25 Great Paying Jobs You Can Get Without A College Degree

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We get it – there’s a ton of pressure to go out and get a college degree these days, no matter the cost or the time it takes. We’re so used to looking at college as a coming of age ritual, that many young workers can’t even imagine getting a job without a degree…or at least, not a job that pays well.

But we’ve got some news: That’s just not true. There are a ton of jobs out there with incredible salaries, long-term prospects, and requirements that do not include a college degree. Hard to believe? Just check out the best-paying jobs that we’ve found – and (varying a bit based on individual employers, of course) you don’t need a degree for any of them!

 

1. Dental Hygienist

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Don’t mind teeth? Then this job delivers the paycheck.

While you may think that dentistry needs a degree, with the right training you can qualify to be a dental hygienist – the person responsible for taking the first look at your teeth and doing basic cleanings. Demand and growth are both very high, and the average income is a respectable $68,000 per year.

Some people think that teeth are gross, but if you can handle looking into people’s mouths all day, you’ll be looking at a paycheck sweet enough to cause cavities.

 

2. Cardiovascular Technologist

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Help people, read complex medical reports, and make some bucks!

While most people are under the impression that being in the medical field requires years of school, years of training, and years of long hours, there are certain jobs that are perfect for people who do not have a college degree. Cardiovascular technologist is one of these positions.

These technologists test for heart conditions and help both patients and doctors understand the results. With a little training and expertise, it can become a very successful career.

The average annual wage is around $56,000, and with the lifestyle of modern day Americans, demand for people who know their way around a bum ticker will only be on the rise!

 

3. Surveyor

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More interesting, more rewarding, and more well-paying than it sounds.

When you see a surveyor on the street, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what they’re doing with that little box on the tripod, but their job is actually incredibly interesting.

Surveyors trek the outdoors and scout street corners to set up complex measuring equipment that makes maps as accurate as possible – just like the founders of America did, in fact.

Not only do these jobs allow you to follow in the massive footsteps of the founders of America, they also offer an average income of around $55,000 per year!

 

4. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

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No, we’re not kidding – you too can man the helm of a nuclear reactor!

Nuclear power reactor operators make sure that nuclear power plants stay functional and safe. It sounds like a degree would be absolutely required for this position, but while other positions in a nuclear power plant require degrees, this is one position that people do not need one for.

Most training is done on the job over many years. The average hourly earnings are around $40.

Maybe the Simpsons isn’t as unrealistic as we thought…

 

5. Online Advertising Manager

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Make the big bucks utilizing your online skills and eye for design.

Online advertising managers oversee and sell ad space, or arrange to buy ad space for specific companies. Though there are degrees that help people learn how to do this, you can often work your way up to this job through advertising channels.

There are many success stories of people who rose high in this field not because they got a masters degree, but because they learned their way around a computer by themselves and have a sharp eye for what looks good.

The average annual income is a whopping $87,000 for those who know how to play the game.

 

6. Insurance Agent

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An old, reliable career option for people who want to build their own business. 

People have an image in their mind of the old-timey door-to-door insurance agent, wandering from town to town with a briefcase trying to push life insurance on people, but that stereotype is woefully outdated. These days, insurance agents typically have their own offices and work to build their client base via phone and online advertising.

Selling insurance is a career you can enter with people skills and a good attitude as opposed to needing a college degree. With government regulation and modern business practices mandating insurance more and more, the demand for insurance agents is higher than ever, and will only rise.

Those with the gift of gab can reap major rewards. The average income is an annual $47,000, but that number is only limited by what you can do.

 

7. Medical Secretary

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Think you need a degree to work in a medical field? Think again.

Medical secretaries handle a diverse number of tasks, most related to greeting patients, signing them in, arranging schedules, and handling sensitive HIPAA information. Though the doctor is often considered the star of any medical practice, often times an office is only as good as the secretary who keeps everything together.

These positions are close to entry-level, meaning there’s a chance for plenty of on-the-job training.  The average salary is a healthy $31,000 per year to start out, with advancement possible.

