Highest Paying Jobs Without a Degree

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What could be the highest paying jobs without a degree? Did you know that you don’t have to have a college degree to have a high salary? In fact, there is no guaranteed proven correlation between having a college degree and having a high salary. Below is a list of careers that do not require a degree but pay well nonetheless. There are many high-paying jobs that do not require a degree, and while earning a college degree can go a long way to help you prepare for high-paying careers, there are also many well-paying jobs that do not require a degree. As a result of the intense competition for workers, many businesses have done away with the requirement that applicants hold a degree and are instead concentrating on candidates’ skill sets. So without further ado, here is our list of some of the most highest paying jobs without a degree:

According to the Harvard Business Review, between 2017 and 2019, businesses lowered their educational requirements for the majority (46%) of middle-skill positions. There is a requirement for some post-secondary education for these jobs, but a bachelor’s degree is not always necessary. Many people who are concerned about the cost of attending college will be relieved to hear this news. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) states the average amount paid by students in the United States in 2018-19 for tuition, fees, supplies, and living expenses at public institutions was $13,900, while the average amount paid by students attending private nonprofit institutions was $27,200. Because of this, many graduates have to continue making payments on their student loans well into their professional careers.

There are a number of things that go into determining how much money you can expect to make working full-time. These are factors that can influence your salary, including where you live, how much work experience you have, and the field that you work in. The careers listed below do not typically require a degree of four years’ duration, but they do typically offer relatively high pay.

1. Air Traffic Controller

All aircraft are required to maintain a safe distance from both other aircraft and any potential hazards, as mandated by air traffic controllers. These people are employed in the control towers of airports, particularly those located near major airports. Others might provide assistance to pilots traveling to a destination while working from safe offices located all over the country. The majority of them are employed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is a government agency.

highest paying jobs without a degree air traffic controller photo

Because the expertise of air traffic controllers is required around the clock, these individuals may work during the day, evening, or night shifts. They may also be required to work on weekends and holidays. You are qualified for this position if you have a bachelor’s degree, three years of relevant work experience, or a combination of relevant work experience and education. The Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative provides degree programs that can be completed in either two or four years and have a curriculum centered on aviation-related subjects. To be eligible for training at the FAA Academy, applicants must be at least 31 years old.

The median salary is $130,420, and employment is expected to grow by 4% from 2020 to 2030.

2. Commercial Pilot

Pilots who fly for commercial airlines are responsible for flying passengers and cargo from one location to another. Before takeoff, they make preparations for the flight, file the flight plans, and check the mechanical and fuel systems of the aircraft. They are responsible for monitoring systems and maintaining communication with air traffic control while in the air. In addition to guiding the aircraft to its destination, they are responsible for responding to unexpected events and varying weather conditions.

highest paying jobs without a degree airplane pilot photo

Training and experience are required for a commercial pilot to earn their wings, and the majority of commercial pilots attend certified flight schools. Training and certification requirements for pilots are governed by the FAA. Pilots start out by earning their private pilot licenses, and as they progress through the various levels of pilot certification, they must continue to log flight time and document a variety of different maneuvers and procedures. In order to become a pilot, one needs to be of a certain age and pass a physical examination.

Median Salary: $130,440

This labor market position is expected to expand by 13% from 2020 to 2030.

3. Construction Manager 

Construction managers workers are responsible for overseeing all aspects of construction projects, beginning with budget projections and work schedules and continuing all the way through final inspections. They collaborate closely with the engineers and architects on the project to ensure that it will meet the necessary building standards. Subcontractors who are working on the construction of the building, masonry, electrical systems, or plumbing may fall under their supervision. The construction manager is responsible for making sure that the company obtains any necessary permits and passes any necessary building inspections.

The majority of construction managers have worked in the industry for a number of years prior to becoming construction managers. In addition to their practical experience, some people choose to further their education by earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in construction management. On-the-job training may be provided by certain companies, typically under the direction of an experienced manager.

The median salary is $97,180, and employment is expected to grow 11% from 2020 to 2030.

4. Elevator Installer and Repairer

In order to transport people without risk, elevators need to have their installation done correctly and regular maintenance performed. Elevator installers and repairers focus their education on elevators’ mechanical and computerized systems because of the specialized knowledge and abilities that are required for working with these systems.

Apprenticeship programs are used to provide initial training, but repairers and installers are required to take part in ongoing training in order to keep up with rapidly developing technologies. To work on an elevator system in the majority of states requires a license, and there are also professional certifications available.

The majority of elevator installers and repair technicians work for companies that specialize in building equipment. This is a job that requires a lot of physical exertion. You will be required to work in confined spaces, in extreme heat and cold, as well as at high altitudes. Even though many tasks are carried out during the scheduled hours, elevator repairers may be called out to attend to emergent situations.

