Good Paying Jobs That Do Not Require a Bachelor’s Degree

There are good paying jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree but they do require skills that are changing as our world changes. Learning is still key to a better future. But how do you decide what to learn?  The answer is that you should begin with “who you are” then decide what to study that can lead to a better future for yourself and your loved ones. Buzz TodaySource: O*NET  The O*NET program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Every occupation requires a different mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and is performed using a variety of activities and tasks. The data base defines the set of occupations across the world of work. Based on the Standard Occupational Classification the O*NET-SOC taxonomy currently includes 974 occupations 

With so many occupations to select from, it is no wonder that readers are challenged to find just the right combination of factors needed to fit exactly “who they are”.  In this post we explore the important characteristics of a few of the 974 choices to show how a new career can be chosen.  I recommend that you look at several important characteristics for any career you may be considering.  These are:

* The size of the profession. This gives you an indication of how many jobs in this profession there are in the US economy. Here size matters. Larger professions provide more opportunities.

* Growth in the profession is another important parameter for you to consider.  As our world changes opportunities in different careers are changing as well.  Some careers attractive just a few years ago have already been impacted by changes.  A good example is desktop publishing.  Only a few years ago this was a growing job opportunity.  Today this profession is much less attractive with a very limited growth prospect.

* Earnings are another important piece of information in your career choice. Incurring student debt to earn credentials in a poorly paying occupation is a path to a dismal future.

* How well the occupation fits you is another important factor. This is the part about “who you are”.  Here again you need good data about personality and the characteristics of those already in the profession.

Here is data on a few of the 974 careers.  All of these require less than a bachelor degree and are reasonably accessible through education at a community college at a reasonable investment level.

Patrol Police Officer

This is a profession that, with the right personal history, is relatively easy to enter.  42% of current officers entered the profession directly from high school but an associate’s degree provides better prospects.  It is a large profession with 664,000 current positions growing by 249,000 (2010-2020).  The median pay is $55,270 per year.  This profession requires personal attributes that include integrity, self control, stress tolerance and attention to detail.

Dental Hygienist

This is a reasonably large job classification with 182,000 current positions with over two thirds occupied by professionals with an associate’s degree making it a relatively easy profession to enter through a very affordable path at a local community college. Growth is projected to be over 29% (2010-2020) and compensation in 2012 was highly attractive with an annual median income of $70,210.  In addition to technical training required, personality attributes that align with the requirements of the job include a good-natured and cooperative attitude.


This is a large employment category with employment of 256,000 with good growth projected over the next decade.  The median salary in 2012 was $46,990 annually. Apprenticeships by state are available.  In addition, certificates are available from The Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals.   Personal attributes including attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Registered Nurse
This is a huge profession with 2010 employment at 2,737,000 with projected openings by 2020 of 1,207,400 professionals. This size and growth are being driven by new medical technology and the aging of the baby boomers. Compensation is attractive at a 2012 median level of $65,470 annually. Personality attributes important in this profession include concern for others, dependability, stress tolerance, self control and attention to detail.

Summary:   All of these careers can be entered with learning that is less than the traditional bachelor’s degree.  This makes learning a key but manageable entry to these attractive professional careers.

50% to 65% Off List Price – SALE!

The headline today is one you would expect to see from an aggressive retailer promoting an out of season sale on pants and shirts. The surprising thing is that this headline is about tuition and fees at American Colleges and Universities. The information applies to Four Year Public Universities, Four Year Private Nonprofit Universities and Private For-Profit Universities.


Buzz Today Source: College Board Submission for the record: US House of Representatives – House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs

              2012 – 2013                 Tuition and Fees

Published      Net         Discount

$8,660       $ 2,910        66%     Public Four Year in State

$29,060    $13,380       54%     Private Nonprofit Four Year

$15,170     $ 4,950        67%     Private For-Profit  Four Year


In the BUZZ Today data we can see a number of things about the cost of attending an American college or University.  We can draw several important implications from the data.

First of all, which university you decide to attend has a very significant impact on the amount you will end up paying and in turn, the size of your student debt once you get your degree. Clearly attending a private or for-profit university represents several times the cost of an in state education. Just how much more it costs is not always obvious without the data. Details on published tuition and fees for every accredited college in America is available at COLLEGENavigator, a service of the US Department of Labor. How to interpret the extensive data available at that WEB site is available in Your Future is Calling.

The second important information in BUZZ Today is how much students are actually paying to get their education. There is a lot of attention paid to the increases in the published tuition and fees at universities. These are the numbers referenced when people say that college costs are increasing faster than the rate of inflation.

While these increases are real and not sustainable over the long run, they do reflect a challenge for learners like you and our nation. We cannot afford to have learning costs increasing at such a high rate.

