5 Low-Stress Jobs That Pay Well Without a Degree: Starting your career can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time, especially if you’re just getting out of school and entering the job market.
Although the unemployment rate has been steadily dropping, it’s still important to have a realistic idea of what jobs are in demand and which ones are not so that you can find the best possible employment for your circumstances.
Here are 10 low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree so that you can start your career out on the right foot.
1) Become an Air Traffic Controller
Air traffic controllers spend their days in high, fast-paced pressure situations but you don’t have to have an advanced degree to get into it.
A two-year associate’s degree program and more than 10 weeks of aviation training are all that’s required to secure one of these interesting jobs.
Average starting salaries sit at $72,310 per year, and increase rapidly with each level of training completed.
With no ceiling on how high they can go in management or pay, you could put yourself well on your way to making six figures without ever picking up a four-year degree.
2) Become a Master Electrician
If you’re looking for one of those low-stress jobs that pays well without a degree, consider becoming an electrician.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that electricians make $50,000 per year on average (though they can make significantly more in big cities), and their median weekly hours are just 33.
Plus, BLS data shows that 90 percent of them report being satisfied with their work which is pretty amazing when you consider how much time they spend at work.
As an added bonus, most states require only an apprenticeship or postsecondary certificate to become an electrician.
3) Become an Automotive Technician
Whether you’re interested in fixing cars or working on machinery and vehicles, an automotive technician is a cool job that can pay quite well.
According to BLS.gov, you’ll earn an average of $34,150 annually (as of 2012), and if your career takes off and becomes more senior, salaries climb even higher.
To break into these jobs, many employers want at least two years’ experience and some want an associate’s degree or certificate as well but there are also lots of on-the-job training programs that will help you get your foot in the door.
Plus, because most technicians work full time (either 40 hours per week or more), it’s easy to find part-time work after school if you’re still in school.
4) Become an Avionics Technician
According to BLS data from May 2013, avionics technicians enjoy an unemployment rate of only 4.2% and earn $46,240 per year.
Most employers prefer applicants with formal education or apprenticeship programs but there are options for qualified people without them.
Consider attending a community college and earning your Associate’s degree in avionics technology.
Other options include enrolling in online courses to build your aviation knowledge or pursuing FAA certification through an electronics school like Aviation Institute of Maintenance or Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
5) Become an Optician
Learn more about opticians and vision care by visiting an optician school.
With a median income of over $50,000 per year and few formal education requirements, many consider becoming an optician to be one of low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree.
Opticians ensure that people have glasses they can see through and they help them select frames to fit their face shapes and personality. Be warned, however, as working with clients’ eyes can sometimes be uncomfortable for opticians.
To become an optician, you may need to study for two years at a vocational school or community college program in order to learn how to properly assess eyesight problems and choose which corrective lenses are best for each patient.
Many people may assume that low-stress jobs don’t pay well.
But that’s not always true—and it doesn’t have to be true for you, either. Think about what you love doing and put yourself in a position to do more of it.
If you enjoy helping people, take on some volunteer work or find an entry-level job at your local hospital or community center.
If you can’t get enough of art, consider finding work in an art gallery or museum gift shop.
And if being outside is your passion, look into landscaping work or go door to door selling lawn mowers and gardening supplies as a side hustle.