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High-Growth Occupations: Non-Degree Jobs on the Rise


As industries evolve and demands shift, a new wave of high-growth occupations has emerged, attracting individuals with specialized skills and practical experience. 

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1. Esthetician and Skin Care Specialist

Estheticians and skin care specialists provide various beauty and skincare services to clients. They perform facials, skin treatments, hair removal, and makeup application. They may also offer advice on skincare routines and recommend products. 

Estheticians typically work in spas, salons, or skin care clinics, and some may be self-employed.

Look for accredited esthetician programs or vocational schools that offer comprehensive training in skincare techniques, product knowledge, and business management. Obtaining a license is crucial in most regions, so make sure to meet the requirements of your local licensing board.

2. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound technology to create images of patients’ internal organs and structures. 

These images help physicians diagnose medical conditions. Sonographers work in hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic imaging centers. They interact with patients, explain procedures, and preserve the quality of the images produced.

Follow these steps to become a diagnostic medical sonographer: 

  • Seek out accredited diagnostic medical sonography programs or vocational schools that provide specialised training in ultrasound technology. 
  • Complete a recognized program and obtaining certification can enhance your job prospects. 
  • Gain hands-on experience through internships or clinical rotations can be of great help. 

3. Ophthalmic Medical Technician

Ophthalmic medical technicians assist ophthalmologists in providing eye care. They conduct diagnostic tests, measure vision, record patient histories, and provide support during eye surgeries. 

They may also educate patients on proper eye care and contact lens usage. Ophthalmic medical technicians often work in ophthalmology clinics, eye hospitals, or optometry practices.

4. Food Service Managers

Food service managers oversee the operations of restaurants, cafeterias, or other food service establishments. 

They coordinate staff, manage budgets, ensure food safety and quality, and handle customer service. Food service managers may also be responsible for menu planning, inventory management, and compliance with health and safety regulations.

Follow these steps to become a food service manager: 

  • Start by gaining practical experience in the food service industry in entry-level positions such as a server or a cook. 
  • Develop customer service, team management, inventory control, and financial management skills. 
  • Consider enrolling in vocational programs or short courses in hospitality or food service management to enhance your knowledge and skills.

5. Hearing Aid Specialist

Hearing aid specialists work with individuals who have hearing loss. They perform hearing evaluations, recommend and fit hearing aids, and provide ongoing support and maintenance. 

Hearing aid specialists may work in audiology clinics, hearing aid dispensaries, or healthcare facilities.

You can become a hearing aid specialist by following these steps: 

  • Look for training programs specific to hearing aid fitting and dispensing. Some states require a license or certification to practice as a hearing aid specialist. 
  • Seek out programs that provide hands-on training and knowledge of hearing aid technology, anatomy of the ear, and patient counseling.

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6. Lodging Managers

Lodging managers are responsible for the overall management of hotels, motels, or other lodging establishments. 

They oversee operations, including guest services, staff management, reservations, budgeting, and facility maintenance. They also ensure guest satisfaction, maintain high standards, and promote a positive guest experience.

You can become a lodging manager by following these steps: 

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  • Gain experience in the hospitality industry by working in entry-level positions at hotels or other lodging establishments. 
  • Develop skills in customer service, staff management, budgeting, and operations.
  • Pursue vocational courses or certifications in hotel or hospitality management to enhance your credentials.

7. Medical Secretaries

Medical secretaries provide administrative support in healthcare settings. They schedule appointments, manage medical records, handle billing and insurance claims, and assist with correspondence. 

A medical secretary needs a strong understanding of medical terminology and proficiency in office software. They work in hospitals, clinics, and medical offices.

Follow these steps to become a medical secretary: 

  • Obtain training in medical office administration through vocational schools or community colleges. 
  • Familiarize yourself with medical terminology, office software, appointment scheduling, medical billing, and record keeping. 
  • Consider earning certifications such as Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) for further professional recognition.

8. Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists work alongside dentists to provide preventive dental care. They clean teeth, examine oral health, take X-rays, apply sealants, and educate patients on oral hygiene practices. 

Dental hygienists typically work in dental offices and play a crucial role in maintaining oral health.

To become a dental hygienist, enroll in an accredited dental hygiene program offered by community colleges or vocational schools. These programs provide hands-on training in dental procedures, oral health education, radiography, and patient care. 

Upon completion, you’ll need to pass a licensing examination to practice as a dental hygienist.

9. Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Seek out vocational training programs or apprenticeships in solar panel installation. Look for programs that cover photovoltaic systems, electrical wiring, safety protocols, and industry regulations. 

Practical experience is crucial, so try to gain hands-on training through internships or on-the-job training opportunities.

Solar photovoltaic installers assemble, install, and maintain solar panel systems on rooftops or other structures. They ensure proper wiring, connect components and perform system testing. 

Solar installers may work on residential or commercial projects, contributing to the growth of renewable energy.

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10. Licenced Vocational Nurses

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians. 

They monitor patients’ health, administer medication, dress wounds, and assist with personal care. LPNs/LVNs work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics.

To become an LPN, you must complete a practical nursing program or vocational nursing program offered by community colleges or vocational schools. These programs provide training in nursing fundamentals, patient care, medication administration, and healthcare ethics. 

After completing the program, you’ll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to obtain a license.

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