20 High-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A College Degree


It’s becoming increasingly clear to many that in this day and age, having a four-year college degree doesn’t always guarantee you a job. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the rate of unemployed college graduates in the U.S. as of May this year rose to a sizable 8.5 percent, which is a significant increase from 2007’s record of 5.5. The labor market also reported seven million worth of job shortfall around the first half of 2014.

On the other hand, the job deficit doesn’t mean that the chances of getting hired are always slim. In fact, there are plenty of professions that will still allow you to earn big bucks sans a university diploma. And if you’re looking for a career change without a college degree, there are also opportunities. Listed below are twenty high-paying jobs from varying fields that are what high school graduates can train for and which can serve as the first step to a thriving career.

1. Small Business Owner

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Median Annual Wage: $51,470

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 61,600

Not everyone is cut out to be an employee; more often than not, high school graduates looking to go into business would prefer to be their own boss and manage their own enterprise. In this case, setting up your own business can be your ticket to hitting the goldmine. Wholesaling, for instance, after having recorded a decent median annual wage is considered one of the most booming ventures entrepreneurs can take upon. In addition, the US Census Bureau stated in their 2014 statistics that the wholesale trade made a total of $454.4 billion, making this kind of business opportunity more attractive to entrepreneurs. Learning the ropes of wholesaling is a long-term affair, but you only need to have a high diploma or equivalent education to get started.

2. Network Specialist

woman it engineer in network server room

Median Annual Wage (2012): $59,090

Education Level Required: Associate’s Degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 39,600

The interest in computers and how they work, topped with good interpersonal skills, are perfect starters for snagging a network specialist job. The work involves dealing with wide area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN), and the associated analysis, testing, troubleshooting, and network evaluation.

 3. Loan Officer

loan officer

Median Annual Wage (2012): $ 59,820

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 59,380

Loan officers are known to approve applications for monetary assistance but apart from that, they are also expected to advise people who are seeking financial help, and evaluate their credit status. Loan officers can work at mortgage companies, banks, credit unions, and car dealerships. It does involve a lot of paperwork and logistics management, but these can be accomplished if one has good organizational and interpersonal skills.

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4. Artists and Related Workers

artists

Median Annual Wage (2012): $59,840

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 2,700

Nearly every company requires a design department, and this is only among the many opportunities artists can delve into. As long as you can draw, paint, or sketch on a solid surface what your creative juices are telling you, you may be able to get a decent job doing what you love.

5. Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician

aerospace technician

Median Annual Wage (2012): $61,530

Education Level Required: Associate’s Degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 2,100

Being a technician for aerospace and engineering operations involves the development, testing, and production of new aircraft and spacecraft. Technicians in the industry are also expected to maintain the equipment used in these processes.

6. Subway and Streetcar Operator

train operator

Median Annual Wage (2012): $62,730

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 3,300

The operators of one of the busiest transport systems in the country are one of the highest paid in the country. Interested applicants require no experience to apply and can learn everything they have to know the job, which is mostly about the operations of the trusty subway cars.

7. Web Developer

EOTM Will Rees

Median Annual Wage (2012): $62, 500

Education Level Required: Associate’s Degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 50,700

Anyone who uses the Internet to work knows that it’s important to have a reliable website and a stable connection. As our dependence on this technology increases by the day, it also generates a lot of job opportunities not just for the younger generation but also to those who are willing to learn it. As such, the demand for web developers, whose job entails everything about websites such as designing, creating, and modifying them, is seen to have steady growth.

8. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

electric repairer

Median Annual Wage (2012): $63,250

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 49,900

Just think that as long as we rely on electricity, we will always need people who can repair electrical power systems. Electrical repairers are also responsible for fixing and managing telecommunication cables.

9. Makeup Artist

maker up artist

Median Annual Wage (2012): $64,450

Education Level Required: Postsecondary non-degree award

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 300

The people whose job is to make sure theatrical and performance artists look perfect for the role also bring home big slabs of bacon. As long as the makeup artists are skilled in applying makeup so that performers become the character their script requires, they have a shot at the job.

