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17 High Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

Marissa Bergen

Freelance Writer, Blogger, Musician


After graduating high school, many students’ first thoughts aren’t focused on trying to find the highest paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. Many go to college to further diversify their skills so they can get a high paying job, but college is not for everyone. Some people can’t afford to continue their education at a university. Others may just not like going to school. 

Furthermore, there are some that theorize that college may not be necessary. For example, one Washington Post article shows that only 27% of college grads have a job relating to their degree. 

The point is, there are many people who would prefer not to go to college. The good news is that there are plenty of high paying jobs that don’t require a degree. Here are a few to consider. 

Stockbrokers

Stockbrokers are one of the top highest paying jobs without a degree. They are professional traders who buy and sell shares for their clients. Most work in brokerage firms and handle transactions for several businesses and individuals, but they can also work privately. 

Although many stockbrokers have degrees in finance or business, this is not a requirement. If you start by doing your own trading, you will soon have enough of a background to help others make money as well. 

Stockbrokers can look forward to bringing in an average salary of $59,790.

Mining Construction

Mining Construction is a high paying job without a degree

Mining is another one of the many high paying jobs without a degree. Workers work underground extracting and bringing coal and ore to the surface. They may also be involved in the design of underground tunnels and transportation systems. 

Mining is one of many jobs that don’t require a degree, but may need certification. This is primarily for the purpose of learning to operate certain machinery. Once you get the proper certification, you can bring in an average salary of $59,255 a year. 

Accountant

Good with numbers? Thinking of jobs that don’t require a degree? Why not become an accountant?

An accountant is responsible for overseeing the finances of individuals and businesses. They may prepare taxes, payroll, help businesses become established and provide valuable financial advice to their clients. 

Although many accountants get a Master’s degree in finance, only an Associate’s degree is necessary. You may also become certified to become a CPA. However, you can work in an accounting department without all the schooling.

Accountants typically make about $51,709 a year. 

Commodities Trader

Become a commodities trader to get in on the entry level of one of the highest paying jobs without a degree. You can expect to make as much as $79,522 a year. 

Commodity traders buy and sell physical commodities like metals or oils. Similar to stocks, their tasks involve daily buying and selling based on economic trends. They typically purchase or sell future contracts. Physical and derivatives trading is also performed. 

Most commodity traders have a college degree, but those with good math skills and the right personality will also excel in the industry. 

Offshore Oil Platform Worker

Oil Platform work is one of the highest paying jobs without a degree

Offshore oil platform worker is one of the best jobs that don’t require a degree. Workers in the industry can make between $35,000 and $83,000 a year. 

As an offshore platform worker, you may perform a variety of duties including equipment maintenance, rig and drilling operation, and rig administration. Tasks involve rigorous physical labor, but the paycheck makes it worthwhile for the right person.

Because this has the potential to be one of the highest paying jobs without a degree, there are expectations of qualifications. It will be necessary to get a relevant postgraduate qualification or certification, depending on the tasks you will be performing. 

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is one of the most in demand and best paying jobs that don’t require a degree. You can earn a salary of around $70,343.

In today’s technological world, companies rely heavily on digital means to reach their customers and boost conversions. While a college degree will help you get your foot in the door, a proven track record for increasing sales or engagement will be sure to get you work. 

As a digital marketer, you will be developing and marketing virtual campaigns to boost traffic, attract customers and increase sales revenue. You can expect to be working with video, social media, web sites and more. In addition to knowing the business well, you may also need to be trained on certain software programs.

Nuclear Technician

Nuclear technician may sound like an extremely difficult job, so you may find it hard to believe that it is one of the many good paying jobs that don’t require a degree. 

Nuclear Technician's work environment.

Nuclear technicians work alongside physicists, engineers and other professionals to perform nuclear research and assist with nuclear energy production. They usually work in control rooms or offices where they use computers and other equipment to monitor and oversee the operation of nuclear reactors. 

A college degree is helpful in landing a job as a nuclear technician, but it’s not necessary. You can also get the experience you need through the military or with on the job training. The pay ranges around $60,000.

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controller is a very stressful job. If you think it’s difficult flying a plane, then imagine being the one in the control room guiding the plane along its journey. 

