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You Don’t Need a College Diploma for These 4 Careers

Image via Flickr by Dorli Photography

Despite what your high school guidance counselor may have told you, a college diploma isn’t essential for succeeding in today’s workforce. Plenty of jobs require other qualities that candidates display, such as grit, responsibility, and tenacity.

If you’re not interested in a college degree but still want a fulfilling career, you’ll find several rewarding options open to you.

Insurance Agent

Insurance agent jobs provide people with high school diplomas the opportunity to work in finance and earn a considerable salary without college educations. You need to be gregarious, responsible, and flexible to work as an insurance agent, and it’s not a job everyone will succeed at. However, if you’re interested in helping people find the right insurance policies, this is a worthy career to explore. You do need a state license, which requires you to complete a class. The median annual salary for this position is $48,200.

Restaurant Manager

Though some restaurant and food service managers get hired because they have college degrees, many more work their way up from serving or kitchen positions. Working in a restaurant gives you unique on-the-job training that will help you move to more senior positions on your journey toward becoming a restaurant manager. Find a company that promotes from within, instead of recruiting outside candidates for manager positions. Jobs in this field are growing at the national average rate, and you can expect to make a median annual salary of $48,690 as a restaurant manager.

Medical Assistant

As a medical assistant, you’ll perform both administrative and clinical duties in a doctor’s office or a hospital. Record patient information and vital signs, schedule appointments, and even give patients medications or injections under physician supervision. You don’t need a four-year college degree to become a medical assistant, though vocational training, which typically takes about a year, will give you a significant advantage when searching for jobs. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth for this field at 23 percent, which will add more than 100,000 jobs through 2024. The median annual salary for medical assistants is $30,590.

Real Estate Agent

To become a real estate agent, you need to be a gregarious self-starter with a passion for homes and marketing. What you don’t need is a college diploma. Instead of college courses you’re never going to use, the real estate license education requirements focus only on knowledge that will help you in your career. The field is growing at a rate of 3 percent a year, which is slower than average, but that still means more than 10,000 jobs will open up by 2024. The median salary for real estate agents is $43,370 per year, but that varies considerably based on the kind of properties you sell.

Pursuing a small amount of the right kind of education will give you an edge over other job seekers in these fields, but you certainly don’t need to go to college to find a great job. Follow your passion, stay away from student debt, and you can win a rewarding career.

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