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Top High Paying Jobs Without a Degree

top high paying jobs without a degree

Do you want to skip college and start earning money straight away?

Most kids have it drummed into them that the only way to make a good salary is to have a degree. Fortunately, that is not always the case.

There are plenty of high-paying jobs that simply require applicants to hold a high school diploma. There are also alternative ways of gaining the necessary skills without having to spend time and money on a degree.

So, let’s take a look at the best paying jobs without a degree and start planning your future!

top high paying jobs without a degree

Top High Paying Jobs Without a Degree

Air Traffic Controller

This job can be exciting and challenging and is ideal for anyone who has a love for airplanes and airports. Air traffic controllers sit in special control towers and direct air traffic from the ground. The high level of responsibility that this job comes with means that the average salary is $122,000 per year.

Aircraft Mechanic

If you have mechanic skills and a high school diploma, you could make around $65,000 per year as an aircraft mechanic. The job involves performing regular repairs and maintenance on different types of aircraft. Extensive on-the-job training is provided to ensure that entry-level employees have the required skills.

Elevator Installer and Repairer

If you have a head for heights and are comfortable working in confined spaces, you can make $85,000 per year. An elevator installer and repairer is an essential role, especially in big cities where most buildings feature a number of elevators. After finishing high school, you simply need to complete a four-year internship to start raking in the dough.

Power Plant Operator

This important role involves ensuring that plants produce enough power in a safe and controlled manner. Power plant operators also need to make sure that the generated power reaches the correct locations. After completing high school, extensive training is provided, and the average salary is around $85,000 per year.

Dental Hygienist

Unlike a dentist, dental hygienists do not have to go to college, although they do need to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. Removing plaque from patients’ teeth and taking x-rays may not be for everyone, but it comes with a healthy salary. Other duties include counseling patients about good nutrition and hygiene, and the average salary is $76,000 per year.

Web Developer

This job is in high demand, and it is possible to work for a large company or take the freelance route. While web developers need to be familiar with all types of software and hardware, a formal degree is not needed. Although it is necessary to keep up to date with all the latest developments, the $73,000 per year salary is impressive.

Transportation and Distribution Manager

You need to have strong leadership and communication skills for this job, which involves a lot of planning. No formal training is needed, although applicants should have at least five years of industry experience. If you have what it takes to coordinate transportation activities, you could make around $95,000 per year.

top high paying job without degree

Commercial Pilot

If you have a head for heights and want to take to the skies, working as a commercial pilot could be for you. This job typically pays around $86,000 per year and simply requires a high school diploma and a commercial pilot’s license. Commercial pilots can perform a wide range of tasks such as crop dusting fields, hosting tours, and putting out fires.


After completing high school, you can apply to become a firefighter and start at $50,000 per year. Upon acceptance, firefighters need to pass fire academy training and ideally hold EMY certification as well as a fitness exam. There are plenty of opportunities to advance in this career path, and experienced firefighters can earn more than $92,000 per year.

Fire-Fighting Supervisor

After working as a firefighter for at least five years, it is possible to advance to this managerial position. Fire-fighting supervisors are in charge of a team of first-line fire prevention workers and make around $77,000 per year. They need to make sure that each member of the team works as efficiently and safely as possible at all times.

Masonry Worker

After obtaining a high school diploma, masonry workers are provided with extensive on-the-job training and earn around $46,000 per year. This is a physically demanding job that requires a lot of kneeling, standing, and heavy lifting. Talented masonry workers have the opportunity of going into business for themselves, which can easily double their salary.

Claims Adjuster

Next on my rundown of the Top High Paying Jobs Without a Degree, if you have investigative experience, you simply need to hold a high school diploma to be a Claims Adjuster. The main duties are investigating insurance claims and interviewing claimants to try and detect fraud. If you have a nose for the truth and excellent communication skills, you could make $66,000 per year as a claims adjuster.

the top high paying jobs without degree

Sound Engineering Technician

Working in media can be both a fun and financially rewarding career, and sound engineering technicians typically make $45,000 per year. This role involves setting up and running sound systems for all types of media events such as concerts and TV shows. Sound engineering technicians need to be prepared to work weekends, travel, and usually hold an associate degree.

Theatrical and Performance Makeup Artist

If you have a love for the theater and have an artistic streak, this career can combine your two passions. This is an entry-level job that simply requires applicants to have basic makeup skills. Most people start as an apprentice and can end up earning a healthy $75,000 per year.

Fire Inspectors

After a major fire, fire inspectors explore the scene and determine the cause. Previous firefighting experience and a good knowledge of chemistry are major assets in performing this role. Talented and experienced fire inspectors can make at least $60,000 per year.

Solar Photovoltaic Installer

The main duties of this role are installing and maintaining special types of solar energy systems. This job is ideal for people who are physically fit and enjoy spending time outdoors, and on-the-job training is provided. The basic salary for this role is around $44,000 per year.

the top high paying job without degree

Court Reporter

This role combines an interest in the law with journalism and attention to detail. It is necessary to transcribe audio or television evidence from trials and make sure they are entirely accurate. Court reporters typically earn around $60,000 per year, although those who undergo special training can earn much more.

Telecom Industry Technician

Installing, repairing, and maintaining equipment for the telecommunications industry can earn you around $57,000 per year. It is necessary to have a head for heights and a problem-solving nature to do this job successfully. People who take the time to earn a postsecondary non-degree award can significantly boost their earning potential.

