High-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

We’ve come to the day and age where getting a four-year college degree does not guarantee you a job. However, the rise of the unemployment rates does not mean that people are no longer finishing their degrees! While it is tougher to land a job in your chosen field, it is definitely not impossible. These days, it is more about matching the demand with the right skillset. The good news is, you don’t need to be a college graduate in order to develop the skills needed for an in-demand job. In fact, you can still earn big bucks without a diploma if you know where to look.

If you’re looking for a career change and you’re scared of doing it because you don’t have a diploma, then take a look at our compilation of high-paying jobs that won’t require you to be a college graduate. You’ll be surprised to learn that while these jobs pay well, you don’t need a diploma for them. From being an artist to a technician, take a look, and see where you fit best.

Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers


Here’s another profession that doesn’t require a huge investment in education. Those working in the agriculture sector are earning a good salary, especially if they are in managerial positions. The median annual age for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers is $71,600. You only need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent to start this profession. Those, who prefer a more laid back job and have a natural inclination for working the land will be the best fit.

The main responsibility of those in this field is to oversee the production of goods such as livestock, dairy, and crops. It is projected that there are more than 100,000 available jobs until 2022. When you leave the bustling and crowded city, devoting yourself to the beautiful countryside, you will not only be able to engage in a well-paid job, but also live in harmony with nature. So if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, this job’s for you!

Veterinary Technician

Another profession that is easily overlooked is veterinary care. It’s really surprising to learn that you don’t need to complete a four-year college degree in order to be a vet technician. Typically, a two-year associate course is the only requirement. The median salary is about $35,320 and new job openings are expected to rise to 21,100 by 2028. Veterinary technicians act as nurses for animal patients.

They assist the veterinarians during laboratory tests, including the extraction of samples from your fur friends and even during examinations. This will ensure proper care is given while your pets are feeling under the weather. You can also expect these technicians to be present during surgeries and other numerous tasks that are related to animal care. As you see, this job is well-paid and does not have a high requirement of diploma. So, just hurry up and join this job right now!

Nail Technician

Who knew that there’s a profession dedicated to taking care of nails? Yes, that’s what a nail technician’s job is. You may feel a little unfamiliar about this job. Nail technicians are beauty specialists. You’ll be surprised to learn that the median salary for professionals in this field is about $25,770. There are over 15,000 job opportunities for this profession. You don’t need to get a full degree in college to be a nail technician too!

Generally, they provide all sorts of nail services to customers at salons, spas, and barbershops. Some nail technicians also operate their own businesses. They clean nails, trim, polish, and do necessary repairs. They have since elevated their services by providing special treatments such as the application of artificial nails, which require plenty of skill. Sometimes, they have their own products for sale too!

Ophthalmic Medical Technician

Nowadays, people are more addicted to electronic devices. Therefore, the demand for medical technicians in ophthalmology will continue to grow in the future.You’ll be surprised to learn that the average median salary for an ophthalmic medical technician is $36,940 and the job openings expected for the position by 2028 are estimated to be around 8,900. What do these kinds of technicians do?

Before a person goes to the eye doctor, an initial examination must be completed and these are done by the ophthalmic medical technicians. The initial examination involves getting all the patient’s information, checking visual acuity, testing confrontational visual fields, and assessing their pupils and ocular muscles. So basically, doing all the initial examinations until the doctor performs further assessments. This sounds like something you’ll need a degree for, but in reality, you will be trained by the ophthalmologist on the job.

Solar Photovoltaic Installer

Another professional position that sounds complicated at first is that of a solar photovoltaic installer. These professionals specialize in installing and maintaining the technology that is needed for solar panels. The basic requirement is a high school diploma, while the rest can be learned while on the job. All they need is to be a graduate of a community college, go to trade school courses, or complete an apprenticeship.

The median salary for this profession is $44,890 and job openings by 2028 are expected to increase to 6,100. Nowadays, people are more conscious of the environment and opt to make investments in sustainable energy. Therefore, being a solar photovoltaic installer can not only solve their own employment problems but also make contributions to environmental protection. Be warned though, you are likely to be exposed to the heat of the sun while on the job.


