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Andrea Santiago

Best Medical Jobs Without a College Degree

By May 18, 2012

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As college students scramble to find jobs after receiving their hard-earned degrees, CareerCast.com examines the best jobs for those individuals without a college degree.

Two of CareerCast.com's "20 Great Jobs Without a College Degree" were healthcare careers, one of which topped the list.

Dental hygienist was first on the list of great careers without a degree, and medical secretary was also highly ranked in fourth place.

Although becoming a dental hygienist doesn't require a four-year undergraduate degree, it does require at least a two-year degree, and many hygienists do have a four-year degree.  With an average starting salary of $45,000, income growth of 109 percent, and projected employment growth at 37.7 percent, dental hygienists often enjoy lucrative careers without a four-year degree. Additionally, because hygienists are in demand, many dental offices will hire part-time and flex-time hygienists who can work hours according to their personal schedules, which is another perk of this career.

Medical secretaries, on the other hand, have a much lower starting salary of $21,000 as compared to dental hygienists. However, becoming a medical secretary requires much less training than becoming a dental hygienist.

"Even with a college degree, finding a good job in today's economy is hard and can be very time consuming. Although those with degrees often earn more money, you can still earn a very good living without one," says Tony Lee, publisher, CareerCast.com.

In most cases, a college education does pay, according to CareerCast.com. The average American worker will earn approximately one million dollars more during his or her career with a four-year degree, according to a range of studies. The average starting salary for someone with a college degree is $51,000, while a job for which no degree is required starts out at about $28,350, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top average salary for people with a college degree is $130,600, whereas those without a degree top out at $79,150.


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