 

8. Supply Chain Managers

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Do you have a good head for details? Check out this position.

Supply chain managers are supervisors who oversee different methods of transportation, storage, and distribution for various industries.

Though a lot of economic activity in this country has shifted to an online space, there are plenty of businesses that still work in physical goods — including retail stores, grocery stores, industrial supply companies, and more — so people who can effectively oversee the movement and storage of these goods are in high demand.

Depending on your skill set and interest, there are many different industries to pursue this position in.

Median hourly earnings are around $41 — more than police officers in certain states!

 

9. Carpenter

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If there’s one thing that will never go out of style, it’s good wood.

Carpenters are contractors who work on a variety of repairs and installations regarding all things wood – and many also work in plaster and similar materials. Carpentry is satisfying to learn and possessing that skillset can open a variety of doors to any worker.

Though there was a dip in construction jobs due to the financial crisis of 2008, building is on the rise again, which means more jobs for carpenters are available. If you’ve got the skills to get the position, the median salary is a healthy $45,000 per year.

 

10. Paralegal Assistant

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Get into the legal profession without having a law degree.

Though some people think of paralegals as glorified secretaries, they are actually skilled employees that specialize in proper legal forms and processes.

Attorneys generate massive amounts of documents and paperwork, and they need assistance from smart, organized people to make sure that their forms are filed properly, their letters are written correctly, and that they are following what can often be a complex and confusing set of processes and rules.

Though a paralegal doesn’t necessarily need a college degree, it does require somebody to be smart and organized. Being a really fast typist also helps.

Income levels average around $47,000 per year, and demand for new paralegals tends to be high.

 

11. Court Reporter

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Make sure that there’s a record of all that order in the court!

Court reporters aren’t journalists – they record court sessions for legal purposes, like traditional stenographers but with a bit more oversight. The documents court reporters create are incredibly important because they are often reviewed to make sure that rules were followed, somebody got a fair trial, or to make sure that no mistakes that could overturn a conviction were made.

While court reporting does not require a degree, it does require a specific certificate that can take a couple years to get, as well as continuing education during the job.

Court reporters tend to be in high demand and have good job stability. The annual income averages around $48,000.

 

12. Electrician

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With the right certification, you’ll be making more than your college friends.

Become an electrician and the power will be in your hands — literally! Electricians with the right certifications are always in demand for a variety of projects and get paid well for their time. With construction jobs on the rise, the demand for good, certified mechanics will only continue to grow.

Being an electrician requires knowledge in building codes, construction practices, and, of course, the shocking world of electricity, but if you’ve got a sharp mind and a spark to succeed, then electrician could be the job for you.

The average salary is about $50,000 per year.

 

13. Web Developer

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A master at teaching yourself new skills? Think about development!

The rise of the internet has been one of the biggest shifts in human history in terms of how we interact with the world and each other. In just a few short decades, the online world has gone from an amusing novelty to an absolute essential for people operating in the modern world, and web developers have been leading the way.

A web developer focuses primarily on solving web problems and creating or updating websites for a variety of clients. Unlike many jobs, there’s no formal degree required — all you need to be is a self-starter with good computer skills. There are several success stories of people dropping out of school to chase their dreams online, only to wind up as millionaires.

As more and more business moves to an online space, demand for people with serious computer skills will only continue to grow.

Web developers earn an average of $76,000 per year.

 

14. HVAC Mechanic

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You’ll be amazed at how cool this job is.

Whether commercial or residential, when heating and cooling systems break down people demand a fast fix. HVAC mechanics are contractors that specifically deal with these systems, and they are always in demand. They also perform maintenance and inspections, as well as deal with related components like ductwork and some plumbing.

With the right certification, somebody with these skills can establish a very successful business. The income average for these workers is around $43,000 per year, with lots of room for growth.

 

15. Sales Representative

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Do you have the energy and smarts for sale rep work?

Not all sales reps are created equal: Those in the commercial side of things tend to have less stressful jobs that also make more money – if you’ve got the contacts to get in. The income average has a very high growth rate and currently sits at $52,000…but you have to bring those leads in.

