The Best Jobs That Require An Associates Degree Or Less

Some people enjoy everything about college life, while others would rather head straight into the workforce. There are also people who are okay with attending college but don’t want to spend four years to obtain a degree. In today’s work world, you don’t need a college degree to earn a good living. In the slides to come, we outline the top jobs that don’t require a college degree or simply an associate’s degree at most.

Paramedic

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Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

It doesn’t matter if you call yourself a paramedic or emergency medical technician, nothing changes the fact that this fast-paced job allows you to help others. Your primary responsibility is to respond to emergency calls for help, and then transport patients to the hospital when necessary.

While this career doesn’t require a college degree, you will need to complete a training program and obtain a license. The average salary of a paramedic ranges from $33,000 to $47,000 based on the state in which you work.

Web Developer

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JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images
JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images

When you work as a web developer, there is no shortage of tasks you can tackle. From developing websites and apps to training others in your industry, you can take your career in a variety of directions. You can work as a freelance web developer, for an agency, or for an individual company.

The average salary of a web developer is $69,000 per year, but you have the opportunity to earn more than this if you branch out on your own.

Respiratory Therapist

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Dr.KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images
Dr.KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

There are millions of people who have trouble breathing for one reason or the next. As a respiratory therapist, you can help everyone from people with asthma to those suffering from lung cancer. While an associate’s degree is required, you’ll be glad that you have it once you’re ready to enter the workforce.

On average, a respiratory therapist earns $57k per year. With a salary like that, it’s easy to see why so many people are forgoing a bachelor’s degree program to follow this career path.

Dental Hygienist

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Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

It’s not the same as working as a dentist, but it’s the next best thing – especially if you don’t want to attend college. As a dental hygienist, you’re responsible for tasks such as cleaning patients’ teeth, sharing basic knowledge on dental health, and prepping them to see the dentist.

With an associate’s degree, you can secure a job as a dental hygienist earning anywhere from $60k to $80k per year on average.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

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BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As a diagnostic medical sonographer, you’re skilled at using specialized equipment to create images of the body’s organs. You’ll do this to help doctors diagnose diseases, such as cancer.

You may also do it to track the health and well being of fetuses. While an associate’s degree is required, the fast-paced and rewarding nature of the job is a trade-off most people make. And of course, you don’t want to forget about the average salary of $69k to $83k.

Landscaper

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Andreas Arnold/picture alliance via Getty Images
Andreas Arnold/picture alliance via Getty Images

It doesn’t matter if you work for a landscaping company or start your own business, there is a lot of opportunity in this field. Maybe you specialize in mowing lawns. Or maybe landscaping installation is more your thing.

You don’t need a college degree, and when it comes to your income the sky is the limit. All you need is the desire to work outdoors, some knowledge of landscaping, a willingness to get your hands dirty. Does that sound like you?

Physical Therapist Assistant

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CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP
CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

While a physical therapist assistant is a step below a physical therapist, landing a job in this capacity doesn’t require nearly as much education. In fact, an associate’s degree is all you need in order to become a PT assistant.

In this role, you’ll work alongside a physical therapist to help patients recover from injuries and medical procedures. Physical therapist assistants are well compensated for the work they do, with an average salary range of $49k to $60k.

Home Health Aide

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FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP via Getty Images
FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP via Getty Images

Much the same as a personal care assistant, a home health aide visits patients in their home to assist them in a variety of ways. However, while a personal care aide assists with daily living tasks, such as bathing and laundry, a home health aide checks vital signs, administers medication, and helps with exercising – and that’s just the start.

A high school diploma is required, and home health aides typically earn $12/hour to start.

Plumber

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Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

As a plumber, you can work for a variety of employers. For example, there are opportunities available with plumbing companies, home builders, schools, medical facilities, and commercial buildings. No college degree is required, but certification at a trade or technical school can help you land a job.

From installing pipes to fixing common plumbing problems, no two days are the same. Pay varies greatly and is based largely on experience, location, and the employer, but the average plumber earns between $40k and $55k per year.

Electrician

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SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images
SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images

You don’t need a college degree to become an electrician. Instead, a trade school education is good enough. When combined with an apprenticeship, it won’t be long before you’re comparing a variety of available jobs in this field.

