College is often promoted as the gateway to a bright and successful future. Sure, college can be an investment for some people. But it is not everyone’s cup of tea. There’s no denying that colleges are expensive, and they put so many people deep in student loans. However, you can earn the big bucks without a degree if you truly have the drive and enthusiasm.
Look at influential people like Henry Ford, Rachael Ray, and Walt Disney. Did they have college degrees? Nope! But they did have the potential and the determination to make it big. There are plenty of jobs out there that don’t demand a degree but instead require background knowledge, skills, and experience.
So, rather than spending tons of money on a degree that you don’t like, you can focus on improving your skills in the field you’re interested in.
Highest Paying Jobs Without A Degree
College degrees aren’t mandatory. Those with a degree earn more on average, but those with a degree still have opportunities. You can also make a good living with just a high school diploma or an equivalent education. All you need to have is the drive to push yourself.
Know that a job that doesn’t require a college degree is just as rewarding and fulfilling as a job that requires one. The good thing is that you even might earn the same as a degree-requiring position without the years of college expenses.
So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the highest-paying jobs you won’t need to do four years of college. Median salary information for the article was taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as were job growth projections.
But in addition to the salary level, we advise you to pay attention to how in demand this profession is today. For example, there is recent research from SignalHire about the most in-demand jobs in the USA, a recruiting service focusing on candidate contact sourcing. The study was based on an analysis of the searches of recruiters who used SignalHire. Therefore, you can compare our results and determine whether this position is in demand in 2022.
1. Air Traffic Controller
Median salary: $129,750 Education needed: associate degree Job growth: 4%
Air Traffic Controllers are always in high demand, which is a job you can secure without a college degree. Air Traffic Controllers are those professionals who manage airport traffic. Have you ever been to an airport and seen those tall towers with people sitting behind the windows? They are the ones who ensure that airplanes do not crash into each other and maintain a safe distance.
Apart from that, an aircraft could have several other potential problems. The air traffic controller’s responsibility is to foresee those problems and direct the pilot about them from the ground. It is a high-stakes job, but it can also be quite fun.
Since air traffic controllers have to examine flight schedules and work around the clock to ensure everything is in place, they often work day, evening, or night shifts, along with holidays and weekends. This can be a demanding position, but there’s no denying that the end result is always satisfactory when people land their destinations and get to travel safely!
2. Commercial Pilot
Median Salary: $134,630 Education needed: High school diploma, commercial pilot’s license Job growth: 13%
Unlike airline pilots, commercial pilots do not need a college degree. They are meant to prepare and inspect aircraft conditions, navigate aircraft, make flight plans, and communicate with air traffic controllers. During their flights, commercial pilots examine systems and speak back and forth with the air traffic control team to address any problem, tackle emergencies, and navigate the aircraft to the destination.
To become a commercial pilot, you will need the necessary training and experience. There is also an age limit; you must pass a physical test to qualify. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is an organization that regulates the training as well as certification of pilots.
Being a commercial pilot isn’t an easy job, but certainly rewarding. The good thing is that you will only have to fly away from home as airline pilots do. You can enjoy a pretty decent paycheck and enjoy flying people and goods to their destinations.
3. Theatrical and Performance Makeup Artist
Education: Postsecondary non-degree award Median Income: $125,380 Job Growth: 7%
Have a knack for the fine arts and makeup? This job could be for you! Theatrical makeup is usually very different than regular makeup. It’s much more vibrant since it needs to be seen far away from the stage. Moreover, theatrical makeup artists must be consistent enough to repeat the same makeup look consecutively for a certain period.
You will also need to work with several materials, such as prosthetics, to achieve the look you want and understand the story behind the performance to convey it through makeup. For all these reasons, theatrical makeup artists must be highly skilled and precise in whatever they do.
You don’t even need to have any experience! This makes the job a perfect position for students who are just out of high school and want to enter the world of fine arts. Working as a theatrical makeup artist might open doors for you, allowing you to work for bigger productions.
4. Elevator Installer and Repairer
Median salary: $97,860 Education needed: high school diploma Job growth: 6%
Elevators are a great invention that makes reaching the higher floors in those tall buildings a breeze. But, when it comes to the technology behind elevators, only certain people can deal with it. An elevator installer and repairer is responsible for installing the system, doing its regular upkeep, and responding to any emergencies.
We should mention right off the bat that it is a very physically demanding job. You will have to work in small spaces with no ventilation, and you will also need to work at heights. Moreover, you will have to be available for long hours and work unexpected schedules. That being said, the pay is good, and being an elevator repairer doesn’t require much.
All you need is an apprenticeship. You will learn all about the technology and repair techniques. You might also need a license to repair or work on elevators, depending on the state you live in.
5. Nuclear Power Plant Operator
Median salary: $94,790 Education needed: associate degree Job growth: 14%
Nuclear technicians overlook every aspect of a nuclear power plant and use equipment to check and operate nuclear reactors. If you become a nuclear technician, you will work alongside engineers and scientists.
Apart from the reactors, you will also need to monitor things like generators, turbines, and cooling systems. Your job will be to collect data and respond to strange occurrences.
To become a nuclear technician, you must pass a licensing exam by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. You will also be required to undergo a training period where you will be taught on-the-job skills and technicalities. While you may not need a college degree, you will need to have a clean record since most companies prefer to do security and background checks on technicians, considering how important yet dangerous this job can be.
6. Real Estate Agent
Median salary: $48,770 Education needed: high school diploma Job growth: 4%
This job is extremely flexible. Since it’s primarily commission-based, you could either work long days and earn big commissions or work on a part-time schedule, earning as a side hustle. Real estate agents act as the mediator between buyers and sellers of homes.
Real estate agents help sellers sell their property better. They guide sellers on every aspect, from property pricing and market value to advertising and staging the property to attract more buyers. On the other hand, real estate agents also help buyers to find their dream homes and negotiate prices with the buyers.
To become a real estate agent, you must pass a state exam. The exam covers fair housing laws, real estate ethics, listing agreements, and more. You can study the course through a community college or a real estate company. You will also need a license.
Here are the top professions as of 2022 that do not require a degree. Each profession is unique and exciting, so the choice depends only on your preferences.
The job market is unpredictable. And, to secure their future, students often go off to college to have better opportunities. While the college does open up several doors for your career, it isn’t your ultimate answer.
Even if you do not do a college degree, there are several fields where you could excel. All you need to do is understand your limits and push yourself to achieve your goals. We have listed some of the highest-paying jobs that don’t need a college degree to make your search easier.
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