15 surprising jobs you can get without a college degree


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It can sometimes feel like every job posting these days is asking for at least a bachelor’s degree, but there are countless exciting (and great paying) career paths that don’t require a degree at all! Some of these careers, like commercial pilots or real estate brokers, have licensing requirements, but having a high school diploma is often enough to get you started.


Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best, and perhaps surprising, jobs you can get without a four-year degree.

15 jobs that don’t require degrees

1. Teaching Assistants

Average salary: $31,760

Teaching assistants help preschool, elementary school, or high school teachers complete their daily duties, including grading homework or instructing students on a specific subject. Except when working at colleges and universities, teaching assistants have no degree requirements. However, there are many certificates and associate’s degree programs that can give you a leg up, such as a program for early childhood education.


2. Court, Municipal, and License Clerks

Average salary: $44,870

Court, municipal, and license clerks do a lot of clerical work for government offices and courts, including preparing agendas and issuing permits. A high school diploma qualifies for this career, but having an associate’s degree or certificates in administrative fields can help you progress as a clerk.

3. Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers

Average salary: $52,170 


Security and fire alarm systems installers maintain and repair safety systems in commercial and even residential buildings. There is a fair amount of on-the-job training for this career because you need to learn how these systems work and how to fix them. But, education-wise, you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to get started.

4. Airfield Operations Specialists

Average salary: $54,360

Airfield operations specialists make sure that planes can take off and land safely. You need a high school diploma to qualify, and there is significant on-the-job training involved. Similar to airfield operations specialists, air traffic controllers need an associate’s degree but have an average salary of $127,920.

5. Rotary Drill Operators

Average salary: $56,380

Rotary drill operators work in the oil and gas industry, using heavy machinery to extract resources from the ground. This career has no formal education requirement, and experienced drill operators can see annual salaries nearing six figures! Beyond rotary drill operators, many careers in the oil and gas industry pay well and are expected to grow over the next decade.

6. Computer User Support Specialists

Average salary: $57,650

Typically working in an “IT” department, computer user support specialists troubleshoot and solve people’s computer issues, like problems with printers or internet connectivity. You don’t need a degree to become a user support specialist, but having a background in technology and customer service can be useful.

7. Electricians

Average salary: $63,310

Electricians maintain, install, and repair electrical systems in both residential and commercial spaces. You typically only need a high school diploma or equivalent to become an electrician, but you may also need to take an apprenticeship. Electricians are considered trades careers, and most trades pay well! For example, carpenters have an average salary of $55,190.

8. Court Reporters

Average salary: $65,240

Court reporters transcribe trial proceedings and keep track of court documents and information. You only need an associate’s degree or certificate in court reporting or an administrative field. There are also certificates in short-hand and notary services that can help you progress as a court reporter.

9. Sound Engineering Technicians

Average salary: $67,360

Sound engineering technicians record and edit sound, like music and talking, used in a variety of productions, including television, radio, and podcasts. There is no degree required for this career, but a certificate or associate’s degree in audio engineering or communications technology can be helpful.

10. Police Officers

Average salary: $70,750

Police officers, detectives, and criminal investigators work to enforce laws and protect the public. Becoming a police officer typically requires getting accepted to and going through a training program, but you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify. Moving through the ranks to become a detective or criminal investigator also comes with a raise in pay: Detectives and investigators have an average salary of $90,370.

11. Claims Adjusters

Average salary: $70,960

Claims adjusters work mainly for insurance companies to review details of filed claims and determine how much the company should pay. Claims adjusters may also work with legal counsel if a lawsuit arises from a filed claim. There is some on-the-job training for claims adjusters, but you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify.

12. Power Plant Operators

Average salary: $83,740

Power plant operators run the machinery that generates electricity for cities and towns. You need a high school diploma to get started, and there is extensive on-the-job training for power plant operators. A similar career, nuclear power plant operator, is more niche, but also doesn’t require any degree and has an average salary of $104,470.

13. Real Estate Brokers

Average salary: $86,490

Real estate brokers help facilitate the purchase or sale of properties. You’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent to become a real estate broker, and you’ll need to get a brokerage license. Many other types of broker careers, like customs brokers and insurance brokers, may not require a degree either.

14. Programmers

Average salary: $96,650

Computer programmers write code for computer applications, and some programmers work in very specialized fields, like blockchain technology. Because the skills needed for programming are technical and can be learned outside of school, it is possible to become a programmer without any degree. You just need to prove that you have the hard skills needed to do the job.

