skip to content
Primary navigation

No College Required

By Alexzandra Boyer
December 2014

PDF of article

Certificates and licenses can be the ticket to a good job in some occupations in Minnesota.

Not everybody wants to attend college or has the time or money to earn a college degree. Fortunately, there are options for people who want in-demand careers that don't require extensive education or training programs. In many cases, earning a certificate or license is sufficient for landing a good job.

Job vacancy ads on WANTED Analytics.1 showed that four occupations - dental assistant, emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic, pharmacy technician and truck driver - were the most in-demand jobs in Minnesota that require only licenses and certifications, along with a high school diploma or GED.

The table below provides an overview of these four occupations, including the number of Minnesota job openings currently listed on WANTED Analytics, the certification or license requirements, level of demand and typical wages.

Certifications in Demand in Minnesota, May to August 2014
Occupation Minnesota Job Ads in WANTED Analytics Certification or License Name Percent of Openings Requiring Certification Current Demand Score Typical Education Required Typical On-the-Job-Training Required Typical Wage Range
Dental Assistant 41 Certified Dental Assistant 88% 4 Postsecondary Non-Degree Award None $17.96 to $23.14 Per Hour
EMT and Paramedic 141 EMTs and Paramedics 89% 5 Postsecondary Non-Degree Award None $13.32 to $21.47 Per Hour
Pharmacy Technician 569 Pharmacy Technician (License) 99% 5 High School/GED Moderate Term on the Job Training $12.14 to $18.25 Per Hour
Truck Driver* 15,532 Commercial Driver's License (CDL) 79% 5 High School/GED Short term on the Job Training $11.37 to $24.07 Per Hour

Sources: Job ads: WANTED Analytics, May 1 to Aug. 27, 2014.

Demand scores: The scores range from 1 (lowest current demand) to 5 (strongest current demand). The score is based on the number of job vacancies and other indicators. See for a detailed description of the Occupations in Demand indicator.

Training required: Typical education and on-the-job training required is a national dataset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wage range: The typical wage range is 25th percentile and 75 percentile wages as reported in the Occupational Employment Statistics survey for first quarter 2014.

*Truck driver includes heavy and tractor-trailer truck and light truck or delivery services drivers. Most bus drivers also need a commercial driver's license.

The Process

Because the goal of this project was to identify in-demand jobs requiring certifications, the first step was to identify the top 100 certifications in current job ads that require a high school diploma or less, using WANTED Analytics. After cleaning the list so that only valid in-demand certifications were included,.2 the next step was to check which occupations, if any, linked to these certifications. Once that was complete, the list of certifications/occupations was linked to Occupations in Demand to get information such as current demand score and typical wage ranges.

The Occupations

Three of four of these certifications/licenses are in the medical field. The following provides more details on each occupation.

Dental assistants help dentists, set up equipment, prepare patients for treatment and keep records. Three-quarters of dental assistants have less than an associate degree, and most dental assistant programs can be completed in fewer than two years. The typical wage range in Minnesota is $18 to $23 per hour.

EMTs and paramedics assess injuries, administer emergency medical care and extricate trapped individuals. They also transport injured or sick people to medical facilities. Sixty-five percent have less than an associate degree. Most EMT and paramedic programs can be completed in fewer than two years. The typical wage range in Minnesota is $13 to $21 per hour.

Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists prepare and dispense medications, maintain inventory records, clean equipment, receive and store incoming supplies, and process records of medication and equipment dispensed to patients. Sixty-three percent have less than an associate degree, and most pharmacy technician programs can be completed in fewer than two years. The typical wage range in Minnesota is $12 to $18 per hour.

Truck drivers operate trucks and buses, maintain truck logs, keep records of materials transported, load and unload materials, obtain customer signatures, and inspect trucks before and after trips. Forty-nine percent of truck drivers have a high school diploma or equivalent. The typical wage range in Minnesota is $11 to $24 per hour. This includes the range for both light and delivery truck drivers and heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers. Drivers can add to the basic commercial driver's license depending on the amount of training they are willing to complete and the type of job they are interested in obtaining.

While the list is short, obtaining any of these certifications or licenses will likely lead directly to a job since each of these occupations is in high demand. Most current vacancies require the certification or license.

For More Information

More information on these certifications can be found on the CareerOneStop website at Type "certification finder" into the search bar in the top right corner of the website. The certification finder tool allows people to find certifying organizations and view requirements that have to be met before trying to obtain the certification. Use Occupations in Demand at to find schools in your region that offer programs in these occupations.


2 The Wanted software can at times misinterpret key words/phrases in an ad as being a certification and so the extra refinement step has been helpful to ensure accuracy.

back to top