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10. Gaming Manager

gaming manager

Median Annual Wage (2012): $65,220

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 1,400

The gaming industry may be a regulated one, but it enjoys a steady yet slow growth in terms of revenue, which then translates to bigger incomes for gaming managers. The scope of their job is to undertake the planning, directing, and coordinating operations in a casino or similar establishments.

11. Power Plant Operator

powerplant operator

Median Annual Wage (2012): $66,130

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 12,900

Just like electrical repairers, there is stability in the demand for power plant operators. These workers’ main responsibility is the management and control of the systems distributing electric power, and they can learn and master this on the job.

12. Nuclear Technician

nuclear technician

Median Annual Wage (2012): $69,069

Education Level Required: Associate’s Degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 4,100

Not every job in a nuclear plant requires a college diploma—some of them can be snagged with an Associate’s degree such as a nuclear technician post. These people spend their workdays providing assistance to engineers and physicists.

13. Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

TOPSHOTS Indian farmers sow a paddy in

Median Annual Wage (2012): $69,300

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 150,200

This kind of job may not exactly be the kind that always requires employees to wear a suit and tie, but it is one of the best-paid jobs a high school graduate can get. Working on the farm would mean managing the establishments that produce goods such as livestock, dairy, and crops.

14. Dental Hygienist

dentalhygienist

Median Annual Wage (2012): $70, 210

Education Level Required: Associate’s degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 113,500

The people who are responsible for keeping our teeth clean also get a fat annual paycheck. Apart from teeth-cleaning, dental hygienists also examine patients to check for possible teeth and gum diseases and recommend respective preventive care.

15. Commercial Pilot

pilots

Median Annual Wage (2012): $73,280

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 14,400

You read it right—you have a shot at flying with a high school diploma under your belt! However, being a commercial pilot will require on-the-job training where you will learn everything about flying and navigating planes and helicopters, as well as rescue operations and firefighting.

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16. Elevator Repairer and Installer

elevator repair

Median Annual Wage (2012): $76,650

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 8,000

The skills required to become an elevator repairer and installer include mounting, fixing, and maintaining lifts such as elevators and escalators, all of which one can learn through the apprenticeship.

17. Detectives and Criminal Investigators

detectivess

Median Annual Wage (2012): $74,300

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 27,700

This particular job may not require a college degree but it surely necessitates above average analytical skills. Detectives and criminal investigators are responsible for investigating suspected infringements of the laws provided by the country, state, or local government.

18. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

power plant man

Median Annual Wage (2012): $74,990

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 2,300

Besides nuclear technicians, operators of nuclear power reactors can also earn a sizable annual income sans a college degree. These fellows are in charge of moving control rods, adjusting controls, starting and stopping the equipment according to a schedule, and recording respective data.

19. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

distro manager

Median Annual Wage (2012): $81,830

Education Level Required: High school diploma or equivalent

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 29,100

Those who have a knack for administration and management jobs can try their hand at being a transport manager. This job entails keeping on tabs on transport policies implemented by the government, as well as planning, directing, and coordinating transportation policies.

20. Air Traffic Controller

traffic control

Median Annual Wage (2012): $122,530

Education Level Required: Associate’s degree

Projected Available Jobs (through 2022): 11,400

Apart from having a spectacular view of the skies, air traffic controllers are also paid generously for their services. These people have the power to keep aircrafts safe by making sure that there is a safe distance between them.

The above-listed jobs prove that there are plenty of opportunities not just for college graduates, but also for those who have high school graduates and associate degrees. However, you have to keep in mind that like most jobs, these high-paying occupations will necessitate respective skills training. Talent is also important but this you have to work out through the right professional attitude. If you already have your high school diploma, you can start researching these jobs. On the other hand, the professions that require associate degrees would require enrolling and completing the necessary courses at a community college or associate’s college.

Featured photo credit: small business owner via blog.michiganadvantage.org


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