Merchant Marine

No formal training is officially needed to work as a merchant marine, as extensive on-the-job training is provided. It is necessary to be very physically fit and be willing to spend long stretches of time in the open ocean. Duties involve general ship tasks and piloting, and the average salary is $57,000 per year.

Sheet Metal Worker

After graduating from high school, people who want to be sheet metal workers need to complete an apprenticeship. Duties include creating and installing products that are made from thin sheets of metal. This is a physically demanding job that typically pays $50,000 per year.

Wind Turbine Technician

This technician role focuses on installing, repairing, and maintaining wind turbines. There is a lot of scope for growth in this industry, and salaries are likely to soar as demand increases. Wind turbine technicians typically start at $52,000 per year. Although it is possible to make much more.

top high paying job without degree guide

Computer Support Specialist

There is a lot of demand for computer support specialists, and it is possible to start this job out of high school. This will secure entry-level workers a salary of around $54,000 per year. However, people who obtain special certification have the opportunity to earn much more.

Tool and Die Maker

This role involves setting up and operating the specialist machine tools that are used to create metal parts. While only a high school diploma is needed to do this job, a high level of precision and accuracy is essential. Therefore, tool and die makers receive extensive on-the-job training and typically make $45,000 per year.

Hearing Aid Specialist

This role involves working closely with an audiologist to fit, maintain, and fix hearing aids for various patients. This role involves a mixture of interpersonal and technical work, such as conducting tests and screenings. A basic high school diploma is required to do this job, and the average salary is $53,000 per year.

HVAC and Refrigeration Technicians

This role involves installing, repairing, and maintaining heating and air conditioning systems. A lot of skill and expertise is required to do this job, although it is possible to do an apprenticeship after completing high school. HVAC and Refrigeration Technicians typically earn around $48,000 per year, although those who go into business for themselves can earn much more.


People who have a good head for figures and possess attention to detail can work as a bookkeeper without a degree. This job involves organizing documents, producing detailed financial records, and checking financial accuracy. Bookkeepers can work for a company or in a freelance capacity and typically make $41,000 per hour.

Top High Paying Jobs Without a Degree – Alternative Types of Education

There are plenty of ways of gaining qualifications without going to college. In many cases, the career you have set your sights on requires a special form of qualification. Let’s take a look at some of the main degree alternatives and their requirements.


Certification is required for a wide range of different jobs and is much more versatile than a degree. Most certificates take just one or two years to complete, and it is possible to study for them on a part-time basis. After completing your studies, an examination needs to be taken and passed before gaining accreditation.

Postsecondary Non-Degree Awards

These special awards are granted to people who have completed post-secondary education and training. Depending on your career path, this can take anywhere from just two weeks to two years. Special non-degree awards are common requirements in the healthcare field.

Technical Education

This type of vocational training can help to boost the career opportunities and salaries of many people. Technical education is ideal for people who want to earn a high salary as a mechanic, a technician, or a similar field.


A large number of careers offer apprenticeships to high school graduates. This gives people the chance to earn a salary while also learning the skills that will help them to advance. People who want the opportunity to secure an especially high salary can join an industry-recognized apprenticeship program or registered apprenticeship program.


Many professions such as nursing, electrical work, and counseling require a special license before it is possible to start working. The requirements to obtain licensure vary from state to state but often include an educational certificate and work experience. After passing a special licensure exam, applicants will then be able to start earning a respectable salary.

Interested In Our Aviation Opportunities?

Do you dream of taking to the skies as a Commercial pilot? Well, we’ve researched for you and found some great options online, such as the Commercial Pilot Oral Exam Guide, the Commercial Pilot Test Prep 2023, the Gleim Commercial Pilot Knowledge Test 2023 Edition, the Airman Certification Standards: Commercial Pilot – Airplane: FAA-S-ACS-7A.1 available online in 2023.

But that’s not all; check out the Pass Your Commercial Pilot Checkride, the Commercial Pilot Flashcards, the Commercial Pilot Flight Maneuvers, How To Become A Commercial Airline Pilot, and The Pilot’s Manual: Ground School for purchase online.

For amazing job opportunities, you’ll want to take a look at my Alaska Airlines Application, Hawaiin Airlines Application, Emirates Application, Qatar Airways Application, Northwest Airlines Application, AirTran Application, US Airways Application, Ethiad Airways Application, as well as my Spirit Airlines Application in 2023.

We’ve also put together our United Airlines Application and United Airline Interview Questions, American Airlines Application and American Airlines Interview Questions, our Delta Air Lines Application and Delta Interview Questions, and our Southwest Airlines Application and Southwest Airlines Interview Questions.

Lastly, if you have a criminal record, you may want to check up on Does The TSA Run Background Checks before you apply.

Final Thoughts

In many cases, specialist skills and talent are much more important than a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Having skills such as being fluent in more than one language can be much more valuable to hiring managers. People who decide to skip college and work on their marketable skills often have the edge on the competition.

However, it can take several years of experience in a related field to score one of the highest paying jobs. Therefore, it is a good idea to start mapping out your career path as early as possible. Knowing what you want and how to get it can go a long way to helping to obtain your career goals.

All the very best with your job hunting!

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