While a college education can increase lifetime earning potential, it isn’t a wise investment for everyone. If you aren’t sure about college, it may be best to wait about making a decision. Luckily, there are several high demand jobs that don’t require a college degree. You may actually be at an advantage in certain fields, since more job seekers have college educations and are competing for the jobs that require degrees. Some jobs to consider if you aren’t sure about college:
Occupational Therapy Aides – 41% Growth*
Occupational therapy aides provide support to occupational therapists. Their duties typically include preparing treatment areas, patient record preparation and maintenance, scheduling, and other clerical duties. Occupational therapy aides should not be confused with occupational therapy assistants. Therapy assistants have more involvement with actual therapy, and typically possess a two year degree. Therapy aides, on the other hand, do not need a college degree and provide more administrative support. Occupational therapy aides earned a median annual salary of $27,430 in 2010.
Brickmasons – 40% Growth
A trade that is often overlooked, masonry provides a multitude of job opportunities for those with the right mental and physical attributes. Brickmasons use bricks, blocks and stones to create a variety of structures. Though brickmasons and stonemasons have physically demanding jobs, the pay is good compared to other jobs that don’t require a college degree. Most brickmasons learn the trade through formal apprenticeships. The median annual pay for brickmasons in 2010 was $45,410.
Pharmacy Technicians – 32% Growth
Pharmacy technicians have a variety of responsibilities within a pharmacy. They help pharmacists to dispense medication accurately and efficiently. Some duties include answering calls, labeling prescriptions, compounding medications, counting tablets, and maintaining insurance paperwork. In order to qualify for the job, candidates must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Pharmacy technicians earned a median annual salary of $28,400 in 2010.
Medical Assistant – 31% Growth
Medical assistants assist healthcare practitioners with a variety of clinical and administrative tasks. Some responsibilities include scheduling, assisting with examinations, medical coding, and basic laboratory work. Moderate on-the-job training is required. Median pay for medical assistants in 2010 was $28,860.
Dental Assistants – 31% Job Growth
Job duties for dental assistants vary depending on the particular employer and state in which the assistant works. Dental assistants may prepare treatment areas, clean dental tools, and help dentists during procedures. Requirements for job qualification also vary from state to state. Some states require that dental assistants graduate from an accredited training program, while others require no formal training. Dental assistants earned a median annual salary of $33,470 in 2010.
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics – 33% Growth
Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics respond to emergency calls, providing first-line medical care and helping transport sick and injured to hospitals. They also create reports and provide critical patient information to hospital staff. Paramedics differ from EMT’s in that they can generally provide more complex care to patients. Although no degree is required, all EMT’s and paramedics must complete formal training and must be licensed. EMT’s and paramedics earned a median annual salary of $$30,360.
HVAC Mechanics and Installers – 34% Growth
HVAC technicians work on heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration units. Work can be physically demanding and may require tolerance of extreme temperatures. Most HVAC technicians complete an apprenticeship or formal training program. A license is required in some states. HVAC technicians earned a median annual salary of $42,530 in 2010.
Licensed Practical Nurses – 22% Growth
Licensed practical nurses (also called LPN’s or LVN’s) work under the direction of registered nurses, providing basic care such as changing bandages and checking blood pressure. They may work in hospitals, nursing homes, or physician offices. Prospective LPN’s must complete a post-secondary training program and obtain a license in order to become qualified. In 2010, licensed practical nurses earned a median annual salary of $40,380.
As the jobs above prove, the key to job security is to possess skills and traits employers. Learning those valuable job skills doesn’t have to occur in a classroom, and may in fact be better when accomplished on-the-job. Unlike learning in school, you’ll be getting paid and gaining valuable work experience.
*All growth statistics and salary information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013