Great Jobs You Can Get without a Bachelor's Degree

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Want to find a job that pays well but don't have years and years to spend earning a bachelor's degree? You're in luck.

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If you're looking to improve your annual salary but don't have a bachelor's degree, you may think you don't have a chance. Think again. The truth of the matter is that there are a number of occupations with high-pay potential that may only require an associate's degree - or less.

Ready to find out how you may pursue a job that doesn't necessarily require years of schooling and can still cushion your bank account? Then keep reading.

Career #1: Computer Network Support Specialist

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Median
Annual Salary*
$59,090
90th Percentile
of Earners
$96,850
10th Percentile
of Earners
$34,930

There was a time when only the wealthy, engineers, or people with PhD's had anything to do with computers. Those days are long gone. Computers are everywhere, and these days, you may have used a computer before you even learned to walk. That said, if you're good with computers and enjoy helping others, consider a career in computer support.

No Bachelor's Required: According to Tim Dugger, a career coach at Career Café in Indianapolis, Ind., "roughly half of all computer support specialists in this country do not have a formal degree and there are good reasons for that." He adds that many of the skills needed can be learned on the job or in subject-specific training classes.

The U.S. Department of Labor says that many employers accept candidates with an associate's degree. Just keep in mind that for some technical positions, the Department of Labor says that some employers might prefer those with a bachelor's degree in a field like computer science or information science.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

More about the Job: Computer network support specialists typically perform duties such as troubleshooting networks (both LANs and WANs), and testing, evaluating, and maintaining network systems, says the Department.

Career #2: Dental Hygienist

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Median
Annual Salary*
$70,210
90th Percentile
of Earners
$96,280
10th Percentile
of Earners
$46,540

You don't have to be a dentist to help people care for their teeth. In fact, those who fear the sight of their local dentist may appreciate a friendly face in the examination room. If you like the idea of dentistry but don't have the means or the time for dental school, you may want to pursue a dental hygienist career, which is short on schooling requirements but offers a decent salary.

No Bachelor's Required: Shannon Ydoyaga, interim executive director at the health careers resource center for Dallas County Community College District in Dallas, Texas says an associate's program offers more than enough training for the supportive and preventative dental work a dental hygienist performs.

Indeed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, an associate's degree in dental hygiene is commonly needed. Additionally, all states require a dental hygienist to be licensed.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Program.

More about The Job: The Department says dental hygienists not only clean teeth but look for signs of oral disease, as well as educate patients on proper oral hygiene.

Career #3: Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

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Median
Annual Salary*
$65,860
90th Percentile
of Earners
$91,070
10th Percentile
of Earners
$44,990

How would you like to show an expectant mother or father the first glimpse of their unborn child? That is an experience you may get to share as a diagnostic medical sonographer. But there is a lot more to this career, which is why it pays significantly well, despite requiring relatively little schooling.

No Bachelor's Required: The U.S. Department of Labor says that diagnostic medical sonographers need an associate's degree or postsecondary certificate. They do point out that most employers will require a professional certification.

One thing to keep in mind, per LaCheeta McPherson, executive dean of health and legal studies at El Centro College in Dallas, Texas, is that diagnostic medical sonography programs are limited, making admission very competitive. "Limitation of schools is due in part to the expense of offering the program. Equipment costs run well over $80,000 per instrument. Limitation of faculty and limitation of clinical sites, particularly obstetric clinical sites, are factors too."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Medical Sonography Program.

More about the Job: Medical sonographers create pictures of the body's organs and tissues using specialized imaging equipment, says the Department of Labor. Upon doing so, they will interpret the images and provide a summary of findings to physicians.

Career #4: Web Developer

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Median
Annual Salary*
$62,500
90th Percentile
of Earners
$105,200
10th Percentile
of Earners
$33,550

Consider that when the first websites were created, there were no degree programs to teach anyone how to do it. Now think about web development geniuses like Mark Zuckerberg who never completed a bachelor's degree.

While you might not be in line to create the next multi-billion dollar website, you don't necessarily need a bachelor's degree to make a decent paycheck in this area either.

No Bachelor's Required: The U.S. Department of Labor says that an associate's degree in web design or in a related field is most commonly what is required, although education requirements range from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree.

Dugger says that while obtaining a bachelor's degree in computer science with a concentration in database design and programming languages can significantly pay off in terms of job opportunities and future pay, it is certainly not required: "As long as they have the basic eye for design, form and layout, taking specific classes in Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator or WordPress can provide them with all the basic tools they need."

Next step: Click to Find the Right Web Design Development Program.

More about the Job: Do you have a good visual sense? That will be needed as a web developer, as they are responsible for a site's design and may create some of its content, says the Department of Labor. Web developers must also measure performance and capacity, which assesses the speed and amount of traffic the site can handle, adds the Department.

Career #5: Registered Nurse

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Median
Annual Salary*
$65,470
90th Percentile
of Earners
$94,720
10th Percentile
of Earners
$45,040

Have a soft spot for the sick, but aren't interested in spending eight years or more earning a medical doctorate? You may want to turn your compassion into a career as a registered nurse. You don't have to spend an eternity in school to break into this lucrative health profession.

No Bachelor's Required: While a bachelor's in nursing is certainly an option for would-be nurses, the U.S. Department of Labor also points to an associate's degree and a diploma (from an approved nursing program) as other options. You'll also need to get licensed. And Ydoyaga points out that many nurses are opting to choose specialties, which will require additional education.

Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.

More about the Job: Registered nurses (RNs) care for patients and also provide advice and emotional support to them and their family members, says the Department of Labor.

* All salary information from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages data, May 2012.

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