Having a college or university works wonders for getting a job. But what happens if you don’t have a degree? Of course, it doesn’t mean you’ll remain jobless or have to find some work that pays small wages and salaries.
There’re ways to compensate for not having a superb college or university degrees. And that’s by pitching your skills. After all, every employed would love to replace degrees with skills.
Yes, you can get high paying jobs without a degree or experience because your skills matter more than mere degrees and educational achievements.
Sounds unbelievable? Continue reading.
Employment without Degree
There’re as many as 80 different high paying jobs and careers that anyone without a college or university degree can take, says the US Bureau of Labor Standards.
Furthermore, certain skills are in demand across various states in America, according to education levels, says another BLS report.
Nowadays, employers of all kinds lay more emphasis on skills and experience rather than educational qualifications. That’s because skills directly translate as expertise in a specific field.
An employee with superb skills and adequate experience if often better able to do a job better than someone holding a mere degree
High Paying Jobs without a Degree
Should you be among those millions of Americans that’re unable to attend college or university for any reason but would love to earn high income, I suggest considering any of these top 50 jobs without a degree.
Just a humble reminder: pay scales may differ according to your location and skillsets. However, these jobs pay well and can be taken by women and men or even teens, where allowed.
1. Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents or Realtors as they’re known in America makes average $47,925 a year by finding people to buy and sell homes, offices, commercial premises and land.
This is the most profitable job if you don’t have a college degree since people buy and sell properties around the year. Income can be higher if you’re operating in a chic residential area where real estate costs a lot.
It’s worth remembering that commissions that real estate agents get from their work are divided at least among four other entities.
Dancing is a skill that’s difficult to master and equally hard to teach. And it doesn’t require any college or university degrees.
Choreographers are in high demand across America because they teach this hard-to-learn skill and also arrange dance shows for various events. In 2020, Salary.com reports that average income of a Choreographer stands at $38,759 per year.
3. Fleet Manager
With average $59,756 yearly salary reported by Indeed.com, working as fleet manager is something any woman or man with proper skills but without degree can consider.
This high paying job is like trying to fit pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. You need to allocate adequate trucks, buses, freighters and other vehicles to transport goods and people without delay, with lowest cost to the employer and best use of the fleet on roads and garages.
Photographers in America make whopping $65,339 per year or $15.01 per hour says Salary.com, depending on where they work.
While anyone can learn photography at a fine arts college, becoming a superb photographer doesn’t really need any degree. All you require is that eye for pictures and alert mind to identify a photo opportunity
Hairdressers make minimum $26,664 per year according to figures for 2020 by Payscale.com. You might believe the amount is smaller compared over other jobs that don’t require a degree.
But bear in mind that a hairdresser doesn’t work that regular eight-hour shift. Since hairdressing is complex business, they work just four hours and attend to two or three clients only. Hairdressers for celebrities make about $47,896 per year, on average.
6. Postal Clerk
Working with United States Postal Service is indeed prestigious, because you’re employee of one of the largest postal systems of the world. And USPS pays its Postal Clerks a solid $57,048 per year, according to recruitment portal, Glassdoor.com.
USPS doesn’t look for college degree holders or university graduates to work as Postal Clerks. Instead, they hire anyone holding a high school certificate or more.
7. Transportation Clerk
ZipRecruiter.com pegs the annual salary of a Transportation Clerk in America at $30,225 per year in May 2020.
However, this figure could be lower than usual because the year 2020 began with the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world and lockdowns enforced by the Federal and state governments.
Transportation Clerks handle proper receiving, storage and transportation of goods, timely deliveries and prevent freight losses.
8. Travel Agent
Recruitment portal Indeed.com says Travel Agents in USA are earning average $47,318 per year, with as little as one to three years of experience in the field. The income might differ at locations, depending upon the need for travel agencies.
Short online and offline courses that train people to work as travel agents are available at very affordable prices and everywhere in America. A simple school or high school certificate with a Travel Agent course qualifies you for the job.
9. Restaurant Crew
In 2020, the annual income of Restaurant Crew stands at $30,358 per year. This amount depends upon the location of work and type of employer as well as nature of employment such as fulltime, part-time and freelance.
This salary doesn’t include tips that restaurant crew, especially servers and waiters get from diners. Furthermore, tips are pooled at several restaurants. This means, they’re collected as a common fund and distributed according to role.
10. Bakery Assistant
The average income of a bakery assistant stood at $22,315 per year in February 2020 or before the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns wrought havoc on food outlets in America.
