8 High-Demand Jobs That Require Little Schooling
These jobs are high on demand but short on educational requirements.
When choosing a career, you want to be sure that it's not one that will disappear in a few years. You probably also don't want to spend an eternity in school.
Fortunately, there are jobs out there that meet both criteria. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are quite a few with significant growth potential that only require an associate's degree or less.
Keep reading to discover which jobs are both high in demand and low on educational requirements.
Career #1: Web DevelopersFind Degree Programs
When you're surfing a website, do you ever think about who made it look the way it does?
Web developers handle every aspect of website design, including creating the site and adding graphics, video, and audio, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They also monitor the site's performance and test it for problems.
More importantly, the Department of Labor tells us that web designer jobs are projected to increase by 20 percent from 2012 through 2022.
Why They're In Demand: The explosion of smartphones, tablets, and similar devices may play a big part in why this job is growing so rapidly. "As e-commerce and e-training expand, the need for more experienced web designers and developers will increase. Companies are expanding their online presence, and more web designers are needed to build the designs for mobile devices," says Elaine Reeder, computer graphics chair at Camden County College.
Erik Fretheim, director of the technology programs at City University of Seattle agrees. "The need for quick access to data and services is creating a massive demand for web developers."
How to Prepare: You may be able to pursue a career as a web developer much quicker than you think. Web developers typically need an associate's degree in web design or a related field, according to the Department. However, some may have anything from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree.
Career #2: Pharmacy TechniciansFind Degree Programs
If you've ever waited in line at the drugstore, you know there's no shortage of things for the people behind the pharmaceutical counter to do. If you'd like to get in on that action, but don't want to have to sit in a classroom for years in pharmacy school to do it, consider pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these workers help licensed pharmacists by measuring, packaging and labeling prescriptions, organizing inventory, and taking and computerizing customer information.
Concerned it may be too crowded behind that counter already? You'll be happy to know that the Department of Labor projects a 20 percent increase in jobs for pharmacy technicians from 2012 to 2022.
Why They're In Demand: This job is growing much faster than others thanks to the aging population, which will require more prescription drugs to keep them well, says Chris Delaney, a career and interview coach and author of "The 73 Rules of Influencing the Interview."
"Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, according to Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center researchers," says Nikki Wallace Wilson, a human resources professional and life coach. "Pharmacy technicians are needed to help deliver medicine in a timely fashion."
How to Prepare: Good news if you're interested in this growing field: You'll need far less education than pharmacists to pursue a career as a pharmacy technician. According to the Department, a career as a pharmacy technician generally requires a high school diploma or the equivalent, and pharmacy technicians typically receive on-the-job training. Others join this occupation after completing a postsecondary education program in pharmacy technology, which may lead to a certificate or an associate's degree.
Being able to control temperature may be one of the most important aspects of modern civilization. Heaters keep us warm in the winter, while air conditioners keep us cool in the summer, and of course, refrigeration means we can make sure our stores of food stay fresh. If you have mechanical aptitude, you might be able to pursue a career as one of these vital contributors to society.
HVACR technicians are responsible for working on the heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration systems that regulate air quality and temperature, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They typically travel to work sites, repair/replace parts as necessary, make recommendations to improve energy efficiency of HVACR systems, and install, repair, inspect and maintain HVACR systems.
If you've ever had your air conditioner go out on a 90 degree summer day, it probably won't surprise you to learn that the Department of Labor projects this job to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Why They're In Demand: "Every building and home has an HVAC system and that means there is a huge demand for these workers," says Wilson. "These jobs can never be outsourced and as we see the necessity for more green efficiency units (due to global warming issues), the jobs will continue to increase and be in high demand."
And Delaney adds, "All air conditioning units in the workplace have to, by law, be regularly tested and maintained, which increases the demand for qualified technicians." In addition, Delaney says that most HVAC systems need to be replaced every 10-15 years, "so HVAC technicians are always needed to replace systems at the end of their useful lifespan."
How to Prepare: This is a job where skills and experience tend to be valued over higher education. According to Stephen Yurek, president of the Air-conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, and CEO and chairman of the HVACR Workforce Development Foundation, HVAC careers "are supported by a range of education levels, from high school or technical school, to graduate school. It is truly an industry that offers vast potential."
The Department tells us that employers generally prefer applicants who have either completed an apprenticeship, or have postsecondary education such as a certificate or associate's degree program in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. State or local licensure may also be required.
Career #4: Diagnostic Medical SonographersFind Degree Programs
As a diagnostic medical sonographer, you could play a major role in caring for people's health, no med school required. Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound equipment to take and analyze images and tests, reports the U.S. Department of Labor.
