Employment Trends

Top 5 Jobs in 2017 That Don’t Require a College Degree

Written by Kate Lopaze

when you’re looking for a job, you may see the same theme over and over: bachelor’s degree required; associate’s degree, minimum. if you don’t happen to have that degree in hand, it can be very disheartening. you know you have valuable skills and experience, but what will those get you if employers see that diploma as the baseline? don’t despair and resign yourself to a job or career you hate just because you think it’s your only option. we’re here to help you help you open doors and find a great job in the new year that works with the skills, experience, and goals you have. there are many jobs that don’t require a college degree. that being said, you can get a headstart on getting your gameplan in order for the coming year by taking a look at the information below.

where do i start?

of course, you can always just dive into job listings and start combing for jobs that don’t require a college degree. but it’s always a good idea to have an attack plan, if only to save yourself some time and aggravation as you get your hunt underway.

get your resume together.

a great resume is the entry point to any if you don’t have a degree, you should be packaging the skills and experience you do have, to package yourself as a superstar before you even start applying to jobs. we’ve got you covered on how to create your resume masterpiece:

target your search.

what are your interests, career-wise? do you already have particular skills or experience? use this information to figure out where you want to focus your job search.

develop your skills.

once you know where you want to focus your job search, make sure you have the skills necessary to succeed in that line of work. need to improve those typing skills? take a course! want to have a more solid understanding of how excel works? try an online tutorial. the more legwork and prep work you do up front, the better able you’ll be to package yourself for a given job opportunity.

if your chosen job path involves certification or some kind of educational/training requirement, now’s the time to start looking at what that means, and whether you’re willing (or able) to make that commitment.

be prepared for the long haul.

getting a job is never easy, and it can be even more challenging at times if you don’t have a degree. but remember that employers value skills and experience highly as well—the degree isn’t everything. it’s about packaging yourself, and not giving up, even when it seems like “degree required” is the common denominator in all of the job postings you’re seeing.

let’s look at 5 top jobs you should be looking at if you’re looking for a new career path or job opportunity:

  1. vet assistant
  2. paramedic
  3. nursing assistant
  4. truck driver
  5. inside sales representative

all of these can be great entries to a new industry or profession, and let you start building the skills and experience you need to make it your career.

the healthcare industry

healthcare is booming, with no real end in sight for a few reasons, including that people are more health-minded these days than ever before, and the baby boomer generation is aging and needs diverse kinds of medical and wellness care. becoming a doctor or a nurse will always require advanced education, but there are lots of great healthcare jobs out there that require only a high school degree (plus possible job-specific training, which in many cases you can get on the job). let’s look at five of the top healthcare jobs for 2017:

veterinary assistant

humans aren’t the only ones who need great healthcare. if you’ve always been more partial to animalkind, this could be the career path you’re seeking.

the job: vet assistants, sometimes also known as laboratory animal caretakers, are responsible for the care and treatment of animals in a clinical setting—often either a veterinary practice or a lab setting. their duties might include feeding and weighing animals, monitoring their vital signs, making sure they have clean cages/spaces, and providing nursing care before or after procedures. they might also assist the veterinarian or vet technicians during surgery or other procedures.

the pay: median salary of $24,360 per year, or $11.71 per hour, per the u.s. bureau of labor statistics.

the requirements: high school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training.

the outlook: this field is expected to grow by at least 9% by 2024.

interested in this growing profession? search veterinary assistant jobs in your area of the country!


if you like bursts of adrenaline, are incredibly calm under pressure, and don’t pass out at the sight of blood, becoming a paramedic is a great option.

the job: paramedics are first responders when anyone needs medical care. they’re sent by dispatchers to provide emergency medical care for accidents or acute illness, or to transport people to the hospital who unable to transport themselves.

the pay: median salary of $24,360 per year, or $11.71 per hour, per the u.s. bureau of labor statistics.

the requirements: high school diploma or equivalent, cpr training, plus certification and completion of a non-degree training program (typically less than 2 years).

the outlook: this field is expected to grow by at least 24% by 2024.

paramedics are always needed nationwide. search paramedic jobs in your area of the country!

nursing assistant

nursing assistants provide very necessary care for patients, helping them with daily tasks to support recovery or independence.

the job: nursing assistants, also called nursing aides, work in hospitals or long-term care facilities like rehabilitation centers or nursing homes. as part of the medical and nursing team, they provide basic care like assisting with feeding, bathing and other personal care tasks; monitoring vital signs; and ensuring patients take medication as prescribed.

the pay: median salary of $25,710 per year, or $12.36 per hour, per the u.s. bureau of labor statistics.

the requirements: high school diploma or equivalent, plus a training program. certified nursing assistants (cnas) will also need to meet additional licensing requirements.

the outlook: this field is expected to grow by at least 17% by 2024.

this career is definitely on the rise. if you want to hop on while it’s on the upswing, search nursing assistant jobs in your area of the country!

the logistics industry

people in logistics are responsible for getting things done. whether that’s making sure goods get from point a to point b, or managing inventory with deadly precision, these roles often require specialized training, but are usually open to those without a degree.

truck driver

you don’t need a degree to hit the open road—just a commercial driver’s license, a clean record of responsible driving, and a love for meeting demanding schedules. it’s not a glamorous job, but it’s a very necessary one for our commercial economy.

the job: truck drivers are responsible for moving large, heavy loads from one place to another. with online sales and delivery booming, this is an especially necessary field. it can be solitary (it’s often just you, the radio, and the aforementioned open road), but it’s a job that allows you to travel, be creative on the fly when there are obstacles, and be fairly independent.

the pay: median salary of $40,260 per year, or $19.36 per hour, per the u.s. bureau of labor statistics.

the requirements: high school diploma or equivalent, plus a training program. many trucking companies offer on-the-job training. you will also need to have a commercial driver’s license (cdl) and a clean driving record.

the outlook: this field is expected to grow by at least 5% by 2024.

truck drivers are needed in many industries nationwide. search for truck driver jobs in your area of the country! 

the sales & customer service industry

sales is a field where your people skills and experience tend to outweigh a college degree. the ability to connect with people and sell them successfully on a product is something that can’t necessarily be taught in a classroom. this is also an industry that continues growing all the time—and once you have sales skills, you can apply them to all different kinds of jobs.

sales representative

sales representatives are responsible for getting (and keeping) customers for their product.

the job: sales representatives are tasked with selling products, yes, but they’re also the keeper of the customer relationship. a major part of this job is cultivating relationships, and providing stellar service to keep those relationships going. exact duties and responsibilities vary depending on which industry you’re in, but once you have the skill set, it’s highly adaptable throughout many industries.

the pay: median salary of $ $75,666, or $36.37 per hour.

the requirements: high school diploma or equivalent.

the outlook: this field is expected to grow by at least 9% by 2024.

sales reps are also needed nationwide, and the career is on the upswing. search for sales representative jobs in your area of the country! 

all of these industries are expected to grow in 2017, which offers great opportunity. if you’re looking to change jobs, or are just starting out, you don’t need to be scared away by listings that have a degree as the minimum barrier to entry. you have lots of opportunities open to you—you just need to come up with a plan of attack, and seize them

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.