Ah, 2020. The year that most of us would like to do-over. COVID-19 has shaken us and left many people unemployed and looking for new jobs. Recent reports on employment rates project a bleak future. For those without a college degree, it may seem even bleaker. But there are some jobs that are not only steady sources of income but provide security, low unemployment rates, and growth potential.
While some of these top jobs don’t require a college degree, some do require technical training. But it might be worth your while, if you’re gifted with hands-on technical abilities, to look into a few of the following. Other jobs on this list only require a high school diploma or GED for employment.
Wind Turbine Technician
If you’re not afraid of heights – say 300 feet, like the outdoors and have a High School Diploma/GED, you should consider this job. While most job postings today are in the Central United States (Colorado, North & South Dakotas), there is also potential for international employment (assuming borders ever open back up).
What do you need? In many cases, entry-level techs only need a driver’s license and a high school diploma or GED. Professional growth – and income – come with experience which many companies are willing to invest in their employees.
What do you do? Turbine techs climb towers to perform maintenance checks that include the mechanics, hydraulics and electrical components of the tower. Regardless of weather, turbine techs will need to also be able to lift at least 50 pounds repetitively.
Given the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, there is growth in this field for the next ten years. Companies currently hiring, such as General Electric, also provide willingness to train and educate employees in this field and offer competitive compensation and health benefits.
One of the most solid jobs on the list for growth, with low unemployment and high salary, electricians are needed all over the United States – both commercial and residential.
What do you need? You will need to complete at least an apprenticeship program. This can be found at a local technical school, community college or an employer. The rewards? Skills are in-demand steadily and employers are competitive in compensation packages offering full benefits such as 401K, vision, dental, life and health.
What do you do? If you enjoy accuracy of detail, methodical planning and not sitting at a desk all day, this may be the job for you. Electricians also need to be able to read blueprints, schematics and have strong problem-solving skills. Electricians are responsible for troubleshooting, maintenance and installation of all electrical equipment and fixtures.
Decidedly, not the most glamorous job on Top Jobs, but still one of the most stable and necessary jobs in the country. This is another field where growth in the field offers long-term stability and job openings. But this is a job that will require work before you can get the job of a licensed plumber.
What do you need? You will need to complete an apprenticeship program. This is not a job to be obtained in the short-haul, but requires, in most states, a minimum of 246 hours of technical education. Once this is achieved, there is an additional 2,000 hours of on-the-job training which is paid. Working alongside an experienced plumber, you will become what is commonly known as a “journeyman”. After this, each state requires a test and license. If you have strong problem solving, good communication skills and like variety in your job locations, this may fit the bill. For more on training go to: https://nabtu.org/affiliates/united-association-union-plumbers-fitters-welders-service-techs-ua/
What do you do? Once you’ve finished all the requirements, like electricians, you can work commercial or residential jobs – or both. You’ll be responsible for installing fixtures in kitchens, bathroom, basements or offices, new residential builds and other commercial buildings. You can also work for yourself and be your own employer. Independent plumbers have flexibility to set their own hourly rates and type of jobs they work.
Licensed Practical Nurse
If you like helping people or have experience in caregiving, consider an LPN. Healthcare professions continue to be stalwart positions and now more than ever, healthcare facilities need people to help.
What do you need? To become an LPN, most community colleges or technical schools that offer healthcare training offer certificate programs. At the community-college level, this certificate program is 12 months or 46 credits. In states like Maryland where I live, community college tuition is free in my county for full-time students taking 12 credits or more and who make under the income threshold. Check your states for similar tuition programs.
What do you do? LPNs actually have wide latitude in where and how they want to work. Both Hospitals and private companies hire LPNs to work under the RNs and perform vitals checks, catheter care, dress wounds, dress patients, feed patients and do hygiene care. This can be done with adults or pediatric patients. Working in a hospital or larger healthcare arena, LPNs provide essential medical care under supervision of an RN and LPNs in turn supervise nurse aides. If you need a flexible schedule, consider working for nursing homes or private nursing companies. If being an LPN appeals to you, know that in many cases LPNs transition into becoming licensed RNs and many schools offer programs to complete this.
Hearing Aid Specialist
If you are a people person – particularly with the elderly population, becoming a hearing aid specialist may appeal to you. While that’s not to say there aren’t pediatric or adults under 70 who don’t need hearing aids, the majority of people in need are older. Companies you might not expect like large box stores such as Costco, Sam’s and BJs, offer hearing aid services as do other smaller companies. Some are willing to offer on-the-job training to achieve your state license.
What do you need? If you find a job (are there are quite a few) that offer on-the-job training, you also need to enjoy meeting people, possess strong communication skills and have good hand dexterity. If you don’t find a job that offers training, you can take a course through the International Hearing Society. Each state requires a licensing exam be taken.
What do you do? As a hearing aid specialist, you will meet on a daily basis new people who need to be fitted with hearing aids based on your assessing their needs.You will be maintaining patient records and ensuring your state guidelines are met.You also repair and clean hearing aids for customers as well as conduct testing and creating ear molds.
Insurance Sales Agent
Another people-person job, insurance agents’ careers enjoy low unemployment and median salaries of about $50K base pay. This is without the typical commissions that are an important source of added income for agents. Not gonna sugar-coat this one. Sales is a hard business and requires a considerable amount of time developing and pursuing leads. Whether you work for a brokerage or independently, you will need to work irregular and sometimes long hours.
