Top 25 Highest Paying Jobs Without A Degree 2023

Last Updated on January 24, 2023

Highest Paying Jobs Without A Degree

While obtaining a college degree can prepare you for high-paying careers, you can find many high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree. Many companies have dropped educational requirements and instead focused on candidate skills as businesses compete to hire workers.

According to Harvard Business Review, companies reduced their educational requirements for 46% of middle-skill positions from 2017-19. These jobs still require some post-secondary training but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree.

That’s good news for many people concerned about the cost of attending college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students in the U.S. paid an average of $13,900 at public institutions and $27,200 at private nonprofit institutions for tuition, fees, supplies, and living expenses in 2018-19. Those costs can linger, with many graduates spending years paying off student loans.

Many factors impact how much you can expect to earn in the workforce. Where you live, your work experience and your chosen field can all lead to higher pay. The careers listed below usually offer relatively high pay without requiring a four-year degree.

Highest Paying Jobs Without A Degree

25. First-line supervisors of correctional officers

Have you always had an interest in law enforcement but for whatever reason not pursued the police academy? A supervisory position in a correctional institution may suit you—you’ll work with other officers and jail employers. The median salary is $57,840, training is moderate and on-the-job, and there are 18,000 expected job openings through 2022.

23. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians

This is a great field for those who like to tinker and rebuild. as an engineering technician, you’d be designing, building, repairing, and maintaining electrical components, circuitry, and machinery for your staff colleagues. The median salary is $57,850, you’ll need an associate’s degree, and the right vocational program will help you hit the ground running with a job placement.

23. Real-estate brokers

If you like people (and looking at sale and rental properties in your area!) and have a detail-oriented, organized approach, brokering real-estate transactions (like buying, selling, rentals, and loan arrangements) might be for you. The median wage is $58,350, and there are 16,100 projected job openings in this field.

22. Purchasing agents (except wholesale, retail, and farm products)

Being responsible for the ordering and acquisition of machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services for a business or an organization is a crucial role – the median salary is $58,760, your training on the job would be long-term, and there are 61,600 anticipated positions in the works.

21. Computer network support specialists

Everybody loves a competent it person—if coding is your first or second language and you enjoy problem solving and maintenance, this could be a great match. The median salary is $59,090, and there are 39,600 projected job openings through 2022.

20. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

If you have experience with construction sites, supervising them and coordinating employees could net you a median salary of $59,700. There are 187,100 anticipated openings in the next few years.

19. Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

Put your strong reading comprehension and interest in investigative processes to work as a reviewer of settled claims to against company practices and procedures. The median salary is $59,960, and there are an expected 80,300 jobs in this field.

18. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers

Another excellent option for those who like to tinker and work with people—as a supervisor in this field, you’ll oversee and coordinate a team of mechanics, installers, or repairers. Anticipate earning $60,250 in one of the 152,000 projected openings.

17. Gas-plant operators

If you enjoy maintaining mechanical systems at work, this field would place you with utility companies to control compressors that monitor and support main pipelines. The median salary is $61,140, and in the next few years there should be 4,700 prospective jobs.

16. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians

These engineers and mechanically-minded employees operate and maintain equipment for developing, testing, and producing new aircraft. The median salary for a candidate with an associate’s degree is $61,000. More than 2,000 jobs are projected through 2022.

15. Petroleum-pump-system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers

These positions, which only require a high school diploma or the equivalent, require you to operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. The median salary is $61,850, and there are 15,500 projected job openings through 2022.

14. Web developers

Spend your life online and think you can design a top-notch site that looks and runs efficiently? If you’re willing to get an associate’s degree, consider this career, where the median salary is $62,500 and there are a whopping 50,700 (!!) projected job openings through 2022.

13. Subway and street car operators

You’re the one who the little kids will look at and wave to all day! Oh, you’ll technically be in charge of operating subways or elevated trains to transport passengers for a median salary of $62,730. you’ll need a high school diploma.

12. Electrical-power line installers and repairers

This job, with comes with long-term on-the-job training, has a median salary of $63,350. It’s in demand, too, because there are a projected 49,900 jobs opening in the next 6 years.

11. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologists

Here’s a great way to be a part of the healthcare industry, help people, and learn the inner workings of a complex system.MRI techs need an associate’s degree and receive a median annual wage of $65,360. There are 11,300 jobs expected to open in the next 6 years.

10. Registered nurses (RN)

Wait for it—there are a projected 1,052,600 (wow!) job openings for RNs expected through 2022! You’ll need an associate’s degree to become a nurse, which can involve anything from patient care to public education about health issues. The median salary is $65,470.

9. Diagnostic medical sonographers

Here’s another great way to enter the healthcare industry in a tech-forward way. In this job, you use equipment to directs sound waves to assesses and diagnose patients. You’ll need an associate’s degree for this position, which comes with a median salary of $65,860. There are  35,300 jobs projected to open in the next 6 years.

7. Power plant operators

Here’s a position that comes with long-term on-the-job training. You’ll learn how to control, operate, and maintain the machines that generate electric power. Only a high school diploma is required, and this job comes with a median salary of $66,130.

6. Farmers, ranchers, & other agricultural managers

The one is a job with great prospects—150,200 are expected to open through 2022! These positions will require you to take a role in the operation of farms, ranches, greenhouses, aquacultural operations, nurseries, timber tracts, or other agricultural establishments. The median salary is $69,300.

5. Dental hygienists

Aspiring dental hygienists are required to provide dental cleanings, examine patients for oral ailments, and provide preventative care; they can earn as much as $70k with an associate’s degree (which should include any certifications required). There are more than 113,00 anticipated job openings.

4. Commercial pilots

Air travel may not be as glamorous as it once was, but being a commercial pilot—flying and navigating aircrafts on non-scheduled (aka fancy private planes) air-carrier routes, or helicopter trips—is a lucrative and exciting career. You’ll need a commercial pilot certificate in addition to a high-school diploma or equivalent, but you could earn as much as $73k in any of the 14k positions available in the next few years.

3. Elevator installers and repairers

If you happen to like elevators—or any electric or hydraulic systems maintenance, you could find yourself happy in this job—the $76,650 you could earn with your high school diploma might help too! Typically new repair techs start with an apprenticeship. there are more than 8,000 jobs in the forecast.

2. Radiation therapists

If you’re interested in a career in healthcare without the nearly decade-long investment of time, money, and sanity, consider a radiation therapy career. You’ll be responsible for checking equipment, observing patients after their treatments, and documentation of sessions. The median salary is $77,560, you’ll need an associate’s degree, and you may find more than 8,400 jobs waiting upon graduation.

1. Air-traffic controllers

Obviously, this is so highly paid because it’s so intense and stressful—you have to be alert and on-task constantly. You’d be monitoring and directing aircraft and earning up to $122,530—the highest of any occupation in which employees don’t have to have a bachelor’s degree. The on-the-job training is long-term and rigorous (but you’ll appreciate it when you can actually save money and retire like an old-school human being).

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