6 Career Opportunities that Don’t Require a College Degree

We can all agree that education is important.

But for some of us, the idea of going to a four-year college after high school while racking up significant debt isn’t appealing. If attending college isn’t in your plans, there are still several occupations that provide a great income, a positive work-life balance, and a high level of satisfaction – and that also don’t require you to follow the typical road towards a four-year degree.

Here is our list of six amazing career opportunities that don’t require a college degree.

Find the Best Career for You

Finding a job in this digital age is a different process than it was twenty years ago. While not all great jobs require a degree, it can be difficult to know where to look for a rewarding job with minimal education requirements.

In this article, we’ll explore six careers that you can pursue without a degree. We will help you understand the job descriptions, what it takes to meet job requirements, as well as provide the average annual salary or hourly wage for each of the jobs. It is our goal to help you find the career that is right for you and that you can start within a short time-frame.

Medical Transcriptionist

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $34,890 a year/$16.77 an hour

Medical transcriptionists, also known as healthcare documentation specialists, provide written records for medical staff to refer back to. They listen to audio recordings from medical professionals and convert them into written reports.

Working as a transcriptionist can provide a fairly flexible schedule, as most transcriptionists either work within a healthcare facility or from home. While medical transcription training may not be required, it will provide valuable skills to be able to perform this job well. During medical transcription training, individuals will learn medical terminology and abbreviations, medical record types and formats, and anatomy and pharmacology. Medical transcription training takes as little as four months to complete and is relatively affordable.

If a medical transcriptionist doesn’t feel like a good fit, you can always take medical billing and coding classes online to become certified in that field.

Dental Assistant

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $35,980 a year/$17.30 an hour

Dental assistants work directly under the direction of dentists. Their role is to assist in various dental procedures by preparing work areas for treatments, handing instruments to dentists during procedures, and instructing patients on proper oral health and care.

Depending on state regulations and varying from office to office, dental assistants may also be able to take X-rays of patients. Some dental assistants also assist with record keeping and scheduling appointments.

While some states require formal training to become a dental assistant, it is possible to be hired and receive training on-the-job. If your state does require formal training, most dental assistant programs take about one year to complete.

Computer Support Specialist

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $51,470 a year/$24.75 an hour

A computer support specialist helps individuals or businesses with using computer software or equipment.

Some specialists work specifically to help a company maintain their network systems. Others work directly with customers by diagnosing computer problems and directing customers through processes that can fix them. These problems are mostly addressed over the phone or by email, though occasionally an in-person visit is required to help set up equipment.

The education requirements to become a computer support specialist vary within the industry. Individuals who have taken some computer courses or who receive certification through a company’s own program are usually qualified.

Nursing Assistant and Orderly

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $25,710 a year/$12.36 an hour

Nursing assistants and orderlies may perform similar tasks, but nursing assistants received more education and certification.

Nursing assistants act primarily as a caregiver to patients. They bathe and feed patients as well as tend to all the needs of a registered nurse. Orderlies, meanwhile, fill in the gaps needed at healthcare facilities and perform tasks from helping patients move about the facility to working in the ER to cleaning equipment and stocking supplies.

While it is possible to become a nursing assistant without formal education, it is more common to receive certification before being employed.

There are several ways to gain certification, from online courses to a bachelor’s degree. Timing to become certified can range from 4 to 12 weeks for state-approved programs and a couple of years for a more traditional schooling route. Orderlies are often trained by hospitals or other healthcare facilities. However, most are required to at least obtain Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification.

Phlebotomist

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $31,360 a year/$15.21 an hour

Working as a phlebotomist is not for the faint of heart. A phlebotomist’s primary job is to draw blood from patients for a variety of reasons, such as medical tests, research, transfusions, or blood and plasma donations. Phlebotomists are also responsible for helping patients feel calm and provide basic care to patients after their blood is drawn. It is common that students on their way to become nurses or other healthcare providers work as phlebotomists while pursuing those careers.

Some phlebotomists are required to complete a phlebotomist certification program, which usually takes about one year to finish. However, most are accepted into the occupation and trained while on the job.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $54,520 a year/$26.21 an hour

An occupational therapy assistant (which is different than an occupational therapy aid) works under the direction of a physical therapist to carry out a treatment plan that helps patients recover from injuries. They assist patients with building strength and improving muscle function through stretches and other exercises.

Occupational therapy assistants can also direct specialized play activities for children who have developmental disabilities to help promote coordination and socialization. In order to work directly with patients, occupational therapy assistants must receive a formal education and gain a license to practice. This requires graduation from an accredited OT or OTA educational program and passing the licensing examination.

You Don’t Need a Degree

A four-year degree is not the right path for everyone, and there are still several rewarding jobs you can pursue if college isn’t in your near future.

With a great resume and a successful interview, you can still find the career that’s perfect for you without needing to earn a degree. Attending a university isn’t for everyone, but anyone can have a satisfying and well-paying career.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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