Exploring career paths. Which Careers Need the Most Education?

Which Careers Need the Most Education? & High Paying Jobs That Don’t

When you ask yourself, “Which careers need the most education?” what is the first image that comes to mind? We often picture professions like doctors, lawyers, or teachers. But is a high level of education always tied to a high income? Does a degree ultimately define your success?     


In this post, we will look at a few very different career opportunities: some needing education and others that offer high pay without a degree.

Key Takeaways:

  • We’ll explore professions requiring the highest education and training levels.
  • We’ll look into high-paying jobs that don’t necessitate a formal degree.
  • This article will illuminate the diverse career options and help you understand the job market.
  • It will emphasize that whether a job requires a hefty degree or notable hands-on experience, both paths hold potential for success.

What job requires the most years of college?

We’ll take you through a journey of professions that mandate the heaviest educational commitments. These careers, often in healthcare, law, and education, require an undergraduate degree and various successive qualifications.

The people in these professions often dedicate over a decade to structured learning, which fuels their quest for expertise and underlines their devotion to their respective fields.

Healthcare Field & Education

In the realm of occupations that require the most education, healthcare careers hold the top position. This sector offers high-paying jobs and rewarding careers that wield a substantial impact.

These roles involve lots of studying, hands-on work, and constant learning. But it’s all worth it for those choosing these career paths because they can make a daily difference in people’s lives.

Let’s delve deeper into some specific roles and explore the education programs and requirements that define them.

General internal medicine physicians

General internal medicine physicians are critical players in the field of healthcare. These doctors typically work with adults, helping them stay healthy or manage chronic diseases.

Getting into this position requires a bachelor’s degree followed by a doctoral degree from a medical school, making this a career that requires a substantial educational commitment.

After eight years of traditional education, aspiring physicians enter a residency program of 3-7 years to gain hands-on experience. They clock extra years of schooling, but the median annual salary and the fulfilling nature of their job often compensate for their investment in education.

Surgeons, except ophthalmologists

Surgeons are professionals who perform surgeries to treat various medical conditions. Like internal medicine physicians, surgeons require a bachelor’s degree, a professional degree from a medical school, and additional training in the form of a surgical residency.

This career requires 13-16 years of schooling beyond high school.) This career field often witnesses job growth, making it a top choice today for those ready to undertake the rigorous training involved.

Educated surgeon smiling in an operating room


Providing the vital service of pain management during medical procedures, anesthesiologists play a crucial role in healthcare. The educational requirements are similar to those of other doctors – a bachelor’s and a professional degree from a medical school.


However, what might require additional education is their specialized training in anesthesiology during the residency program.


This critical job can demand up to 12 years of postsecondary education. However, with a lucrative median annual salary, the career outlook for anesthesiologists remains positive.


Psychiatrists are doctors specializing in mental health. They help their patients manage mental health disorders through various therapies or medications. After a bachelor’s degree, they must secure a doctoral degree from a medical school.


They then complete a psychiatric residency, where they may work closely with patients for real-world experience.


These experts spend several years in school but hold rewarding and high-paying jobs in the fast-growing mental health field.


Last but not least, veterinarians and animal doctors play an essential role in healthcare. Their education journey involves getting a bachelor’s degree, usually in sciences, followed by a four-year college degree, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).



Beyond the degree, many aspiring vets explore continuing education options like internships or residencies. It’s a career requiring significant commitment to education. However, for animal lovers, it leads to a fulfilling career where they can work in various settings like clinics and zoos or even start their practices.


While these careers demand substantial educational investments, they offer fulfilling work and robust career prospects. These fields are expected to see job growth in the coming years, making them worth considering for those willing to invest time into their education.

Legal Careers & Education

Legal careers often top the list regarding jobs requiring a degree and plenty of study. From helping individuals and companies with legal advice to making crucial decisions in court, these jobs can make a difference. But what does it take to land these roles?


It’s not just about going to college; it often requires a professional law degree and extensive work experience.


Let’s dive in and learn more about some legal careers – Judges, Magistrates, Lawyers, and Administrative Law Judges.


Judges make the final decisions in courtrooms. Earning the role of a judge requires a bachelor’s degree followed by a three-year professional law degree.


Judges need a license to practice law, which often means passing a state-administered bar exam.

