20 High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees

Filed in Articles by on 6th November 2021

Many people are realizing that having a four-year college degree does not always guarantee you a job in this day and age. This is why we’re going to be discussing the top 20 High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees that you can apply for in this article.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the rate of unemployed college graduates in the United States rose to a sizable 8.5% in May of this year, a significant increase from the previous year’s record of 5.5%. In addition, the labor market reported a seven-million-job shortfall in the first half of 2014.

On the other hand, just because there is a job shortage does not mean that your chances of getting hired are always slim. In today’s rapidly expanding, competitive marketplace, the highest-paying jobs without a degree are frequently the most important or upcoming careers.

Choosing not to pursue a degree does not reduce the amount of research required to find a career that fits, and many jobs still require some level of postsecondary or technical education to enter, excel, and succeed. Those who are willing to take certification courses, get licensed, and train may end up saving lives, owning their own businesses, contributing to the US economy, and living comfortably with the satisfaction of a hard day’s work.

Alternative Education Pathways

Many professions will allow you to earn a lot of money even if you don’t have a university diploma. There are also opportunities if you don’t have a college degree and want to change careers.

  • Certificate

Certification can be used in conjunction with a degree or as a valuable career asset on its own. Certification is a more diverse world than academic degrees. Most certification courses are designed for specific career goals, some are organization-endorsed certifications, many carry academic credits, some may lead to licensure, and most can be completed in less than a year or two.

  • Postsecondary Non-Degree Awards

Postsecondary non-degree awards are another type of certification that does not require a degree. These awards are given after completing postsecondary education/training, which can take anywhere from two weeks to two years. Many non-degree awards are useful in the field of healthcare and other lucrative industries.

  • Technical Education

Career and technical education are intended to provide vocational training that can be applied in a variety of industries. This could result in a diploma or certification in a particular field of study. Technical and vocational schools, as well as two- to four-year colleges and universities, offer these programs.

  • Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship programs offer industry-recognized credentials through a combination of paid work and education. Today, an industry-recognized apprenticeship program (IRAP) or a registered apprenticeship program (RAP) are excellent options for individuals seeking nationally recognized credentials in a variety of fields.

  • Licensure

As a state-granted, mandatory certification, licensure varies by state. Several careers, including clinical practice or areas of counselling, professional electrical work, and others, necessitate licensure. Licensed practitioners have passed the necessary exams and are professionally bound by ethical codes in their fields. Earning an educational certificate can lead to licensure by providing the academic hours or credits needed for state exams; however, earning a certificate is not a required part of the licensure process.

 

20 Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree Or Experience

The following are 20 high-paying jobs from various fields that high school graduates can train for and that can serve as the first step to a successful career.

1. Small Business Owner

Median Annual Wage: $51,470

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 61,600

Not everyone is cut out to be an employee; most high school graduates who want to go into business prefer to be their boss and manage their own business. In this case, starting your own business could be your ticket to the goldmine. Wholesaling, for example, is regarded as one of the most profitable ventures that entrepreneurs can embark on after earning a decent median annual wage.

Furthermore, the US Census Bureau reported in 2014 that the wholesale trade generated a total of $454.4 billion, making this type of business opportunity more appealing to entrepreneurs. Learning the ins and outs of wholesaling takes time, but you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to get started. This is one of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

2. Network Specialist

Median Annual Wage (2012): $59,090

Required Education: Associate’s Degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 39,600

An interest in computers and how they work, combined with good interpersonal skills, is a great way to get a job as a network specialist. Dealing with wide area networks (WAN) and local area networks (LAN), as well as the associated analysis, testing, troubleshooting, and network evaluation, is part of the job. As computers and mobile devices become more common and intuitive, there is still a high demand for professionals to provide user assistance.

Although many people in this position will have a two- to a four-year degree in computer science, information science, or a related field, postsecondary classes can qualify you for a variety of positions. A variety of factors, including companies using complex systems and networks to assist and drive operations, will drive the 8% growth in this career field. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

 3. Loan Officer

Median Annual Wage (2012): $ 59,820

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Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 59,380

Loan officers are known for approving applications for monetary assistance, but they are also expected to advise people seeking financial assistance and evaluate their credit status. Loan officers can find work in mortgage companies, banks, credit unions, and automobile dealerships. It does require a significant amount of paperwork and logistics management, but these can be accomplished if one possesses strong organizational and interpersonal skills. This is one of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

4. Artists and Related Workers

Median Annual Wage (2012): $59,840

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 2,700

Almost every business requires a design department, and this is just one of the many opportunities available to artists. You may be able to get a decent job doing what you love if you can draw, paint, or sketch on a solid surface what your creative juices are telling you. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

5. Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician

Median Annual Wage (2012): $61,530

Required Education: Associate’s Degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 2,100

You will be involved in the development, testing, and production of new aircraft and spacecraft as an aerospace and engineering technician. Technicians in the industry are also expected to keep the equipment used in these processes in good working order. Aircraft require routine maintenance and repairs, which fall on the shoulders of aircraft mechanics, one of many jobs that do not require a degree.

