Around 40 million people in the United States are struggling with student loans, statistics say. According to research conducted by the American Institute of Stress, as of 2022, more than 40% of workers felt their jobs were extremely stressful. To make the problem worse, almost a quarter of American employers rank their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. What do these numbers have to do with each other? Well, they all indicate a new trend: More and more members of the labor force are moving toward low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree.
I know: This phrase sounds too good to be true. It goes against the conventional wisdom of the working world, in which a degree is needed to demonstrate your competence and your income is proportional to the amount of work you do. In the 21st century, though, the table has turned. Several careers can help you make a killing without having a baccalaureate, and you can find them with some digging.
However, as Rihanna stated, “everything comes with a sacrifices”. Likewise, high-paying jobs that don’t make you feel like ripping out your hair also have their own trade-offs.
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Why Do Low-Stress Jobs That Pay Well Without A Degree Exist?
At this point, you may still be skeptical.
It’s true that, on average, people with a degree make more money than those without one. Still, we should consider the law of supply and demand. You haven’t forgotten everything your professor said in the introductory economics class, have you?
In short, more people are chasing after a degree than ever. And these folks – rightfully so – would seek jobs that align with their degrees. This leads to a considerable number of vacant positions. Most people are not interested in them since they don’t bring enough popularity or prestige. On the other hand, some jobs are overlooked simply because we have never heard about them or don’t know how much they actually pay.
This leaves the labor market with openings that are difficult to fill. To compete for talent, they will come with an attractive rate of pay. The supply is low compared to the demand, raising prices, and that’s why low stress jobs that pay well exist.
Letting Go Of Old Desires
Now you know that positions that pay well with minimal stress are out there. Getting one sounds like a dream come true, but we are talking about reality. Compared to others, pursuing a job like this requires walking on a different path. Thus, the first step is to change our mindset.
By saying “mindset”, I mean our definition of an honorable vocation. Everyone, especially youngsters, has a burning desire to feel important. If you work in a low-stress, no-degree-required job, this desire might not be satisfied. Again, most of these positions are often avoided since they are not “fashionable” or “respectable” enough. No matter how much you earn, your career might still make your friends frown.
So, the biggest drawback is peer pressure. When you face this dismay, remember there is no big or small career. It’s just man’s superiority complex that judges people based on their profession, and we must change how we define inferior or superior work. Bragging about your position at a multinational corporation might feel nice. Receiving admiration is pretty cool, too. However, suffering from all the stress it brings takes away a little of the luster.
What’s more to it? While there are less-stressful, high-paying jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, they still cost a huge amount of time and effort. For some positions, you might have to spend years developing your skills or even getting certified. In return, you get a healthier lifestyle and a handsome salary. Totally worthwhile, I’d say.
Top Low-Stress Jobs You Can Do Without A Degree
If the caveats above haven’t shattered your expectation of a low-stress job that pays well, let’s help you choose one! Many careers out there meet one of the two criteria, but only a few can tick both boxes.
Below, JobandEdu has picked all the less stressful professions that pay at least $40,000 per year. It’s a good starting point, especially when they also come with substantial job growth.
Bed Tester (Or Professional Sleeper)
- Median pay: $58,127 per year.
- Job growth (2020-2030): 7%
Do you have trouble getting out of bed every morning? Do you find yourself pressing the “snooze” button more than once? Or perhaps you spend the whole day at work dreaming about your bed?
Well then, here’s some good news: You can sleep for a living! Sounds like a joke, right?
Dream job: Get paid to sleep
In fact, professional sleeper (or bed tester) is one of the most sought-after low stress jobs that pay well without a degree. A professional sleeper tests mattresses, pillows, and quilts by sleeping on them. Depending on each employer, you might also be expected to write detailed reports on room conditions or take sleep aids to fall asleep for medical trials or art exhibits.
Working as a bed tester doesn’t require experience, but you need the ability to sleep in new surroundings, away from home, for an extended time. Good overall health, observational skills, and the ability to write compelling reports are also crucial.