And don't think that just because you may never have heard of this career, it's not in demand. Quite the opposite: From 2012 through 2022, jobs for diagnostic medical sonographers are expected to grow by a whopping 46 percent, as per Department of Labor projections.
Why They're In Demand: It's all about the specialized skill set: "Employers are looking for highly-skilled professionals who can use specialized equipment to create images of structures inside the human body," says Catherine Ford, academic department chair of the medical imaging department at Owens Community College.
How to Prepare: While you don't need medical school or even a bachelor's degree, you do need some type of formal education. According to the Department, these sonographers need an associate's degree or certificate. Many employers will also require professional certification, says the Department.
Career #5: Construction ManagersFind Degree Programs
Those buildings you see everywhere you go don't go up by themselves. Construction management requires highly-skilled individuals who know the ins and outs of how to effectively put together the structures we see all around us. If you've got construction experience, you may want to consider taking it to the next level and pursuing a career as a construction manager.
Construction managers, also called general contractors, are responsible for supervising the building of all kinds of structures, from commercial to residential to industrial, not to mention roads and bridges, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
If you think you have the knowledge and experience for construction management, it may interest you to know this job is growing. According to the Department of Labor, employment is projected to grow by 16 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Why They're In Demand: "This is projected to be a growth position over the next 5-10 years due to a boom in large commercial projects," says Delaney. "Managers are required to schedule and coordinate these entire projects, working closely with architects, surveyors, and suppliers to ensure the successful progression of each phase of the construction venture."
Wilson agrees and adds, "With the economy showing signs of improvement, commercial buildings, strip malls, and new homes are beginning to pop up in every city and town across America." As a result, she says that there is a constant need for capable workers who are efficient and dependable. "It's very possible to move up the ranks fairly quickly going from a worker to supervisor and beyond, even without a college degree."
How to Prepare: Construction experience is key here. The Department says that an associate's degree and work experience is typical for construction managers of smaller projects. However, they note that large construction firms are increasingly preferring candidates with a bachelor's degree.
Career #6: Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing ClerksFind Degree Programs
You don't need a bachelor's degree in accounting to pursue your love of numbers. With an associate's degree or less, you could soon be on your way to a new career.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks handle and record cash, checks, and vouchers. They also post financial transactions in computer software and prepare financial reports.
But if you're interested in this field, you probably want the numbers. Here you go. The Department of Labor projects an 11 percent growth rate from 2012 through 2022 for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. That adds up to over 200,000 jobs.
Why They're In Demand: "The financial sector is massive and businesses of all sizes require the skills and knowledge that bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks possess. As the economy grows, so does the demand for these positions," says Delaney.
Steve Rudnick, graduate faculty member at New England College of Business and Finance, adds, "Employees with accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping skills are in high demand by employers due to the increased complexity and requirements of compliance and regulation."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
How to Prepare: Most bookkeeping, accounting, or auditing clerks will need at least a high school diploma, says the Department, which adds that postsecondary education, especially coursework in accounting, is preferred by some employers.
Career #7: ParalegalsFind Degree Programs
Love the law but don't love the idea of sitting in class forever or paying for years of law school? Consider pursuing a career as a paralegal.
Paralegals conduct research, draft legal documents and maintain and organize documents, says the U.S. Department of Labor. They also review trial transcripts and schedule interviews and meetings with clients and witnesses.
Even better, employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow by 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, says the Department of Labor.
Why They're In Demand: According to Delaney, "Customers are demanding cheaper and more effective legal services. And to save on overhead costs, employers are recruiting more paralegals to support a smaller team of lawyers."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Paralegal Program.
How to Prepare: An associate's degree may be all you need to enter the exciting world of law, as most paralegals have an associate's degree in paralegal studies. Another possibility is a certificate in paralegal studies along with a bachelor's degree in another field, according to the Department.
Career #8: Dental HygienistsFind Degree Programs
Pursuing a career as a dentist isn't the only option if you want to work in the field of oral health. Consider a dental hygiene program - which doesn't require dental school.
Dental hygienists examine for gingivitis and other types of oral diseases, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They may also remove stains, tartar and plaque from teeth, and instruct patients in good oral hygiene practices.
Everyone needs to take care of their teeth, and that's reflected in the job growth statistics for dental hygienists. The Department of Labor expects demand for dental hygienists to increase by an impressive 33 percent from 2012 through 2022.
Why They're In Demand: You don't generally see a dental practice without a dental hygienist, and there's a good reason for that.
As Wilson explains, dental hygienists are a huge asset to dentists. "[Dental hygienists] can perform many of the same duties as dentists, but at a fraction of the cost. As a result, dentists can afford to take on more patients per hour," Wilson says.
How to Prepare: Forget about dental school. According to the Department, dental hygienists usually only need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. State licensure is also a requirement.
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