High-Tech Jobs That Don't Need a College Degree
8. Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers
> Number of jobs: 316,290
> Average wages: $37,920
> Pct. growth 2010-2020: 15%
There are more than 300,000 workers employed in occupations that involve the joining and shaping of metal parts. The majority of such metalworkers work in manufacturing or construction. Welders and other similar professionals work in potentially dangerous environments that require protective clothing, goggles and well-ventilated work spaces for safety purposes. For high-skilled welding and soldering jobs, employers often hire workers who have been through a formal training program.
7. Plumbers, Pipefitters, Steamfitters
> Number of jobs: 349,320
> Average wages: $51,830
> Pct. growth 2010-2020: 26%
Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters are generally responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing pipe systems that carry liquids or gases. They work on both residential and industrial projects, and they must often be available on both nights and weekends. These professions often require multiyear apprenticeships that include on-the-job training and class work covering regulations, math, physics and chemistry. Such workers usually need only a high school diploma.
> Number of jobs: 368,510
> Average wages: $40,520
> Pct. growth 2010-2020: 7%
Machinists use lathes, grinders and other tools to produce unique and often difficult-to-replace parts machine parts and must be able to operate a large variety of machines. Formal, multiyear apprenticeship programs typically require workers to have a strong understanding of math. These programs are often competitive, with apprentices having to juggle both work and technical school. Rockford, Ill., which is a major center for the manufacturing of automotive and machine parts, has a machinist-to-population ratio more than six and a half times the national rate.
5. Computer Systems Analysts
> Number of jobs: 487,740
> Average wages: $82,320
> Pct. growth 2010-2020: 22%
Computer systems analysts review an organization’s computer system and help it operate more efficiently. Analysts often specialize in a particular type of computer system, and many work as consultants. While most computer systems analysts have a bachelor’s degree, this is not always a requirement. Edward Snowden, the CIA and NSA analyst who is currently wanted by the United States for disclosing the existence of the NSA’s surveillance operations, has a GED and no college degree. Despite this, his annual salary was $122,000, according to his employer. Major metro areas, like Austin, Washington D.C. and San Jose have very high concentrations of computer systems analysts.