Technical education, a certificate, and some post-secondary education may be required for employees in this career. However, with a high school diploma and on-the-job training, it is possible to enter this career and become recognized by the FFA. This is one of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

6. Subway and Streetcar Operator

Median Annual Wage (2012): $62,730

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 3,300

The operators of one of the country’s busiest transportation systems are among the highest paid in the country. Interested applicants do not need any prior experience to apply and can learn everything they need to know about the job, which is mostly about the operation of dependable subway cars. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

7. Web Developer

Median Annual Wage (2012): $62, 500

Required Education: Associate’s Degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 50,700

Anyone who works on the Internet knows how important it is to have a dependable website and a stable connection. As our reliance on technology grows by the day, it creates a plethora of job opportunities not only for the younger generation but also for those willing to learn it. As a result, the demand for web developers, whose jobs include designing, creating, and modifying websites, is expected to grow steadily. This is one of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

8. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Median Annual Wage (2012): $63,250

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 49,900

Consider how long we will need people who can repair electrical power systems as long as we rely on electricity. Telecommunication cables are also repaired and managed by electrical repairers. A high school diploma is all that is required to enter the field of electronic installation and repair. As most employers prefer applicants with prior work experience or technical training, moving up to a higher-paying position may necessitate additional education.

Due to the market’s decline, having a certificate or non-degree award can boost an application and increase the chances of being hired. Hands-on training and work experience are required, as the salary level qualifies this career as one of the highest paying jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

9. Makeup Artist

Median Annual Wage (2012): $64,450

Required Education: Postsecondary non-degree award

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 300

The people whose job it is to ensure that actors and performers look perfect for their roles also bring home large slabs of bacon. They have a chance at the job as long as the makeup artists are skilled at applying makeup so that performers can become the character that their script requires. Working as a makeup artist in theatre and entertainment pays well.

A postsecondary certificate, combined with experience and on-the-job training, can boost a job candidate’s competitiveness. The outlook for this career in the coming years is better than the national average, making it a solid entry-level option on our list of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

10. Gaming Manager

Median Annual Wage (2012): $65,220

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 1,400

The median annual wage in 2012 was $65,220.

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The gaming industry may be regulated, but it enjoys steady but slow revenue growth, which translates to higher earnings for gaming managers. Their responsibilities include planning, directing, and coordinating operations in casinos and similar establishments. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low-stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

11. Power Plant Operator

Median Annual Wage (2012): $66,130

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 12,900

Demand for power plant operators is stable, as it is for electrical repairers. The primary responsibility of these workers is to manage and control the power distribution systems, which they can learn and master on the job. This science and engineering career employs experienced professionals who plan and direct the operations of power plants, ensuring that plants not only produce power but also deliver it to the appropriate locations and clients.

The career has a high median salary, but the obvious disadvantage is job loss. Between 2019 and 2029, the demand for this career is expected to fall by 16%, with fewer jobs available. A high school graduate, on the other hand, can enter one of these jobs with long-term, on-the-job training. This is one of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

12. Nuclear Technician

Median Annual Wage (2012): $69,069

Required Education: Associate’s Degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 4,100

Not every job in a nuclear power plant necessitates a college diploma; for example, a nuclear technician position can be obtained with an Associate’s degree. These individuals spend their days assisting engineers and physicists. This is one of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

13. Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

Median Annual Wage (2012): $69,300

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 150,200

This is not the type of job that requires employees to always wear a suit and tie, but it is one of the best-paying jobs a high school graduate can get. Working on a farm entails managing businesses that produce goods such as livestock, dairy, and crops. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

14. Dental Hygienist

Median Annual Wage (2012): $70, 210

Required Education: Associate’s degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 113,500

The people who are in charge of keeping our teeth clean are also paid well. Aside from teeth cleaning, dental hygienists examine patients to check for potential tooth and gum diseases and make recommendations for preventive care. This is one of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

15. Commercial Pilot

Median Annual Wage (2012): $73,280

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 14,400

You read that correctly: you have a chance to fly even if you only have a high school diploma. Being a commercial pilot, on the other hand, will necessitate on-the-job training in which you will learn everything there is to know about flying and navigating planes and helicopters, as well as rescue operations and firefighting. Commercial pilots can be found flying aircraft that put out fires, crop dust fields, transport cargo, and host tours, among other things.

To charge money, these professionals do not need a college degree, but they will need a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration, which can take up to two months to complete. The job outlook for commercial pilots is promising, with the industry expected to grow by 9% by 2029, resulting in over 45,000 new jobs.

The increased demand for commercial pilots will come from a variety of sources, including an increase in the number of ambulance flights. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

16. Elevator Repairer and Installer

Median Annual Wage (2012): $76,650

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 8,000

Mounting, repairing, and maintaining lifts such as elevators and escalators are among the skills required to become an elevator repairer and installer, all of which can be learned through apprenticeship. Given the significant risks associated with elevators, there is a high demand for high-quality elevator installers and repairers. Even without a college education, these professionals are well compensated, and strong growth is expected as multi-use facilities expand.