Also, it’s important to note the strong job outlook for this career field, with growth expected to be 10 percent faster than average through 2028. Combine this with a median pay of $55,190 per year, and it’s easy to see why so many people are excited in this career path.

Hairdresser

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Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images
Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images

You don’t have to spend any time in college to become a hairdresser. Instead, a stint in cosmetology school will put you on the right path to realizing all your career dreams. With the right certification, you can work for a salon or start your own business.

Either way, the sky is the limit as to how large you grow your clientele. A flexible work schedule combined with median pay in the $25k range has many people considering this career path.

Security Officer

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Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

You can work as a security officer in a variety of settings, ranging from shopping malls to grocery stores to commercial buildings. With no college degree required, you can get your start in no time at all. All it takes is a high school diploma and the ability to receive all your clearances.

The median pay of a security officer is approximately $27k, but earning in upwards of $35k is not out of the question depending on experience and the employer.

Medical Assistant

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RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Medical assistants are in high demand, so this is one of the best career paths for anyone who doesn’t want to earn a bachelor’s degree but is interested in working in the medical field. You can complete a training program or earn an associate’s degree to qualify yourself for this career path.

Job responsibilities include checking in patients, taking vital signs, and maintaining patient charts. The median pay of a medical assistant is approximately $32,500.

Medical Secretary

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Are you interested in working in the medical industry, but don’t want to spend years on end in college? If so, becoming a medical secretary could be right for you. In this role, you’re responsible for preparing reports for doctors, transcribing notes, and communicating with patients from time to time.

You only need a high school degree to become a medical secretary, but some special training is typically required to help you learn the medical lingo. Medical secretaries earn an average of $40,700 per year.

Phlebotomist

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Donat SorokinTASS via Getty Images
Donat SorokinTASS via Getty Images

Are you comfortable being around blood and interacting directly with patients? If not, this career path is a bad decision. However, if you’re okay with this, becoming a phlebotomist is an idea to consider. You’ll draw blood for lab tests, donations, and research among other reasons.

Best yet, you can work in a lab, hospital, or office setting. Once you complete the necessary program, you can expect to earn an average of $15 per hour.

Massage Therapist

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ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images
ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images

As a massage therapist, you’ll work directly with individuals to ease tension, relax, and heal a variety of injuries. Even though you have to complete a training program and obtain (and maintain) a license, you can become a massage therapist within a matter of months. From there, you can open your own massage parlor or work for an existing one.

A world of opportunity lies ahead, along with an average salary ranging from $42,000 to $59,000 depending on location.

Personal Care Assistant

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Mikhail TereshchenkoTASS via Getty Images
Mikhail TereshchenkoTASS via Getty Images

Many elderly and sick individuals require daily care in order to live their best life. And that’s where a personal care assistant comes into play. In this job, you’re responsible for helping people carry out daily tasks, such as doing laundry, bathing, and cleaning up around the home.

A high school diploma is typically all that is required to become a personal care assistant. The average pay for this position is in the $11/hour range.

Web Designer

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SEYLLOU/AFP via Getty Images
SEYLLOU/AFP via Getty Images

While many people in the web design field attended college, it’s not required. If you have the skills that employers covet, you can land a job regardless of your education level. Furthermore, you also have the opportunity to work as a freelancer, thus giving you more control over your career path.

The average annual salary of a web designer is $50k, but the top players in the industry earn well into the six figures.

Freelance Content Writer

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David Brewster/Star Tribune via Getty Images
David Brewster/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Do you enjoy writing? Why not get paid for it? The myth of the “starving writer” is no more, thanks to the opportunity to earn big-time money online. It doesn’t matter if you work as a freelance content writer or secure a full-time job with a traditional employer, you can earn a good living while doing what you love.

And best yet, you don’t have to receive any formal training in a college setting. If you can write, you can write!

Entrepreneur

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Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

You don’t need a college degree to become an entrepreneur. In fact, many of the world’s top entrepreneurs never went to college or dropped out before earning a degree. If you enjoy working for yourself and building things from the ground up, this may be the career path for you.

Build a new widget, launch the next big thing in social media, or find a way to help others. As long as you’re taking action, you’re on the right path.