No College, No Problem: 5 Careers That Don’t Require a Bachelor’s Degree

by Krantcents · 35 comments

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As a high school student interested in helping others in a medical setting, becoming a physician may seem like a logical choice. However, after completing an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school and several years of residency, many med school grads are left with crippling debt and shockingly high malpractice insurance payments.

Fortunately, the healthcare industry offers numerous jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree. This approach gives you the opportunity to work in a medical setting without the lengthy, expensive training that comes with medical school.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are on the front lines of making a patient’s visit as pleasant and efficient as possible. These health care workers schedule appointments, facilitate medication requests, process patient referrals, maintain patient files and take medical histories. Many medical assistants receive training in basic medical procedures, including checking patients’ vitals, swabbing throats for strep tests or drawing blood. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for medical assistants was $28,860 in May 2010, although top earners may receive more than $40,000. Completing a two-year medical assistant associate degree program increases salary and job prospects.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians work under pharmacists to package and label prescriptions, mix medications, take health information from customers and process payments. Although pharmacists must review all prescriptions given to the customer, the pharmacy technician is essential to making the process go smoothly. According to the Penn Foster pharmacy technician program, demand for these health care professionals is expected to grow 32 percent by 2020. Pharmacy technicians employed in hospitals make an average annual salary of $32,400, reports the Bureau of Labor Services.

Ultrasound Technician

Ultrasound technicians, or diagnostic medical sonographers, obtain ultrasound images used to diagnose a variety of conditions. Although radiologists make the actual diagnosis, sonographers must analyze images, record findings and provide high-quality patient care. Most ultrasound technicians complete an associate degree or post-secondary certificate. The average salary is $64,380, with an expected job growth of 44 percent by the year 2020.

Registered Nurse

Registered nurses work in a variety of medical settings, including hospitals, nursing care facilities, clinics and schools. RNs take medical histories, provide basic treatments, operate medical equipment, perform diagnostic tests and teach patients how to manage their conditions. An associate’s degree in nursing is the entry level degree for an RN position. On average, nurses make $64,690 per year. Many states are facing nursing shortages, making this a strong career for future growth.

Dental Hygienist

When you visit the dental office for a routine visit, much of your time is spent with a dental hygienist. These health care workers operate X-ray equipment, clean teeth, check for common signs of gum disease or oral cancer, and teach patients proper oral hygiene. Most dental hygienists work in dentist offices, and the Bureau of Labor Services reports that many have flexible scheduling opportunities. Although some schools offer bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene, most hygienists hold an associate degree. Dental hygienists make an average of $68,250 per year. Job demand is expected to grow 38 percent by 2020, making dental hygiene an attractive option for those looking for a medical career that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree.

Guest author: Tara Chapman

Tara is a law student and movie buff.

Photo by:  Flicker


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Clarisse @MakeMoney Your Way November 7, 2013 at 1:31 am

My younger sister is taking up Nursing, my aunt is a nurse from Australia and she really advise us that my sister should take up that course because of the strong demand. And my brother in law finished his dental technician course for 2 years and right now he is working in a firm dental lab.

Krantcents November 7, 2013 at 6:45 am

My wife has been a Registered Nurse for 40+ years. Great career.

Holly@ClubThrifty November 7, 2013 at 5:14 am

My mother-in-law is a dental hygienist and she makes over $70,000 per year with an associate’s degree. I think that’s really awesome career choice if that is a field you’re interested in.

Krantcents November 7, 2013 at 6:46 am

There are lots of great careers out there, you just need the skills and desire.

Levi B @ Wealthnote November 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm

College isn’t for everyone and these jobs prove you don’t have to be a college grad to be successful. That is why it is so important to figure out what you want to do before you go to school. I made the mistake of going to school just to get a degree when I could have used that time to be farther in my marketing career.

Krantcents November 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Education is no longer a direct route to success. You still need to do something with it.

Untemplater November 7, 2013 at 11:16 pm

I know several people who are ultrasound technicians and registered nurses. In their cases, they actually did get college degrees and just decided to go for career changes into the medical field later on.

Krantcents November 8, 2013 at 6:48 am

My wife is a RN and she loves her career.

Donny Gamble November 8, 2013 at 11:32 am

I know that becoming a certified nursing assistant is another popular career because nurses continue to be in demand. Other great careers are social media and Internet Marketing consultant, but those do require experience.

Krantcents November 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Most of the high paying jobs are in medical or technology fields. A little research will yield even more choices.

dojo November 9, 2013 at 8:07 am

These jobs are paying REALLY WELL. And the fact you end your studies with less debt is really a big boost.

Krantcents November 9, 2013 at 8:44 am

The key to success in any profession is finding something you like to do because you will be good at it. If you are good at it, you will be compensated well.

getrichwithme November 11, 2013 at 6:23 am

The cost of doing a 3 year degree in the UK is now approaching £50,000 ($80,000)
Its one heck of a millstone to hang round a youngsters neck.

Krantcents November 11, 2013 at 8:42 am

The cost of education after high school is going up faster than inflation! Alternative careers are sometimes a good choice.

Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter November 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

In Canada, RNs definitely need their Bachelor’s, but there are other “nurses” that don’t (ie Licensed Practical Nurses). Lots of trades don’t need degrees either. My fiance is a Carpenter and while he did go to trades school, it was a apprenticeship type program.

Krantcents November 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm

There are many careers that do not need a college degree, but they need some training beyond high school.

Jacob November 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm

My mother-in-law is a hygenist, great job and very high pay hourly. Has worked out well, as she as with a flexible dentist who allowed her to work part-time and be home with her family as much as possible.

Krantcents November 12, 2013 at 6:58 am

Many of the medical jobs have flexible hours. My wife is an RN and was able to work part time when our children was young.

Tie the Money Knot November 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm

While I generally think that getting at least a bachelors degree should be standard practice these days, this does go to show that some folks can do well for themselves regardless. It comes down to supply and demand for skills!

Krantcents November 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm

there are electrician unions begging for people who have math skills. You can become a journeyman electrician and earn $65K (Los Angeles) in about 5 years. No debt and a great career. You can then become a contractor and make even more. There are lots of careers like this out there.

Alexis Marlons November 17, 2013 at 8:32 am

I would love to try as medical assistant. This seems a very easy and fulfilling job.

Krantcents November 17, 2013 at 11:31 am

If you are interested, it is a t least worth investigating. Go for it!

Financial Samurai November 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm

You forgot the best profession of all: BLOGGER!


Krantcents November 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

True, but a blogger is self employed.

coursesonlinemedical November 19, 2013 at 7:09 am

Wow…these informations are beneficial for those people who are thinking their career in medical field…:)

Krantcents November 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I think it is relevant to all job seekers, particularly those who are still in high school or have not found a career.

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