But it is not the headline grabbing increases that I want to leave with you here. What is most important in this data is the SALE! stated in the headline of this post. Unlike the SALE sticker price on the tag attached to the pants and shirts in the retail store, the discount in education is not well publicized. Unless you ask, you will never know what the best price available for your education actually could be. This is extremely important when it comes to managing your student debt. But this information is even more important to your decision about which specific university to actually attend.

To manage this reality in your education decisions it is extremely important that you know the actual facts and every bit as important, what to do with those facts once you have them. For the to do list on how to mover forward, see the Your Future path in the pages of Your Future is Calling. In the end, it is indeed your future that you are determining.

$150,000 in Student Debt and No Job is designed to give readers like you the information you can use for to prosper in your future. The key words are your and future. Unfortunately many of the headlines about higher education today are crafted to grab your attention and appeal to your emotions.

Buzz TodaySource: Daily Finance: Stories of Student Debt. William: “In just a few months I’m going to turn 62 years old”, says Williams who took out $44,000 in private loans to study psychology. He still has nearly $130,000 to pay off. Paul: Paul sunk more than $120,000 into undergraduate and graduate studies in visual arts, but he has yet to find a job in his field. He owes $150,000 today.Mark: “I wish I hadn’t gone to school,” says Mark, who graduated in 2005 with degrees in psychology and music and $875 monthly payments on $80,000 worth of student loans.

As a nation, student debt totals over $1 trillion dollars. The average student debt of college graduates is around $25,000. This means that there are millions of college graduates with debt that is manageable. What this also means, is that William, Paul and Mark are the exception, not the rule.

Nonetheless, it is valuable to examine the $150,000 and no job case to see what you can learn. The three men in BUZZ Today show us some important lessons.

The ROI that you can expect by earning a degree depends on two things. The first is the amount you pay for your education or the I in the ROI calculation. This you can reduce through a number of important ways that I explain in detail in Your Future is Calling.

The second factor in the ROI calculation is the R, or the Return you can expect to earn in a job. Here BUZZ Today provides some clues. Let’s turn to William, Paul and Mark. Go to O*NET and look up the pay and number of jobs for the identified areas of study: psychology, music and visual arts. The O*NET data speaks for itself.

Headlines about high student debt and no jobs grabs our attention. But it ‘s the lessons to be learned that are most important to you. It’s important to your future that you make key investment and return decisions before you enroll in any degree program. Your choices need to match who you are.

In a recent radio interview I was asked what advice I would give to a young person with $150,000 in student debt and no job. My answer was: “I have no advice to give them. I do not know of any good options once you have arrived at that outcome.” To impact this sad result you have to make better decisions before you begin your learning.

What we see in BUZZ Today, is that merely getting a degree – any degree at any cost, can actually be a very bad decision. The learning that impacts your future begins here.

There’s Debt Then There’s Debt

Student debt gets a lot of attention these days and rightfully so. As a country the total bill is over a trillion dollars and growing. Buzz TodaySource: The Wall Street Journal “Young people are racking up larger amounts of student debt than ever before”

The debt is real and a serious issue for both the borrowers and our nation. Here is why.

Under current law, our federal government only has so much money it can lend to college students. I know this seems counter intuitive in our world where the federal government just keeps on borrowing and borrowing as though the bank account is without end. It’s not. In the case of student loans it is easy to see the problem.

A college student can borrow only a specified total amount of loans. When those have all been used, there is no more to borrow. This defines a total amount that the government can lend in total. Over a trillion dollars of that lending capacity has been used. There is a trillion less that can be loaned in the future.

We have already looked at why this is a serious issue for the borrower in the earlier post titled “Debt”. But though we have talked about one aspect of the issue, let’s return to look at it from another perspective. You can reduce the amount of debt needed to earn your degree in the first place.

When you buy a house, you consciously take action to manage the amount of debt you take on with the purchase. In the case of the house purchase you have professional help. The bank is looking over your shoulder. They will not allow you to take on too much debt. They do this by looking at your credit score which tells them about your repayment history. This is to help them determine if you are a good risk which means they have data that shows them you are likely to repay your loan back.

In the case of the home loan, the bank also looks at your personal income. This is to give them (and you) data on how likely you are to have the money to repay the loan. This protects them… and it protects you. It does so by protecting you from your temptation to take out more debt than you can handle.

No such factors exist when it comes to student loans. You are on your own.

Beware, the temptation to take on more debt than is manageable is real. Millions have already fallen into the trap.

So, when it comes to debt, not all debt is equal. Beware. Look hard before you leap into student loans. They can bite like no other.