 

16. Industrial Repair Mechanic

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When something big breaks down, everyone turns to you!

Those huge pieces of machinery in production plants require specialized mechanics: With the right training, you can offer your services to a variety of local industrial companies. Just be careful, because this job comes with its share of accidents!

The income average is $45,000, and these jobs are typically always in demand.

 

17. Heavy Truck Driver

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Get on the road and get money in your wallet.

Trucking is another traditional profession, but with today’s high-tech gadgets and sophisticated trucking contract options, it’s easier than ever to get started and make some money – and the field continues to grow. Refrigerated trucking and other specialties are even more rewarding.

Average annual salaries are around $38,000.

 

18. Computer Service Technician

Computer Tech for Jobs Without Degrees Article

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Can you fix any computer problem with ease? Then it’s time to be part of a technician team!

We know, it sounds like a computer service job would require at least a Bachelor’s degree, right? But not so! A high school diploma and the right experience can open a lot of doors in this industry. After all, don’t you know at least a few people who would love to have a younger, more computer-literate person help them with their IT issues? A lot of businesses feel the same way.

As a result, the average median salary is $49,000, and there are a variety of computer service positions to explore.

19. Bookkeeper

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You’ll be amazed what finance jobs you can find without a degree.

Bookkeepers manage financial records for companies – often smaller companies that can’t afford to hire CPAs will use bookkeepers to manage their finances and accounts.

You’ve got to have a head for numbers and a keen eye for detail, but these are both skills that you can get without a college degree.

With the right experience, you can make $39,000 on average.

 

20. Sales Supervisor

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A lot of openings, guaranteed income – and a chance to grow in the company.

These supervisors manage sales teams for call centers and customer service departments. It’s a demanding job with a lot of potential awards: Medial hourly earnings are around $35. However, you need to be able to guide a team, deal with high turnover, meet demanding sales goals, and study lead acquisition…all with a positive attitude.

This job might not be for everyone, but for those with the right personality, it can be very lucrative, even without a college degree.

 

21. Real Estate Broker

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Who can be a real estate agent? Pretty much anyone!

Real estate licensing is easy to get in most states, and if you have the energy and connections, this can be a very lucrative field! Agents in these fields spend most of their time representing buyers, sellers or both and showing homes. If an agreement is reached, the agent receives a percentage of the agreed-upon property price. As you can imagine, real estate agents need to close deals regularly to turn this into a full-time job, which is why many join larger real estate firms instead of going freelance.

Median earnings are around $30,000, although pay is largely based on how easily you can break into this competitive industry.

 

22. Property Association Manager

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Those apartments aren’t going to manage themselves!

These managers oversee apartments and other living complexes. They have to deal with a lot of problems, but they typically get many amenities and decent pay.

Before pursuing this as a full-time career, keep in mind that you will need to deal with everything from angry tenants to utility emergencies, often at all times of the day.

Even though you’ll have to be something of a Jack-of-all-trades, earnings are usually around $26 per hour — not a bad sum by any measure!

 

23. Radiation Therapist

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This job requires a certain set of skills…but the wages are red hot.

A radiation therapist has a lot of experience in radiation therapy and related equipment. They help administer doses of radiation to cancer patients as part of their treatment. As you can imagine, it’s an important job that allows you to help a lot of very sick people…but it also pays very, very well, with a median salary around $80,000. You don’t even need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for the position!

Most of these professionals either complete a year-long training course or hold an associate’s degree.

 

24. Architect

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Don’t think you need a degree to work in the architecture world!

Believe it or not, with the right training and certification at trade school, you can qualify to be an architectural drafter – yep, those people who draw up blueprints for buildings.

An eye for detail – and math – is helpful, and you can make an average of $46,000!

 

25. Sewage Plant Operator

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We’d make a joke, but this is serious business.

Did you know that sewage plants need to keep running 24/7 to avoid catastrophe? Someone needs the skills to manage these complex city plants, and that’s where skilled operates come in.

The income average for a sewage plant operator is $41,000 per year, and the good news is that there’s not often a lot of competition for these jobs!