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Best Jobs That Don't Require a 4-Year College Degree

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Open to Work

What defines a good job is different for everyone. From ample compensation and benefits to a supportive workplace and the ability to use specific skills, there's plenty to consider when searching for the best job for you, especially if you don't have — or don't want — a bachelor's degree. U.S. News weighed career satisfaction based on metrics such as salary, number of open positions, and opportunities for promotion to determine the 100 best jobs for 2023. Cheapism used the findings to further break down which of those jobs require an associate degree, a certificate, or no degree to compile this list of the 10 best jobs that don't require a four-year college degree.


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Occupational Therapy Assistant

Projected Jobs: 11,000

Median Salary: $61,730

Education Needed: Associate degree

Best Jobs Ranking: 19

Charged with helping patients with mental or physical challenges gain or recover the skills they need to maximize their quality of life, occupational therapy assistants offer a helping hand with everything from daily tasks to self-care. The occupation nabbed the No. 1 spot on U.S. News' Best Health Care Support Jobs ranking.


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Dental Hygienist

Projected Jobs: 19,000

Median Salary: $77,810

Education Needed: Associate degree

Best Jobs Ranking: 35

Unless they require extensive dental work, many patients spend more time with their dental hygienist than their dentist. Hygienist clean patients' teeth and provide education on proper brushing and flossing. They may also take X-Rays and assist dentists with procedures, such as tooth fillings. U.S. News considers dental hygienist the second best health care support job.


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Respiratory Therapist

Projected Jobs: 18,400

Median Salary: $77,810

Education Needed: Associate degree

Best Jobs Ranking: 36

Respiratory therapists are responsible for taking care of patients struggling with heart and lung problems, from asthma to sleep apnea. The role has a 1% unemployment rate and scored the No. 15 spot on U.S. News' Best Health Care Jobs roundup.


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Sick Old Woman in a Wheelchair is Receiving a Help From a Young Nurse in Home Visit.
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Physical Therapist Assistant

Projected Jobs: 25,600

Median Salary: $61,180

Education Needed: Associate degree

Best Jobs Ranking: 38

Physical therapist assistants treat patients through exercise, massage and stretching to help them recover mobility impaired by disease or injury. U.S. News considers this role the third-best health care support job.

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Medical Records Technician

Projected Jobs: 12,300

Median Salary: $46,660

Education Needed: Postsecondary certificate 

Best Jobs Ranking: 48

Medical records technicians, or medical coding specialists, take information from patients' medical records and assign the appropriate diagnostic and procedure codes to them. U.S. News says the career is the best job you can get without a college degree.

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Veterinary Technologist and Technician

Projected Jobs: 24,100

Median Salary: $36,850

Education Needed: Associate degree

Best Jobs Ranking: 54

If you're an animal-lover who isn't squeamish at the sight of blood or other bodily fluids, becoming a vet tech could be right up your alley. The position involves performing initial exams, taking vital signs, drawing blood, performing laboratory procedures, and more.

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Wind Turbine Technician

Projected Jobs: 4,900

Median Salary: $56,260

Education Needed: Postsecondary certificate

Best Jobs Ranking: 55

If you're afraid of heights, then this is not the job for you. But if you're not affected by acrophobia, becoming a wind turbine technician could be just the ticket to a well-paying career. U.S. News considers it the best maintenance and repair job.

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Community Health Worker

Projected Jobs: 10,600

Median Salary: $46,590

Education Needed: High school

Best Jobs Ranking: 62

Community health workers bridge the gap between social-services agencies and health care professionals, helping to coordinate care for patients in clinics and their homes. They also advocate for vulnerable members of their community. U.S. News says ranks it as No. 3 in terms of the best jobs that require no college degree.

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Landscaper and Groundskeeper

Projected Jobs: 56,900

Median Salary: $34,430

Education Needed: None

Best Jobs Ranking: 63

Get outside. Plant some trees, edge a few yards, water flowers, and create walkways. Landscaping is the second-best maintenance and repair job according to U.S. News.

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Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Projected Jobs: 12,100

Median Salary: $77,740

Education Needed: Associate degree

Best Jobs Ranking: 64

Sonographers don't merely perform ultrasounds for pregnant people, they also create images of tissues and organs to help diagnose medical conditions.