Most people will work as an apprentice for at least four years to gain the necessary mathematical, mechanical, and scientific knowledge to work on elevators. Working elevator technicians must be constantly trained and developed as technology and the industry advance. This is one of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

17. Detectives and Criminal Investigators

Median Annual Wage (2012): $74,300

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 27,700

This job does not necessitate a college degree, but it does necessitate above-average analytical skills. Detectives and criminal investigators are in charge of investigating suspected violations of the laws enacted by the federal, state, or local governments. Though a college education is not typically required for detectives and criminal investigators, they must first train at a police academy and advance through the ranks of their department.

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Over 100,000 investigators and detectives work in the United States, with the majority earning more than $80,000 per year. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

18. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

Median Annual Wage (2012): $74,990

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 2,300

Aside from nuclear technicians, operators of nuclear power reactors can earn a good living without a college degree. These individuals are in charge of moving control rods, adjusting controls, starting and stopping equipment on a schedule, and recording data. Operators of nuclear power reactors are not required to have advanced physics or engineering degrees – or any degree at all. They must, however, obtain certification that they are competent. The majority of people in this field earn more than $94,000 per year, but the jobs are becoming increasingly scarce.

At least half of all Americans are opposed to the use of nuclear power in the United States, and approximately 10% of the reactor operator jobs that existed in 2016 are expected to be eliminated by 2026. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

19. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

Median Annual Wage (2012): $81,830

Required Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 29,100

Those with an aptitude for administration and management can pursue a career as a transportation manager. This job entails keeping track of the government’s transportation policies, as well as planning, directing, and coordinating transportation policies. This is one of the jobs that don’t require a degree or experience and among the fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

20. Air Traffic Controller

Median Annual Wage (2012): $122,530

Required Education: Associate’s degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 11,400

Aside from having a breathtaking view of the skies, air traffic controllers are also well compensated for their services. These individuals have the authority to keep aircrafts safe by maintaining a safe distance between them. This is one of the High Paying Jobs Without College Degrees and among the low stress jobs that pay well without a degree.

 

Conclusion

The jobs listed above demonstrate that there are numerous opportunities available not only for college graduates but also for those with high school diplomas and associate degrees. However, keep in mind that, like most jobs, these high-paying occupations will require specific skill training. Talent is also important, but it must be developed through the application of the proper professional attitude.

If you already have a high school diploma, you can begin looking into these positions. The professions that require associate degrees, on the other hand, would necessitate enrolling in and completing the required courses at a community college or associate’s college.

 

Important Takeaways

  • A four-year degree is not necessary to get a high-paying job: “new-collar” jobs necessitate certain hard skills but do not necessitate a bachelor’s degree.
  • Some training and education are required for many new-collar jobs: You may need to invest in an associate degree or certification depending on the role.
  • Pay and growth rates vary: before committing to a job, do your homework. Some new-collar jobs pay more and have a better job outlook than others.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Highest-Paying Job That Doesn’t Require a Degree?

With a median annual wage of $121,430, the highest paying job without a degree is that of a commercial pilot. The only educational requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent, though all commercial pilots must first complete training and obtain their commercial pilot’s license before beginning work. The following is a list of 19 other jobs that pay well and do not require a college education.

10 Jobs with the Highest Annual Salaries That Don’t Require a Degree

  1. Commercial Pilots: $121,430
  2. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers: $94,560
  3. First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $91,090
  4. Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers: $85,950
  5. Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers: $84,990
  6. Firefighting and Prevention Workers’ First-Line Supervisors: $77,800
  7. Postmasters and Mail Superintendents: $76,900
  8. Transportation Inspectors: $75,820
  9. Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance: $75,730
  10. First-Line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales Workers: $74,760

Which Occupations Are Expected to Grow the Fastest?

Wind turbine technicians are expected to have the highest job growth between 2019 and 2029, with a 61% increase in the number of jobs available during this time period. Wind turbine technicians are paid $52,910 per year and must have a postsecondary nondegree award.

10 Jobs That Are Expected to Grow the Fastest Between 2019 and 29

  1. Wind Turbine Technicians: 61%
  2. Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas: 27%
  3. Flight Attendants: 17%
  4. Machinery Maintenance Workers, Industrial Machinery Mechanics, and Millwrights: 13%
  5. Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance: 11%
  6. Farm Labor Contractors: 10%
  7. Hearing Aid Specialists: 10%
  8. Athletes and Sports Competitors: 10%
  9. Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners: 9%
  10. Extraction Workers and Underground Mining Machine Operators: 9%

As you can see from this long list of the highest-paying jobs that don’t require a degree, those who don’t want to go to college have plenty of career options, and many of these jobs pay well.

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