Top careers that don't require a four-year degree
Whether you're thinking about studying for online college degrees or even just taking a few accounting classes, you might be wondering about your prospects of finding work after graduation. In today's uncertain economy, many people are worried about whether investing the time, money and effort into a four-year degree is worth it. Fortunately, there are several fields that are in desperate need of skilled workers. The best part? None of them require a four-year degree.
• Electrician: You may have heard that good electricians are never out of work. While this is a slight exaggeration, it's true that the prospects for electricians are looking up. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for electrical workers is projected to increase by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the national average for all occupations. If you like the idea of working with electrical systems, you may want to find a local electrician apprenticeship. Although contracts vary in length, it usually takes between 3 and 5 years to complete one.
• Payroll clerk: Without these unsung heroes of the professional world, getting paid on time would be very difficult. Often working in offices, payroll clerks make sure that everyone's paycheck is processed in a timely manner, and frequently work with human resources managers to resolve any hiccups in the system relating to employee pay. A few accounting classes could be beneficial to aspiring payroll clerks, but according to The Huffington Post, many of these professionals learn the ropes through on-the-job training.
• Emergency services dispatcher: Any time somebody makes a 911 call for an ambulance, the police or fire department, emergency services dispatchers are the ones that make it happen. These professionals need to be cool, calm and work well under pressure, as people's lives may be at stake. However, despite the important work that emergency services dispatchers do, you don't need a traditional four-year degree to become one. According to PayScale, these professionals can earn between $21,239 and $50,342 per year.
• Loan officer: Ever applied for a bank loan, a credit card or even a mortgage? If so, chances are you discussed your plans with a loan officer. While a business degree can certainly be an asset to these professionals, it's by no means a firm prerequisite if you want to work in personal finance. However, if you plan on working as a commercial loan officer, you'll need additional schooling. According to the BLS, personal loan officers can earn up to $56,490 per year, so even if you choose not to go into the commercial aspect of loans, you can still earn a substantial paycheck.
• Registered nurse (RN): Even in today's uncertain economy, the healthcare sector is booming. As the population ages and advances in medical science improve people's life expectancy, the need for RNs has never been greater. In fact, according to the BLS, the need for RNs is expected to increase by 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the national average of 14 percent for all occupations. All you need to become an RN is a nursing certificate, and if you choose to advance your career further down the road, you can do so through an RN to bachelor of science in nursing degree program.
• Pharmacy technician: In recent years, pharmacy technology programs have seen a sizable uptick in enrollments as more people seek accessible and affordable ways to launch careers in healthcare. To become a pharmacy technician, all you need is a certificate. Some states may require you to hold a valid license, but when it comes to entering the workforce quickly, a career as a pharmacy tech is hard to beat.