50 Great Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

While graduation from a four-year college can certainly work wonders for students’ future careers, it’s not necessary for all fields. Here are 50 career paths that don't require any formal education.


Although most states require electricians to obtain a license, this career doesn’t require any college degree. However, some electricians get their start through a technical college or an apprenticeship program.

Detectives and criminal investigators

You don’t need any higher education to become a detective or criminal investigator for the local or state police. These skilled investigators gain all the skills they need through on-the-job training and experience.

Painters, sculptors, & illustrators

Since art is entirely subjective, it doesn’t require any formal training—just talent and lots of practice. In fact, many famous artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Frida Kahlo were self-taught.

Construction and building inspectors

Inspecting building sites to make sure construction complies with building codes and regulations falls under the purview of construction and building instructors.


Typically, aspiring firefighters have to pass written and physical tests, train in emergency medical services, and sometimes even attend a fire academy for more specialized classes.

Crane and tower operators

A highly specified and sometimes dangerous job, crane and tower operators occupy an important position on many construction sites, factories, and other industrial operations.

Sales representatives

Sales isn’t a skill that can really be taught in school: It’s something you need to practice and develop on your own.

HVAC technician

Though you don’t need a college degree to become an HVAC technician, you do need specialized on-the-job training in how to install these pieces of machinery.

Massage therapists

Although massage therapy doesn’t come with any college degree requirements, most massage therapists do have to complete 500-plus hours of training and obtain a license or certification to enter the field.

Real estate brokers

You have to undergo a certain amount of training to obtain a state license and become a real-estate broker, but you don’t necessarily need a degree from a four-year college.


About 63% of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters told PayScale that they found their job fulfilling, likely because their work is so important to the people they serve.

swipe up

50 of the Best Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

for more