Career paths that don’t require a college degree

A job is simply a task that you do to earn money. A career is an employment network with opportunities for growth, increased wages and added stability. Oftentimes, careers are associated with college degrees. But, there are many career paths that don’t require an associate or bachelor’s degree. In fact, with a little technical training, you could be on the path toward a meaningful career.

While HopeWorks does not offer these specific programs, here are a few of the many great options you can pursue to build a career for yourself: 


Construction is one of the best career paths for adults looking for meaningful work that doesn’t require a degree. A career in construction requires only some additional technical training and offers a wage that can support a family. The industry also offers a number of specialties, which you can pursue through specified technical training. This allows varied opportunities to highlight your individual strengths. Labor demand in the industry is relatively high as well, especially in Memphis where Shelby County reports a labor shortage. 

Contrary to popular belief, with technology entering the construction field, even more jobs are needed as manual operation of said devices is often required. Construction offers a great workplace environment that is dependent on teamwork, and a lot of time spent in nature. Most construction hours are ideal for spending time with your family, as a lot of employees come in earlier, yet get off well before the evening rush hour. 


A career in plumbing is a great choice for people who like variety in their work! And, like construction, technical training and hands-on experience are required, not a four-year degree. Plumbing is an instantly rewarding profession, as you’re able to immediately see that you’ve solved a customer’s problem. The plumbing industry also has great earning potential as well as a lot of variety in the types of jobs you can perform. Plumbing jobs offer stability because of their high demand – we’ll always need plumbers, especially since they can’t be replaced with machines! 

Electrician work

Just like the other jobs we’ve discussed so far, this trade will always be in high demand. Electricians perform a wide variety of daily jobs, and typically have a good amount of flexibility and independence. Being skilled in different types of electrical work affords workers in this career path a high potential for career advancement. Electricians earn a good, steady wage and don’t run the risk of being outsourced.

Dental Assistant

A career as a dental assistant is another option for those looking for meaningful work that doesn’t require a college degree. Dental assistants do what their dentist or hygienist needs; from sterilizing utensils, making appointments, making sure the patient is comfortable, and even administering X-rays. Dental assistants provide service and promote good oral health, all while working standard office hours, and making a steady income that can support a family. 

Pharmacy Technicians

Another meaningful career that only requires training programs is that of a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists assemble the medication for a prescription, help customers, manage medication records and create information labels. Working as a pharmacy technician is a great choice because of the flexible schedule and good income, as well as its role in helping others by providing an essential medical service.

These options only scratch the surface of the abundant types of accessible career paths that are out there. While HopeWorks does not offer these programs,  contact us to learn more about supporting your family through meaningful work. We can help connect you with businesses in a number of industries, giving you hands-on internship experience in fields that interest you. Reach out today!