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6 Career Opportunities that Don’t Require a College Degree

6 Career Opportunities that Don’t Require a College Degree

We can all agree that education is important.

But for some of us, the idea of going to a four-year college after high school while racking up significant debt isn’t appealing. If attending college isn’t in your plans, there are still several occupations that provide a great income, a positive work-life balance, and a high level of satisfaction – and that also don’t require you to follow the typical road towards a four-year degree.

Here is our list of six amazing career opportunities that don’t require a college degree.

Find the Best Career for You

Finding a job in this digital age is a different process than it was twenty years ago. While not all great jobs require a degree, it can be difficult to know where to look for a rewarding job with minimal education requirements.

In this article, we’ll explore six careers that you can pursue without a degree. We will help you understand the job descriptions, what it takes to meet job requirements, as well as provide the average annual salary or hourly wage for each of the jobs. It is our goal to help you find the career that is right for you and that you can start within a short time-frame.

Medical Transcriptionist

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $34,890 a year/$16.77 an hour

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Medical transcriptionists, also known as healthcare documentation specialists, provide written records for medical staff to refer back to. They listen to audio recordings from medical professionals and convert them into written reports.

Working as a transcriptionist can provide a fairly flexible schedule, as most transcriptionists either work within a healthcare facility or from home. While medical transcription training may not be required, it will provide valuable skills to be able to perform this job well. During medical transcription training, individuals will learn medical terminology and abbreviations, medical record types and formats, and anatomy and pharmacology. Medical transcription training takes as little as four months to complete and is relatively affordable.

If a medical transcriptionist doesn’t feel like a good fit, you can always take medical billing and coding classes online to become certified in that field.

Dental Assistant

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $35,980 a year/$17.30 an hour

Dental assistants work directly under the direction of dentists. Their role is to assist in various dental procedures by preparing work areas for treatments, handing instruments to dentists during procedures, and instructing patients on proper oral health and care.

Depending on state regulations and varying from office to office, dental assistants may also be able to take X-rays of patients. Some dental assistants also assist with record keeping and scheduling appointments.

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While some states require formal training to become a dental assistant, it is possible to be hired and receive training on-the-job. If your state does require formal training, most dental assistant programs take about one year to complete.

Computer Support Specialist

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $51,470 a year/$24.75 an hour

A computer support specialist helps individuals or businesses with using computer software or equipment.

Some specialists work specifically to help a company maintain their network systems. Others work directly with customers by diagnosing computer problems and directing customers through processes that can fix them. These problems are mostly addressed over the phone or by email, though occasionally an in-person visit is required to help set up equipment.

The education requirements to become a computer support specialist vary within the industry. Individuals who have taken some computer courses or who receive certification through a company’s own program are usually qualified.

Nursing Assistant and Orderly

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Annual salary/Hourly wage: $25,710 a year/$12.36 an hour

Nursing assistants and orderlies may perform similar tasks, but nursing assistants received more education and certification.

Nursing assistants act primarily as a caregiver to patients. They bathe and feed patients as well as tend to all the needs of a registered nurse. Orderlies, meanwhile, fill in the gaps needed at healthcare facilities and perform tasks from helping patients move about the facility to working in the ER to cleaning equipment and stocking supplies.

While it is possible to become a nursing assistant without formal education, it is more common to receive certification before being employed.

There are several ways to gain certification, from online courses to a bachelor’s degree. Timing to become certified can range from 4 to 12 weeks for state-approved programs and a couple of years for a more traditional schooling route. Orderlies are often trained by hospitals or other healthcare facilities. However, most are required to at least obtain Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification.

Phlebotomist

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $31,360 a year/$15.21 an hour

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Working as a phlebotomist is not for the faint of heart. A phlebotomist’s primary job is to draw blood from patients for a variety of reasons, such as medical tests, research, transfusions, or blood and plasma donations. Phlebotomists are also responsible for helping patients feel calm and provide basic care to patients after their blood is drawn. It is common that students on their way to become nurses or other healthcare providers work as phlebotomists while pursuing those careers.

Some phlebotomists are required to complete a phlebotomist certification program, which usually takes about one year to finish. However, most are accepted into the occupation and trained while on the job.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Annual salary/Hourly wage: $54,520 a year/$26.21 an hour

An occupational therapy assistant (which is different than an occupational therapy aid) works under the direction of a physical therapist to carry out a treatment plan that helps patients recover from injuries. They assist patients with building strength and improving muscle function through stretches and other exercises.

Occupational therapy assistants can also direct specialized play activities for children who have developmental disabilities to help promote coordination and socialization. In order to work directly with patients, occupational therapy assistants must receive a formal education and gain a license to practice. This requires graduation from an accredited OT or OTA educational program and passing the licensing examination.

You Don’t Need a Degree

A four-year degree is not the right path for everyone, and there are still several rewarding jobs you can pursue if college isn’t in your near future.

With a great resume and a successful interview, you can still find the career that’s perfect for you without needing to earn a degree. Attending a university isn’t for everyone, but anyone can have a satisfying and well-paying career.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More About Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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