Careers

This industry is creating millions of high-paying jobs that don't require a college degree

Americans are better educated than ever before. The most recent census found that 33.4 percent of adults over the age of 24 have earned a bachelor's degree or more. While this is significantly higher than previous generations, it still leaves nearly 70 percent of the workforce without a college degree.

Going to college has been linked to greater wealth, improved health and even lower rates of divorce, but for the millions of Americans without an expensive four-year degree it is possible to find a rewarding and high-paying job — especially in healthcare.

Job site CareerCast analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the 10 best jobs for people who do not have a college degree. After considering variables such as annual median salary and hiring outlook, they found that the health-care industry is offering millions of high-paying and high-quality jobs.

As the baby-boom generation continues to age and requires increased medical attention, experts predict that the health-care industry will continue to grow. In 2015, the BLS projected that "healthcare occupations and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and to add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024."

Overall, the BLS expects the American health-care industry will generate 9.8 million jobs between 2014 and 2024. Four of the 15 fastest-growing occupations are in the health-care industry and do not require any kind of postsecondary degree.

Sonographer
REB Images | Getty Images
Sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographer topped CareerCast's list as the best job for people without a college degree. Sonographers use medical imaging devices such as ultrasound transducers to help diagnose medical conditions, assist physicians and aid surgeons.

Some positions do require an associate's degree, but other roles only require a postsecondary certificate. The median salary for diagnostic medical sonographers is $64,280.

Other high-paying health-care jobs that do not require a college diploma are respiratory therapists and medical records technicians. Both of these roles are experiencing huge growth. Demand for respiratory therapists is increasing by 12 percent annually, and demand for medical records technicians is rising by roughly 16 percent.

Read on for 10 great jobs that do not require a college degree:

10. Plumber

Overall Rating: 412

Median Salary: $50,620

Projected Growth: 12 percent

9. Electrician

Overall Rating: 390

Median Salary: $51,880

Projected Growth: 14 percent

8. Respiratory therapist

Overall Rating: 370

Median Salary: $57,790

Projected Growth: 12 percent

7. Broadcast and sound engineering technician

Overall Rating: 360

Median Salary: $41,780

Projected Growth: 7 percent

6. Executive assistant

Overall Rating: 328

Median Salary: $53,235

Projected Growth: 2.78 percent

A pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Vernouillet, France.
BSIP | Getty Images
A pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Vernouillet, France.

5. Industrial machine repairer

Overall Rating: 305

Median Salary: $48,239

Projected Growth: 16.09 percent

4. Paralegal

Overall Rating: 270

Median Salary: $49,255

Projected Growth: 9.35 percent

3. Web developer

Overall Rating: 213

Median Salary: $66,130

Projected Growth: 24.3 percent

2. Medical records technician

Overall Rating: 213

Median Salary: $37,254

Projected Growth: 16.34 percent

1. Diagnostic medical sonographer