Unexpectedly Intriguing!
November 16, 2005

Political Calculations has previously looked at the impact that having a bachelors or higher degree has upon one's lifelong earnings, but did you ever wonder what the best jobs available are for people who don’t have bachelor degrees?

Not long ago, Jobs for the Future, a non-profit "research, consulting and advocacy organization," published its view of "The Right Jobs" (free, e-mail address registration required), its study of U.S. labor statistics (published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), in which it found the highest paying, highest demand occupations that did not require a college degree. Each of the professions listed qualified for the list by having an annual income of $25,000 or more, having a demand of at least 20,000 openings per year, and offering at least some chance of career advancement.

The list below is excerpted from a Knight-Ridder article by Banks Albach, and is presented using a dynamic table. You may click on any of the column headings to sort the table's data from lowest to highest or vice-versa according the heading selected:

Best Jobs without Bachelor Degrees in 2005
Profession Income: Low End Income: High End Annual Job Openings Minimum Education Requirement
Registered Nurse 40000 57500 110119 Associate degree in nursing.
Licensed practical nurse 26400 37000 29480 11th grade math and reading. 12 month academic training program.
Customer Service Representative 20960 33540 74137 High school or college plus employer training.
Automotive Mechanic 22080 41270 42542 High school. 6 months to 2 years training, costing $3,000 to $24,000 USD.
Computer Support Specialist 29760 51680 21579 Entry level skills. Vocational school certifications and degrees.
Carpenter 26180 45560 31917 High school. 12 week pre-apprentice training and 3 to 4 year apprenticeship.
Electrician 31100 55120 28485 High school. 12 week pre-apprentice training and 3 to 4 year apprenticeship.
Plumber 30540 53820 20511 High school. 12 week pre-apprentice training and 3 to 4 year apprenticeship.
Commercial Truck Driver 26020 41610 62517 High school. 6 to 12 month training program.
Commercial Bus Driver 21870 39510 25000 High school. 6 to 12 month training program.

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