The Best Job for the Next Decade That Doesn't Require a Four-Year College Degree

There's one job in high demand expected to have more than 1 million job openings and pay more than $65,000 a year.

Jan 19, 2014 at 12:19PM

Looking for a career change? There's only one place to start.

There is one job better than all the rest for people who want stable employment, high pay, solid benefits, and job security, and it doesn't even require a traditional, four-year college degree. And it pays nearly twice as much as other jobs with a similar education. And there are supposed to be more than a million new job openings in the coming decade.

Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn't. The best job for the next decade is a registered nurse.

By Cod Newsroom
Source: COD Newsroom .

Great pay
In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that registered nurses had an average salary of $65,470, or $31.50 per hour, and the only entry-level education required is an associate's degree in nursing.


Source: 401(K) 2013 on Flickr.

By comparison, the BLS notes that post-secondary teachers -- college professors and the like -- need a minimum of a master's degree (and often a doctorate) and get paid an average of $68,970 per year. That could mean seven or more years of college tuition payments for only a 5% bump in pay! 

The average salary for all jobs that required an associate's degree stood at $39,000 in 2012 , meaning a degree in nursing is worth nearly 70% more than the average associate's degree. In fact, the top 10% of registered nurses also earned nearly $95,000. 

Over a million new jobs
It isn't even just that registered nurses make great money, but there will also be a huge demand for them in coming years. It's expected that there will be 1,053,000 job openings for registered nurses by 2022, which is more than the job openings for accountants and construction workers combined.

527,000 of those jobs are expected to be the result new job openings, and not simply filling roles for people already in the workforce. You can see how dramatically better the pay is for a registered nurse than the other jobs that will be in high demand:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

And it isn't as though these job demands will be greatest in specific areas of the country or only in hospitals, because registered nurses can work in almost any physician's office, nursing home, school, or even in home health care services anywhere in the U.S.

By Cod Newsroom

Source: COD Newsroom.

The reason for the heightened demand for registered nurses is the result of a number of factors. There is the aging population of the American public, an increased number of chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and obesity, and an expansion of health care coverage in America as a result of the Affordable Care Act, meaning more people will seek health care services. In addition, as a result of more pressure on hospitals to lower costs, more individuals will be sent to outpatient facilities that have higher needs for nurses. 

Although other jobs often get more headline attention, few can provide the security, pay, opportunity, and societal benefit -- and require fewer hurdles to jump to become one -- quite like a registered nurse.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that a job as a registered nurse requires no college degree. The Fool regrets the error.

Moving from careers to investing
Curious on how to start investing? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even gives you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information