Jobs in Engineering for People Without a Degree

If you're worried about entering an engineering position without a degree, you can rest easy. Many options are out there for those who are looking to get into the field but don't have a postsecondary degree.

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Career Options for Engineering Without a Degree

Although engineers typically have degrees, that doesn't mean the engineering field as a whole excludes those who have not attended a university. In fact, you might not be aware of how many trades are available that are related to the engineering field, and the positions included below all support engineers of some kind. Read on to find out if a new career might be waiting for you.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Quality Control Inspector $36,780 0%
Construction and Building Inspector $58,480 8%
Carpenter $43,600 6%
Electrician $52,720 14%
Plumber, Pipefitter, and Steamfitter $51,450 12%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Engineering Fields for People Without a Degree

Quality Control Inspector

Quality control (QC) inspectors act as a line of defense between the makers of a product and the consumers of the same product. After engineers create and build a product, QC inspectors can remove all of the material that would not meet the standards set forth by engineers or their parent company. Inspectors can record the results of their findings in reports, and their data can help the process of repair. A high school diploma, coupled with as much as a year of training, is sufficient for a career as a quality control inspector.

Construction and Building Inspector

Inspectors for construction and buildings are those who make sure that various buildings are compliant with their local, state, and federal regulations. To ensure the safety of all occupied buildings, inspections are performed on HVAC and electrical systems throughout, and inspectors then provide detailed feedback based on their discoveries. In addition to building inspectors, specialty areas for inspection careers include mechanical, elevator, coating, and plumbing. Anyone looking to start a career as a construction or building inspector should know plenty about the construction trade and have obtained a high school diploma.


While you might think of carpenters as just those who work with wood, that's not always the case -- carpenters can also work on staircases, bridge support systems, and they might even put together things made out of fiberglass. They follow specific blueprints to meet client needs, and will also be in charge of laborers and construction helpers throughout the course of their daily routine. Carpenters might be employed in residential, commercial, or industrial settings. After graduating high school, carpenters can learn the trade through an apprenticeship or by immediately starting on the job as a helper.


Electricians are responsible for installing and repairing electrical power and circuitry in a number of different settings. They must follow state and local building regulations, and as they advance in their career, they will direct and train other workers to perform the same duties. Inspection of electrical issues and identification of faulty electrical wiring also falls under the umbrella of an electrician's job. Attending a technical school or obtaining an apprenticeship is the first step in becoming an electrician.

Plumber, Pipefitter, and Steamfitter

The installation of pipes and fixtures is just one aspect of the job of a plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter. They are skilled in blueprint reading, system inspection, and troubleshooting. When worn parts need to be replaced, these workers know what to do as well. Plumbers focus on fixtures that transport water and sewage, while pipefitters work on pipes that might transport acids, gases, and chemicals. Apprenticeships and technical schools are available to pursue any of these three positions.

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