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Women at Work: No degree? No problem

May 6, 2018

The professional job market is competitive, with most positions requiring a college degree just to get in the door. However, college is both expensive and a serious time commitment.

Many of those who can’t afford college are still in search of jobs that pay well and can provide a career pathway to a sustainable life. Some of these men and women are skilled at working with their hands and want to apply their craft to something other than an office setting.

Fortunately, there are plenty of great job opportunities available that don’t require college degrees.

Many of these jobs provide stable work situations with great pay. Instead of attending college, would-be students can start earning and investing income.

A recent article by CareerBuilder dove into these in-demand jobs, narrowing down the list of occupations to those “where the number of job postings each month outpace the number of people they actually hire.” Top positions included heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, first-line supervisors of retail sales workers and food service managers, to name a few.

CNC operator

Numerically controlled machine tool programmers (also known as CNC operators), create and oversee the machine tools or equipment that are used to cut or process plastic, metal, or other materials. This is in addition to installing new parts to the CNC machine and checking the results to make sure they meet the requirements. Workers get to work with their hands and have the instant benefit of seeing the results of their hard work.

Key skills:

• Attention to detail

• Strong communication skills

• Problem-solving skills

Electrical Contractor

Electrical contractors install everything that uses electricity. From lighting and air conditioning to manufacturing machinery and more. It’s important to enjoy the thrill of problem-solving, as there are no shortcuts. You must understand the theory and know how to put it into action. Electricity isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so a great electrical contractor usually enjoys steady employment.

Key skills:

• Good problem solver

• Analytical mind

• Flexibility


Have you ever purchased an iron gate or marveled at the metal skeleton of an upcoming skyscraper? Odds are that the structure was a welder’s work. Welders join two pieces of metal together to make the product as strong as one piece. Welders can even end up traveling around the world, working on underwater structures or cruise ships. Metal is everywhere, so the sky is the limit for a talented welder.

Key skills:

• Team player

• Attention to detail

• Patience and willingness to learn

If working with your hands and being in an office setting is something you desire, there are plenty of positions that do not require a college degree. My first position outside of waitressing I acquired based on my personality alone. After months of serving lunch to business owners, one asked if I wanted to transition to an office job, and of course, I jumped at the chance! You just never know who might notice you and want to give you the chance to break in to something different. Although an amazing personality is noticeable and outstanding, one must acquire skills and hone those skills in order to keep the job they were given an opportunity to have.

There are several computer skills that employers in all sectors look for, and these are skills you can acquire on your own without attending college.

• Microsoft Office Suite: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher

• QuickBooks

• Internet knowledge and social media management

• Graphic design

• Writing and communication capabilities

If you are looking for a job and don’t have a college degree, do not despair. With or without a degree, you are an exceptional person and your job prospects are not diminished.