8 High-Demand Jobs You Can Get Without Having a Bachelor’s Degree

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Close-up of a young female bartender pouring cocktail in a nightlife cocktail bar.
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Honest Abe

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When you’re thinking about a career choice, two things probably matter to you most: opportunity and pay.

And what if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree? Just another hurdle to consider in the seemingly never ending hustle of the job hunt.

Well, we want to take all that hard thinking off of your mind so you can focus on finding your first — or next — career.

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released a treasure trove of statistics from its American Community Survey in 2016. We’ve already found some interesting tidbits, but there’s also plenty of information about hundreds of jobs and how much they pay.

We looked at the jobs that had the biggest growth in the number of U.S. workers employed and annual earnings to come up with a list of eight jobs that shined in 2016.

With growth like what you’ll see on this list, these careers are going to stick around for the long run.

The Most In-Demand Jobs That Don’t Require a Bachelor’s Degree

We took the growth in earnings and employment and normalized the data so we could compare apples-to-apples, then ranked the 500-plus jobs outlined by the Census Bureau. Then we tossed out all the fancy ones that require a bachelor’s degree to come up with this list.

1. Nail Technician, Shampooer or Skincare Specialist

Job Growth: 19.6%

Wage Growth: 9%

So, technically, the Census Bureau classifies the job with the best mix of growth and earnings increases as “miscellaneous personal appearance workers.” Say what?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this just refers to the people who shampoo our hair before we get styled and the ones who help us treat ourselves with mani-pedis. Oh, and technicians who help out during laser hair removal therapy.

To become a manicurist or pedicurist, check out your local state requirements for certification, and enroll in a cosmetology or nail technician program. The Associated Skin Care Professionals should get you started if you want to zap some follicles.

And as for shampooers? Cosmetology school is probably your best bet as well.

2. Carpet, Floor and Tile Installers

Job Growth: 12.4%

Wage Growth: 10.7%

Flooring specialists were in huge demand last year, likely due to the on-fire housing market. I personally have all sorts of backsplashes and flooring in the house I bought this year.

Like a lot of really great trade jobs, most companies have on-the-job training programs for people new to the business, according to the BLS.

Six of the biggest flooring organizations created the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers, a program that offers certification in seven areas of tile installation. Jump on this bandwagon while the housing market continues to thrive.

3. Pest Control Worker

Job Growth: 15.2%

Wage Growth: 5.9%

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. And if you don’t mind creepy-crawlies, becoming a pest control worker could be right up your alley… or attic.

You won’t need anything more than a high school diploma and a strong urge to bring rats, cockroaches and termites to justice. You’ll likely start as a technician and receive three months of on-the-job training, the BLS says.

And with the rise of Integrated Pest Management, the profession is getting greener. That means you’ll get to try out all sorts of alternative pest-fighting techniques, like mosquito-eating fish.

4. Bartender

Job Growth: 6.8%

Wage Growth: 6.9%

There’s nothing better than a job in which you get to help people. And what better help is there than a cold, stiff drink and life advice?

The pay is obviously not the best, but bartenders are in huge demand right now. Maybe it’s all the hurricanes and political news.

This an easy enough job to snag — you’ll just need some on-the-job training.

5. Construction or Building Inspector

Job Growth: 5.3%

Wage Growth: 7.7%

Another career that’s exploded thanks to the housing department is that of building or construction inspectors. Also, you get to be the first line of defense for homeowners years before a natural disaster like a hurricane comes along.

It doesn’t require a degree, but you’ll need experience in some of the construction trades to become a building inspector. Try some of these awesome infrastructure jobs if you’d like to go that route.

Some community colleges offer courses on construction inspection, according to the BLS, so be sure to check out your local institution.

6. Private Detective

Job Growth: 3.8%

Wage Growth: 8.4%

So you consider yourself a real Dick Tracy after you were able to implicate your wife in the case of the missing car keys. You might consider a career as a private detective.

These snoops work for attorneys, individuals and companies offering surveillance, background checks and even deep-diving public record searches. The best part: You’ll probably get to work for yourself.

You may need a two-year degree in criminal justice to jump right in, but some learn on the job over the course of several years, the BLS notes.

And if humans aren’t really your thing, you can always become a pet detective.

7. Taxi, Uber or Lyft Driver

Job Growth: 13.8%

Wage Growth: 1.8%

If you need any evidence that you can make bank driving people around, look no further than this couple who made $1,500 a week driving for Lyft.

Even though the pay hasn’t really spiked across the board, there’s tons of demand for taxi drivers and chauffeurs right now, especially with the rise of Uber and Lyft.

As a taxi or limo driver you’ll need a driver’s license along with a special certification. Here’s how to sign up with Uber or Lyft.

8. Plumber, Pipefitter or Steamfitter

Job Growth: 8.2%

Earnings Growth: 4.1%

Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters repair, maintain and, at the outset of probably every construction project in the U.S., install pipes that carry water or sewage, gas or other essential utilities.

An apprenticeship is the best way to get on track for this job.

The United Association, a union of plumbers, pipefitters, welders and service technicians, has resources on its apprenticeship program.

If a nationwide opportunity for one of these jobs happens to pop up, you can be sure to find it on The Penny Hoarder Jobs page on Facebook.

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. He can’t stop laughing imagining the hilarious ways to combine some of these careers. Try it.

Honest Abe

Disclosure:

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.