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What Are the Best Jobs for Someone Without a Degree?

For decades, it’s been thought that the best way to get the career of your dreams, to achieve success, and to make the most money was to attend college and earn a degree. And many people still believe that it’s necessary to spend four years and tens of thousands of dollars to get a degree – but that isn’t true.

Forget a college degree. You can have an exciting career and make great money without losing years of time and thousands of dollars. And there are a ton of jobs that require no degree to choose from. Here are the best jobs anyone without a degree should consider.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

The medical field is always in need of new employees with a passion for helping people, and it’s a field that pays very well. And, though it might come as a surprise, you don’t have to earn a degree of any kind in order to become part of the medical world as a nuclear medicine technologist.

A nuclear medicine technologist helps detect radiation in patients’ bodies. When a patient needs a body scan, like an MRI, that includes radioactive injections, the nuclear medicine technologist is the person who administers the injections and helps with the scanning procedure.

U.S. News reports that these medical professionals make an average annual salary of $74,350 – and job openings are expected to grow by the thousands in the years ahead. Instead of a degree, interested applicants just need to be educated and trained in a certificate program that usually takes just 12 months to complete.


Paralegals are an important player in both courtrooms and law offices. While it takes years and an advanced degree to become a lawyer, becoming a paralegal is as easy as taking community college courses.

A paralegal is an attorney’s assistant – but they’re a very involved assistant. Paralegals help in every aspect of legal cases, from filing important paperwork to summarizing cases to preparing a court case. They can even specialize in different areas of law, like criminal or family law. And paralegals earn an average salary of $49,500 each year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS also projects the need for paralegals to grow by 15 percent in the coming years. You’ll enjoy job stability and a great wage as a paralegal, and you only need a little knowledge to get started. Some paralegals dive right in without experience, while others take short months-long certificate courses.

MRI Technologist

Another excellent job in the medical field for those without a degree is the role of a MRI technologist. An MRI machine requires special knowledge to prepare and operate, and only those who are specially trained are qualified to do so. MRI technologists help scan patients’ body parts and provide reports and imaging for doctors to diagnose the patients.

Fortunately, learning the ins and outs of the job of an MRI technologist is easy and requires far less than a traditional college degree program. Interested individuals can take special courses that teach MRI-only knowledge at a local community college and earn a certificate – or an associate’s degree – if they’d like.

Once on the job, the BLS reports that MRI technologists earn an average annual salary of $68,420. Always in demand as the population ages and more medical help is needed, MRI technologists will enjoy a steady job with no worries about security.

Web Developer

If you enjoy working with computers, coding your own websites, and running site maintenance or diagnosing problems, you’ll love the challenging and exciting tasks of a career as a web developer. Web developers design and create websites, building engaging sites for individuals, businesses, and even large companies.

Web developers earn an average salary of $66,130, U.S. News reports, and have a very low unemployment rate of 5.2 percent. With websites central to just about every industry, web developers are sure to have a steady stream of work whether they’re working for a company or designing websites independently.

The best part about becoming a web developer? You don’t need any kind of formal education or training. Many web developers are self-taught, learning the skills and information they need online and through self-testing. If you’d like, you can even take community college courses on web development, or pursue a certificate or associate’s degree, but it’s entirely your choice.

Police Officer

One of the most important figures in any city or community, police officers are key in keeping people safe, laws intact, and crimes at bay. From arrests to traffic violations, city patrolling to helping those in need, a police officer is always engaged in something new and always defending and protecting others. And you don’t need a four-year degree in order to join your local law enforcement team as a police officer yourself.

To become a police officer, there are a few options. Each police department has different requirements, but interested future officers often attend a police academy for training or get on-the-job training before officially beginning work.

The BLS reports that police officers are never out of work with a 0.3 percent unemployment rate and an average annual income of $59,680. As officers become more experienced and earn promotions, they can increase their opportunities and income year after year.

Exciting Careers Are Possible With No Degree

While many people may still think a degree is the tool that gets you a good career and a great life, a degree isn’t the only way to enjoy success and satisfaction. There are plenty of great opportunities available for those who don’t hold degrees – and some are even more stable, more lucrative, and more exciting. Don’t let a lack of a degree hold you back. Instead, consider one of these top careers, or one of the many others waiting for new recruits.

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