Student loan debt stands at 1.2 trillion dollars and is the second highest debt after home loans. This fact alone is easy to see why more and more Americans are seeking low-stress jobs that don’t require a college degree.
Most of us can agree that our parents and teachers instilled in us the importance of a college education. For some, it can seem like failure if it’s one hurdle they don’t master. But the truth is, there are many jobs that offer financial stability and much less stress than a college education.
It still pays to consider your options, however. If you really the desire to be a doctor, for instance, there’s no way around it. A lengthy college career is in the cards. If however, you just want to earn a living, have minimal debt, and live as stress-free as possible, then a job without a college degree may be the answer.
The other possibility is a compromise between the two. You could get a job that maybe requires technical training. You might end up with a slightly higher-paying job than you would with no degree, but a lot less debt from schooling.
PROS AND CONS OF COLLEGE DEGREES
The benefits of a college graduation shouldn’t be dismissed. There are some. However, along with every positive benefit, there’s always a negative one too.
- The average four-year degree will earn you approximately $1,000,000 more during your career.
- The average starting salary for someone with a college degree is about 45% more than someone without a college degree.
- Getting a college degree might get you to where you really want to be, and if it’s a career that absolutely requires a college degree, it enables you to work at what you want.
- The average student loan debt is at least $25,000 for a 4-year degree. However, debts can rise above $100,000 for certain degrees and universities. If you factor in what you could have earned working full time while going to college full-time, that’s a lot of money. In addition, there’s the lack of college debt is you’re working instead of going to school.
- Not all college degrees yield high-paying jobs. If this turns out to be the case, you are in a lot of debt for very little financial reward.
- Many jobs that require college degrees are also high-stress jobs. Considering that in research, most people say their job is their top stressor in their life, sometimes it pays to seek something less stressful.
Both the pros and cons of a college degree are something to seriously consider. It all boils down to what your goals are and what you want out of life.
While one person might want a simple, consistent pattern in their job, others want something new now and then. Let’s see what some people consider to be stress-free:
- Less responsibility
- Minimal physical duties
- Straight hours with no on-call or overtime
- No deadlines or similar job pressures
- Lack of superiors overseeing their work
- Lots of downtime
- Less responsibility that doesn’t involve critical matters
- Less contact with the public
- Automation in the job
- Whether they actually like their job or not
ADVANTAGES OF STRESS-FREE JOBS
There can be advantages about stress-free jobs, even if they don’t pay as well as a job that requires a college degree. If you are working an easy job, you have more energy and time to do the things you really enjoy doing in your downtime.
If you have more time devoted to a stress-free life, chances are your health will benefit from it. Studies show that stress on the job is one of the major risk factors for poor health. 80% of working Americans say they feel stress in the workplace.
The alternative to a college degree that leaves you saddled with debt and compounded stress from multiple factors is to work a job that doesn’t require a degree and is less stressful. While society has led us to believe that lacking a college degree only fosters low-income jobs, this is not always the case.
It is also possible to have something in between a college degree and a job with no degree. Some jobs require associate’s degrees that can take only one to two years and are a lot less costly.
You don’t have to work at McDonald's if you don’t have a college degree. There are more rewarding careers out there. These are just a few:
The healthcare is a sector that is always growing and expanding. While many jobs in the field of healthcare do require college degrees, some don’t.
Dental Hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for oral disease and provide other preventative care. Sometimes an associate’s degree is required, but if you are one of the lucky few, some dentists will train their hygienists with on-the-job training.
The great thing about a job as a dental hygienist is that workers in the field say it is low stress with a great work environment. The pay isn’t bad either at $45,000 a year. Even if you have to have an associate’s degree, it’s a lot less than a 4-year college degree.
Medical Assistants work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, or medical clinics. They ensure that the treatment and examination rooms are clean, sterilizing instruments if the job calls for it. They inquire about the patient’s symptoms to prepare a chart for the doctor.
They take vital signs, which include temperature, blood pressure, and weight. They log all the information about the patient’s visit, including their symptoms and medication. In essence, they are part of the preparation that goes into establishing a patient’s medical record.
Most of the time, all that is needed is a high school diploma and many employers will train the right person. Others require that you complete a program, which often only takes 6 months to a year in an accredited school.
You will definitely have to be familiar and have skills using a computer. You also need excellent communication skills and should be able to relate well with others.
Medical assistants earn a median income of about $30,000 a year, but this job is usually a good stepping-stone for more advanced jobs later on.
The field of business is a wide and varied one. There are even some positions that train on the job, without lengthy college degrees.
Medical Records Assistants perform many roles which require handling of records and files. They may file or scan patient charts and documents, either physically or on the computer.
They may also answer phone inquiries and mail regarding medical records. As a medical records assistant, you will also probably be required to know certain office software, but often employers will train on the job for this.
You must have excellent verbal and written communication skills. Education requirements vary, but often a high school diploma or GED will do. Employers mostly look for the right person to train.
The average yearly salary for a medical records assistant is $27,000.
Receptionists are usually the front desk person that people see when they walk into an office. If you are good with people and have a friendly personality, you may be a great receptionist.
A good receptionist will be organized, handle phone calls well, and make a good first impression for the company they work for. A job as a receptionist is very stress-free. It also opens the doors for higher-paying jobs within a company if that is the direction you want to go.
The average yearly income for receptionists is $28,000.
There are many other considerations in varying fields that offer low-stress job opportunities to people without college degrees.
Gardening or Landscaping Assistant jobs can be very relaxing and stress-free. It is a physical job, but if you love the great outdoors, this can be a great job for you. You might have to cut grass or remove weeds or you can even do full landscaping jobs where you create flower beds.
Most people who garden and work in the landscape find it to be very peaceful. It’s said to decrease anxiety and help depression. It fosters a sense of connecting to the world, while not being in the midst of it.
The average yearly income for a gardening landscape assistant is $24,000 a year or more, depending on how many services you provide.
Private Detectives work in a fascinating field that can hardly seem like work some days. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a Nancy Drew or a Sherlock Holmes?
Private detectives or investigators pursue facts and information which can range from legal to personal information as well as financial information. They are hired by a client to find and analyze the facts they seek.
They may conduct surveillance on suspects or people of interest, do background checks, gather information on them, and follow their movements. Most of the work is field work and can be physical, but some are behind a desk at the computer.
Most private detectives only have experience in the field and on-the-job training. Some are former policemen. Some states require licensing. If you work in a specialized field, such as insurance fraud, then a related college degree is required.
The average starting salary of a private detective is $49,000 a year.
We touched on a few jobs that don’t require college, but there are more. Veterinary assistants, animal sitters, freelance writing, and more jobs out there don’t require degrees. Take an inventory of what you enjoy doing and there is probably a stress-free job out there for you that doesn’t require a college degree.
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