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.

How Do You Get a Job When Fancy Resumes Don’t Work Anymore?

Millions of Americans are hired to fill jobs every month in the American economy. If this is true, why can’t you get a response when you send your resume in response to a job posting? Here is the answer.

Buzz TodaySource: The Wall Street Journal, “Your Resume vs. Oblivion”, by Lauren Weber, January 24, 2012. The Starbucks Corp attracted 7.6 million applicants over the past 12 months for about 65,000 retail and management positions. Procter & Gamble Inc. got nearly a million applications last year for 2,000 new positions plus vacant jobs. And the Texas Roadhouse Inc. gets as many as 400 resumes for a job opening within 24 hours after listing it online.

Many people complain that they submit their resume to hundreds of job postings and never hear anything at all back from any company. The reason they hear nothing is because the software “bots” that companies use to screen resumes are not passing the resume on to HR recruiters unless the key words in the resume match up nearly perfectly with the key words in the job description of the posting. The reason companies are doing this is clearly shown in the data in BUZZ Today. There is no other practical way to deal with the massive number of resumes received.

Unfortunately, the bots are merely a fact of life in the labor market today. A bot is a piece of software, not a human. The bot does not interpret or infer. It matches key words. If the key words are not present it does not pass the resume to the recruiting manager. So for example, if the job ad says “Bachelor degree required, masters degree preferred and 5-7 years experience” the candidate’s submission has to match exactly.

Here is an example of how hard this can be. Here is an actual job posting for a marketing position at an innovative company.
Position: Sr. Manager, Digital Marketing
* Education: Bachelor’s degree required, MBA preferred
* Experience: 7-10 year’s experience with a consumer-oriented internet business in a multi-channel environment.
* Must have experience in the following marketing functions: agency management, strategic brand marketing, digital marketing vehicles, website operations.
* Experience managing complex projects and multimillion dollar budgets.There is no way around this grim reality. Because our labor markets are now functioning like this it is more important than ever that the applicant do what is presented in my book “Your Future is Calling”. Rather than picking a college, then a major and getting a degree and then looking for a job (marketing in this case), the book advises, Who you are then career choice, major, degree, university. In this way the person has a better chance to have what is needed when they get to the job posting.

Even in the face of this trend in hiring there are some reasons to be encouraged. Employers will need 22 million new workers with post-secondary degrees – and the report shows that we will fall short by three million workers without a dramatic change in course. This translates into a deficit of 300,000 college graduates every year between now and 2018.


Having a well paying job may not be the only goal of an education, but it has to be one of the main purposes for getting an education. But there is a lot to learn about the job market and how it ties to your education decisions.

Buzz Today Source: The Wall Street Journal The Starbucks Corp attracted 7.6 million applicants over the past 12 months for about 65,000 retail and management positions.

The evidence is clear that the level of your education is closely correlated with unemployment (inversely) and income. We have seen the data before in an earlier post.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

More Education Means More Money Chart, see table below

But in addition to this important general information about the relationship between education and jobs, we want to look at some very specific labor market facts. My goal is to give you data that will help motivate you to actually complete your learning. With an education you radically increase your chances of reaching the job opportunity at the end. This is true whether you stay on the Traditional path or move to the recommended Your Future path.

As discouraging as the BUZZ Today data is about the current job market, the department of labor data on education is very good evidence that you should be doing everything you can to complete your education. It will help you to be able to compete for the jobs.

Some additional data should help encourage you. The very useful book, What Color is Your Parachute provides information even in the face of the tight job market reflected in BUZZ Today. What the book tells us is that in 2012 about 140 million Americans did have jobs. What is most encouraging is just how dynamic the overall job market is. Again from What Color is Your Parachute: In March 2012 4,356,000 people found work and there were 3,737,000 vacancies waiting to be filled. That is a total of 8,093,000 opportunities (p.13). The message is that you don’t have to join the crowded space of millions of others trying to get a job at Starbucks. The challenge you face in the jobs competition is not whether there are jobs to be filled – there are literally millions to be filled every month. The challenge is to decide on the career that fits who you are, get the education you need to compete, then learn how to play the game when hiring companies are faced with the numbers we see in BUZZ Today. More on this in Your Future is Calling and future posts on Learn Prosper.

Who You Are – What You Do in the Future

NPR recently shared the post of a young Ivy League graduate about his own future. The specifics of the young man’s questions are shown in BUZZ Today. Of equal interest is the string of comments readers gave to help the young man answer his important questions about his future. I am adding my comments here.

Buzz TodaySource: NPR: Assume I have no such passion. Furthermore, I am a fairly well-qualified young generalist.* What paths should most appeal to me if my goal is to maximize doing “interesting” work? Doing meaningful work? Achieving social status? (Which of these goals should be primary?) Need I try to develop a passion before selecting a life path/career, and if so, how do I do it?

The young man is asking the questions about his future. Many comments shared on NPR try to help the young man what to do based on what has worked for them. The advice is well intended but it does not address the core issue he is facing. The future he is trying to create for himself is one where what he does with his life matches who he is. The rest of us can add little to that decision.

I recommend that you read the comments after the NPR post reference in BUZZ Today. They are almost all about linking “who you are” with “what you do” to create a purposeful and fulfilled life. I have a lot of suggestions on how to link these two in my book Your Future is Calling. Here are suggestions on linking who you are to what you do.

There are many instruments that provide objective information on who you are. Here are three that I recommend:

* Myers-Briggs: From Wikipedia – The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. See: MBTI

* Strengths Finder 2.0: To purchase see Gallup

* O*Net Interest Profiler: This is a free service on the government department of labor WEB site O*Net

For “what you do” part see the very informative and comprehensive information on over 950 careers listed in great detail at the O*Net home site.

Getting to an empowered and fulfilling future requires knowing where you are starting. It begins with who you are. It also requires reliable information on what your options are for the do part of your future. These are good starting points on your path to your future.