Glassdoor.com estimates that Bakery Assistants with proper skills can now expect little higher- $25,556 per year- from smaller bakeries and about $31,219 per year from large bakery chains operating in giant cities.
11. Store Cashier
In May 2020, jobs portal ZipRecruiter.com reported that a Store Cashier in USA earns median yearly pay of $24,461 without overtime and other payments.
However, the amount jumps up significantly higher when we calculate annual sales such as Black Friday and festive shopping seasons when stores are open for longer hours and pay overtime to Store Cashiers.
In April 2020, Salary.com reports annual income for Merchandisers at average $57,124. The rise of ecommerce in America in both business and consumer sectors are generating more Merchandiser jobs.
The trend is expected to continue as social distancing is forcing people to increasingly buy stuff online. Hence, online stores are under pressure to ensure proper merchandising.
13. Security Personnel
The salaries of Security Personnel, especially Security Guards is showing a steady increase over the years.
In 2020, the average annual income for Security Personnel stands at $32,672 per year or $13 per hour, depending upon the nature of work.
Security personnel at industrial installations make a little more money due to complex job profile. A college student working as Security Guard part-time can make up to $15 per hour.
A Janitor in America makes average $30,351 per year in 2020, says Salary.com. Other sources claim some Janitors make as high as $56,271 per year.
A lot of employers also provide other benefits to Janitors such as free medical cover, transportation allowance or fuel allowance and meal allowances.
This is a high-risk job but fetches $47,828 as average yearly pay, according to details from Salary.com.
Veteran firefighters in large cities where hazards are relatively higher earn up to $60,129 while those working on private industrial installations make about $30,111 per year. A Firefighter’s job is also one you can get without degree.
There’re two categories of jobs as Laundryman that don’t require a college degree but pay very well. The first is of a Laundry Manager.
Salary.com puts the average income of a Laundry Manager in USA at $39,910 per year. The other is Laundry Assistant or a person that does the actual tasks. They get average $21,010 per year.
Packers in America can make $26,348 per year, depending upon their location and employer.
If you can manage complex packing such as fragile products, gifts and others, the pay can be as high as $31,989 per year on average. This job can be taken by almost anyone-including school dropouts.
Yet one more excellent job you can take without a college degree or specialized qualification is that of a welder.
Large construction, engineering and fabrication companies, automobile workshops and various other industries need welders. According to Salary.com, a Welder in USA makes average $42,777 per year.
This is one of the higest paid professions for people without a degree. And plumber is also the most famous job: several heroes in Hollywood productions are depicted as plumbers by profession.
But that’s not surprising since a Plumber makes about $50,000 on average every year. This pay compares well over those holding college degrees.
The average pay for a taxi driver or cabbie in New York is $47,917 per year, according to salaries reported by Payscale.com. However, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs nationwide salaries of cabbies at $25,580.
Here we’re talking about people that work as cabbies for large taxi companies. This payscale doesn’t apply to Uber and Lyft among others, since their cabbies are freelancers and individual contractors.
21. Air Traffic Controller
At $120,980 per year according to Forbes, the job of an Air Traffic Controller ranks among highest paying for people without a college or university degree.
However, ATCs have to undergo complex training courses after graduating from high school. A lot of former personnel from the US Military work as ATCs.
22. Military Personnel
Average military salaries in the US range from $31,398 for lower ranks and can go as high as $113,244 per year, reports Payscale.com.
Generally, most junior positions in the American armed forces are open to school and high school graduates. A lot of youngsters opt for military service to get a college degree while serving, since it defrays their expenses.
23. CCTV Technician
Close Circuit TV technicians that can install security systems can make an average $56,248 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.com. This job doesn’t require you to hold a college degree.
However, you’ll need a short, CCTV installation or electrician course to work at this job. Security companies hire CCTV technicians for installations and sometimes, for the full range of services, which includes remote monitoring too.
24. Boiler Operator
Salaries reported in May 2020 indicate that Boiler Operators make average $52,000 per year. This compares well with the BLS median range of salaries that pay higher salaries, at $52,400.
Boiler operators require vocational training after school or high school. This is a job you can find in industries and in the shipping sector too.
25. Computer Technician
The average salary of a Computer Technician in April 2020 was found to be $87,749. This is a superb profession provided you have a way with computers.
A Computer Technician generally installs networks, repairs servers and PCs, among others and also helps maintain mainframe and individual computers and laptops at large organizations, though they don’t necessarily hold a college degree.
