10 Good Jobs that Don't Need a Degree

Editor's note: This post was updated in May 2015 with the latest median annual wage data available.

Having a college degree is more important than ever when it comes to being competitive in today’s job market. But there are still some occupations that don’t require a degree − and which pay good wages. Typically, some kind of technical or professional training is required, such as an apprenticeship, on-the-job training or a licensing program.

Here are 10 jobs that don’t require a degree, have median salaries over $40,000 and are expected to grow at an average or above average pace over the next few years:

1. Elevator Installers and Repairers

What do they do? Install, fix, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways and other lifts.
2014 median annual salary: $76,490
Projected growth through 2022: 25% (average growth rate for all occupations is 11%)
Did you know? Nearly all elevator installers and repairers learn through an apprenticeship. Currently, 35 states require workers to be licensed.

2. Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers

What do they do? Ensure residential, commercial or industrial properties are well maintained.
2014 median annual salary: $65,880
Projected growth through 2022: 12%
Did you know? Although many employers prefer to hire college graduates, a high school diploma is enough for some introductory management positions. Some managers receive vocational training. Other managers must have a real estate license.

3. Insurance Sales Agents

What do they do? Contact potential customers, explain various insurance policies and help clients choose plans that suit them.
2014 median annual salary: $63,730
Projected growth through 2022: 10%
Did you know? Agents must be licensed in the states where they work.

4. Construction and Building Inspectors

What do they do? Ensure that construction meets building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications.
2014 median annual salary: $58,430
Projected growth through 2022: 12%
Did you know? Construction and building inspectors who are certified and can do a variety of inspections should have the best job opportunities.

5. Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

What do they do? Install and repair pipes to and in businesses, homes and factories.
2014 median annual salary: $54,620
Projected growth through 2022: 21%
Did you know? Although most workers learn on the job through an apprenticeship, some start out by attending a technical school.

6. Electricians

What do they do? Install and maintain electrical power, communications, lighting and control systems in homes, businesses and factories.
2014 median annual salary: $54,520
Projected growth through 2022: 20%
Did you know? Electricians work indoors and outdoors, in nearly every type of facility. Most states require electricians to be licensed.

7. Structural Iron and Steel Workers

What do they do? Install iron or steel beams, girders and columns for buildings, bridges and other structures.
2014 median annual salary: $53,140
Projected growth through 2022: 22%
Did you know? Although most structural iron and steel workers learn through an apprenticeship, some learn on the job. Certifications in welding and rigging can be helpful.

8. Industrial Machinery Mechanics and Maintenance Workers and Millwrights

What do they do? Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers maintain industrial equipment. Millwrights install, dismantle, repair, reassemble and move machinery in factories, power plants and construction sites.
2014 median annual salary: $44,050 (millwrights), $44,050 (maintenance) and $50,440 (mechanics)
Projected growth through 2022: 17%
Did you know? Industrial machinery mechanics need a year or more of training after high school, whereas maintenance workers typically receive on-the-job training that lasts up to a year. Most millwrights go through a 4-year apprenticeship. Job prospects for qualified applicants should be very good.

9. Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons

What do they do? Build fences, walkways, walls and other structures.
2014 median annual salary: $42,130 (stonemasons) and $51,500 (brickmasons and blockmasons)
Projected growth through 2022: 34%
Did you know? Although most masons learn through an apprenticeship, some learn on the job. Others learn through 1- or 2-year mason programs at technical schools.

10. Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents

What do they do? Real estate brokers and sales agents help clients buy, sell and rent properties. Although brokers and agents do similar work, brokers are licensed to manage their own real estate businesses. Sales agents must work with a real estate broker.
2014 median annual salary: $41,990 (sales agents) and $80,420 (brokers)
Projected growth through 2022: 11%
Did you know? Most are self-employed. Employment will grow as the real estate market continues to recover from the recent economic recession.

Browse more jobs by pay, education level, projected growth and other factors in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.


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