Looking for options for Austin careers without a college degree? They exist, but you may need to search outside the box to find them.
While employers seem to be opening up to the prospect of hiring workers without college degrees, progress is slow going. Here’s a timeline from SHRM:
- The 1970s: About 70% of “good jobs” were open to those without a college degree
- 2008 Recession: Workers with a high school diploma or less lost 5.6 million jobs
- By 2016: Only 80,000 of those slots were recovered
- 2020 COVID-19 shutdown: Job loss for workers without a degree peaked at 17.6%, compared to 8.4% for college graduates
- By 2031: It’s projected that 30% of jobs will be open to non-degreed workers
The American Opportunity Index recently came out with its best places to advance your career, even without a college degree. Several Texas companies, including AT&T and Southwest Airlines, top the list, which focuses on the fundamental premise that “workers need to be able to get on the ladder, earn enough to stay on the ladder, and move up the ladder.”
We asked our recruiters for additional insights on careers without a college degree. Here are the areas they pointed out:
Tech Careers Without a College Degree
Those on the list with a presence in Austin are (surprise!) tech companies, including Microsoft and IBM. Indeed, tech can be a great place to find careers without a college degree. Google is known for its Grow with Google training program, and companies like Tesla and Apple have plenty of training and job opportunities for non-degree holders.
A top tip of ours: Consider Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications. They’ll get you in the door at more companies than just Amazon. “Many midsize companies look for developers with Amazon certifications. It’s the hallmark of the profession right now and so having the certification boosts credibility,” says The HT Group’s Paul McGaughan.
High-Tech Construction Management
Commercial construction is one of the best fields for careers without a college degree. In Austin, high-tech commercial construction can be especially lucrative. That’s because with Austin’s semiconductor boom comes a related surge in high-tech construction. Someone must build these mega facilities, after all.
One project with the most boots on the ground right now is the Samsung facility in Taylor. If you have a background in commercial construction or are looking to enter the field, you’re in luck. Take this junior construction manager position, for instance. It comes with an annual salary of $85,000+ and no degree required (although experience with specialized software, mechanical work, and cost control is a must). Several positions are also available for document controllers, safety coordinators, and other career tracks.
Additional Ideas from Our Recruiters
The Energy sector, a Texas job staple, has had its ups and downs, but it’s still a great place to find careers without a college degree, especially if you’re looking for a Texas job outside of Austin. With minimal experience, you can find work as a maintenance technician, for instance.
We’ve also found some of the happiest people without college degrees in customer service tracks. The jobs can be fast-paced, but your ability to move up to specialist or team lead, then management, can be, too. Check out this career path guide for ideas on how it might work.