26. Logistics Clerk
Recruitment portal Indeed.com and Salary.com say, median annual income for Logistics Clerks stands at $42,425 while ZipRecruiter.com lists it around $37,773 depending upon employer and nature of work.
Logistics clerks that work for large, global companies get higher wages since they’ve to meet very stringent operating procedures. At the same time, this is a rather easy job anyone without a degree can get with fair ease.
Playing music and singing is a hobby that you can pitch instead of a college degree to find a wonderful job as Musician.
The last reported salary for a Musician is $45,808 on Salary.com, for April 2020. The pay is usually higher for musicians that have superb skills and can perform on radio stations, recording studios and participate in live performances.
28. Cruise Line Crew
Usually, all work on cruise liners is calculated on hourly basis. However, it’s considered as one large salary. There’re numerous jobs on cruise liners.
Hence the payscale varies significantly from $21,344 per year to $85,870 per year, depending upon the position.
Managers and cruise ship captains get the highest pay. However, Cruise Line Crew also make a lot of money from tips from guests and helping people shop at various ports.
29. Traffic Warden
Depending on where you work, a Traffic Warden earns minimum $21,001 per year at shopping centers, supermarket parking lots and hotels while those working with the local traffic department and large organizations can expect median pay of $52,441 per year.
There’s no need for a college degree for this job but you’ll have to be a high school graduate and have superb etiquette.
30. Electrical Lineman
You don’t need to be an electrical engineer to work as Electrical Lineman. However, this job does require you to complete a specialized vocational course after school or high school.
That’s because it involves working with high traction, high voltage electrical lines, transformers and other such equipment. Typically, Electrical Lineman were found earning $79,818 per year by Salary.com, in May 2020.
31. Sales Representative
Sales Representatives make average 46,214 per year, according to Payscale.com. This figure depends upon a lot of factors such as what you’re selling and where.
Top consumer goods companies pay Sales Representatives a salary plus commissions on every successful order, for example.
Automobile companies part with some incentive to a Sales Representative that successfully concludes a car sale. Sales Representative jobs are the most easy to find for anyone that doesn’t hold a degree.
32. Insurance Agent
An Insurance Agent can expect average annual pay of $57,243 per year. This income can vary a bit depending upon your skills as Insurance Agent.
The better your performance in getting new clients, higher your earnings. Insurance Agents don’t need a college degree.
However, you’ll need to pass an exam that Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and other organizations to get certification and license to work as Insurance Agent in America.
33. Collection Agent
A Collection Representative makes average $33,557 per year, though this job is open to high school graduates.
However, a Collection Representative has adequate opportunities to move up the echolons and become a Collection Manager, with salary increases at every step.
A Collection Manager makes up to $111,965 per year. Some financial institutions pay a small commission for collecting large outstanding amounts.
34. Carwash Operator
Handling a carwash machine fetches as much as $34,470 per year, on average, according to Glassdoor.com. And there’re perks and tips of course. However, a Carwash Operator’s job doesn’t merely end with handling the machine.
They’re also responsible for myriad works such as ensuring adequate detergent in the machine tank, water temperature, air speed and sometimes, overall maintenance.
35. Automotive Mechanic
The US Bureu of Labor Standards says that Automotive Mechanics also range in the mid-high income bracket, with median income of $45,870. However, this is purely an indicative payscale from the BLS.
A lot of Automotive Mechanics working with large vehicle manufacturers earn a lot more than the median income. The same holds true for Automotive Mechanics that own workshops and garages.
Bartender average salaries start at $25,580 per year. However, the figure is usually much higher because of tips from guests.
Veteran bartenders that work on cruise liners, chic hotels and pubs or even private parties. Bartending is a skill that anyone can master by working under an experienced bartender for a few months.
37. Master of Ceremonies
For people that can coordinate parties and other events, working as Master of Ceremonies is a superb job that doesn’t really require much educational qualifications.
However, Master of Ceremonies earn whopping $46,491 per year, if they’re superb. As fresher, you can expect a payscale of nearly $22,000 per year, with some perks.
38. Event Planner
Event planning and organizing is a skill that’s in high demand nowadays among companies as well as families or community organizations among others.
Organizing an event purely depends on your skills and not any specific academic qualification. Try working as Event Planner and make $48,873 per year on average.
You’ll require some on-hands experience with an event management company before working as Event Planner.
If you have the proverbial ‘green fingers’ but not a college degree, it really doesn’t matter. Working as Gardener in America can fetch you average $36.694 per year.
