Top Ten Jobs That You Don't Need a Degree For

Written by sommer dowdell
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Top Ten Jobs That You Don't Need a Degree For
Jobs requiring a high school diploma or less have not gone the way of the dinosaur. (dinosaur image by Natalia Pavlova from

With hourly and yearly salaries ranging from minimum wage to well-above it, today's workforce is full of opportunity in the form of jobs requiring little more than a high school education or certification, and the self-motivation to seek employment either in lieu of or while in pursuit of a degree.

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Entry Level Nursing Home Workers

According to the "Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)", "47 per cent of workers in nursing and residential care facilities have a high school diploma or less, as do 20 per cent of workers in hospitals". CNA (certified nursing assistant) and dietary aide positions often require no more than a certification or on-the-job training.

Construction Workers

Although no specific educational requirements are usually needed for construction labourer jobs, according to the BLS, "apprenticeships for labourers usually require a high school diploma or the equivalent". Furthermore, skills such as "manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, good physical fitness, a good sense of balance, and an ability to work as a member of a team" are characteristics of a successful construction labourer.

Enlisted Military Personnel

According to a study on "Job Opportunities in the Armed Forces", led by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "In 2008, more than 98 per cent of recruits were high school graduates". All branches of the military usually require high school diplomas or equivalent credentials, such as a GED. Only officers and other persons entering as high ranking officials need a bachelor's degree or graduate degree.

Housekeeping/Janitorial Services Workers

With skills learnt primarily through on-the-job training, housekeeping workers require no special education. Basic mathematical skills and the ability to follow instructions are essential parts of success in this job position. Supervisors usually, according to the BLS, "have at least a high school diploma and often some college."

Commercial Truck Driver

Unless a position in management is sought, commercial truck drivers require only a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). A high school education is helpful for reading and basic mathematical comprehension, but is optional. According to the BLS, in order to obtain a CDL applicants need "a clean driving record, [to] pass several written tests on rules and regulations, and [to] demonstrate the ability to safely operate commercial trucks".

Local Law Enforcement (Police)

Most police officers obtain the experience necessary for the job in the police academy and through on-the-job training. The BLS further adds that attributes such as "honesty, sound judgment, integrity, and a sense of responsibility" take precedence over postsecondary education in this industry.

Grounds Maintenance

On-the-job training is how most grounds maintenance skills are learnt, outside of a general appreciation for maintaining pleasant outdoor aesthetics. According to the BLS, in 2008, "most workers had no education beyond high school." In lieu of a diploma, new hires are taught skills such as "planting and maintenance procedures; the operation of mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, small tractors and other equipment; and proper safety procedures".

Car Salesperson

In dealing with the public, customer service skills, in lieu of a college degree, is key to success in any retail position. According to the BLS, "Most new retail salespersons receive extensive on-the-job training, beginning with mentoring from sales managers and experienced sales workers".

Food Manufacturing (Production)

With most job functions in the food manufacturing setting being centred on machine operation, producers in this industry obtain job skills by working with more experienced workers. According to the BLS, although machine operations skills are often quickly learnt, "employees may need several years of experience before they are able to keep the equipment running smoothly, efficiently, and safely".

Water or Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

While a high school education is required to start in this field, experience is key. A study performed by the BLS, entry-level employees often start as "attendants or operators-in-training and learn their skills on the job under the direction of an experienced operator." Critical job skills are learnt by "observing and doing routine tasks such as recording meter readings". Furthermore, according to the BLS,"Larger treatment plants generally combine this on-the-job training with formal classroom or self-paced study programs".

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