10 Great Careers That Don’t Require a Four Year Degree

In the past, landing a great job with a great salary required extensive schooling. For any shot at a high-paying, prestigious job, you had to have at least a four year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. The times, however, are a-changing! Nowadays, it is possible to earn upwards of $50,000 per year or more without a bachelor’s degree under your belt. What’s more is that many of these jobs, such as those in the medical and skilled trade fields, have a severe need for employees, usually because they have no one to replace retired workers. This means that, if one of these jobs happens to be right for you, you could be all set for a brand new career. In order to get you thinking about the possibilities, we’ve listed ten awesome jobs you can land without a bachelor’s degree.

Funeral Services

There’s a saying that there are two things in life that can’t be escaped: death and taxes. As much as we don’t like to think about it, everyone dies, and until that stops (not likely!), there will be a need for morticians, undertakers, funeral directors, and others in the funeral industry. The top-paying jobs in this industry don’t require a bachelor’s degree, though they do come with some pretty awesome pay. You will need, however, to have at least an associate’s degree in a relevant area, such as mortuary science, and to be certified by your state.

Respiratory Therapist

Just as dying is something we all must do, so is breathing! If you would like to help patients who are experiencing difficulty breathing due to respiratory illnesses, diseases, or infections, then a career as a respiratory therapist could be right for you. You could work in a hospital, a rehabilitation facility, or as an in-home therapist. All you’ll need is an associate’s degree in the field and a state license. The only exception to this is Alaska, which does not require respiratory therapists to hold a license.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational therapy is therapy that involves helping people to live their lives and maintain independence after or while suffering from an injury, disease, or other illness. As an occupational therapist assistant, you wouldn’t perform all of the duties of an actual therapist, but you would help the therapist to come up with treatment plans and assist with patients. All you have to do is hold a simple two year degree in the field and, if required by your state, a license to practice.

Dental Hygienist

Everybody deserves a clean, healthy smile and, as a dental hygienist, you could help to provide just that. In this line of work, you clean teeth, meet with patients, and provide assistance to a dentist. As with most of the jobs on our list, a two year degree will suffice. Real-world experience can also be helpful when trying to land a job, as this field is somewhat competitive.

Graphic Designer

These days, graphic designers are in very high demand. They are needed to create website graphics and logos, as well as to work in the advertising and marketing sectors. In the past, only those holding bachelor’s degrees were considered for these positions, but with the demand, those holding lower-level degrees or even simple certifications stand a chance.


Many people are surprised to learn that registered nurses don’t have to complete rigorous training to do their jobs. A two-year degree can catapult you to a well-paying career that is all about helping others. You could practice in a hospital, a nursing home, a doctor’s office, a college campus—wherever! The possibilities are truly endless.


If you’ve always dreamed of a job in the legal field but didn’t want to commit to years and years of expensive schooling, then being a paralegal might just be for you. If you’re organized and capable of paying attention to detail, you could be the perfect person to provide clerical and legal assistance to an attorney, and you could make a lot of money doing it!

Police Officer

Protect the people and preserve justice as a police officer—and do it without being up to your eyeballs in college loan debt! Many police officers hold only two year degrees and complete a stint at the police academy before being given their badges.


If you like being outdoors and think you’d do well surveying and inspecting land, drawing boundaries, and things of this nature, then becoming a land surveyor might be right for you. Again, a two year degree and some experience are all you need!

Heating and Refrigeration Mechanic

Everyone wants their fridge to be cold and their heat to be hot. That’s perhaps why there is such a high demand for these positions. While you can pursue an associate’s degree in the field, a simple training or certification program is often enough to get you started.

Author Byline: Miranda Coke is a career-minded blogger and branding expert with 522 Digital. 522 Digital offers a variety of online media marketing services for businesses and organizations.

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2 thoughts on “10 Great Careers That Don’t Require a Four Year Degree

  1. Great post! I know a lot of young people who have no idea what options they have regarding careers after High School when college is not a viable option for them. Having career training options can often save them from falling by the wayside. Thanks for this post!

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