Top High-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree, Along with Salaries

For many, a college degree is traditionally seen as the gateway to a successful and financially secure career. However, this isn’t always the case. The good news is that there are numerous high-paying options available for those who haven’t pursued or completed a university education.

This article explores 20 of the most lucrative jobs you can secure without a four-year degree, outlining the average salary, necessary qualifications, and job growth projections for each position.

Shattering the Degree Myth: Rethinking Career Paths

The baby boomer generation (born mid-20th century) often believed a university diploma was the key to landing a high-powered job. This perspective, in many ways, pressured younger generations to pursue higher education, often resulting in significant student loan debt.

Important Links
1. 2% Social Security Increase May 2024: SSI, SSDI & VA, Know Payment Dates & Eligibility
2. CPP OAS Payment Dates May 2024: CPP and OAS Payments Coming in May 2024?
3. What’s Up with Gas Prices in Canada for 2024? Get the Scoop on the Rising Costs!
4. £173 Cares Allowance for UK Seniors: Who Can Get £173 Care Allowance?

The reality is that in today’s job market, a formal university degree isn’t always a prerequisite for a well-paying career. While some positions may require an associate’s degree or specific certifications, many high-earning opportunities are attainable with just a high school diploma or equivalent and relevant skills and experience.

Top 20 High-Paying Jobs Without a Degree

1. Air Traffic Controller

    Average Salary: Over $130,000 annually Job Outlook: 1% growth (2022-2032)

    Air traffic controllers manage air traffic flow, ensuring the safety and efficiency of air travel. This demanding role requires exceptional focus, the ability to work under pressure, and strong decision-making skills. While an associate’s degree is ideal, on-the-job training and years of experience are crucial for this position.

    The job growth prospect is slower than average, but there is a steady stream of openings due to retirements and attrition.

    2. Commercial Pilot

      Average Salary: $100,000-$120,000 annually Job Outlook: 4% growth (2022-2032)

      Although a bachelor’s degree is sometimes preferred for airline pilots, commercial pilots flying private jets or helicopters typically don’t require a university diploma. These pilots need specific certifications and licenses obtained through attending a commercial pilot course and flight training program, followed by passing the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) exam. Experience through on-the-job training is usually required.

      3. Construction Manager

        Average Salary: $131,000 annually Job Outlook: 5% growth (2022-2032)

        Construction managers oversee and manage construction projects, ensuring everything runs smoothly from cost estimates to final inspections. While an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in construction is beneficial, some may find success with relevant experience and completion of construction programs or courses.

        Companies may even offer on-the-job training under the guidance of a seasoned manager. Construction managers enjoy a high average salary and a job outlook that’s faster than average compared to other occupations.

        4. Product Manager

          Average Salary: $118,000 annually Job Outlook: 30% growth (2022-2032)

          Product managers are responsible for overseeing the production of specific products, ensuring quality, managing budgets, and adhering to production timelines. This role is in high demand across various industries, including software development, marketing, and production.

          While a bachelor’s degree is often preferred for product managers, many gain the necessary skills through boot camps or on-the-job training programs, potentially leading to certifications.

          5. Elevator Installer and Repairer

            Average Salary: Close to $100,000 annually Job Outlook: No growth projected (2022-2032)

            Elevator mechanics, often considered blue-collar workers, rank surprisingly high on the list of well-paying jobs without a degree. They work in confined spaces using heavy machinery and are available 24/7 to ensure elevators function properly.

            Top High-Paying Jobs That Don't Require a Degree, Along with Salaries

            Elevator installers typically gain their skills and experience through apprenticeships, although a high school diploma or equivalent is a requirement. The job outlook for elevator mechanics shows no projected growth, but there is a steady stream of openings due to replacements.

            6. Power Plant Operator

              Average Salary: $80,000 annually Job Outlook: -10% decline projected (2022-2032)

              Power plant operators are responsible for operating, maintaining, and controlling the machinery that generates electricity. They regulate how much electricity the power plant produces. This highly technical role requires specific skills typically acquired through on-the-job training, making a formal university education.

              While the job outlook for power plant operators projects a 10% decline by 2032 due to advancements in automation, there are still opportunities in this field. For those interested, specialized job boards like Rigzone, Oil and Gas Job Search, and Total Jobs can be helpful in finding vacancies.

              7. Real Estate Agent

                Average Salary: $95,000 annually (highly experienced agents can make up to $190,000) Job Outlook: 3% growth (2022-2032)

                Real estate agents or brokers assist clients in buying, selling, or renting real estate properties. To become a real estate agent, a high school diploma or equivalent and real estate courses are required. Agents also need to pass a state-administered exam to obtain the necessary license. Success in this career path hinges on strong networking and relationship-building skills.

                Real estate agents often work long hours to accommodate client schedules. The salary can vary greatly depending on the number of properties sold; however, the average is around $95,000 annually. Highly experienced agents can earn significantly more. The job outlook for real estate agents is expected to grow at an average pace compared to other occupations.

                8. Sound Engineer

                  Average Salary: $96,000 annually (maximum salary can reach $213,000) Job Outlook: 2% growth (2022-2032)

                  Sound engineers are responsible for setting up audio equipment, ensuring microphones function properly, and monitoring and operating equipment during events or performances. Their duties may also include recording and synchronizing sounds, along with managing the lights.

                  While some positions might require an associate’s degree, certificates or postsecondary non-degree awards often suffice. What truly matters are the audio engineering skills gained through on-the-job training or specialized programs. Sound engineering is a well-paying profession with relatively low stress. The job outlook shows moderate growth in the coming decade, with nearly 13,000 job openings projected annually.

                  9. Web Developer

                    Average Salary: $81,000 annually Job Outlook: 23% growth (2022-2032)

                    Web developers are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining websites. They possess a blend of technical and creative skills, and a university degree isn’t always a requirement. However, employers might prefer candidates with specific certifications or an associate’s degree in web development.

                    The high demand for web developers translates to a positive job outlook with a projected growth rate of 23% in the next decade. You can find web developer positions advertised on platforms like Upwork, Indeed, or LinkedIn. Companies are actively seeking skilled web developers, so you can also consider applying directly to companies of interest.

                    10. Aircraft Mechanic

                      Average Salary: $73,000 annually (ranging from $35,000 to $110,000) Job Outlook: No growth projected (2022-2032)

                      Without mechanics to maintain and repair them, aircraft wouldn’t be safe for travel. Aircraft mechanics inspect, repair, and care for private and commercial jets. This profession often involves working in confined spaces, such as the interior of a plane fuselage.

                      While a high school diploma or equivalent is the basic educational requirement, aircraft mechanics typically need an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certificate program to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. Alternatively, they can gain qualifications through military training.

                      The salary for aircraft mechanics can vary depending on experience and the type of aircraft they work on. Attending more courses and earning certifications can significantly increase earning potential. Job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn, alongside aviation-specific platforms like Aviation Job Search, FlightGlobal, and Aerotek, are valuable resources for finding aircraft mechanic positions.

                      Important Links
                      1. Social Security Payment of $3,700 Approved for May 2024: SSA, SSDI, SSI, Seniors
                      2. How CPP Disability Payments and Benefits Work (2024)?
                      3. Canada Workers Benefit: Payment Dates, Amounts, and Eligibility 2024!
                      4. What is CESG (Canada Education Savings Grant)?

                      Remember, a university degree is just one path to success. There are numerous fulfilling and lucrative career options available for those who haven’t pursued higher education. By focusing on developing the necessary skills and experience, you can build a rewarding career without a traditional four-year degree.

                      Leave a Comment