Median Salary: $88,540

The employment market is expected to grow by 6% from 2020-30.

5. IT Manager

These computer professionals provide assistance to businesses in the development, maintenance, and management of information systems and computer networks. In addition to the installation of hardware and software, they act as a resource for determining issues and locating answers. IT managers typically have oversight of a team of technicians who are responsible for performing repairs or maintenance.

Individuals may be qualified for these positions with an associate degree, industry certifications, a relevant work history, or a degree in computer science; however, the majority of IT managers earn a degree in computer science. The majority of managerial positions require a full-time commitment in an office setting.

The median salary is $151,150, and employment is expected to grow 11% from 2020 to 2030.

6. Mortician

Morticians and funeral directors collaborate closely with bereaved families in order to arrange all of the necessary funeral details. In addition to this, they perform cosmetic work and embalming on the bodies in order to get them ready for viewing by the deceased person’s family and friends. The funeral director is typically responsible for coordinating the various aspects of the funeral service, such as making arrangements for the clergy and the pallbearers, scheduling the opening and closing of graves in preparation for burial, and writing an obituary.

Aspiring morticians have the option of enrolling in an associate’s degree program that offers coursework in mortuary science or funeral service. Students can also gain valuable work experience by volunteering their time at funeral homes. Apprenticeships are another form of training that might be pursued. In addition to completion of training and educational programs, morticians are required to successfully pass an examination administered by the state.

$58,170 is the median salary, and employment is expected to grow by 4% from 2020 to 2030. 

7. Nuclear Power Plant Worker

The great amount of power that a nuclear reactor produces can be regulated by the operators of nuclear power plants by adjusting the control rods. They keep a close eye on the reactors, generators, turbines, and cooling systems, collecting data, reporting abnormalities, and taking corrective action as necessary. In the year 2020, there were approximately 5,300 people working as operators for nuclear power reactors, the majority of whom were employed by utility companies.

Typically, training for these positions consists of receiving technical instruction while working in the position itself. Managers of nuclear power plants in the United States are required to pass a licensing exam administered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Training should be ongoing to ensure that operators are able to use any new monitoring systems. Background checks and security screenings are something that many utility companies and nuclear power plants make their employees go through.

Median Salary: $89,090

The employment picture is expected to worsen by 14% between 2020 and 2030.

8. Product Manager

Product managers are responsible for supervising the processes involved in the fabrication or production of a particular product. They might work in software development, marketing, manufacturing, or some other field; the requirements for their jobs vary depending on the field in which they are employed. A business degree or a degree in a field closely related to business may be held by some product managers. Others acquire the required experience by working for an organization and assuming positions of leadership within that organization.

The product manager worker is responsible for ensuring that production quality is maintained, managing a budget, and keeping production schedules accurate. They need problem-solving skills, time-management skills, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills.

Median Salary: $108,790

This labor market position is expected to grow by 5% between 2020 and 2030.

9. Radiation Therapist

A wide variety of cancers and tumors are amenable to treatment with radiation. The delivery of this vital treatment in a manner that is both safe and effective is the responsibility of radiation therapists, who are members of a patient’s treatment team. In addition to calibrating the machines, monitoring the patient’s reactions, and taking detailed notes during each treatment session, the therapists provide patients and their families with an explanation of the treatment plans. About sixty-five percent of radiation therapists are employed by hospitals.

Radiation therapists are required to have strong interpersonal skills, as well as technical skills and the stamina to perform physically demanding work. Studies in human anatomy, computer science, and mathematics are typically part of the training, which can be completed in either a one-year, two-year, or four-year program. In the majority of states, radiation therapists are required to pass a national certification exam in addition to maintaining their state certification.

Median Salary: $86,850

The labor market position for this job is expected to expand by 9% between 2020 and 2030.

10. Real Estate Agent

Agents in the real estate market act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers of real estate, which can include residential and commercial buildings and land. There are a lot of real estate agents who work either independently or under the supervision of a broker. They frequently have the ability to determine their own schedule, but they may have to put in untraditional hours to meet with customers. They provide sellers with assistance in marketing their property by offering advice on pricing, staging, and advertising options. They will also show potential buyers around the properties and negotiate the terms of the sale.

Agents in real estate are required to both pass a state exam and continue to maintain their state license. Community colleges, real estate businesses, and other educational service providers all offer classes that can assist you in becoming better prepared for the state exam. Fair housing laws, legal descriptions, real estate ethics, mortgage lending, and listing agreements are some of the topics covered in this course. There are a lot of classes that take a few months to finish.

The median salary is $51,220, and employment is expected to grow by 4% from 2020 to 2030.