The job of a plumber is to install and maintain pipes in our home and other places that people live in. We all need plumbers and we are completely dependent on them when pipes break. Pipe installing is not easy and must be well-designed before installing. It takes a professional to get the job done. You’ll be surprised to learn that the median salary for these lifesavers is about $55,160. By 2028, the job openings would increase by 68,200 so there are plenty of opportunities for the younger generation!

Opportunities are often offered through technical schools or apprenticeship training. You don’t need to finish a four-year degree to be able to read blueprints, install pipes, and do the necessary repairs on worn parts. Did you know that they also design blueprints where pipes and fixtures should be placed? If you’re interested in this type of work, there’s plenty of room for more!

Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators sound intimidating but they also earn big bucks. The median salary is $100,530! The industry is expected to open jobs for about 2,300 people by 2022. What do these operators do, though? They are experts in-charge of controlling nuclear reactors, which involves moving and controlling rods, adjusting them, and starting and stopping the equipment according to schedule. They also maintain records of all these activities. They watch out for any abnormalities and correct them as necessary.

You only need a high school diploma, or the equivalent, in order to get the job. As with other technical positions, they learn more skills on the field. However, bear in mind that these people undergo rigorous training and technical instruction. It most certainly is an investment of your time and effort. The skilled ones even undergo regular training to keep them up-to-date.


Paralegals do all the necessary preparations, often behind-the-scenes, to help lawyers represent their clients in an effective way. Specifically, a paralegal has to do a variety of tasks, such as giving assistance to lawyers before and during trials, conducting research on legal articles and regulations, and investigating facts of a case. You could say they’re like the production team behind a film – you don’t get to see what they’ve done but they contribute greatly to the finished product.

Did you know that the median salary of these professionals is $51,740? Yes, you get to earn a good salary doing research and administrative work. Job openings are expected to rise to 39,000 by 2028. The basic requirement is an associate graduate degree, although as with many jobs, firms would prefer candidates with a bachelor’s diploma. These professionals are employed to perform substantive legal work so that means the job requires knowledge of the law and legal procedures.

Radiologic Technologist

There are a lot of opportunities in the medical field that only require an associate degree. You might need to secure a license or certification to perform certain procedures, but it would be worth it in the long run. Take radiologic technologists for example. Did you know that they earn about $60,510 yearly? About 19,000 job openings related to this position are expected by 2028. Radiologic technologists are professionals that operate sophisticated equipment that often produces images.

These images help doctors when diagnosing and prescribing treatments for patients. These individuals are also certified to administer radiation therapy treatments. Most states would require a license or certification. It may sound scaring to work with radiation and specialized imaging equipment, but radiologic technology also need plenty of soft skills. With the right education and training, you will have a well grasp of skills that you need to excel in this rewarding healthcare career. Here’s a profession that is worth considering for the generations to come.

Medical Assistant

Another profession worth considering that is in the same field are medical assistants. They hold an important position in the healthcare industry but they don’t need to make the same investment in time to learn the trade. Medical assistants work alongside physicians, mainly in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as medical offices and clinics.

Medical assistants are responsible for recording all relevant patient information and performing initial assessments, like measuring blood pressure and scheduling appointments. They also assist the doctors with further examinations as needed. They only need to complete a training program after high school so they can earn the necessary certificate in the field. The median salary is about $34,800. Expected new job openings by 2028 is about 154,900. It’s not too late to get the proper training if you’re on the lookout for something different.

Power Plant Operator

Just like anyone with technical expertise, there’s a steady demand for power plant operators. The main responsibility of these professionals is to manage and control the system distributing electricity. They learn the skill on the job, which would often involve a combination of rigorous classroom lectures and hands-on training. The expected available jobs by 2022 is 12,900. This is definitely worth considering if you are looking for something different and you’re willing to make the necessary investment in time to learn the skill.

These professionals earn a whopping $81,990 on average every year. This should encourage you to consider this if you’re thinking about switching to a less rigorous, but well-paying job. However, expect to work a regular 8-hour shift or longer. Moreover, many jobs require a background check, and workers are subject to drug and alcohol screenings.

Massage Therapist

Massage therapists work magic in their hands, offering a luxurious treat for our stressed and often overworked bodies. Imagine the tension on your shoulders easing out, giving you renewed energy to take on another work week. More than anything, they afford us a relaxing time to gather our thoughts and recoup our energy.

