Best Jobs with No College Education
When discussing job opportunities, our culture focuses on the bachelor’s degree. It makes a certain sense. The median earnings for college graduates are higher on average than those with a high school diploma. Fewer graduates live in poverty, and they typically have more job prospects.
However, that focus ignores two important facts. First, only about a third of the U.S. population has a bachelor’s degree or higher, and second, there are plenty of great jobs available for people with a high school diploma or some college.
We have gathered five of the best jobs that require no college education. Since “best” is subjective, we have kept this list broad. Oh, and for the record, all data regarding median pay and growth rates come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2019 data.
Construction and extraction
Jobs in construction and extraction pay very well. The median annual wage for all such occupations was $47,430—about $7,600 more than the median annual wage for all occupations.
Within the field, job seekers can find a variety of ways to earn a living. Boilermakers earn a median pay of $63,100, while carpenters and construction equipment operators earn just under $50,000. While few construction jobs require more than a high school diploma, many do require additional education and training.
Personal care aides
Home health and personal care aides help people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or cognitive impairments get through the day. Tasks include laundry, shopping, serving meals, and helping patients bathe and dress. They may work in a patient’s home or a medical facility.
The profession’s median pay is low ($24,060), but BLS predicts a faster-than-average growth rate. The growth rate for all occupations is 5 percent, but it’s 36 percent for personal care aides. People in this occupation will find it much easier to find work almost anywhere in the country.
Dental assistants, well, assist dentists. They take x-rays, make teeth impressions, clean and prep instruments, and help during dental procedures. They also perform office work like keeping records and scheduling appointments.
Dental assistants enjoy a promising median pay ($40,080) and a faster-than-average growth rate (11 percent). While some states have an accreditation program, others allow for on-the-job training.
Job seekers not up for dental work should consider similar positions in other fields. Ophthalmic laboratory technician, anyone?
Insurance sales agent
It is in the name. Insurance sales agents contact potential customers to sell policies. They can sell one type of insurance or many. The job also entails explaining the policies and helping customers choose their best option.
Median pay is $50,940 with a growth rate of 10 percent. Agents are required to carry a license in the state when they work, but many companies will hire prospective agents outright, support their education, and even pay the associated exam and licensing fees.
Fitness trainers motivate clients to get in shape. They instruct them in exercise activities and coach them to reach their fitness goals. Trainers typically work at gyms, fitness centers, and health clubs. In case of an injury or emergency, they may administer first-aid while waiting for medical professionals.
Fitness trainers earn a median pay of $40,390 and sport a growth rate of 13 percent. While job seekers only need a high school diploma, further education and training are required and typically culminate in certification.
Learning is a career
We always encourage education and life-long learning, but the truth is that college is not for everyone. It’s beyond some people’s circumstances, while others may want to start careers early or find hands-on training more efficacious.
As such, we must dispel the notion that college is the only avenue to a successful, fulfilling career. It’s not. Occupations offer on-the-job learning, vocational schools teach important trades, and certificate courses can offer expertise without the collegiate expense. The above are some examples of the best jobs that require no college education, but only some. There are many more rewarding careers out there waiting to be found.