While the job itself can be dangerous, firefighting is definitely one of the most rewarding careers out there. Not only does it give back enormously to the community, firefighting is one of those jobs that the potential for advancement. With time you can rise to be a supervisor in various firefighting departments (forest fires, local etc.)


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