They also typically need some years of work experience as a lawyer.


Their job often involves deciding on the outcomes of cases and thus requires intensive knowledge, understanding, and compassion.


Like judges, Magistrates need a thorough understanding of the law, but they work on a more local level. They also require a four-year education in any field but usually have a law degree and work experience to back their education.


Their work in various settings involves handling civic disputes, minor criminal offenses, or preliminary hearings in more severe cases.


Lawyers often work closely with judges and magistrates, advising and representing clients in court. After earning a bachelor’s degree, they must attend law school to acquire a “Juris Doctor” or “J.D.” degree, a professional law degree.


In post-law school, they must pass the bar exam to practice law. They usually require around 7 years to complete their education, but careers like these offer fulfilling jobs with good prospects.

Administrative law

These professionals specialize in administrative law and make decisions for government agencies.


They may only require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions, but a law degree and experience in their field help them climb the career ladder. They spend their days in hearings and rulings, carrying a lot of responsibility.


The law sector provides lucrative and satisfying jobs. They require substantial education and demand dedication, but the result is a meaningful career that presents a new challenge every day.


This completes our look into the careers in the legal field that require a lot of education. As you can see, legal education careers like these require a substantial investment in time and education but offer a rewarding payoff.

Teaching Careers & Education

These careers require not just knowledge of their subject but also a degree in education and a knack for education leadership.


This section covers some of the typical teaching careers in the postsecondary education field.


They suppose years of study and hard work, but these teachers will tell you – their work with students guiding them toward their professional dreams is worth every minute.

Economics Teachers

Postsecondary Economics Teachers play a crucial role in shaping the economic thinkers of the future. Teachers typically need a doctoral degree in economics.


This level of education enables them to dive deep into complex economic theories with their students and guide them through intricate research projects.


Their work in various settings, from small classrooms to large lecture halls, allows them to impact many students.


Also, they are often required to conduct research, contributing to the broader field of economics. As they share their knowledge, they find jobs that are fulfilling and greatly enrich the education field.

Engineering Teachers

Engineering Teachers at this level are responsible for nurturing the next generation of engineers. To provide high-quality education, they hold a doctoral degree in the engineering discipline they teach.


This deep knowledge allows them to explain intricate engineering principles and help students learn how to apply them to solve real-world problems.


They may work in different types of institutions, from technical schools to universities, and often need to stay updated with the latest technological advances. Their role in shaping future innovators makes teaching engineering a rewarding path.

Law Teachers

Teaching is a top choice today for many professionals, including those experienced in law. Law Teachers need a four-year degree, a professional law education, and significant hands-on work in law.


Sharing their practical experiences from their careers, they help future lawyers understand complex legal theories and practices.


They often work in law schools and share their expertise with students who aspire to become legal experts. Their impact on the legal community extends beyond their classrooms, making their role influential and fulfilling.

Health Specialties Teachers

Teachers in health specialties at the postsecondary level play a vital role in creating the future workforce in healthcare. Armed with a degree in education and specialized medical knowledge, they undertake the crucial task of educating aspiring medical professionals.


They often hold a bachelor’s degree and a doctoral or professional degree in their chosen medical specialty.


By keeping pace with the latest medical advancements, they ensure that their students are ready to embrace the challenges of their future careers in healthcare.


Their contribution significantly influences health specialties’ education career outlook, making their roles both rewarding and impactful.


Whether it’s Economics, Engineering, Law, or Health Specialties, educators in these fields are the backbone of professional development. They usher in a new wave of experts with up-to-date knowledge and practical skills.


Remember, while these teaching positions require substantial education and dedication, they offer the chance to shape the future through education.

What industries require the least education?

Education propels our careers, but the traditional college degree isn’t the only route toward a rewarding career. Some industries require less – or different – education, focusing more on real-world experience, skills training, or certification for just such roles.


Let’s shine a light on rewarding careers that typically only require a license or certification.

Loan Officer

Loan Officers navigate customers through the process of loan acquisition. This position doesn’t typically have a four-year degree but often needs an associate degree or similar business courses. Learning on the job is also crucial in this role.


Loan Officers must meet specific licensure requirements, including taking courses and passing exams. These positions require individuals who can interpret financial information and communicate effectively with clientele.

