Associate's degree and certificate programs could be great alternatives to the bachelor's degree.
Do you want to prepare to pursue a fulfilling career, but can't invest in a bachelor's degree?
Not to worry.
Think a certificate or associate's degree program might be right for you? Worried you need a bachelor's degree to get a job? Check out this list of growing careers...no bachelor's degree required.
Career #1 - Dental Assistant
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of dental assisting positions may grow 25 percent between 2012 and 2022.
Education: Consider a dental assistant certificate or diploma program. According to the Department of Labor, some states require these professionals to graduate from an accredited program and pass a state exam.
Median Annual Salary: $34,900*
Career #2 - Administrative Services Manager
If you're organized and good with people, this may be the career for you. As an administrative services manager, you might be responsible for directing, planning, and coordinating the supportive services of an organization, the U.S. Department of Labor says.
Education: A While a high school diploma or GED is typically required, some administrative services managers might need a bachelor's degree at least, with typical courses of study including business, facility management, or engineering, according to the Department of Labor.
Median Annual Salary: $82,310*
Career #3 - Medical Assistant
As a medical assistant, you might assist doctors and nurses administrative and clinical tasks, including taking vital signs and recording patient histories, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you want a career that doesn't require a bachelor's degree, this might be a good option for you.
Education: A certificate or diploma program in medical assisting could be great place to start, as the Department of Labor says most medical assistants do have some kind of postsecondary education, such as a certificate.
Median Annual Salary: $29,610*
Career #4 - Paralegal
It's a good time to be performing legal research as a paralegal. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand for paralegals is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012-2022.
Education: Most paralegals start out with an associate's degree in paralegal studies or a certificate in paralegal studies with a bachelor's in another field, says the Department of Labor.
Median Annual Salary: $47,570*
Career #5 - Medical Records and Health Information Technician
These professionals manage health information data and organize it, using coding systems to categorize patient information for insurance purposes, among other duties, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Education: Certificate programs are available in health information technology. Another option: an associate's degree. The Department of Labor tells us that a postsecondary certificate is typically needed to enter this occupation although some health information technicians may have an associate's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $34,970*
Career #6 - Registered Nurse
This rewarding career is in-demand, versatile, and can often be pursued without a bachelor's degree.
Education: You could prepare to pursue a career as a registered nurse through an associate's degree program in nursing or nursing diploma from an approved nursing program, says the U.S. Department of Labor, pointing out that registered nurses must also be licensed.
Median Annual Salary: $66,220*
Career #7 - Web Developer
These days almost everything can be done online, including shopping, event planning...and earning a degree. That makes creating and maintaining websites challenging.
Education: An associate's degree in web design is the typical education needed for this career, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Median Annual Salary: $63,160*
If you don't think any of these careers are a good fit for you, don't worry. This is just a short list of careers you could pursue without a bachelor's degree. There are many more out there. For example, according to University.com, a comprehensive research site for students interested in online degrees and courses, with an online associate's degree you could pursue careers such as respiratory therapist, computer network support specialist, and electrical and electronics engineering technician. What you need to remember is that there are other programs, besides a bachelor's degree, that could prepare you to pursue exciting new career paths.
* All salary information from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages data, May 2013.
Chloe West also contributed to this article by updating the information on 7/18/2014