A massage therapist is someone who treats clients by using touch to manipulate the soft-tissue muscles of the body. They use their bodies to help other people feel good, easing the tension and relieving the pain. To be one, they must complete training programs and typically need to obtain a license. They don’t require a degree program. There are a number of treatments and one can specialize in acupressure, reflexology, sports massage and many more. The average yearly salary is $42,820 and expected new job openings by 2028 is about 35,000.

Small Business Owner

Here’s something worth considering if you’re not too keen to take orders from others. Simply put, some people aren’t cut out to become employees and would be in a better position to be the boss. The freedom to chase an entrepreneurial dream is one of the great foundations of America. Consider opening a small business if this is the case.

Since you are your own boss, you set your own pace and qualifications to perform your role well. Wholesaling has been gaining traction over the recent years. In fact, it records a median annual earnings of $73,570 per individual Opportunities are expected to rise 61,600 all through 2022. The wholesale trade has been consistently generating big revenues and is certainly more attractive to young entrepreneurs. However, you need to make substantial investments to master the trade.

Network Specialist

Everybody is dependent on the internet nowadays. The existence of the Internet has not only changed our lives but also brings many job opportunities. People require an internet connection wherever they go and there are professionals that make sure this happens. Network specialists work with computers and everything related to it. This means dealing with wide area network and local area network connections.

These professionals analyze, test and troubleshoot to determine any issues present in the connection. You might be surprised to learn that the average annual salary is $63,460. About 39,600 job openings are expected by 2022. You only need to be an associate graduate to land a job. If you have a background in computer tech, it is an advantage. If this is something you’re interested in, consider taking online classes to improve your skills.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Fact is, we simply can’t predict accidents or sudden declines in our health. Even though we’re very careful, and lead healthy lives, there are simply many uncertainties that we need to be prepared for. In cases of illness and injury, we would often require assistance and help in performing simple, everyday tasks. This is where occupational therapy assistants come in.

Under the supervision of an occupational therapist, patients can slowly get back on their feet until they feel normal again. These occupational therapy assistants come in to help injured patients when it comes to regaining motion and help ensure that they are doing the right movements. The median annual salary is $61,510 and job openings are expected to rise by 14,500 by 2028. In addition, If you want to be an occupational therapy assistant, you must be responsible and patient.

Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

The job is risky, but electrical power-line installers and repairers also earn big bucks. The median annual wage is at $72,520. Just like technical operators and plumbers, there’s a steady demand for this kind of profession. Well because, everybody needs electricity. In fact, the projected available jobs through 2022 is 49,900 so there’s plenty of opportunity in the field. However, do consider that you will be dealing with many different factors on the job and it involves a certain risk.

These professionals are responsible for repairing electrical power systems and telecommunication cables. They also install, maintain and repair power lines. They lookout for defective devices through inspection and testing. For the job, you are required to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. At the same time, you also need to have some skills related to the occupation. You should be able to watch gauges, dials, or other indicators and repair machines or systems using the needed tools.

Personal Care Aide

Often confused with an occupation therapist assistant, personal care aides also help vulnerable individuals but in a different manner. A personal care aide often deals with elderly people. Many who have reached a certain age suffer from chronic diseases, physical disabilities and mental ailments. The aides help them perform everyday tasks and also do some on their patient’s behalf. This includes preparing meals and assisting individuals when getting dressed in the morning to help them go about their day.

You have to give them credit for having vast amounts of patience and understanding. Personal care aides are only required a high school diplomas, but are expected to be empathic and caring. The average yearly salary is $25,280 and 880,000 positions are expected to open by 2028. Personal care assistants are not necessarily licensed, but they are all trained. They can cook, help old people dress, take a bath, go to the toilet, and perform other simple household tasks.

Elevator Repairer and Installer

The expertise of someone who is able to install, maintain and repair something is highly regarded. This is also the case for an elevator repair and installation technician. They are earn an average annual salary of about $84,990 for this job. Not a bad deal at all! You will be trained for the job so that means you will only need a high school diploma or its equivalent to be considered for a position. The job includes mounting, fixing and maintaining lifts such as elevators, escalators and other similar equipment.

This work requires the ability of troubleshooting based on a wealth of knowledge of electronics, hydraulics and electricity. All of the required skills will be learned through an apprenticeship program. As you may have noticed by now, specific skills are not often taught in schools. So getting a degree is not necessarily the best course to take.

