25 best jobs that don't require a college degree

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Not all great jobs require costly degrees.

Fantastic careers exist for workers who've never completed college. These 25 jobs, which all placed high in the U.S. News 2017 Best Jobs rankings, offer high pay, great work-life balance and low unemployment. While some of these jobs require some formal post-secondary training, such as an associate degree or professional certification, none necessitate a college degree.

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25 best jobs that don't require a college degree
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25 best jobs that don't require a college degree

25. Maintenance and Repair Worker

Median Salary: $36,630
Unemployment Rate: 4.2 percent
Expected Job Openings: 83,500

These jacks-of-all-trades take care of a range of duties, from electrical work to plumbing and painting.

Learn more about maintenance and repair workers.

24. Veterinary Technologist and Technician

Median Salary: $31,800
Unemployment Rate: 1.8 percent
Expected Job Openings: 17,900

These animal aficionados handle lab work, assist with surgeries and tackle other tasks related to animal health care.

Learn more about veterinary technologist and technicians.

23. Personal Care Aide

Median Salary: $20,980
Unemployment Rate: 7.5 percent
Expected Job Openings: 458,100

These health care specialists help patients with chronic illnesses, disabilities and other ailments complete everyday tasks.

Learn more about personal care aides.

22. Medical Assistant

Median Salary: $30,590
Unemployment Rate: 3.3 percent
Expected Job Openings: 138,900

Medical assistants work in doctors' offices, pitching in with clerical work and basic medical tasks.

Learn more about medical assistants.

21. Insurance Sales Agent

Median Salary: $48,200
Unemployment Rate: 2.3 percent
Expected Job Openings: 43,500

These professionals are insurance know-it-alls who sell a range of policies, including auto, health, home and life insurance, as well as various commercial products.

Learn more about insurance agents.

20. MRI Technologist

Median Salary: $67,720
Unemployment Rate: 1.4 percent
Expected Job Openings: 3,500

MRI technologists operate machines that use magnetic fields and radio waves to take images of patients' organs and other internal parts.

Learn more about MRI technologists.

19. Medical Secretary

Median Salary: $33,040
Unemployment Rate: 3.8 percent
Expected Job Openings: 108,200

Medical secretaries manage the traffic in and out of a doctor's office, maintaining records and collecting insurance information.

Learn more about medical secretaries.

18. Physical Therapist Aide

Median Salary: $25,120
Unemployment Rate: 4 percent
Expected Job Openings: 19,500

These professionals support physical therapists and physical therapy assistants, often taking on some of the less-skilled work, including sanitizing treatment areas and performing office tasks.

Learn more about physical therapist aides.

17. Medical Records Technician

Median Salary: $37,110
Unemployment Rate: 2.4 percent
Expected Job Openings: 29,000

These detail-oriented employees work in hospitals, doctors' offices and other health care centers to organize and manage health information data.

Learn more about medical records technicians.

16. Wind Turbine Technician

Median Salary: $51,050
Unemployment Rate: 5.1 percent
Expected Job Openings: 4,800

These workers inspect, perform maintenance and complete repairs on wind turbines.

Learn more about wind turbine service technicians.

15. Home Health Aide

Median Salary: $21,920
Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent
Expected Job Openings: 348,400

Home health aides help patients manage day-to-day tasks and are in growing demand as baby boomers age.

Learn more about home health aides.

14. Computer Support Specialist

Median Salary: $62,250
Unemployment Rate: 3.7 percent
Expected Job Openings: 88,800

These specialists come to the rescue to diagnose and troubleshoot computer problems.

Learn more about computer support specialists. 

13. Clinical Laboratory Technician

Median Salary: $38,970
Unemployment Rate: 1.9 percent
Expected Job Openings: 29,000

Working under the supervision of technologists, clinical laboratory technicians analyze lab work and perform other behind-the-scenes tasks.

Learn more about clinical laboratory technicians.

12. Hearing Aid Specialist

Median Salary: $49,600
Unemployment Rate: 1.4 percent
Expected Job Openings: 1,600

These professionals specialize in selecting, fitting and maintaining hearing-loss devices.

Learn more about hearing aid specialists.

11. Radiation Therapist

Median Salary: $80,220
Unemployment Rate: 1.7 percent
Expected Job Openings: 2,300

These medical professionals may need just a 12-month certificate or associate degree to get started in radiation therapy, which involves the use of radiation to treat cancer. 

Learn more about radiation therapists. 

(Photo by Laura McDermott for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

10. Optician

Median Salary: $34,840
Unemployment Rate: 1.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 17,800

Staffed in stores, private practices and health care centers, these workers help patients select and fit eyewear.

Learn more about opticians.

9. Cardiovascular Technologist

Median Salary: $54,880
Unemployment Rate: 1.4 percent
Expected Job Openings: 11,500

Cardiovascular technologists conduct tests on patients to help diagnose heart-related conditions.

Learn more about cardiovascular technologists.

8. Occupational Therapy Aide

Median Salary: $27,800
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 2,700

These aides typically assist occupational therapists by performing administrative duties, cleaning or other tasks.

Learn more about occupational therapy aides.

7. Massage Therapist

Median Salary: $38,040
Unemployment Rate: 2 percent
Expected Job Openings: 36,500

Massage therapists reduce and relieve pain and unwind tense muscles using a variety of techniques.

Learn more about massage therapists.

6. Physical Therapist Assistant

Median Salary: $55,170
Unemployment Rate: 4 percent
Expected Job Openings: 31,900

PTAs work with physical therapists to help patients regain movement and mobility after an injury or illness.

Learn more about physical therapist assistants.

5. Respiratory Therapist

Median Salary: $57,790
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 14,900

These medical professionals provide care and treatment for patients with heart and lung problems, including those with asthma, chronic bronchitis and sleep apnea. 

Learn more about respiratory therapists.

4. Dental Hygienist

Median Salary: $72,330
Unemployment Rate: 1.2 percent
Expected Job Openings: 37,400

Dental hygienists typically work in dental offices, cleaning teeth and educating patients on how to brush and floss properly.

Learn more about dental hygienists.

3. Web Developer

Median Salary: $64,970
Unemployment Rate: 3.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 39,500

Web developers build websites, working with software applications or writing code to finish the job.

Learn more about web developers.

2. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Median Salary: $68,970
Unemployment Rate: 0.4 percent
Expected Job Openings: 16,000

These health care specialists use sonography equipment to capture images for a number of medical purposes, from finding out the gender of a baby to imaging tumors.

Learn more about diagnostic medical sonographers.

1. Occupational Therapy Assistant

Median Salary: $57,870
Unemployment Rate: 0.6 percent
Expected Job Openings: 14,100

OTAs specialize in working with occupational therapists to help patients relearn daily tasks after an injury or illness.

Learn more about occupational therapy assistants.

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Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report


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