What do you need? Whether you sell auto, health, home or life insurance, you will need to be licensed. Each state has different guidelines, but for example in Maryland (where I live), you need to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, lack a criminal record and pass a state test.
If you want to work as a commercial insurance agent and sell property damage and liability policies, because insurance is a heavily regulated field, you will need to take a commercial licensing test as dictated by your state. One license you also need to be able to communicate to both large and small audiences. If you’re extroverted, enjoy social interaction and are willing to earn the majority of your income through commission sales, pursue this field. Over the next eight years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipate nearly 49,000 jobs in this field will be created.
What do you do? As a residential agent, you will provide coverage for people’s homes, RVs, Boats, basically all personal property. You will meet with them to discuss their needs and know expertly the services your brokerage supplies. For life insurance, whether selling term or whole life, you will need to be well-versed and fluent in providing guidance on your product. In the commercial market, whether you sell group health, group life, or product liability you will need to possess strong articulation skills and understand your product line expertly.
Solar Panel Installer
Another job for people not afraid of heights, although not as high as a wind turbine, solar panel installers need to be comfortable on a roof. The solar industry is on the rise. Many consumers want to do their part by going “green” and save some money doing it. You may have seen homes in your area covered with the large panels on the roof. There’s no question, sustainable energy alternatives are on the rise commercially. Recently, an old country club in my area was converted along the Philadelphia – Baltimore corridor of I-95, has a field of these solar panels, creating massive amounts of energy for their customers.
What do I need? You need a high school diploma, driver’s license and be a team player. While some companies ask for 1-2 years’ experience, they are also willing to train employees. Most entry-level jobs begin at $20/hour and go to $32/hour based on experience. If you are the team lead installer, hourly rates begin at $30/hour and go up. There are technical schools and trade schools who also provide training.
What do I do? For residential and commercial installs, you will be assigned to a small team of installers, headed typically by a lead installer. You will perform testing/troubleshooting of equipment and systems; provide preventative maintenance and repairs; work independently at times under minimal supervision and be able to communicate with customers as needed.
Firefighters respond to many type of emergencies beyond calls to extinguish fires, but they also work areas affected by flooding, car accidents, hazardous material concerns. I suspect, they probably still save a cat or two from a tree if they were called. This career has a low unemployment rate and has steady growth predicted.
What do you need? You need to complete fire academy training. In some areas, you need to affiliate with your local volunteer fire company in order to be admitted to the fire academy, but not all states require this, so it’s best to find out your state guidelines. You have to be physically fit to enter the academy and past some basic tests. Additional skills to consider, which can be completed in weeks or months is EMT training – many volunteer fire departments hold these courses. Taking some first aid is helpful as well. Frequently, firefighters do end up going to school for public safety or fire science to further their careers.
What will you do? You’ll respond to calls, put out fires, work as part of a unit and as I mentioned above, face a myriad of emergency situations that require the skills you’ll attain in the fire academy. You can also specialize in joining a hazmat unit or water rescue teams.
Real Estate Agent
For most people, the biggest expense in their life will be the purchase of a house. It can be complex and in today’s climate you definitely want someone experience to guide you through the process of finding your perfect home. As a realtor, you will be expected to act as the mouthpiece for your clients to other agents and brokers. Having good communication skills and putting people at ease is a plus.
What do I need? You need a license. While many realtors have no college degree, they do have to pass a state test and obtain a license which they must keep in good standing. Whether you work for a large or small brokerage, there are upfront fees. First, you need to locate a real estate training class, which you can find on realtor websites. The pricing on this can vary, but the fee typically includes the cost of the state test. Once you pass your test, you need to align with a brokerage. There will be initial setup cost such as marketing: pens, fridge magnets, car magnets/decals etc. Other fees include setting up liability insurance, creating a signage account (the people who install the For Sale signs) , software access for listings only available to licensed realtors. So, initially, you may need to reserve $2-3K for all these little fees, which hopefully you will recoup with sales.
Given current interest rates, it is a buyers’ market in 2020. I know of a few friends looking for homes that have face 6-7 other bids within hours of an open house.
What do you do? As an agent and much like I mentioned under the Insurance agent description, there is a lot of long hours and sometimes irregular hours in being a realtor. you’ll draft contracts (brokerage provides), communicate with other realtors, inspectors and create a circle of referrals for yourself. This is not a 9-5 job and calls come in evenings and weekends from clients. You will need to have some flexibility in your schedule, but the reward is referrals and commissions from successful sales.
Affiliate Content Marketer
What is affiliate marketing? Is where you get paid to research products and services then give your recommendation as a blog post or in a video post like YouTube. Many social media influences are affiliate markets as well.
In a new LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report, they named affiliate marketing as seventh on the top 10 hard skills (Hard Skills are technical skills, knowledge, or training that you have gained through any life experience) to have in 2020.
What do you need? There is no license required, but a quick check on Glasdoor.com reveals one to three years experience is asked for by some companies. However, this is such a new field for most companies to hire for, I’d be comfortable saying all they want is reassurance you understand and can do the job. There are certifications for this field available, which may door open doors to high paying job as well.
What do you do? Many mainstream companies are now looking to fill affiliate jobs offering starting salaries around $65,000 working on their blog and social media channels, this it a great opportunity.
However, if you’re more entrepreneurial-minded, like working for yourself, having time freedom, and promoting only the products and services you care about. Then you may be interested where I learned the skills.
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