MRI Technologist

Another expert in the medical field, who earn well are the MRI technologists. They are specific in the machines they operate and only facilitate the use of magnetic resonance imaging scanners (MRI). The annual average salary is $73,410 with projected job openings numbering to 4,300 by 2028. The MRI technologists operate the equipment that produces images, which help doctors diagnose medical conditions and provide proper treatment.

For these professionals, an associate degree is required. Just a bit of background on the machines they use to operate – the machines uses the magnetic field and radio waves to project images of a patient’s organs, tissues and bones. This is the main reason why such examination is helpful in the proper diagnosis of an illness. To be an MRI technologist, you need to have basic medical knowledge, such as normal human anatomy, adjusting the type of machine imaging, etc.. Because MRI technicians ensure that high-quality diagnostic images are produced from the patient’ s MRI scan.

Medical Records Technician

Another medical field profession that doesn’t require a four-year course is that of a medical records technician. They are in-charge of the translation for diagnoses, procedures and treatment into clinical codes for insurance reimbursements and data analysis. You are only required to have, at least, a postsecondary certificate to be qualified. The medical records technicians are called coders, coding specialists or coding representatives.

They take abstract information from medical records to assign appropriate diagnosis and procedure codes. They maintain electronic health records databases and analyze the information generated from them. They also make sure that the patient paperwork is properly filled out, verifying its accuracy, and making sure all the information is secured. This job is not directly related to the patient’ s condition, diagnosis or treatment. The annual average salary is $42,630 with job openings projected at around 23,000 by 2028.

Commercial Pilot

This may come as a bit of a surprise but being a commercial pilot is included in the list. The general impression is that you need to make a lot of investment, in terms of time and money, to be able to fly a plane. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. If you’re passionate about flying, you can do so with just your high school diploma. You must be at least 18 years old, be able to read, speak, write, and understand English. However, since this is a highly technical job, you will be required to undergo rigorous on-the-job training.

This where you’ll learn everything about flying and navigating planes. They will also teach you how to navigate helicopters, perform rescue operations, and firefighting as well. The median salary of commercial pilots is around $86,080, with available jobs projected at 14,400 through 2022.

Dental Hygienist

You need not be a dentist in order to participate in dental work! As a dental hygienist, you’ll be able to earn a decent salary while also helping others. This profession reportedly has an average annual salary of $76,220. The best thing is that the required educational level is only an associate’s degree. A dental hygienist is like an assistant to the dentist, doing the necessary prep work before they take over. This includes cleaning the teeth and examining for any possible teeth and gum disease.

They might also recommend needed preventive care for your teeth. While an associate degree is the basic requirement, it is necessary to obtain a license in order to practice the profession. One must be registered with a dental association or regulatory body within their country of practice. Depending on the experience achieved, dental hygienists can us their skills to other activities.

Gaming Manager

Yes, there are a lot of opportunities in the gaming industry and it is a thriving one. An example of a profession that comes with very good pay is that of a gaming manager. Their job is to oversee the operations of an establishment, which includes its planning, directing and coordinating. They also make sure that there’s no cheating in any of the games and resolve any issues that may arise between customers.

They also oversee marketing efforts to bring in more clients to the establishment. A gaming manager has to have some education background, but mainly rely on practical experience in supervision and management. The average annual salary is almost $75,000. The projected available jobs through 2022 is about 1,400. Aside from the huge payout, another good thing about this profession is that you don’t need a college degree to be one.

Loan Officer

The job sounds intimidating, but being a loan officer comes with a huge salary. The basic requirement is a high school diploma or its equivalent. From personal to business loans, these officers are in-charge of approving or rejecting individual applications. They also provide financial advice to people seeking clarification about their financial status. Loan officers can be found in a number of financial institutions such as mortgage companies, banks, unions and car dealerships. However, the job involves a lot of paperwork and coordination.

This means that you need to develop good organizational and interpersonal skills for the job. The average annual salary of loan officers is $63,270 with projected job openings of almost 60,000 through 2022. Some companies have provided training programs for recruits. Later, Capable loan officers can move to larger companies. Some might eventually supervise other loan officers and clerical staff.


If you aren’t familiar with this medical field, then you might be missing out. If you are interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. You can take a look at phlebotomists. Phlebotomists are those who work with blood for research, donations, and tests. If you thought you needed a medical degree in order to be one, that isn’t the case at all.

