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15 Jobs You Can Land Without College

Updated: Nov. 27, 2022

Not all career paths include a college campus. No college degree? Consider these jobs for which higher education isn't a prerequisite.

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Mean annual wage: $43, 410

Welding involves using extremely high heat to melt and fuse pieces of metal together permanently. About two-thirds of welding jobs are in manufacturing industries. Many employers report difficulty filling positions requiring knowledge of the latest technologies. These are the most stressful jobs in America.

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Mean annual wage: $30, 490

Opportunities in this field are expected to grow faster than average as aging baby boomers seek coloring treatments and other advanced services. Many stylists enjoy flexible hours, and more than 40 percent are self-employed.

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Animal Caretaker

Mean annual wage: $25, 170

Bathing, grooming, feeding, and exercising animals are among the tasks of workers employed by kennels, pet stores, shelters, zoos and individual households. Job prospects are promising, as the companion pet population is expected to continue growing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Tree Faller

Mean annual wage: $46, 930

A physically-demanding occupation, fallers cut down trees using chainsaws or mobile felling machines. They use knowledge of tree characteristics and cutting techniques to control the direction of its fall and minimize tree damage. Fallers train on the job through logging companies and trade associations, with safety instruction being a top concern. The state with the highest demand for fallers is Oregon.

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Security Guard

Mean annual wage: $30, 730

Concerns about crime, vandalism, and terrorism continue to increase the need for guards at an average rate. Most states require licensure that involves a background check and some classroom training, with more stringent requirements for armed guards. Duties may include using monitoring equipment, checking identification and searching vehicles. Check out 18 of the most dangerous jobs around the world.

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Tile and Marble Setter

Mean annual wage: $46, 370

Setters apply tile and marble to floors, walls, ceilings, countertops, and patios. Trainees progress from carrying materials to cutting tile and applying grout. Most salaried setters are employed by contractors working on nonresidential projects, while most self-employed setters work on residential projects. Working in a commercial environment may even mean having to work on the weekends.

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Pest Control Worker

Mean annual wage: $36, 610

Both residences and businesses rely on exterminators to rid structures of bugs, rodents, and other pests. Through a combination of study and on-the-job training, pest control workers learn how to set traps, safely use pesticides and identify points of entry. Jobs are more plentiful in warmer climates and larger cities with Atlanta, GA being the city with the highest employment of pest control workers. If you like being in charge of yourself, these are the best jobs where you can be your own boss.

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School Bus Driver

Mean annual wage: $43, 290

All bus drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license with proper endorsements, which requires a skills test of operating a bus safely and a knowledge test on rules and regulations. A clean record is important, and liking children is helpful. Sometimes training can last from one to three months.

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Mean annual wage: $29, 700

Groundskeepers perform a variety of tasks, including sod laying, mowing, trimming, planting, watering, fertilizing, digging, raking, and sprinkler installing. The most groundskeepers are employed by landscaping firms, the governments, or are self-employed. The field is expected to grow faster than average. You would never believe these weird jobs that you can actually apply for.

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Telecommunications Line Installer

Mean annual wage: $56, 340

Employed by construction contractors, utilities, and telecommunications companies, installers put in new cable to provide telephone, television and Internet connections to businesses and residences. Much of the work takes place outside and can involve heights and confined spaces. Formal apprenticeships, sometimes lasting three years, are common.

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Customer Service

Mean annual wage: $35, 650

Nearly every business and industry needs representatives to help with customer inquiries. Reps may provide information online, by phone or in person. Training focuses on the company and its products, the most commonly asked questions, system operation and communication skills. Bilingual reps are particularly in demand. If you didn’t go to college, that’s OK because these are jobs you can secure without a college diploma.

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sell, technology and consumption concept - hand pushing button on vending machine operation panel
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Coin, Vending, and Amusement Machine Service

Mean annual wage: $35, 290

Servicers install, maintain, stock and repair slot machines, food and beverage machines, jukeboxes, arcade games and other similar machines. Not surprisingly, the metropolitan area with the second highest employment level in this occupation is Las Vegas. The first is New York.

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closeup of locksmith hands using pick tools to open locked door


Mean annual wage: $42, 730

Locksmiths install and repair locks and other devices to safeguard homes, businesses, and property. They also make duplicate keys, generate new keys to replace lost ones and respond to emergency calls to open doors that have been locked accidentally. These are the most unusual high-paying jobs that might not be for everybody.

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Male bar tender pouring wine in glasses at bar counter


Mean annual wage: $26, 260

Besides filling drink orders, bartenders check the identification of customers and maintain an inventory of bar supplies. With tips being a substantial part of earnings, good people skills are a plus. Also, you don’t even need a high school diploma to get mixing!

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a plumber at work in a bathroom
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Mean annual wage: $57, 070

One of the largest and highest paid construction occupations, plumbers install and repair the water, waste disposal and drainage systems in residential and commercial buildings. Plumbers also install bathtubs, showers, sinks, toilets, dishwashers, waste disposers and water heaters. Licensure typically requires two to five years of experience and passing a test covering the trade and local codes.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest