Great Careers in Westchester That Don’t Require a 4-Year Degree

Universal Builders Supply (UBS) crew members work at a building site in Long Island City.
Photo by Berstein Associate Photographers

No degree? No problem. These top-tier careers come with good salaries, job security, and room for growth in the region.

Many people assume that getting a bachelor’s degree is the only way to make a good salary or have job security. But the jobs listed below are proof that it’s a myth: None of them require a four-year degree, they all pay more than $40,000 even at the entry level, and job openings in the Hudson Valley were projected to grow more than 20% between 2016 and 2026, according to the New York Department of Labor.

Physical Therapist Assistants

Projected Growth Through 2026: 35.1%

What do they do?
Physical therapist assistants help patients regain movement and manage pain after injuries or illnesses, under the supervision of a physical therapist.

What kind of training does it take?
Physical therapist assistants need an associate’s degree from an accredited program and to earn a license.

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How much money do they earn?
Entry-level wages in the Hudson Valley average $47,490, and experienced physical therapist assistants earn $73,190.

Similar jobs to check out: Occupational therapy assistant, medical assistant, respiratory therapist, community health worker, licensed practical/vocational nurse

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

Projected Growth Through 2026: 28.6%

What do they do?
Environmental science and protection technicians monitor and investigate sources of pollution or contamination, working in laboratories, offices, or in the field.

What kind of training does it take?
While some positions ask for a bachelor’s degree, the typical requirement is an associate’s degree.

How much money do they earn?
Median pay for environmental science and protection technicians is $46,540.

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Similar jobs to check out: Hazardous materials removal worker, surveying and mapping technician, civil engineering technician

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

Projected Growth Through 2026: 28.6%

What do they do?
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters work in factories, homes, businesses, and other places to install or repair piping fixtures and systems.

What kind of training does it take?
Most of these workers learn on the job through an apprenticeship. Some attend a vocational-technical school before their apprenticeship.

How much money do they earn?
Entry-level wages in the Hudson Valley average $45,710, and experienced workers in this sector make $85,830.

Similar jobs to check out: Heating/air conditioning/refrigeration mechanic and installer

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologists

Projected Growth Through 2026: 27.3%

What do they do?
MRI technologists work scanners at hospitals and other diagnostic facilities. They also talk to patients about what to expect from a procedure and help them feel more comfortable.

What kind of training does it take?
The main requirement is an associate’s degree from a program approved by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, followed by a certification exam.

How much money do they earn?
Entry-level wages in the Hudson Valley average $71,920, and experienced MRI technicians make $97,080.

Similar jobs to check out: Diagnostic medical sonographer, radiologic technologist, ophthalmic laboratory technician

Security and Fire Alarm System Installers

Projected Growth Through 2026: 26.9%

What do they do?
Despite the name, there’s more to this job than installing alarms — you also maintain and repair the alarms’ wiring and equipment, and check to make sure the systems comply with applicable codes.

What kind of training does it take?
Most security and fire alarm systems installers enter the field with a high school diploma, followed by on-the-job training. In New York, workers need to show at least 81 hours of qualifying training and pass an examination before they can earn a license.

How much money do they earn?
Entry-level wages in the Hudson Valley average $44,440, but an experienced alarm systems installer can make $76,190.

Similar jobs to check out: Electrician, mechanic for outdoor power equipment and other small engines

Structural Iron and Steelworkers

Projected Growth Through 2026: 23.0%

What do they do?
These kinds of workers install structural and reinforcing iron or steel to form and support buildings, bridges and roads. It’s physically demanding work, often done at great heights.

What kind of training does it take?
A high school diploma, followed by an apprenticeship or other on-the-job training.

How much money do they earn?
Entry-level wages in the Hudson Valley are around $57,710, but an experienced worker can make six figures — $113,810 on average.

Similar jobs to check out: Cement mason and concrete finisher, roofer, tile and marble setter


 

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