nurses

Many people assume that a four-year degree is the only path to rewarding jobs.

A bachelor's degree isn't the only route

It's certainly true that having a bachelor's degree broadens job seekers' opportunities and qualifies them for more jobs. But there are many good job opportunities that don't require a four-year degree.

In his recently released book 300 Best Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree, Fourth Edition, occupational expert Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., identifies and ranks 300 of the best jobs that can be obtained without a bachelor's degree. To select the jobs featured in his book, Shatkin used occupational information from the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Education and additional sources. He ranked 420 major jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree, according to a combination of their earnings, growth and annual openings. Then, he selected the top 300 jobs to feature in his book.

Shatkin's book features several "best jobs" lists that identify which jobs that don't require a four-year degree pay the most, have the most annual openings, are growing the fastest and more. Below are the top 15 jobs on Shatkin's list of "300 best jobs that don't require a four-year degree."

In his book, Shatkin writes, "Remember that jobs near the top of the list are not necessarily 'good' jobs — nor are jobs toward the end of the list 'bad' ones for you to consider. Their position in the list is simply a result of their total scores based on pay, growth and number of openings. This means, for example, that some jobs with low pay and modest growth but a high number of openings appear higher on the list, while some jobs with higher pay and modest growth but a low number of openings appear toward the end of the list. A 'right' job for you could be anywhere on the list."

1

Registered Nurses

Average Annual Earnings: $65,950

Percent Growth: 26 percent

Average Annual Openings: 120,740

2

Dental Hygienists

Average Annual Earnings: $69,280

Percent Growth: 37.7 percent

Average Annual Openings: 10,490

3

Supervisors of Construction and Extraction Workers

Average Annual Earnings: $59,150

Percent Growth: 23.5 percent

Average Annual Openings: 25,970

4

Radiologic Technologists and Technicians

Average Annual Earnings: $55,120

Percent Growth: 27.7 percent

Average Annual Openings: 9,510

5

Electricians

Average Annual Earnings: $49,320

Percent Growth: 23.2 percent

Average Annual Openings: 28,920

6

Plumbers, Pipefitters
and Steamfitters

Average Annual Earnings: $47,750

Percent Growth: 25.6 percent

Average Annual Openings: 22,880

7

Construction Managers

Average Annual Earnings: $84,240

Percent Growth: 16.6 percent

Average Annual Openings: 12,040

8

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Average Annual Earnings: $65,210

Percent Growth: 43.6 percent

Average Annual Openings: 3,170

9

Respiratory Therapists

Average Annual Earnings: $55,250

Percent Growth: 27.7 percent

Average Annual Openings: 5,270

10

Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

Average Annual Earnings: $43,380

Percent Growth: 33.7 percent

Average Annual Openings: 13,760

11

Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, except Technical and Scientific Products

Average Annual Earnings: $53,540

Percent Growth: 15.6 percent

Average Annual Openings: 55,990

12

Insurance Sales Agents

Average Annual Earnings: $47,450

Percent Growth: 21.9 percent

Average Annual Openings: 18,440

13

Physical Therapist Assistants

Average Annual Earnings: $51,040

Percent Growth: 45.7 percent

Average Annual Openings: 4,120

14

Brickmasons and Blockmasons

Average Annual Earnings: $46,800

Percent Growth: 40.5 percent

Average Annual Openings: 5,450

15

Administrative Services Managers

Average Annual Earnings: $79,540

Percent Growth: 14.5 percent

Average Annual Openings: 9,980

To learn more about careers, check out

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10 High-paying jobs to look into
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Comments

Comments on "Great jobs that don't require a four-year degree"

20 yr construction guy February 08, 2013 | 5:08 AM

#'s 3,5, 6, 7 and 14 are a little off on their figures(I'm a union carpenter and make $42/hr on the check + health benefits,pension. OT is 1 1/2x, sunday pay is 2x). If those positions are non-union they are probably dead on...Union , figure those avg earned amounts at 2 or 3 times as printed, plus health benefits and a pension. BUT, to do those jobs you must be willing to work out in the elements ,on the spot overtime notice and put up with a rollercoaster of work/layoff periods.This was my worst year in 20 career years and still made $65K .AND I can retire early at age 50.

Kelly December 07, 2012 | 10:25 AM

Great article! While college is a good investment I believe that it is not right for everyone. There are many alternatives to earning a 4-year degree and this article does a good job listing some of them. Dr. Shatkin’s book would be perfect for my niece who is approaching high school graduation and still doesn’t know what she wants to do. Thanks!

Maura December 07, 2012 | 8:49 AM

This is a great list! Many people are changing careers in this tough economy and finding a good paying job that doesn’t require a lot of schooling is a convenient path for a lot of job seekers. I agree with Hannah that a person can have a rewarding career as long as they are passionate about what they do. Thanks!

Hannah December 07, 2012 | 7:56 AM

Great read! I'm a firm believer that if you work hard and are passionate, you can do anything (with the exception of doctors, lawyers, etc that require lengthy schooling). My husband is very successful and doesn't have a degree, and I don't work in the field I majored in and am doing fine.

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