15. Commercial Pilots

Average salary: $115,080

While you can’t be an airline pilot without a degree, you can become a commercial pilot by getting a commercial pilot license. Commercial pilots transport freight or give tours, and the licensing requires more than 200 hours of flight training.


This article originally appeared on TheForage.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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23 jobs that are pretty much recession-proof



Do you want to keep your job during a recession? Let’s talk about the recession-proof jobs that you can choose in any field. While no job is 100% recession-proof, certain career fields are impacted less during a recession.

During an economic slowdown or downturn, there are generally layoffs and fewer job offers. It is harder to get a job since many sectors get hit. Everyone will experience a recession differently, but it will impact most people. Whether you have high-income skills can become irrelevant quickly.

At any time a recession occurs, many are worried about their jobs. During the 2008 recession, the unemployment rate was over 10%. In the recent pandemic, the employment rates quickly rose to 14.7%. It has since come down to 8.4%, which is still significantly higher than the 3.5% before the pandemic.

Are you looking for career fields that are impacted less during a recession? While there is absolutely no guarantee, specific industries or professions are essential for our society. Here is a selection of recession-proof jobs at every skill level.

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It doesn’t matter whether you’re a registered nurse, doctor, assistant, or anything in between. Having a job in the medical and healthcare field is a great place to be during a recession.

Even when a recession hits, people will get sick, and health care is needed. Hospitals or clinics are a great career choice if you want to have job security. Plus, if you’re someone who has a nonmedical job in a healthcare clinic or hospital, you may benefit from this as well. As long as health care is needed, you will be as well.


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Technology is advancing daily, and we’re trying to benefit from that. Companies are improving systems to replace manual labor and save on expenses.

If you’re looking for a recession-proof job, working in the IT field is something to consider. People need help with their computers, phones and software more than ever before. Our world relies on technology and needs IT professionals to function.


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Whether there’s an economic crisis or not, accountants and auditors have a relatively recession-proof job. As long as businesses will continue, they need an accountant to report their yearly numbers and check their books. With their qualifications and specific skill-set, job opportunities are all around.

Also, people who have an accountant file their tax returns will most likely still use that. It’s better to pay an accountant than to make a mistake that costs more than their rate.




An unfortunate side effect of a recession is that many are going into debt. People will add more money to their credit card balances, rack up more debt and need help managing it.

As a debt management professional, you help people reduce their debt and prevent bankruptcy from happening. You help people that need money now to reduce their debt.


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When we are talking about core services that we will always need, utility workers are providing them. We still need support in waste management, water, electricity and other utilities. Everyone is using these services daily, meaning there is constant and high demand.

The high demand combined with the aging current labor force means that there will be a labor shortage for years to come. If you’re looking for a recession-proof job, utility workers are high on the list.


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Just as utility working, public safety professionals are crucial to society during any time in the economic cycle.

Working as an ambulance driver, firefighter or police officer makes you relatively recession-proof. It is also a great option when you are looking for a job where you can help others.




If you work for the government, you have one of the most stable jobs there is. Government jobs will be influenced little by the economic cycles, as there is a constant need for them. Also, the government is a big organization that will not downsize the moment a recession hits.

When you are applying for jobs, check out the postings they have online. It is a stable career path for your work life. Don’t worry if you are an entry-level worker without a lot of work experience. You can choose from several jobs at all levels.




People need education, no matter the state of the economy. Teachers are essential, even during times when learning takes different forms. It doesn’t matter whether you are providing online classes, the need for education is still there.

Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby found that colleges and graduate schools saw higher enrollment numbers during the Great Recession. People want to postpone their entry into the job market since there are fewer openings. They enroll in higher education instead.




Online shopping and delivery services have increased over the years. In the last couple of months, delivery services are booming. People want to avoid going to shops, and ordering your things online is easier than ever.

You can deliver groceries, clothes, household items, furniture and more. Everything that you have in your home, you can transport. The continued increase in people having things delivered makes delivery and courier services, one of the most recession-proof jobs out there.

Extra tip: Deliver groceries through Instacart. With Instacart, you can determine your own schedule, and you get paid to deliver food to peoples’ doorstep.


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Whatever the state of the economy, people still need to get their car fixed. While people will skip the smaller optional repairs, most auto repairs are mandatory to keep driving safely.

Many people wait to buy a new car and will get their current one repaired instead. Because older cars need plenty of maintenance, auto mechanics will not be bored.


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If you are working in law enforcement, you have a job that won’t stop just because of a downturn. People still want to live in a safe environment, and laws need continuous enforcement. Whether you are a federal agent or a detective, your job will be relatively stable during recessions.



