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5 Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

Butcher, baker, auto technician and more

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Mechanics working on car shock absorbers
Blend Images/Tanya Constantine/Vetta/Getty Images

Every parent frets about his child's prospects, whether or not that teen is university bound. But there are other paths to career success besides the classic college route - and the absence of a bachelor's degree doesn't automatically translate to burger flippage. Here's a round up of great jobs that do not require college degrees - butcher, baker, banker and more. Some require certification or licensing, via coursework at a community college or trade school. For others, it's a matter of getting on-the-job training, starting at the beginning and slowly working one's way up.

  • Auto mechanic or automotive technician: Many auto technicians are first drawn to the profession through high school auto shop classes and summer jobs. But given the complexity of the craft and its increasingly technological aspects - computers are four-wheeled computers these days - they'll have a significantly easier time finding work if they've undergone extensive vocational training via an industry-sponsored 2-year training program at a community college or a trade school. Getting certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is strongly recommended. Typical salary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranges from $24,000 to $44,000 per year. The highest paid auto techs make $56,000 or more.

  • Butcher: A butcher or meat cutter's training can vary considerably, from on-the-job training to full on dairy management degrees, and their work environment ranges from specialty markets and restaurants to massive food processing plants. Typical salaries in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranged from $22,000 to $37,000, with the most skilled and highest paid butchers earning $45,000 or more per year.

  • Baker: There's more to professional baking than proficiency with a whisk. Bakers usually begin as apprentices or trainees, learning on the job in a commercial or craft bakery. Some go to culinary school or enroll in pastry programs at a community college. But there is a certification program through the Retail Bakers of America, which may enhance a resume. That certification ranges from "journey baker," with at least 1 year of work experience, to master baker, which includes 8 years of professional experience, 30 hours of sanitation coursework and another 30 hours of coursework or workshops in their field. Average salaries range from $19,000 to $30,000.

  • Bank teller: Bank tellers must have a high school degree and a clean background check. They're typically trained on the job, and the average salary was around $24,000 in 2008.

  • Bookkeepers: There are bookkeepers, accountants and auditing clerks in every line of work. For a long time, all that was required was a high school degree and a facility for basic math, but it's an increasingly competitive field, where a 2-year degree in business or accounting can be important on a resume, depending on the job. Some bookkeepers opt to beef up their resumes by getting certified through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, which requires at least 2 years of bookkeeping experience and a lengthy exam. Salaries are typically in the $26,000-$40,000 range.

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