Here’s a downside: Landing this job takes a lot of work. Only a few companies, such as “Crafted Beds” or budget hotel chain “Travelodge”, hire full-time bed-testers, so make sure to keep an eye out for adverts online. Alternatively, you can reach out to mattress companies, hotel chains, or sleep clinics and let them know about your sleep-testing services.
- Median pay: $43,260 per year
- Job growth (2020-2030): 32%
Back then, massage was considered a luxury treat. In the era of desk jobs and computer dependence, though, more and more people feel the need to receive a good rubdown regularly. Beyond a painkiller, it also helps us relieve stress, improve our muscles, and work out our muscles as a whole.
Thus, massage therapists are in higher demand than ever. Statistics show that it’s the second-most popular healthcare profession in America. In short, a massage therapist’s job is to stretch tense muscles and apply pressure using hands or various devices for therapeutic purposes. While this doesn’t sound complicated, the process involves many techniques, such as kneading muscles or deep-tissue muscle manipulation that relieves the tissue’s deeper layers.
To thrive in this career, one must deeply understand anatomy and medical terminology. However, that doesn’t mean you need a medical degree or lifetime training to get into it. On average, it takes around 500 hours of training to become a certified massage therapist. Not so challenging, I’d say, if your health is good enough to stand all the physical wear and tear.
- Median pay: $40,510 per year
- Job growth (2020-2030): 39%
The demand for personal trainers is skyrocketing. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out, it’s one of the most desirable occupations thanks to the massive number of people who want to improve their health.
So what will you do as a fitness trainer? The answer is simple: You give clients instructions on the specific exercises and training they should carry out to achieve certain goals – whether shedding pounds, building muscles, or getting in shape for the next pool party.
The best thing about this career is that you don’t have to work from 9 to 5. In fact, personal trainers can choose to work part-time or full-time. Some fitness centers would prefer instructors to work evenings and weekends since most people would go to the gym outside work hours.
Now, this might come off as a surprise: While some employers would look for fitness trainers with degrees in fitness-related fields, most of them don’t care. Since the most important thing is inspiring clients to stick to their goals, you are already one step ahead if you have an engaging personality. That said, it’s certainly not some jobs for introverts with anxiety without degree.
You want to become a personal trainer? Watch this first!
Solar Photovoltaic Installers
- Median pay: $46,470 per year
- Job growth (2020-2030): 52%
Does this job title sound a bit too much for you? Although it sounds very technical, becoming a solar photovoltaic installer is easier than most people think.
Just as its name indicates, a solar photovoltaic installer is responsible for installing solar photovoltaic panels on rooftops or structures like garages. These installations can be as small as less than five panels or as large as several hundred.
Contrary to popular belief, most solar technicians only have high school diplomas. They receive special training and get certified by trade schools. That makes it the perfect career for low-debt education: As you go to trade schools instead of universities, you can hone specific skills without paying for unnecessary courses.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the ongoing expansion and adoption of solar panel installations will create more positions in the next few years. More specifically, the job market for solar installers is expected to grow by 63%. This is almost six times faster than any other field in construction!
To make it sound even more appealing, solar technicians can get a handsome salary – very handsome, in fact. If you keep expanding your skill set and knowledge, your paycheck will continue to grow. The top 10% of earners bring in well over $63,580 – now you see how the sun can lead to a great career path!
Degrees Are Not (Always) Everything
In today’s world, not having a college degree should not diminish your opportunities. For some positions, employers need more workers than workers need jobs. No longer have the luxury of cherry-picking from a pool of candidates, they are tasked with figuring out how to attract new talent. Removing the need for a degree has proven to be an effective way.
That’s great news for many young people about to enter the workforce. With enough searching, you can find low-tress jobs that pay well without a degree. However, keep in mind that each of us has a different conception of “stressful,” and what makes a career relaxing or not depends primarily on our strengths and weaknesses. By cultivating your self-awareness, you can finally land a truly engaging and fulfilling job.