Real Estate Agent

Dabbling in property sales and purchase, Real Estate Agents guide buyers and sellers. Rather than a bachelor’s degree, this job involves a high school diploma plus state-approved prelicensing courses to pass the real estate licensing exam.


Experience is also a major feather in the cap for these professionals, as real-world experiences equip them with intricate market nuances that can’t be learned in a classroom.


These jobs generate income through commissions, so people with excellent interpersonal skills, dedication, and motivation have the potential to earn high pay in these roles without the need for a typical college degree.

Elevator Installer

They install, repair, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts. Formal education is often secondary to on-the-job training in this field. Candidates typically require a high school diploma, but an associate’s degree may provide an edge.


Following that, prospective Elevator Installers usually go through a four-year apprenticeship program.


This role involves more manual labor and less traditional classroom education, but for those who prefer to work with their hands and solve practical problems, it can be a rewarding job with a competitive salary.


Once again, this underscores the variety of fulfilling jobs that don’t need a bachelor’s degree.

Breaking Down the Education Requirements

The highest educational degrees in these industries vary depending on the specific career paths. For example, in healthcare, becoming a doctor typically requires a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree, while nurses may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) or a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) degree.


In the technology sector, software engineers often hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in computer science, while data scientists may have advanced degrees in statistics or a related field.


These educational requirements demonstrate the commitment and dedication necessary to excel in these professions. It’s crucial for aspiring professionals to carefully consider these requirements and invest in the appropriate education to achieve their career goals.

The Impact of Education on Career Prospects

Acquiring a higher level of education not only opens doors to more job opportunities but it also enhances your skill set and positions you for success in competitive industries. In today’s rapidly evolving job market, careers that demand advanced education are highly sought after and offer greater earning potential and job security.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professions such as computer and information technology, healthcare, and finance require a high level of education. These industries have seen significant growth in recent years and offer promising career prospects for individuals with advanced degrees or certifications.


In addition to higher salaries and increased job opportunities, pursuing a career that demands a high level of education can also provide a sense of fulfillment and personal satisfaction. By immersing yourself in a subject you are passionate about and continually expanding your knowledge, you can contribute to advancements in your field and make a meaningful impact on society.


Ultimately, the decision to pursue advanced education should be based on your career goals, interests, and specific field requirements. By acquiring the necessary education and in-demand skills, you can position yourself for a successful and rewarding career in the highly educated careers that demand a high level of education.


Investing in education is key to unlocking doors to highly educated careers and maximizing your potential in the job market. As highlighted by the LinkedIn 2023 Most In-Demand Skills list, skills such as management, communication, customer service, leadership, and sales are highly sought after by companies worldwide. Combined with a solid educational foundation, these skills can position individuals for success in various industries.


The U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the best jobs for 2019 further emphasizes the importance of education. Statistics, physician assistant, and dentistry require extensive education and specialized knowledge. Healthcare and business occupations also dominate the job market, making higher education essential for career advancement.


With a solid education foundation, management, communication, and leadership skills can set you up for success in all kinds of jobs. Whether you need a master’s degree, a bachelor’s, an associate degree, or a certification, every bit of education can be crucial.


Investing time, and sometimes money, in furthering your education can build a foundation for a fulfilling career. So, whether you’re starting or looking to advance, remember that every bit of learning helps.


It’s about finding what you love to do and what you’re good at and then diving in to become the best.

Which careers require advanced education?

Careers such as medicine, law, engineering, and academia typically require advanced education, often including graduate degrees or specialized certifications.

What are some highly educated careers?

Highly educated careers include doctors, lawyers, architects, psychologists, and professors. These professions require extensive education and expertise in their respective fields.

What are the education requirements for careers in healthcare?

Careers in healthcare, such as physicians, dentists, and nurses, often require advanced education like medical or dental school and residency or clinical training.

Are there careers in the business field that demand a high level of education?

Yes, careers in business, such as management consultants, investment bankers, and chief executives, often require advanced education, such as an MBA or other specialized business degrees.

How can acquiring in-demand skills improve career prospects?

Acquiring in-demand skills such as management, communication, leadership, and analytical abilities can significantly improve career prospects as these skills are highly sought after by employers in various industries.