The good news is that it doesn’t end at this amount. If you can landscape a garden or surroundings of a building or complex, the pay goes as high as $52,594 per year, according to Payscale.com.
40. Printing Press Technician
Salaries of Printing Press Technicians swing wildly in different states of America. The average annual pay hovers around $36,000.
However, a Printing Press Technician in District of Colombia makes about $57,580 while their counterpart in Idaho might make only $28,170 per year.
That’s because the demand for this highly skilled job that doesn’t need a college degree, depends upon every region of America, according to Recruiter.com.
41. On Board Courier
There’re two kinds of On Board Courier jobs that anyone without a college degree can get. The first is freelance, which pays about $176 per trip plus flight tickets, hotel accommodation, food and other expenses of the journey.
The other is fulltime work that pays $50,077 per year. In any case, On Board Courier is a simple job that involves carrying something precious from one location to another and delivering it personally.
Annual income of $72,246 might sound fabulous. But that’s what electricians across America that have proper skills and licenses can make every year.
To work as electrician, you can take short certification course from any recognized vocational training institute or work as understudy at an electrical services or power supply company.
This can be a hazardous job to some extent.
43. Delivery Agent
Delivery agent salaries swing wildly in the US. They range between $25,790 per year to $41,485 per year, depending on where you work.
For example, USPS pays a fixed $18 per hour while Amazon pays up to $25 per hour for delivery agents working as freelancers or fulltime with logistics companies.
The job requires accident-free driving record. Companies also look for people that have no history of crime and are healthy to deliver large packages.
44. Funeral Director
Working as Funeral Director may not be exactly your idea of a job that pays well. However, Funeral Directors make average $48,313 per year says Payscale.com.
This isn’t surprising since Funeral Directors work for companies that arrange elaborate last rites for departed, beloved family members.
The work isn’t easy by any standards since it includes dealing with grief of unrelated persons.
Caring for seniors, people with special needs is a good profession for every woman and man, if you have the necessary skills and license in some states.
For 2020, average salary for Caregivers is $45,346, per year, according to Salary.com. The actual wage may however depend upon the nature of work and location as well as freelance, part-time or fulltime basis.
46. Private Detective
You don’t require any degrees to work as private detective either solo or with a detective agency. However, you’ll require a lot of licenses from various authorities before prying into people’s private lives and secret businesses.
Careerexplorer.com says, Private Detectives make average $50,100 per year by investigating various things. This is a thrilling job but requires nerves of steel.
47. ATM Technician
In 2020, average annual income of ATM Technicians stands at $46,283 according to surveys by Salaryexpert.com. The job doesn’t require a college degree but is complex all the same.
ATM Technicians have to attend to various tasks such as reloading cash machines with currency notes, ensuring ATMs work without glitches and collect records for banks and financial institutions from on-board computer chips in the machine.
48. Airport Ground Staff
With average $84,790 per year, the job of an airport ground staff is the most coveted by people that don’t hold college or university degrees.
Anyone with a high school certificate can do a six-month, home-study course conducted by International Air Transport Association (IATA) and get the necessary qualifications to work as airport ground staff.
There’re various tasks such as checking-in passengers, pre-departure checks and lots more that airport ground staff perform.
49. Airline Cabin Crew
On average, an aircraft carries eight cabin crew, depending upon its seating capacity. Bigger airliners like Boeing 747s carry several more.
Budget airlines make do with just the minimum number necessary for flight safety and operations.
Cabin crew, also known as flight attendants can earn up to $76,392 per year, depending on the routes they fly such as domestic or international. This job allows you to see the world and anyone with a high school degree can work.
50. Ticketing Agent
Ticketing agents working at travel agencies, bus companies and railway networks earn average $41,484 in 2020, says ZipRecruiter.com. Rightly so.
Though a ticketing agent doesn’t require college or university degree, they handle the complex task of finding the right seats to travel on the date and time you require.
The Covid-19 pandemic that shook the world in early 2020s, lockdowns and other restrictions are causing payscales around the world to spiral downwards.
The main reason is fewer jobs and large numbers of qualified yet unemployed persons caused by the economic downturn that follows the pandemic.
In such a scenario, you might find it a bit difficult to land an excellent job if you don’t hold any degree. That’s nothing to worry about.
All the 50 high paying jobs without degrees that I’m mentioning pay quite well, as you may have seen. And finally, remember that salaries I mention are approximate and taken from leading websites only.