5 Well-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Bachelor’s Degree

Think attending college and earning a bachelor’s degree are mandatory to get a good, well-paying job? You might want to reconsider. There are plenty of jobs and careers with great salaries – and many of them require only a year or two’s worth of training.

1. Medical Billing Technician

Medical billing technicians make an average of $15.76 per hour, PayScale¹ reports. The average salary varies depending on location and position, but can range from $25,073 to $45,154.

Job Basics

Medical billing technicians work with the finances of a medical office. They send and process bills for patients, following up to ensure payment. They also work with insurance companies and plans, government programs, and different kinds of medical processes daily.

Required Qualifications

To become a medical billing technician, you just need a bit of education. You’ll need to learn the ins and outs of medical billing and coding. Many people take classes at their local community college for this. You can complete these classes online or in person in as little as a few months.

Study.com² reports that there are no degrees or certificates required to become a medical billing technician. However, you do have the option to earn a certificate or an associate’s degree in the field for more experience.

2. Paralegal

PayScale³ reports that the average annual earnings of a paralegal total $60,614, which varies depending on experience level and location. That breaks down to an approximate hourly rate of $20.62.

Job Basics

Paralegals work in lawyers’ offices as a member of the legal team. Their primary duty is to perform research, which is used to help clients and cases. They can also help lawyers file motions, memoranda, and briefs in the court system. Sometimes, paralegals will work outside of lawyers’ offices, helping corporations or businesses within their legal departments.

Required Qualifications

There are a few different ways to become a qualified paralegal. You must first choose your education level – you can study to earn either a paralegal certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree. You can work as a paralegal with any of these qualifications on your resume, The Balance Careers⁴ explains.

When studying, you’ll want to take legal specialty courses that are meant to prepare you with legal precedent, practices, and case work. You can study online or in person, and the length of your education will depend on the program you choose. If you’d like to earn an associate’s degree, you should expect to study for about two years.

3. Dental Hygienist

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics⁵ reports that the average salary for dental hygienists totaled $74,820 per year in 2018. This means the average dental hygienist earns $35.07 at an hourly rate.

Job Basics

Dental hygienists are an integral part of any dentist’s office. They partner with dentists to help clean teeth, examine patients, and provide general dental care. They can also take x-rays, assess patients’ overall oral health, and offer or report findings. Typically, dental hygienists are either supervised by a dentist or working alongside a dentist.

Required Qualifications

Dental hygienists do need education and training before they’re able to work with patients and practice dental care. But, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics⁶ notes, you’ll only need an associate’s degree in dental hygiene, and every state simply requires that dental hygienists are licensed.

Typically, it takes 3 years to complete a dental hygienist program. You’ll study areas of health, with lab, clinical, and classroom coursework. There are programs available at community colleges, technical schools, and even special dentistry schools or colleges. Once your studies are complete, you’ll need to pass exams to get your license.

4. Nursing Assistant

The average annual salary for nursing assistants is $30,152 according to Salary.com⁷ – and the range for this job begins at $27,410 and can climb as high as $33,881.

Job Basics

A nursing assistant (which may also be called a certified nursing assistant, or CNA) works with patients in all kinds of care and medical settings. Nursing assistants can work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, correctional institutions, or even at-home care. And a nursing assistant can help patients with anything from simple daily tasks to caring for a medical condition.

Required Qualifications

To become a nursing assistant or a CNA, you’ll need a postsecondary certificate or diploma – meaning you’ll need to have graduated from high school and gotten an education in nursing. You will also need to pass a state exam and earn a certificate (for a CNA role or title), according to Study.com⁸.

Before you can take a state exam or get your certificate, you’ll need to start learning the basics. You’ll need to study within a state-approved education program. Programs are typically available through organizations like the American Red Cross, community colleges, and even medical centers. These programs can be completed in as little as a few weeks or as long as a year, Study.com⁹ reports.

5. Web Developer

PayScale10 reports that the average salary for a web developer totals $57,628 per year, or $19.40 per hour. If you have more experience or additional knowledge, you can earn up to $81,000 annually.

Job Basics

Web developers are some of the most essential workers needed right now. With more and more activities taking place online, web developers are responsible for building websites and creating programming for the platforms that people use online. They can work remotely or in companies’ offices, and they must use programming languages in their day-to-day work. Web developers spend their days crafting code and building new websites and web functionalities from scratch.

Required Qualifications

While it’s common for companies to require web developers to have bachelor’s degrees, PayScale11 reports that it’s entirely possible to work as a web developer without a degree at all – you just need experience in programming. If you have enough experience, knowledge, and a specialization, you can find work in the field and start a career as a web developer.

The first step in becoming a web developer is learning the skills needed. You’ll need to learn – and become proficient in – different software programs like JavaScript and CSS, different programming languages, and the process of developing websites. You can take classes at a community college or online. There are plenty of online bootcamps and courses you can take right from home, some at a low price or even for free.

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