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Find an In-Demand Job That Pays More - Some Without Degrees!

Updated on April 3, 2018
Bradley Robbins profile image

Bradley Robbins is a tech, trade, and travel writer with a lifetime of experience with North America, Europe, and Japan.


The job market is up and we’ve moved out of the Great Recession in recent years. This means there are many opportunities out there that give you a real chance at raking in a decent income, and some don’t even require a degree. Many of these options are great for delivering meaning and fulfillment in a time when those are hard to come by, especially for those burned by a recent unemployment status. Others help you take control of your career in a highly sought-after role where you may be the linchpin of the operation. If your New Year’s resolution is to find a job that matters and still pays enough to make a difference, here’s a list of opportunities you don’t want to pass up.

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Skilled Labor

How are you with your hands? Can you build things or envision engineering projects from scratch? Are you the type of person who just has to have a hands-on experience and see projects come to life before your very eyes? Skilled laborers can draw in the kind of money that one expects with a college degree after only a few months of apprenticeship or training. Powerful unions often protect workers in these fields, and skilled workers may be invaluable to the point that companies take extra time and effort to ensure they’re treated with the utmost respect. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 193,200 new jobs are expected to be added over the next 10 years in architecture and engineering alone. Manufacturing the world around you takes a special sort of person, and jobs in this field include:

  • Electricians

  • Pipefitters

  • Riggers

  • Machinists

  • Crane Operators


Tradesmen (and Women)

Not all skilled labor takes the form of manufacturing and construction. If you’ve got the knack for it, you may be able to help others with their life goals. You may have the mind of an educator or a secret flair for fashion and beauty. Skilled workers that don’t make things can still use their organizational skills as assistants or paralegals, or put their speed and stamina to the test as emergency responders. Similar non-construction roles of this nature include:

  • Educators

  • Hygienists

  • Paramedics

  • Medical Secretaries

  • Appliance Technicians


Public Health Experts

Maybe your beliefs drive you to help others understand the importance of everything from immunizations to careful livestock handling or the importance of sustainability in the world at large. If you’ve got the drive for it, a degree in public health can get your foot in the door almost anywhere that you want to make a difference while providing a mid-career salary of approximately $100,000. That puts it ahead of many degrees in law or medicine. From the local animal shelter or mayor’s office to the World Health Organization, public health experts are highly sought after for their knowledge and expertise. If you know your calling lies in creating policies for your community, no matter how big or small, check out these opportunities:

  • Biostatisticians

  • Epidemiologists

  • Healthcare Admins

  • Environmental Scientists

  • Public Health Veterinarians


Sun and Sea Specialists

There are some jobs that just seem a natural fit for many who can’t bring themselves to don a suit and spend a third of their lives in a cubicle. Specialists at fun in the sun may not make as much as skilled laborers or public health officials, but they get paid a bonus that few other jobs can offer. Hours spent surfing, teaching others sustainable practices in a natural environment, and cleaning damaged areas or saving endangered species are all parts of both the job description and rewards for this kind of work. Traveling the world and engaging in work exchanges is more than a vacation for sun and sea specialists, whose roles include:

  • Surfing Instructors

  • Ecotourism Advisors

  • Park or Forest Rangers

  • Aquatic Conservationists

  • Sustainable Vacation Planners

No matter your current level of skill or education, there are plenty of opportunities for the burgeoning job market. You may need a few more years working with tools or spent in the classroom, or you may be able to jump right into a job that is more than a paycheck. What really matters is that you make the right choices for your needs and financial situation. These careers all have something to offer for the right person, and the training and experience you gain from them can deliver benefits for a lifetime. Work to play is okay, but finding an opportunity where work is play can make all the difference.


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