20 great jobs that don t require a degree – Feb 24, 2006, top


20 great jobs that don’t require a degree

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What do Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and entertainment mogul David Geffen have in common? Besides being exceedingly rich, none of them has a college degree.

Though it was once conventional wisdom that you needed to have a four-year college degree to be successful, many employment experts believe that maxim has become myth.

While a college education increases a worker’s chances of earning more money, it’s certainly not the only reliable path to well-paid and rewarding work.

Even though good jobs increasingly require some post-high school training, many still don’t require a four-year degree. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, eight of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations through 2014 do not require a bachelor’s degree.

And these jobs, which include health technology, plumbing, firefighter and automotive repair, are less vulnerable to outsourcing. After all, if your car breaks down in Indiana, you’re not going to fly someone in from another country to help you.

Based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Census Bureau, career planning expert Michael Farr and statistician Laurence Shatkin recently published the second edition of their book The 300 Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Four-Year Degree.

Among the 25 top-paying occupations are jobs in sales, education, law enforcement, construction, administration and transportation, as well as management and supervisory jobs:

Here are 20 of the top-paying jobs that don’t require a degree according to Shatkin’s book:

Annual income: $102,030

  • Storage and distribution manager

    Annual income: $66,600

    Annual income: $66,600

  • Police and detectives supervisor

    Annual income: $64,430

    Annual income: $59,300

  • Forest fire fighting and prevention supervisor

    Annual income: $58,920

  • Municipal fire fighting and prevention supervisor

    Annual income: $58,902

    Annual income: $58,720

  • Elevator installers and repairer

    Annual income: $58,710

    Annual income: $58,580

    Annual income: $58,350

    Annual income: $57,700

  • Nuclear medicine technologist

    Annual income: $56,450

  • Child support, missing persons and unemployment insurance fraud investigator

    Annual income: $53,900

  • Criminal investigators and special agent

    Annual income: $53,990

  • Immigration and Customs inspector

    Annual income: $53,990

    Annual Income: $53,990

  • Police identification and records officer

    Annual income: $53,990

    Annual income: $53,870

    Annual income: $52,840

    Though a college degree is not a requirement for these positions, all require moderate to extensive on-the-job training or apprenticeship. In addition, dental hygienists, radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists and commercial pilots require an associate degree at a vocational or technical school.

    Highest-demand, competitive-paying jobs

    Competitive paying jobs for which there is high demand for workers include:

  • Vocational education teachers at the post secondary level, with annual earnings of $40,740 and 216,000 openings each year;

  • Registered nurses, with annual earnings of $52,330 and 215,000 openings each year;

  • Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, with annual earnings of $45,400 and 160,000 openings annually; and

  • Tractor trailer/truck drivers, with annual earnings of $33,520 and 300,000 annual openings.

    The thing to keep in mind is that there are something like 50 million jobs out there that don’t require a bachelor’s degree and pay upwards of $40,000 a year, says Harlow Unger, author of But What If I Don’t Want to Go to College? A Guide to Success Through Alternative Education.

    He goes on to say that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, by 2010, almost two-thirds of all projected job openings will require only on-the-job training.

    So while a college degree was de rigueur for the baby boom generation, that’s not necessarily the case now. In today’s highly technical and service-related market, workers are judged more on their skills than their sheepskins.

    Top paying jobs without a degree


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