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Careers

3 Great Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

It's possible to earn a good paycheck without spending years in school.

A bachelor's degree might not be worth it if the debt load you take on is too heavy. There are thriving careers out there with generous salaries and long-term job security that don't require a college degree, and I'm going to tell you about three of the best. Note that you might need to complete some kind of program or gain a certification, depending on your state. Usually you can do that through a trade school.

See Also: Worst College Majors for Your Career

We'll talk about salary, of course, as well as these jobs' "stress score" — that's a ranking from 0 to 100, where zero is no stress at all and 100 is totally insane.

Brickmasons and stonemasons are in high demand as construction booms on houses, schools and hospitals across America. No degree or work experience is required to get started, but masons often begin with a paid apprenticeship that could include a one- or two-year masonry program at a technical school. Once you've laid your career foundation, you may be able to build a business of your own: Nearly 20% of masons are self-employed, compared with just 6.5% of all workers. Annual salaries range from about $35,000 to $62,000, and the stress score is 46.2, below the median of 53.

Those buildings the masons are putting together are going to need elevators, and elevator installers are the folks who are going to put them in. The happy few who brave this sometimes dangerous and challenging work — it gets a stress score of 59 — enjoy high median pay of almost $80,000 a year. If you want to join their ranks, you can start learning the trade right after high school through a five-year paid apprenticeship, offered by unions and individual contractors.

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Another field where you’ll use your hands is as a massage therapist. Baby boomers coping with more aches and pains as they age will increasingly need their services. Plus, with massage-clinic chains proliferating and making the practice more affordable, even younger folks will be able to indulge themselves for greater relaxation. Salaries aren’t that high — the range is about $24,000 to $52,000, but the stress level is very low, at 37.8, as well it should be, right?

Take a look at seven more great jobs that don't require a college degree.