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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 August 19, 2019

20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

A resume describes your critical skills in a way that compels a hiring manager to want to meet you. That is a resume’s sole purpose.

And make no mistake: Writing a resume is an art.

Today each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes on average, and somehow yours will need to rise above the competition. It’s actually harder to snag an interview from an online posting than to get into Harvard. But don’t let that intimidate you. Instead, open your laptop, roll up your proverbial sleeves, and let’s get to work!


Employers generally prefer candidates with skills that show leadership ability, problem-solving ability, and perseverance through challenges. So in the resume, you should demonstrate that you’re a dynamic candidate.

Refine the skills on your resume so that you incorporate these resume “musts:”

1. Leadership Ability

Even an entry-level employee can show leadership. Point out how your skills helped your department ascend to a new level. Capture leadership attributes with compelling statements.

Example:

“Led change that drove efficiency and an ability to cut 800 error-free payroll checks.”

2. Problem-Solving Ability

Most employees are hired to solve problems. Showcase that ability on your resume.

Example:

“Led staff in campaign to outrival top competitor’s market share during a down cycle.”

3. Perseverance

Have you been promoted several times? Or have you maintained margins in a down cycle? Both achievements demonstrate persistence. You look like someone who can navigate roadblocks.

4. Technical Skills

Consider including a Key Skills or Technology Skills section in which you list computer and software skills.

Example:

“Expert-level knowledge in Java.”

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5. Quantified Results

Nothing is quite as attractive as objective results. Did you increase sales by 25 percent? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15 percent?

Use hard-hitting numbers to express your point. State the result first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the critical skills you applied to achieve the milestone.

Example:

“Boosted sales by 200 percent by developing new online platform that made it easier for customers to compare and contrast sizes, textures, and fit.”

6. People Skills

Employers prefer congenial staff members to prima donnas or mavericks. Relate your strongest soft skills.

Example:

“Organized, hard-working staffer who listens well and communicates effectively.”

7. Passion in the Field

Recruiters and hiring managers can intuit whether candidates care about their career performance by the dynamism behind the descriptions of their skills on their resumes. Are your efforts “transformational” or merely “useful?” Were your results “game-changing” or boringly “appropriate?”

The tenor of your words reveals whether you’re passionate or passive. (But don’t overdo it. See the “Hyperbole” section below.)

8. Being the Entrepreneur within the Corporation

Whether you took the initiative to create a new synergy or worked independently to land an opportunity, share how you furthered organizational goals through your self-directed efforts.

9. Your Adaptability

Have you switched career paths? Weathered a corporate takeover?

Make it clear that your resilience helped get you and your organization through the turbulence.

10. Confirming Your Expertise

Every job posting states experience requirements. Ideally, you want to meet these requirements or best them. But don’t exaggerate.


While proving that you possess the credentials described in the job posting, you can still stand out if you are able to offer additional special skills to showcase your personality.

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Consider adding any of these special accomplishments, if true:

11. Referencing Award-Winning Talents

If you played center on your college basketball team that made it into the Top 10 finals, then working collaboratively and cooperatively are among your natural callings. Be sure to say so.

12. Unveiling Your Work Persona

If you were repeatedly singled out for your stellar performance in work settings, becoming employee-of-the-month, top revenue generator, and so on — it’s worth mentioning.

13. Capitalizing on Commonalities

From Googling the hiring manager, you discover that she was formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Listing your Spanish immersion course in Central America may draw her attention to the other outstanding skills on your resume.

14. Highlighting Creative Tactics

If, for example, in your HR role, you piloted an employee incentive program that became an industry model, include it. Such innovative thinking will command an employer’s attention.

15. Specifying All Accolades

Listing any honors received instills confidence that you will bring that level of perfectionism forward in a corporate environment.

16. Transferable Skills

You spend your spare time conducting your community orchestra. Highlight this after-hours pursuit to show that you have the critical skills needed to keep a team on task.


Take note: Hyperbole can hurt you. So, show your credibility.

Although it may be tempting to use embellishments to boost your experience, improve your job title, or enhance your education, resist. These days, a five-minute search will reveal the truth. And taking self-inflation too far could easily come back to destroy your career.

Hiring managers have their antenna up for resume hyperbole. A survey shows that 53 percent are suspicious that candidates are often dishonest.

Follow these guiding principles when writing your own resume:

17. Accurately Describing Your Degree

Make sure to differentiate between certificates attained and degrees earned, along with the name of the institution awarding them.

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18. Stating Job Duration with Honest Dates

Honesty is the only policy when reporting the length of a particular job. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, state the reason you have gaps.

Whether you traveled, had to cope with a family emergency, or went back to school to change your professional track, communicate the positive outcome that came from the hiatus.

19. Claiming Only the Skills You Truly Possess

Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

Conversely, if you feel like you must include them, then accurately qualify your level of competence.

20. Being Honest About Your Role in a Project

You may think you were the lead person because you did most of the work, but chances are your supervisor thinks otherwise.

Besides the 20 critical skills to include on your resume, here’re some important notes for you.

Bonus Tips for Writing a Resume

You Only Have 6 to 7 Seconds to Impress the Employer

Hiring managers and artificial intelligence “bots” may spend only 6 to 7 seconds perusing your resume, which means you need it to teem with essential skills, quantifiable achievements, and action words.

If, in fact, you believe that a “bot” will be analyzing your resume before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk, be sure to include some of the actual key words from the posting in your document. There’s no reason why you can’t customize your resume to each job posting.

Another tip: Be sure to show your resume to a few individuals who work in your field, so that you can fine-tune the information as needed.

Starting at the Top

The Objective at the top of your resume is optional if you’re seeking the same job you already have, just at different company. However, if you’re switching fields, it’s critical to include an Objective, which is a one-sentence summary of the job you want.

For example:

Objective: To become web editor at a thriving news website.

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If you’ve been in your field for ten years or more, you will probably want to include an Executive Summary. This is a one-sentence takeaway about who you are, including the critical skills you amassed throughout your career.

For example:

Executive Summary: Award-winning creative director with over ten years experience managing teams on three continents.

Depending on your field, you may also want to add some skills as bullet points in the Executive Summary section.

And what about your Education? If you graduated from college within the past ten years, include your Education just below the Objective section (and forgo the Executive Summary). If it’s been over ten years since you graduated, then include your Education at the very end of your resume. Only cite your grade point average (G.P.A.) if it was exceptional—3.7 G.P.A. or higher, or if you won scholastic awards.

Ideally, the critical skills you amassed during college, at your previous job, and throughout your career will add up to a riveting portrait of a professional who’s ideally suited for your dream position: You.

Tailor, Tweak, and Fine-Tune

If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need customized resumes for each outreach.

Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to the company. Many times, organizations will actually use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.

Approach Your Resume as a Skills-Based Story

Like any good storyteller, lay out the framework at the beginning. Include the skills you’ve mastered and state how you can add value—wording your sentences in a way that reflects the specific job you’re seeking.

Are you vying for a sales position? Quantify your results: “Responsible for 50 percent of all sales that resulted in $750,000 in annual revenue.” Use your critical skills, peppered throughout your resume, to tell the exciting story of your distinguished professional career!

Researching the organization that you’re targeting will help you make your examples specific. Does the company cater to a particular audience or clientele? Be sure to note any experiences you’ve had with similar audiences.

Putting It All Together

A resume is not a laundry list. It tells a cohesive story. Your story should highlight your qualifications and critical skills in a way that makes a logical, well-constructed case for your compatibility with the organization and its advertised position.

Packaging your story into the concisely prescribed format of a resume means that it will read as a synopsis — one that will hopefully land you the job.

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Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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