No Degree, No Problem: Top Jobs that Don't Require a College Degree

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The professional job market is competitive, with most positions requiring a college degree just to get in the door. However, college is both expensive and a serious time commitment. 

Many of those who can’t afford college are still in search of jobs that pay well and can provide a career pathway to a sustainable life. Some of these men and women are skilled at working with their hands and want to apply their craft to something other than an office setting.

Fortunately, there are plenty of great job opportunities available that don’t require college degrees. 

Many of these jobs provide stable work situations with great pay. Instead of attending college, would-be students can start earning and investing income. 

A recent article by CareerBuilder dove into these in-demand jobs, narrowing down the list of occupations to those “where the number of job postings each month outpace the number of people they actually hire.” Top positions included heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, first-line supervisors of retail sales workers and food service managers, to name a few. 

Job Genius

As a staffing company, Express Employment Professionals places more than 500,000 associates into jobs each year. These jobs can often be stable, well-paid positions for workers without college degrees, and several are featured in Job Genius, Express’ job-focused educational program. 

CNC Operator

Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers (also known as CNC Operators), create and oversee the machine tools or equipment that are used to cut or process  plastic, metal, or other materials. This is in addition to installing new parts to the CNC machine and checking the results to make sure they meet the requirements. Workers get to work with their hands and have the instant benefit of seeing the results of their hard work. 

Key Skills: 

• Attention to detail

• Strong communication skills

• Problem-solving skills

Electrical Contractor

Electrical Contractors install everything that uses electricity. From lighting and air conditioning to manufacturing machinery and more. It’s important to enjoy the thrill of problem-solving, as there are no shortcuts. You must understand the theory and know how to put it into action. Electricity isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so a great electrical contractor usually enjoys steady employment.

Key Skills: 

• Good problem solver

• Analytical mind

• Flexibility

Welder

Have you ever purchased an iron gate or marveled at the metal skeleton of an upcoming skyscraper? Odds are that the structure was a welder’s work. Welders join two pieces of metal together to make the product as strong as one piece. Welders can even end up traveling around the world, working on underwater structures or cruise ships. Metal is everywhere, so the sky is the limit for a talented welder.

Key Skills: 

• Team-player

• Attention to detail

• Patience and willingness to learn

Further Reading

If you are still unsure of whether the traditional college experience is for you, or are worried about the job search in general, these resources should prove useful: 

• ExploreTheTrades.org provides more information regarding trade jobs.

• Job Genius, as we mentioned previously, is useful for information on résumés, interviews, great jobs for those without college degrees, and stellar positions for those with college degrees.

Alyssa Chumbley is vice president of Express Employment Professionals.

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