STUDENT LIFE / NOV. 01, 2013
version 10, draft 10

No Degree? No Problem.

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1. Pet care.
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Pet care does not involve academic certification. Provided you love animals, you can make a profitable business from providing pet care services.

The importance of higher education is drilled into us from an early age. "Without a degree you'll struggle to get a job" is a phrase I am sure you will be familiar with by now. Yet, with such high competition in the marketplace, degree holders are struggling to find employment all the same. It therefore begs the question: is a degree necessary to land a good job? The simple answer is no.

There are of course advantages to having a college degree, but with the present economy causing job layoffs and salary cuts, landing the job of your dreams after college is increasingly difficult. If you did go through university but cannot find a job in your field or if you skipped the further education route all together, then consider the following career ideas for a chance to earn as much (or in some instances more) than college graduates.

(Salary expectations refer to the U.S labor market)

Manual Labor

It may sound daunting, but this sector covers a wide spectrum of opportunities. If you are the creative type, consider carpentry and earn up to $50.00 an hour. Afraid of splinters? Then maybe you have a future in painting which can bring in $25 - $40 an hour. Wall paper hangers can charge between $400 and $1000 a day!

Electricians and plumbers are always in demand. To start with you will need to work as an apprentice, which pays $20 -30 an hour for a plumber, and around $60 for an electrician. The apprenticeship lasts around 2 years, after which you can work independently and charge around $65 an hour as a plumber, and $85 as an electrician.

Other trades in this sector include Welders who charge $50 - $70 an hour, and Brickmasons who receive an average annual salary of $46,930.

Internet Technology 

IT knowledge is a marketable skill required by most people these days. There is still a whole generation of people who do not  know the first thing about their computer, and are eager to employ an expert to fix the problems that may arise from it. Computer Technicians can charge between $50 and $100 an hour for their services, depending on the complexity of the problem.

Telecommunication equipment installers require a trade school or certificate program to qualify for a job in this industry.  Due to the ever expanding web of communiction, installers are needed to set up routers, swithboards and telecom lines. The average salary for an installer is around $55,000 a year! Not bad for a non-degree holder.


Real estate careers available without a degree are varied. Selling homes as a real estate agent can be quite lucrative if you build up a good following of clients. A two month real estate course is required and will educate you on the laws and ethics of selling property, after which you will be qualified to show, negotiate and close on properties in your area. A 3% commission is standard for real estate transactions performed by an agent.

Providing a property management service can earn you around $50,000 a year if you are responsable for 20 to 50 units. Another area to consider is Home Inspection which can earn a certified inspector $300 for a two hour inspection.


Pets are big business right now. Everything from grooming ,walking, and day care can prove profitable for business with very little money invested. If you love animals this could be the job for you. Starting out as an apprentice at a pet spa is the best way to learn how to groom animals, and will give you a good idea of what the job entails. 

A strong work ethic and a friendly, professional demeanor are sometimes worth more than a dozen diplomas. So do not be discouraged by your lack of accolades. Many financially accomplished people achieved there success without a single degree.

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