Professions You Can Practice Without a University Degree

Every graduation season, universities advertise the “amazing” careers their graduates could land after completing a degree. This leads to many young people being forced to believe that their chances of landing a decent paying job are minimal without a university degree.

In the rush to seek employment, the recent grads will have faith in their degrees to land them a decent job. The harsh reality of unemployment sinks in when the graduates realize that it takes more than a degree to get a job.

You were probably raised up in a family where you grew up knowing that to get anywhere in the job market, you need a four-year degree. Well, times have changed. Diplomas and degrees are no longer a prerequisite to cultivate a happy and successful career. This is because requirements and skill sets vary from one industry to another and there are several options for career paths even for the less educated.

A recent report by Careercast pointed out a number of well-paying vocational jobs that don’t need a university degree or college diploma. Decent jobs for less-educated workers used to be found only in the industrial sector.

In recent years, trends have changed and jobs have shifted into skill-based industries like service jobs, hospitality and health care. Besides providing middle-class wages, these skilled trades also offer employment growth. A majority of these career options, however, involve intensive training.

University tuition fees are continuously increasing and not everyone can afford four years of college. If you lack the finances or opportunity to get a university education, instead of focusing on what you are missing, you can divert your time and energy into getting a job that does not require a degree. Most of these vocational jobs can be obtained by undergoing certifications, online courses and apprenticeship programs.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that on average, an employee with a Bachelor degree earns approximately $1,000/week whereas those with an Associate degree earn approximately $785. Employees with college education make $727/week while those with a high school diploma make an average of $625/week. From the numbers, it is evident that employees with 4-years degrees typically earn more in their entire careers. As you have seen, you can still earn some decent money even without a degree.

Some of the popular vocational jobs that don’t need a 4-year degree include a plumber, web developer, electrician, real estate sales agent, electrician, locksmith and chef just to mention a few. It is worth mentioning that succeeding in the mentioned skilled trades is not as easy as most people perceive. You need some additional training and core competencies before you are cleared for a job of your choice. An employer will first like to see whether the job applicant has the core competencies to fulfill the task ahead.

If you are ready to head right into the job field after high school, we have prepared a list of 10 vocational jobs that don’t need a university degree and the Median Annual Salary for each. It is time to shun societal expectations and parental pressure and embrace skilled trades. The goal is to get a job that makes you happy and aiming to advance your career. Do not let having no university degree be an excuse for not going after your dream job. Remember: fortune favors the brave.

1. App Developer ($75,660)

The internet has revolutionized how we do things and its increased use has opened up opportunities for employment. An app developer is tasked with the job of creating, designing and modifying apps.

App developers take into consideration app owners’ specific needs to implement performance, graphics, content and capacity of different views. Based on Outsource2EU “To be an app developer, you must be acquainted with programming languages and the latest trends and tools for developing applications. You can get these certifications from a local community college or start learning online”.

Employers in the IT sector are more concerned with practical skills rather than formal qualifications. The advantage of being a web developer is that you can work from the comfort of your home.

2. Locksmith ($50,126)

While many people stream through institutions of higher learning to compete for white collar jobs, traditional trades like Locksmithing have witnessed a shortage of new arrivals for some years now.

As a locksmith, you will deal with installing, repairing and adjusting locks on safes, cars, doors, windows and anything else that involves locks and keys. To capture a handsome pay in this field, it is advisable to open up your own business instead of working for somebody.

Once you have built a reputation, the customers will start coming in droves. No formal training is required to be a locksmith, but working with an experienced locksmith for at least a year would definitely hone your skills and get you ready for running your business. You can alternatively take classes at a community college.

3. Dance Instructor ($61,300)

If you have a dancing talent, it makes sense to monetize it especially if you lack tertiary education. There are many individuals who have quit well-paying jobs to pursue their passion. As an instructor, you will be able to able to share your skills with students from all walks of life. This is another career that doesn’t need a university degree to excel in.

It is advisable to network with like-minded individuals in your industry to perfect your skills and widen your scope. You can make extra cash by performing at events such as weddings, festivals and conferences.

4. Paralegal ($46,680)

A paralegal is an individual trained in subsidiary legal affairs tasked with the responsibility of assisting lawyers. Paralegals assist by conducting additional research to support court proceedings, preparing legal documents, formulating defenses, investigating facts, and initiating legal actions among other duties.

As a paralegal, you can also be employed or retained by a corporation, law office, or a government agency. If you are interested in law and relish the idea of being paid to do paralegal duties, you can earn a certificate in paralegal studies from a community college.

Before climbing the ranks, you may have to start off as a file clerk with a small firm and work your way up gradually to become a business lawyer.

5. Records Manager ($65,200)

No one knows you better than yourself. If you feel like you are detail-oriented and exceptionally organized, a records manager job might be just what you need to make a living. A record manager is tasked with the responsibility of supervising and organizing documents.

There are many fields that require the services of a records manager, including business and educational institutions. To get this job, you need at least a high school diploma and vocational studies in administration. You can also opt for certifications and attend seminars to continue learning.

6. Plumber ($46,660)

Plumbing is a job despised by many people as you have to get your hands dirty to make a living from it. What these individuals don’t know is that plumbing is actually a well-paying job with most plumbers making an excess of $40,000/year on average.

Plumbers are tasked with the responsibility of installing, repairing and replacing pipes that carry water, air, steam, gases and other liquids. Plumbers can work in residential areas, factories and commercial businesses. Most plumbers learn their trade by attending a technical school. Before you begin working as a plumber, you need a two-year apprenticeship to be registered by the local authorities and be awarded a first level license.

7. Safety Coordinator ($66,100)

If you have some interest in safety, infrastructure and construction, you can pursue the career of a safety coordinator. Here, you will be tasked with the responsibility for carrying out inspections, safety training and other construction-related tasks.

This is a career where you can rise up the ranks fast and get employed on top construction projects. To qualify for this job, you need at least a high school diploma, 2-3 years’ experience in a construction related sector and a certificate on health and safety course.

8. Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver ($45,900)

If motoring and trucks have always been your thing, and you were not lucky enough to join campus, you may want to consider being a truck driver. You need no education to qualify for this job. Instead, you just need a commercial license and you are good to go!

Your earnings will rise steadily as you spend more time doing what you love most-driving trucks and making deliveries. The long days from home should not deter you from signing up for this wonderful opportunity.

9. Electrician ($48,250)

There is an ever-increasing need for more electricians. Electricians are responsible for wiring and fixing faulty electronics in both residential and commercial properties. You don’t need a college diploma or university degree to be accredited as a qualified electrician.

In fact, statistically, very few electricians hold a bachelor’s degree. You just need a two years apprenticeship or to hold a certificate qualification from a community college to be cleared for the job.

10. Real Estate Sales Agent ($47,684)

Although an estimated 25 percent of the workforce in the real estate industry have a university degree, this is not a requirement. If you have good negotiation skills, you can venture into this career and bridge the gap between property buyers and sellers. Real estate agents earnings’ depend on commission.

The more you sell, the more commission you earn. Pay also increases substantially with experience and professional networks. Each real estate agent licensing exam will need plenty of studying, but by making use of practice tests you will easily earn past the teats and get your license.


More and more well-paying vocational jobs that do not require a university degree are being created each day. You may be competing with college graduates for some skilled trades but that should not discourage you from going after your ideal job. Today is the best day to pick a career of your choice and lead that comfortable lifestyle you’ve always wanted.