11. Insurance Agent

An insurance agent is a person who works with customers to locate insurance policies that meet their specific requirements. Insurance agents have the potential to make a significant amount of money, particularly if they are the owners of their own “book” of business, which can include policies ranging from automobile and homeowner’s insurance to umbrella and business insurance.

The typical income for an insurance agent is $50,000 per year, but a top-performing agent who is in the 90th percentile can make more than $128,000 per year even without a degree.

Even though some salespeople conduct their business in an unethical manner, the sales profession usually gets a bad rep because of this. However, what you are going to discover as you continue reading is that jobs that do not require a degree typically revolve around some aspect of sales.

To get familiar with this before diving headfirst into full-time sales, you can start out by working in the field on a part-time basis. Having a high social IQ (social skills) is almost always a prerequisite for making six figures, no matter if you have a college degree or not.

12. Trade Industry Positions

Electricians, HVAC technicians, plumbers, master welders, linemen, and a multitude of other professionals in the trades have the potential to earn more than one hundred thousand dollars annually, frequently more quickly than those who have a college degree. There is a great and high demand for people with trade skills, and the hourly wages for some trades can reach over $35. When overtime is factored in due to the time constraints of a project, trade workers who earn more than $50 per hour can quickly begin to approach the annual figure of $100,000… and quickly.

Consider going into one of the many in-demand trades if you enjoy working with your hands and do not believe that attending college is the best option for you.

Instead of going to college, where you have to pay hefty tuition fees to earn your degree, most trade schools allow you to learn on the job, so you can continue to make money while attending class one or two nights a week. According to Trade-schools.net, you can find the occupations that pay the most per hour by consulting this list.

Have you got some level of handyman experience, and do you want to start out doing it on the side? You also have the choice of working for a company like Task Rabbit, which allows you to provide home services comparable to those of a handyman while gaining experience in a variety of fields.

What are the easiest high-paying jobs?

The easiest, highest paying jobs without a degree? The majority of the best-paying jobs in the United States can be found in the healthcare industry, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, these professions, such as physicians, surgeons, and psychiatrists, require a significant amount of education and training over a prolonged period of time. Additionally, they frequently require working in high-pressure environments.

According to the 2019 CareerCast Jobs Rated report, there are a number of high-paying jobs that do not require a degree and that rank among the careers with the least amount of stress. Sonographers who specialize in diagnostic medicine came out on top. The BLS anticipates a 14% growth in employment opportunities for these medical imaging specialists between the years 2020 and 2030, with a median salary of $70,380. Training requires either an associate’s degree or a certificate from a postsecondary institution.

What are fun jobs that don’t require a degree?

Of the highest paying jobs without a degree, are there any that are fun to do? Well, the key to turning even the most difficult work into something enjoyable is to find work that you are passionate about doing. A lot of people are able to find jobs that are in some way related to their interests or hobbies. A personal trainer career may be appealing to you if you take pleasure in working out and assisting others in accomplishing their objectives. Without having to spend years in school, massage therapists are able to contribute to the improved physical and mental well-being of their clients.

People who are creative may discover professional fulfillment by working as graphic designers, game designers, or social media managers. People who are passionate about photography might want to consider freelancing as a career option.

Obtaining a degree is not necessary for entry into a number of professions, including those that pay well and provide exciting work, particularly in the technological sector. You can receive training for these careers through online providers like Google or by enrolling in a coding bootcamp. Both of these options are available to you.

What career can I get in one year?

Of the highest paying jobs without a degree, are there any I can get in one year? Even without a degree, it is possible to find well-paying work; however, the vast majority of occupations require additional education beyond the high school level. The percentage of jobs that required some level of postsecondary education rose from 59% in 2010 to 70% in 2018. Apprenticeships, certificate programs, and short-term courses are all examples of possible post-secondary educational paths. There are a lots of great trade schools that offer training in fields that are in high demand.

Installers and repairers of electrical and electronic equipment make up the top spot on the list of jobs that are high-paying but do not require a degree. The median salary for these positions is $62,020. The average annual salary for workers in the powerhouse, substation, and relay industry is $85,340.

A CDL (commercial driver’s license) can be obtained in a matter of weeks or months by truck drivers. The average salary that they take home is $47,130. According to estimates provided by the American Trucking Association, the industry will require approximately 80,000 drivers by the year 2021 in order to fulfill industry demands. Truck drivers are required to have a spotless driving record, as well as specific requirements for their training, certification, and physical fitness.


We discussed in this blog post some of the highest paying jobs without a degree. Consider that there is neither a tried-and-true nor a foolproof method to accomplish what you want to accomplish with your time and what you want to create. A college degree does not ensure that you will make six figures or achieve success, just as not having a degree does not preclude the possibility of ever making six figures.

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