6 Jobs That Don't Require a Degree

With the cost of tuition skyrocketing, there are many people advocating skipping the college degree and heavy debt that accompanies it, to go straight into the job market. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 30 percent of high school graduates out-earn college graduates. Is college tuition really worth it when you factor for debt you accrue? These jobs will have you wondering.


Whether you enjoy technology, sales, or working with your hands, each of the jobs on this list pays higher than the national average of $41,444. If a college degree is not something that interests you but you are concerned about your career, don't be!  There are many jobs and industries where a degree is not necessary. Here are a couple of the best positions you can land without a degree:



Telecommunications Equipment Installer

man installing electrical wiring


Telecommunications equipment installers have seen a huge increase in job opportunities. They make on average, 32 percent more than the national median salary. Installers often work for telecomm companies and building companies/construction contractors. They can work in businesses or private homes installing (and repairing) routers, telecomm lines and/or switchboards. Depending on whom they work for, telecom installers can do a bit of travelling to customers' homes or businesses.

The average salary is $54,530. While you don't need a college or technical degree, having a background in, or knack for electronics, telecommunications, or technology will help you land a position. Many companies offer on the job training and some industries require certification.

Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians

In this role, you can expect to help engineers design and develop computer systems, medical monitoring devices, navigational equipment and other communication equipment. You'll most likely work in research and development, the utilities industry, or manufacturing.

While a college degree is not required, an associate's or technical certification will help you land the best jobs in the field. You can expect to make around $56,040 as a technician. On the job training will be limited. The job outlook for this position shows it holding steady. 

If technology is not your thing but you like the idea of working in an office, the following positions might be a better fit. 

Manufacturing Sales Rep

A wholesale and manufacturing sales representative, in a non-technical industry, can expect a bright future. This position pays 27 percent more than the median full-time position. In this role, you will be selling manufacturing goods directly to businesses and government.

No specific background is required but working well with people and developing a rapport are key job skills. The average rep makes $57,870 a year. This is a high stress job because your future in the position depends on your ability to sell and earn a commission. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this position is growing at an average pace.

Insurance Sales Agent

Another position perfect for those who are good at relating to people and developing relationships is insurance agent. As the population of Boomers ages and Gen Y takes on greater responsibilities, insurance needs will increase. As an agent you'll need to understand what types of policies best fit your clients' needs and the intricacies of the various companies sponsoring the plans.

Because insurance needs often involve discussions about the future, many agents have begun to work in with financial planners, or received certification in financial planning.

The average agent, without financial planning, will make $48,150. A high-pressure job links performance to pay. Some agents will travel to clients. While many agents do have a college degree, it isn't necessary. You must be registered with the state as an insurance agent. 

If you hate the idea of an office job and you prefer to work with your hands, the following careers hold high promise. 

Tile and Marble Setter

As a tile and marble setter, you'll begin in an apprentice-type role in this position, with on-the-job training. You'll start by carrying materials and then advancing to cutting tile and applying grout. Most people in this field work in home building, as an individual business owner, or in a contracted role for a construction company (which could be either residential or commercial). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half were self-employed.

The average tile and marble setter makes $41,830. This is physically demanding work and tile setters spend a good bit of time crouching on hands and knees as they work. Setters in commercial business may work nights and weekends. 


Plumbers install and repair waste disposal systems, as well as water and drainage systems in residential and commercial sites. Plumbers also install all the appliances/amenities involved with water such as sinks, showers, dishwashers, and garbage disposals. This also means repairing these systems by flushing blockages, eliminating clogs, and locating and repairing leaks.

Plumbers make on average $50,360. They begin as an apprentice. Some may have learned at a technical school prior to becoming an apprentice. This position is expected to grow rapidly through 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates job growth at 21 percent, with 82,000+ positions being added during this time.

However, this position is not without its drawbacks. Plumbers have a higher incidence (than average) of injury and illness because of the systems they work with. Depending on what kind of plumbing business you're in, many plumbers service emergencies. For those who respond to emergencies you can expect to work nights and weekends. The upside of that is that you are well compensated for the off-hour emergencies.

Whether you love technology, prefer to work in an office, or work with your hands, there are many career choices that don't require a college degree.

The positions mentioned here are all in safe, well-paying, and growing industries. Many people are choosing to go out on their own instead of going to college. They are trading in the debt of a degree for an instant career. For many, their independence and creative thinking have paid off. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg what the value of a college degree is. 

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