Science Jobs for People Without a Degree

Learn about a few of the job opportunities in science for people without a formal degree. See more about the job duties and education requirements of each career, as well as the job outlook and median salary.

Career Options in Science for People Without a Degree

Although not extremely common, there are some science-related career options for people who have not earned a degree. These jobs are usually in technician or assistant positions. Here, we list and explore a few of these science job options that do not require a degree.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Veterinary Assistant and Laboratory Animal Caretaker $25,250 9%
Nursing Assistant $26,590 18%
Dental Laboratory Technician $37,680 11%
Forestry and Conservation Worker $26,940 4%
Agricultural and Food Science Technician $37,550 5%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information about Jobs in Science for People Without a Degree

Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretaker

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers are usually supervised by veterinarians or scientists as they perform their daily duties. They are responsible for the general care of animals in clinics or labs, which includes feeding, bathing, exercising and monitoring animals as needed. They may also help with the administration of medication for these animals and help collect blood and tissue samples for lab tests. Although not necessarily required, most of these professionals have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training. Some may also pursue certification or enter the field with experience working with animals.

Nursing Assistant

Nursing assistants help nurses and doctors provide basic care for patients. They may work in hospitals or nursing homes to assist with cleaning, feeding and moving patients as needed. They are also trained in basic medical care, such as measuring vital signs. Although a formal degree is not required, nursing assistants typically need to complete a state-approved education program with clinical work and pass a competency exam to meet state requirements. They also receive some on-the-job training.

Dental Laboratory Technician

Dental laboratory technicians create a variety of dental appliances. They usually do not have much contact with patients but instead use molds of patients' mouths to make things like crowns or dentures. Dental lab technicians may use computer programs to help create appliances and have the option to specialize in specific areas, such as orthodontic appliances or crowns and bridges. These professionals work in close contact with dentists and usually have a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training.

Forestry and Conservation Worker

On the environmental side of science, forestry and conservation workers develop and protect forests through activities like planting seedlings and applying insecticides. They also measure and monitor trees, identify disease, remove unwanted trees, suppress forest fires and clear away brush. They ensure that the equipment they use is safe and may even assist cleaning and/or clearing recreational areas. Most of these workers are required to have a high school diploma and driver's license and then receive on-the-job training.

Agricultural and Food Science Technician

Agricultural and food science technicians usually work closely with supervising scientists in a lab to test agricultural and food products. They are generally responsible for preparing and running lab equipment, analyzing test results and preparing reports of their findings. Agricultural science technicians also examine animal and crop specimens for disease and test animal feed. Some individuals may also need to operate farm equipment. Food science technicians test food for safety and analyze chemical properties of various ingredients. Many of these positions require an associate's degree, or even a bachelor's degree, however, some positions are available that only require a high school diploma and previous work experience. Technicians must also go through on-the-job training, which may last a year or more for those without a degree.


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