Part of their job also deals with taking care of lab equipment and they are also often referred to as Phlebotomy technicians. You will often see them working in laboratories and hospitals. The annual median salary of a phlebotomist is $35,510 with 29,500 predicted job openings by 2028. As with many positions in the list, a phlebotomist needs to undergo a year or two training or apprenticeship program. You probably wouldn’t need a student loan to be one.

Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

Working in the transportation, storage and distribution industry involves a lot of coordination and certain knack for administration and organization. If you are good at any of these then you can try your hand at being a transport manager. The median annual wage is around $94,560 every year! The work mainly involves getting familiar with transport policies set by the government.

The job scope also involves planning, directing and coordinating these policies across different areas. While the job seems to be demanding, it only requires a high school diploma or its equivalent. No need to take a special exam like lawyers do! Most of what you need to know, you will learn on the job. The projected available jobs through 2022 is about 29,100. Employment in this large occupation grew very strongly in the last five years. It is expected to grow strongly in the future.

Air Traffic Controller

Here’s another profession that earns a significant annual wage and it is one that might surprise you, too! Air traffic controllers receive an annual salary of $122,990 and the job only requires an associate degree. It is projected that there will be around 11,400 available jobs through 2022. However, this profession comes with a very important responsibility – make sure that every airplane is at a safe distance from each other.

As with most high-paying occupations, you will need to undergo certain training in order to perform your responsibility properly. You would also need to have the right attitude so that you’ll be able to perform even under pressure. Interested applicants may also be required to undergo upskill training to keep up with the changing technology and times. More work experience is necessary to substitute for less postsecondary education.

Artists and Related Workers

Being an artist generally means you don’t have a steady income and it’s often difficult to sustain your daily needs. However, nearly every company requires a design department, which means your talents are in high demand. This is just an example of the many opportunities that artists can take advantage of.

If you can draw well and you’re flexible when it comes to what you create, there’s a lot of jobs available. You get to do the thing you love and get paid well for it. Another good thing is that you don’t need to get a degree to get started. You’ll be surprised to know that the annual median salary for company artists is about $64,490. There are about 2,700 available jobs through 2022. The growth of Employment rate of artists depends on the overall state of the economy, as people tend to purchase this art works.

Insurance Sales Agent

Here’s another profession that will allow you to earn a good living without needing a degree. Generally, an insurance sales agent sells protection against financial loss. These could be a policy for someone’s home, car, health and long-term care. Part of their job is to sell financial protection for those who have businesses. An agent would help people acquire property damage and liability policies for their establishments.

An increasing number of insurance sales agents offer their clients comprehensive financial planning services, especially for clients approaching retirement. There are also products that cover the executives and employees. Most insurance companies only require a high school diploma. The median annual salary is $50,940 with projected job openings of 48,300 by 2028. However, bear in mind that the industry is heavily regulated and one must have a license issued by the state in order to start selling.

Home Health Aide

A home health aide cares for people who have disabilities, chronic illnesses, cognitive impairments, or age-related problems, and people who have the need or desire to still live in their own home. Unlike personal care aides, home health aides provide medical services such as giving medication, and checking vital signs like pulse and respiration. If needed, they also change bandages and help with simple exercises. This job only requires a high school diploma as a qualification. Note that this job will also entail more menial jobs like sweeping the flooring and washing clothes for patients.

They also administer patient care, from providing medicines to bathing them. The average annual salary of home health aides is $25,280 and there’s a predicted demand for more than 300,000 new workers by 2028. Since they provide such meticulous care to their patients, most are often treated by their clients as an extended part of their family.

Physical Therapist Aide

Physical therapist aides perform tasks that indirectly support the care of patients. Their job may also include cleaning and setting up equipment, filling out paperwork and moving patients. Most facilities don’t require a university degree and a high school diploma is enough to qualify for a position. Everything else can be learned through training and while on the job. They are very hands-on with their work, supporting physical therapists by cleaning and sanitizing treatment areas and equipment.

They might also be tasked to wash linens and fill out paperwork. You would often see them working at a physical therapy office or other related places. Physical therapy aides should not be confused with physical therapist assistants. The contents of them are different. The average yearly income of physical therapists aide is about $27,000 with expected job openings of 11,300 by 2028.

You’ve Reached The End