In the era of skyrocketing tuition fees and overwhelming student loans, many are questioning the traditional path to career success. While a college degree can open doors, it’s not the only way to a high-paying job.
Some professions pay well above the average salary without requiring four years (or more) in college. If you’re seeking an alternative path to success, or perhaps looking to switch careers without going back to school, you’re in the right place. Here are some high-paying jobs that don’t demand a college diploma.
Job That Pays Good Without a College Degree
1. Air Traffic Controller
Average Salary: $122,990/year, Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of aircraft, ensuring they land and take off safely. The position requires strong decision-making skills and an ability to work under pressure.
2. Commercial Pilot
Average Salary: $82,240/year, While airline pilots often require a bachelor’s degree, commercial pilots who fly for charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, or aerial photography don’t necessarily need one. They do, however, need a commercial pilot’s license.
3. Elevator Installer and Repairer
Average Salary: $79,780/year, These professionals install and fix elevators, escalators, and similar equipment. They undergo apprenticeships and gain valuable hands-on experience.
4. Police Officer
Average Salary: $63,380/year, Police officers maintain law and order, protect citizens, and prevent crime. While some departments may require a college degree, many only ask for a high school diploma and police academy training.
Average Salary: $50,850/year, Firefighters combat and extinguish fires, save lives, and educate the public about fire safety. Requirements include a high school diploma and training at a fire academy.
6. Executive Assistant
Average Salary: $59,340/year, Executive assistants provide high-level administrative support, manage schedules, and handle communications for executives. Although some employers prefer candidates with associate’s degrees, many hire those with a high school diploma and relevant experience.
7. Commercial Diver
Average Salary: $49,140/year, Commercial divers work underwater, conducting inspections, repairs, or installations. They’re required to complete postsecondary diver training, but a degree isn’t mandatory.
8. Wind Turbine Technician
Average Salary: $54,370/year, These technicians inspect, maintain, and repair wind turbines. A high school diploma and technical training are the primary requirements.
Average Salary: $53,910/year, Plumbers install and fix plumbing systems. They usually start as apprentices, gaining hands-on experience and technical knowledge.
Average Salary: $56,180/year, Electricians install and maintain electrical systems. Like plumbers, they start as apprentices, learning the trade through practical experience.
11. Radiation Therapist
Average Salary: $85,560/year, Radiation therapists treat cancer and other diseases using radiation. Many positions require an associate’s degree or a certificate program, but not a bachelor’s degree.
12. Web Developer
Average Salary: $73,760/year, Web developers design and create websites. While a computer science degree can be beneficial, many employers prioritize a strong portfolio and practical experience over formal education.
13. Railroad Worker
Average Salary: $58,220/year, Railroad workers ensure that trains run on time and that tracks and equipment are in good condition. The position typically requires on-the-job training.
14. Hearing Aid Specialist
Average Salary: $52,630/year these specialists assess and fit patients with hearing aids. While a high school diploma and on-the-job training are standard, some states might require a licensing exam.
15. Makeup Artist
Average Salary: $72,090/year (for those in theatrical and performance sectors) Makeup artists apply cosmetics for clients, often for events or performances. While formal education can help, a strong portfolio and hands-on experience are crucial.
Rethinking the Traditional Path
The modern job market is evolving, and with it, our understanding of what it means to have a “good” job. While the societal push towards higher education is prevalent, it’s essential to remember that success comes in many forms.
Whether it’s through apprenticeships, on-the-job training, or self-taught skills, there’s a myriad of high-paying jobs out there that don’t require a college degree.
Remember, what matters most is finding a career that aligns with your passion, skills, and lifestyle preferences. Sometimes, stepping outside the traditional path can lead you to opportunities you’d never considered – and a fulfilling, lucrative career to boot.
Job That Pays Good Without a College Degree
- Air Traffic Controller
- Commercial Pilot
- Elevator Installer and Repairer
- Police Officer
- Executive Assistant
- Commercial Diver
- Wind Turbine Technician
- Radiation Therapist
- Web Developer
- Railroad Worker
- Hearing Aid Specialist
- Makeup Artist
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Job That Pays Good Without College Degree
1. How does one become an Air Traffic Controller?
While a college degree isn’t mandatory, aspiring air traffic controllers often go through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program. They then must attend the FAA Academy and pass a pre-employment test.
2. Do Commercial Pilots require any specific certifications?
Yes, commercial pilots, even without a bachelor’s degree, need to obtain a commercial pilot’s license from the FAA. This requires flight training with a certified instructor and a specific number of flight hours.
3. What kind of training do Plumbers and Electricians undergo?
Both plumbers and electricians typically start with apprenticeships, which are paid positions that allow them to learn the trade while working. These apprenticeships can last several years and often combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction.
4. Are Web Developers required to know specific programming languages?
5. What’s the difference between a Commercial Pilot and an Airline Pilot?
A commercial pilot can fly charter planes, crop dusters, or other non-airline aircraft, and doesn’t always require a college degree. In contrast, an airline pilot typically flies for airline companies and often requires a bachelor’s degree, in addition to more extensive flight experience and certifications.