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Corrections professionals like corrections officers and parole boards are great recession-proof jobs. They often don’t see layoffs at all during a recession.

Just as in law enforcement, prisons operate as usual, and everyone involved will need to continue their work.

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When the economy experiences a downturn, everyone that is involved in the justice system stays employed. Whether you are a judge or work in a related service like the court’s security, you will keep working.

Currently, with the pandemic, some courts are closed or postponing services. It is not something related to an economic downturn, but rather to the current global health crisis.




Whether the economy is crashing or flourishing, funerals and cremations will continue. Certain families may go for the less expensive option, but there will still be enough work during a recession.

While this may not be your dream job, think about it in your search for jobs. If you’re looking for a new job or are unemployed, this field may be an opportunity for you.




In big cities, public transport workers are always in high demand. People taking public transport to work may even increase during a recession, as some may have to get rid of their car.

Whether you drive the bus or sell train tickets, public transport workers will have relatively high job security when a recession hits.




The moment a recession hits, people are slowly going to decrease their discretionary spending. They don’t buy things they don’t need, search for no spend ideas and look into at-home date night ideas. They’re staying in more and going out less.

When you cut down on how often you go out to eat, you will do more grocery shopping. While there are some quick tips to save money on groceries, you will still need to get groceries. If you’re looking for a job, a grocery store worker may be more stable than other jobs.


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Just like other healthcare services, pharmacists will see a steady stream of customers. People will still need their sleep medication or antibiotics. With the population aging, this can be one of the best recession-proof jobs for years to come.





The general population ages, creating more jobs for senior care professionals. People need assistance living in nursing homes and at home, even during a recession. People need quality elder care, unrelated to the current economic situation.



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On the one hand, some people may stop their therapy sessions if their financial status is declining. On the other hand, when a recession occurs, many people are stressed out. It can cause more mental health problems and more marital problems. Some people will develop an anxiety disorder, while others will turn to alcohol.

Mental health professionals are crucial at the time a recession or economic downturn hits.




As with health care for humans, pets also need health care during recessions. While people do bring their pets to the vet, they do so less regularly. With people having more pets and spending 7% more on pet care every single year, we can conclude it’s a rather recession-proof job.


istockphoto/Kateryna Kukota


Actuaries help with the risk analysis of businesses. In normal economic circumstances, their jobs are necessary for companies to assess risks and hedge for them. In an economic downturn, analyzing risks is even more essential.

Actuaries help companies analyze the areas with high risk, the best places to cut costs, and increase efficiencies. In times of crisis, these are all valuable things to know. Generally speaking, actuaries will keep their jobs during an economic recession.




Digital or not, marketers have a great shot at keeping their jobs during a recession. Most marketers will increase the investment made by companies. For every dollar companies spend on their marketing budget, they want to see more than that dollar returned.

For example, at my company, we have marketers who will return $1.50 for every $1 invested in the marketing budget. No matter how much money you put into it, you will get more out.




During recessions, couples won’t stop getting divorced. As financial distress is one of the main reasons for divorce, recessions may increase divorce rates. On the other hand, financial hardship may keep couples together.

If you are a divorce attorney or mediator, you will still have enough work during downturns.




Why are some jobs recession-proof while others aren’t? Plus, how is your specific job doing when it’s not on the list? Don’t worry. The fact that your job isn’t on the list doesn’t mean that you’ll get fired next week.

There are a couple of things to consider when you want to know if your jobs can survive a recession. Ask yourself:

  • Is your job essential for society? For example, without healthcare or public transport workers, there would be chaos quickly.
  • Are you filling a need? For example, people want to get their pets healthy again.
  • Do you need specialized training or experience? For example, IT professionals or accountants have specific education and experience that is hard to obtain quickly.

If you don’t answer yes to all three questions, don’t worry. There are so many jobs that are crucial to our society and general well-being. We simply weren’t able to list them all.


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While no job is 100% recession-proof, some jobs are more recession-proof than others. That said, recessions are hard and affect our society in many ways.

If you’re worried about layoffs or you already lost your job, go through the list of these best recession-proof jobs again.

See what jobs suit you and start to include those jobs into your job-search. Searching for a new job and job-hunting, in general, can be challenging.

Find career opportunities for a job you enjoy by checking online job boards, (online) job fairs, vacancies, and make sure you connect with recruiters.

Finding a job or finding employment depends on the career path you want to take. Check out the available jobs that are currently trending and looking for staffing. You may find your dream job that is entirely recession-proof!

This article was originally published on RadicalFire.com and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.



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