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The top jobs that don’t require a college degree

Millions of unemployed low-wage workers may be surprised by their options

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Photo (c) Brian A. Jackson - Getty Images
With enhanced unemployment benefits expiring this week, there’s a strong chance that millions of unemployed Americans are busy polishing their resumes. Fortunately, there are plenty of job openings.

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary shows there were nearly 11 million job openings in July and only 8.7 million people who were out of work and looking for a job.

Job openings increased in several industries, with the largest increases in health care and social assistance, a sector trying to fill 294,000 slots. There were also more than 100,000 openings in financial services, hospitality, and food services.

But many businesses and industries still require applicants to have a degree from a four-year college. Many low-wage workers who have been collecting unemployment don’t meet that requirement.

No degree necessary

A lack of a college degree doesn’t mean they can’t land a good job, though. Skillpointe, a career placement organization, has published a list of the top 25 jobs in the U.S. that don’t require a college degree. Some, however, will require training and certification.

If you know your way around a computer, the top two jobs on the list might be appealing. Number one is software developer, and the second is systems analyst. 

"While retail and hospitality have faced significant challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic, other industries still offer amazing opportunities with lots of growth, strong salaries, and future job security, all without a college degree," said Todd Wilson, SkillPointe’s founder. "These jobs do require some training, but fast-track options are available at local community colleges and trade schools for a fraction of the cost of a four-year program. Employer apprenticeships are also a great option."

When it comes to pay and benefits, Stillpointe says a software developer is by far the most attractive job, earning a median salary of $91,000. But other jobs also have their advantage.

Truck drivers are in demand

For example, truck drivers are in demand to help alleviate supply chain issues. Many transportation companies are providing generous signing bonuses and a median salary of $45,000. Others help with training and licensing.

The job of an information security analyst may have the best long-term future and pays a median salary of $100,000. These people are urgently needed to deal with the proliferation of cybersecurity threats.

Construction, technology, healthcare, and public service jobs dominate the top 25 list. Construction has the most jobs on the list with six and is expected to grow with increased infrastructure spending.

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