No degree required: 6 entry-level jobs to start your career in STEM

Explore today's top entry-level jobs in engineering and tech. And then apply!

6 minutes

May 24, 2022 Adecco

A focused engineer wearing safety glasses and a hard hat, inspecting a metal component.

Want to land a career that matters without saddling yourself in debt? (Americans owe over $1.75 trillion in student loans!) An entry-level job in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) field could be your perfect fit, especially if you don't fancy spending all your working days stuck behind a desk.

In STEM fields, you’ll find many of the highest-paying jobs without degrees. You could potentially even earn more than someone who has a college degree.

The best part? You can apply to these jobs right now with Adecco.

Here are six well-paying STEM jobs you can do without a degree:

1. Machinist

If working as a machinist conjures up images of repetitive, grungy work, think again! These days, machinists interact with cutting-edge programs like CAD (computer-aided design) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing). They shape raw materials like metal, plastics, and minerals into all kinds of stuff we use every day, from the chair you're sitting on to the engine powering your car. Becoming a machinist could be your ideal career if you're detail-oriented and good with your hands. Long-term prospects are good: the BLS projects demand will grow by 7% over the next ten years. And you can boost your chances with Adecco's Aspire Academy's free 'Basic Machinist' course.

2. Test technician

Test technicians ensure the products we buy meet performance and safety standards, pinning down flaws and tracing their root causes. Working as a test technician could be your thing if you're a proactive problem-solver with a naturally curious mind looking for a tech job without a degree. Some employers offer on-the-job training and apprenticeships, prioritizing the ability to stay on top of ever-changing technology and trends over traditional degrees. In this role, you’ll get exposure to a wide array of projects, so it’s also a great stepping-stone for breaking into more senior technical and management positions.

3. Welder

Bridges, buildings, bikes, boats. Just about every structure requires welding. And America's aging infrastructure means demand will only continue to soar. Welders need to calculate dimensions dynamically, interpret blueprints, and safely manipulate equipment. It's a tricky process to automate and, therefore, one of the most 'future-proof' careers around. Plus, welding skills easily transfer between many industries, from construction to robotics. So, if you want an entry-level engineering job with excellent pay and job security, welding might be your perfect fit. Adecco's free Intro to Welding course will help get your foot in the door.

4. Engineering technician

Interested in science and math? How about conducting experiments and solving problems? Then perhaps you should consider a career as an engineering technician. This is one of the best tech jobs without a degree around, letting you work alongside engineers and scientists to solve technical issues and support the build and assembly of products. You can break into this highly paid career with an associate degree – or comparable military experience – and work your way up to supervisory and highly specialized roles. Many employers provide on-the-job education and even funded external tuition, making this a career with a promising trajectory.

5. Electrical assembler

Electrical assemblers are behind many of the gadgets we use every day, from the semiconductors in our washing machines to the electronic devices in our cars. They're adept at reading blueprints (Adecco can offer free basic training in this), interpreting diagrams, and assembling and soldiering intricate parts. The great news is that many entry-level engineering jobs like this require no previous experience or education. If you have excellent hand-eye coordination and scrupulous attention to detail, you can go right ahead and apply.

6. Pharmacy technician

As the health service industry expands, demand for pharmacy technicians is set to grow. This is a highly responsible role, working closely with pharmacists, locating, dispensing, packing, and labeling medications in diverse settings from hospitals to retail outlets. With training and experience, pharmacy technicians can climb the ranks into supervisory or specialized roles that command high wages; some even pursue a pharmacy degree. Plus, a range of shift patterns, including evenings, weekends, and part-time work, make it a desirable choice for many.

Ready to find an excellent STEM role that doesn't require a traditional degree? Start with Adecco. Every day, we connect candidates across the country with some of the highest paying jobs without a degree.

We add new opportunities every day so keep checking our job search page (you can set an alert) or stop by your local branch for a chat.