Fastest growing Careers without a degree


Great careers in strong, fast-growing industries are available even if you don't have a Bachelor’s degree. The catch? Be prepared to compensate with good, old fashioned hard work and some post-high school training, according to our annual CareerCast review of the best jobs without a college degree.

Studies show that earning a college degree will lead to a more rewarding career financially than if you never advance beyond high school. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average median weekly salary for a worker without a degree $651, compared to $1, 108 for those with a bachelor’s degree.

They also show that spending some time in college, such as for an associate's degree, will pay off in higher earnings compared to having just a high school diploma. That average weekly median salary jumped to $777 for those gaining an associate’s degree.

Yet for job seekers who simply didn't or couldn't attend college, there are still many rewarding career opportunities available if they know where to look, including in fields such as health care, personal services and information technology.

Bill Robson has spent 35 years in IT, working both on the hardware side and in software development and analytics. He has the unique experience of both succeeding in the IT industry without a four-year degree, and has hired others with similar backgrounds.

“A person taking a non-traditional path will be at a disadvantage in the IT workspace, " says Bill Robson of Sammamish, Wash., who has excelled in the IT industry without a college degree. "But can you overcome that disadvantage? Yes. Will you need extra perseverance to do so? Most definitely, yes.”

Robson says that when he has interviewed candidates over the years for positions with ITT Corp. in Phoenix, and for jobs with Digeo Inc. in Kirkland, Wash., the job descriptions often asked for a college degree. But Robson says a work portfolio and a proven ability to excel always trumped a degree in his evaluations.

“Demonstrating skill and capability in one career path is a great indicator of being able to do so in another, and my experience with hiring applicants who did not follow a traditional Computer Science degree path has proven that point over and over again, ” Robson says.

For those trying to find a way into the IT field, Robson says that freelance and contract work offer a great way to establish a portfolio. Such work can be found on job boards targeted to the industry, such as the CareerCast IT network.

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