Ever wonder if it’s possible to get a great job without investing time and money on a four-year degree? The answer is yes.

Earning a bachelor’s degree is a commendable accomplishment and required for many positions, but it doesn’t guarantee a high-paying job. If you know what options are available, or have a passion for a certain career path, you could end up earning more than four-year college graduates.

Regardless of the amount of schooling one has, hard work and skill areis required to make a good living. Here are some jobs or careers in the fields of healthcare, technology, and skilled labor that you can train for in two years or less:

Healthcare

The healthcare industry is growing faster than ever with roughly 3.2 million projected job openings expected by 2018. Even during hard economic times, healthcare professionals are still in high demand, with non-physicians filling some of the top paying jobs in the industry.

Medical Assistants:

Medical Assistants work alongside physicians, mainly in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as medical offices and clinics. They are cross-trained to perform administrative and clinical duties.

The average income for someone in the medical assisting field is around $38,000 a year. Learning how to become a medical assistant is easier than you may expect, with programs that allow you to enter the industry in as little as six months, and others that let you continue your education for 2 years or more.

Dental Hygienists:

Dental hygienist jobs consistently rank as one of the nation’s best jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, attributable to the positive hiring outlook, low stress, higher income, and minimal physical activity. They often take two years of prerequisite college courses, and completion of an essay examination and interviews before being admitted to a dental hygiene program.

Upon completion, most are required to pass national and regional board exams to obtain a license. In 2015, their median salary was $72,330.

Registered Nurses:

One of the most in-demand careers in the US, registered nurses were projected to generate over 580,000 new jobs last year. This does not count the hundreds of thousands of jobs that will become available when older nurses retire.

Registered nurses will never lack job opportunities. Salaries vary greatly depending on the state you live in and specialization within the field, but the average salary for an RN is $66,000.

Technology

Surprisingly, according to trade-schools.net, nearly 75 percent of people with a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM), aren’t employed in the fields they studied. Success in securing STEM jobs increases with a master’s or doctorate, however.

There are jobs in the technology field that you can get started in with a two-year degree or with minimal formal training or certification preparation.

Computer programmers

Computer programmers write code and create software programs that tell computers to accomplish certain tasks like retrieve data. They also rewrite, debug, maintain and test these programs. Some employers will hire experienced people with an associate’s degree or certificate, but having a four-year degree is preferable, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The median pay in 2015 for a computer programmer was $79,530.

Web developers

A web developer is a programmer who specializes in the development of world wide web applications, or distributed network applications that are run over HTTP from a web server to a web browser. Front-end developers are responsible for the look and function of a website.

They create the site’s layout and integrate graphics, such as retail checkout tools, and other content. The most common requirement is an associate’s degree in web programming.

Median pay is $64,970.

Electrical and electronic drafters

Electrical and electronic drafters prepare wiring diagrams, circuit-board-assembly diagrams, and layout drawings used for the manufacture, installation, or repair of electrical equipment. These drafters typically work in office environments.

Projected job openings through 2024 is 5,200. An associate’s in electrical drafting is typically required. The median annual wage is $59,520.

Skilled Labor

While many career paths require years of schooling and shelling out bucks, the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical fields allow you to make money and get training at the same time. Becoming a skilled tradesperson in the plumbing, HVAC, or electrical fields has great earning potential.

HVAC Technicians

An HVAC technician, or HVACR technician, is a person specializing in the installation, repair and maintenance of HVAC systems. HVAC/HVACR systems are composed of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration functions.

The average HVAC technician makes over $43,880.

Technical training is a must, whether it is through an on-the-job apprenticeship, a short-term vocational course or a full-fledged certification program at a technical or trade school. Also, many states do require a license to become an HVAC technician.

Electricians

Electricians with the widest variety of skills have the best job opportunities and make the most money.

No college education is required, but training through an apprenticeship program that provides in-class, hands-on instruction is recommended. Licensure is required. Median pay is $51,880.

Carpenters

You don’t know how important a good carpenter is in your life, until you get a crappy one doing work for you. Most carpenters need to learn and master basic carpentry skills through formal education and apprenticeships.

This is accomplished through attending vocational or technical colleges that offer degrees in general carpentry or various carpentry crafts.The median annual Carpenter salary is $52,242, as of March 31, 2017.


According to the the U.S. Department of Labor, two out of every three jobs only require on-the-job training, which means college for four years could actually hinder your ability to get one of these jobs.

“Why? Because the other people competing for that job will have had four years of experience while you were hanging out at Starbucks with your laptop and iPhone,” according to an article in Wealth Pilgrim.

However, the opposite can be argued. Four-year colleges offer invaluable experiences, as well. While there are definitely good jobs on the list above, some career paths require at least a bachelor’s degree.

Written By
Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Journalism. She currently writes about a variety of topics, including mental and physical health, wellness, business and education. She loves endurance mountain biking and running. Find her on Twitter.

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