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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 February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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