With such a huge responsibility, you would think an individual would need a college degree to work as an air traffic controller, but they just have to know what they are doing.

If you have three years of relevant work experience and some college, you may be able to land this job and begin raking in $90,907 a year. 

Airline Pilot

An air traffic controller works closely with airline pilots, which is another terrific option when it come to finding high paying jobs without a degree. If this exciting line of work sounds good to you, you will need to complete several courses to get the proper flying and medical training. You must also be at least 23 and hold a high school diploma or equivalent. 

Airline pilots can expect to make about $67,464 a year. 

Human Resource Manager

If you are looking for high paying jobs without degree, you may consider becoming a human resource manager. They play an essential role in the hiring and maintenance of staff and may perform other administrative functions as needed. 

If you have a college degree, it may help you land a job as a human resource manager, but most companies value experience more than anything. Once hired, you can start raking in approximately $38,677 a year. 

Nurses

The pandemic has made more people want to get out of the medical industry. But when one door closes, another opens. The providers that are moving on have left plenty of opportunities for those who are passionate about healthcare. 

There are many jobs that don’t require college in the medial industry, but nursing may be the most versatile and the most lucrative. Nurses can work alongside doctors in office or hospital settings, or they can treat people who require in-home care. There are many types of nurses, but the nursing jobs that don’t require a degree are:

Nursing positions such as CNAs and LPN/LVNs only require a diploma or certificate, and can expect to bring in between $37,000 and $61,000. 

Medical Records Clerk

Not only is medical records clerk one of the many good paying jobs that don’t require a degree, but it can also be done from the comfort of your own home. It involves maintaining, creating, finding, checking and updating patient records on a computer system. 

To become a medical records clerk, you will not need a college degree. However, you may require some formal training as well as a high school diploma or GED. You can make between $23,000 and $37,000 a year. 

Massage Therapist

Ooooh, who doesn’t love a great massage? Imagine being able to deliver this soothing therapy to those who so desperately need it. 

Not only is the job of massage therapist gratifying, it’s extremely lucrative. You can make anywhere from $30,000 to $114,000 a year. This makes it one of the best highest paying jobs without a degree. 

As a massage therapist, you can work in a spa or branch out on your own. The job is flexible, so you can book customers around your busy schedule. To become a massage therapist, you won’t need to go to college, but you will need to take classes to get your license. 

Patrol Officer

A patrol officer is assigned to a certain neighborhood and drives or walks around to protect the area from any suspicious activity. It is one of several jobs that don’t require a degree. It can be dangerous, but for some people, it’s worth it to know they are doing what they can to serve their community. 

It also brings in a decent payroll. Patrol officers typically make about $53,497 a year. 

Real Estate Agent

Being a real estate agent has the potential to be a very fruitful position. It involves assisting people in buying and selling homes. It includes showing homes, dealing with paperwork, getting contracts in place and more. 

Becoming a real estate agent isn’t easy. However, most agents get their license in about six months, and no college is necessary. 

Agents make a commission off the homes they buy and sell, so the money you bring in will vary depending on:

  • How expensive the homes you deal with are
  • How many homes you close on per year

Many agents bring in an impressive income making this one of the highest paying jobs without a degree. 

Plumber

Being a plumber isn’t for everyone, but it is one of the most reliable positions when it comes to job security, especially jobs that don’t require a degree. After all, who doesn’t need a plumber at least once in their lives?

Becoming a plumber does not require a college degree, but you will need approximately two years of trade school training, followed by a 2–5-year apprenticeship. Once you get the training you need, you can work for a company or open your own business to rake in a salary that ranges from $31,000 to $79,000 annually. 

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians typically work in drug stores and pharmacies fulfilling orders and dispensing medication to customers. They may also work in private practices or hospitals. 

Although pharmacy workers require a medical background, most of this can be gleaned through on the job training. It also may be helpful to attend a pharmacy technology school to earn a certificate in a year or less. The hard work will pay off with an income of about $33,950 a year. 

Conclusion

If college is not for you, then no worries. There are plenty of jobs that don’t require a degree, including the ones listed above. It is just very important to gain experience, qualifications, or certifications, and then display those properly on your resume.

Happy Job Searching!

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