25 Best Jobs Without a Degree

Job interview for one of the best jobs without a degree.
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Student loans are absolutely terrifying! Some of my friends are in their 40s and are still struggling to pay their student debt.

But you don’t need a degree to land a six-figure job. I have a friend who didn’t go to college. But after teaching himself computer programming, he now makes over $100,000!

I’ve compiled the best jobs without a degree to make things easier for you. I’ve ranked them from highest to lowest median salary, and I suggest you work through this list to find a profession that matches your interests.

Best 25 Jobs Without a Degree

If you want to earn a good salary without going to college, consider these high paying jobs that don’t require a degree.

1. Commercial Pilots

Job Description: Commercial pilots transport cargo and passengers via aircraft while determining the safest routes.

Median Salary: $121,430

Education or Training Needed: You need a high school diploma to get into flight school and once you’ve graduated, most of your training will take place on the job.

2. Transportation Managers

Job Description: Transportation managers are responsible for ensuring safe and reliable bus service.

Median Salary: $94,560

Education or Training Needed: Enroll in a transportation certification program, complete the program within a year, and apply for an internship at a transportation company.

3. Computer Programmer

Job Description: Computer programmers create, adapt, and test software code to develop and fix applications.

Median Salary: $93,000

Education or Training Needed: Showcase your skills to potential employers with a portfolio of your projects. You can learn these skills by using educational resources such as W3Schools or attending a 6-month coding bootcamp.

4. First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives

Job Description: These professionals supervise and coordinate members within the police force.

Median Salary: $91,090

Education or Training Needed: This position requires a high school diploma and one to two years of on the job training.

5. Power Plant Operators

Job Description: Power plant operators manage tasks and equipment involved with generating electricity.

Median Salary: $85,950

Education or Training Needed: You’ll need to complete technical courses at a community college to earn a certificate.

6. Elevator Mechanics

Job Description: Elevator mechanics maintain and replace elevators and escalators.

Median Salary: $84,990

Education or Training Needed: Complete a four-year apprenticeship after high school.

7. First-Line Supervisors of Firefighters

Job Description: These professionals coordinate and supervise firefighters.

Median Salary: $77,800

Education or Training Needed: You’ll need a ​​postsecondary nondegree award certificate.

8. Postmasters and Mail Superintendents 

Job Description: Resolve customer complaints while monitoring employee work schedules and attendance for payroll purposes.

Median Salary: $76,900

Education or Training Needed: You’ll need a high school diploma and a few years of on the job training.

9. Transportation Inspectors

Job Description: Transportation inspectors check that vehicles meet safety requirements.

Median Salary: $75,820

Education or Training Needed: You’ll need a high school diploma and on the job training.

10. Makeup Artists

Job Description: Makeup artists offer services that enhance facial aesthetics.

Median Salary: $75,730

Education or Training Needed: Education is not necessary, but it helps to obtain a postsecondary nondegree award certificate.

11. Petroleum Pump Operators

Job Description: Petroleum pump operators manage processors involved with refining crude petroleum.

Median Salary: $74,180

Education or Training Needed: A high school diploma and one year of on the job training are required to become a petroleum pump operator.

12. Lighting Technicians

Job Description: Lighting technicians setup and control lighting required for television shows and movie sets.

Median Salary: $73,460

Education or Training Needed: A high school diploma and on the job training.

13. Farmers and Agricultural Managers

Job Description: Farm managers plan production and finances to keep a farm profitable.

Median Salary: $71,160

Education or Training Needed: A high school diploma and an internship on a local farm.

14. Gas Plant Operators

Job Description: These professionals run compressor equipment along pipelines used to process natural gas.

Median Salary: $70,710

Education or Training Needed: Most employers provide on the job training for entry-level positions.

15. Health and Safety Technicians 

Job Description: Health and safety technicians inspect and evaluate workplace environments to check if they’re safe per industry standards.

Median Salary: $70,480

Education or Training Needed: You’ll need a high school diploma and on-the-job training at a company specializing in health and safety.

16. Subway and Streetcar Operators

Job Description: These professionals control rail-guided vehicles like trains and electric powered street cars.

Median Salary: $67,880

Education or Training Needed: A high school diploma and completion of an apprenticeship at a transportation company.

17. Gas Compressor Operators

Job Description: Gas compressor operators use compressors to transfer, compress, and recover various types of gasses.

Median Salary: $66,160

Education or Training Needed: Gas compressor operators require a high school diploma and on the job training. 

18. Electrical Power Line Installers

Job Description: Electric power line installers install and maintain power lines.

Median Salary: $65,700

Education or Training Needed: You must earn a certificate from a vocational training program and have a high school diploma.

19. Police Officers and Detectives

Job Description: Police officers and detectives are responsible for maintaining law and order.

Median Salary: $65,170

Education or Training Needed: You need a high school diploma and must graduate from the police academy.

20. Locomotive Engineers

Job Description: Locomotive engineers drive, maintain, and operate trains.

Median Salary: $65,020

Education or Training Needed: You must complete an apprenticeship and formal training at a company before receiving your federal license.

21. Aircraft Mechanics

Job Description: Aircraft mechanics inspect and maintain structural aircraft systems.

Median Salary: $64,310

Education or Training Needed: Graduate from an aircraft mechanic course that’s recognized by the government.

22. Boilermakers

Job Description: Boilermakers are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing boilers.

Median Salary: $63,100

Education or Training Needed: A high school diploma and an apprenticeship with a company.

23. Farm Labor Contractors

Job Description: Farm labor contractors provide workers with drinking water, food, and sanitation facilities.

Median Salary: $61,910

Education or Training Needed: No prior education or training needed. You can expect to receive on the job training.

24. Copywriters

Job description: Copywriters create persuasive copy that encourages readers to buy a certain product or service.

Median Salary: $53,808

Education and Training Needed: You don’t need any formal education. There are countless books and online courses available to teach people how to write persuasive content.

25. Wind Turbine Technicians

Job description: These technicians install, maintain, and operate wind turbines.

Median Salary: $52,910

Education and Training Needed: You’ll need a postsecondary non-degree award certificate and can expect to receive on the job training.

Commonly Asked Questions About Best Jobs Without a Degree

What Job Pays the Most Without a Degree?

A commercial pilot is one of the best jobs without a degree. You’ll need to graduate from flight school and land an apprenticeship at a local airline. Once you’ve gained some experience, you can earn up to six figures!

What Jobs are in Demand Without a Degree?

The best high paying jobs that don’t require a degree include computer programmers and wind turbine technicians. 

What is the Easiest Job that Pays the Most?

The easiest and best job without a degree is a makeup artist. You can earn around $75,000 annually. They use products to enhance a client’s facial aesthetics.

What Jobs Make Millions Without a Degree?

Entrepreneurs have one of the most high paying jobs that don’t require a degree. It has the potential to make millions or even billions. If you can offer a product or service that people are willing to buy, your earning potential is endless.

What are Fun Jobs that Don’t Require a Degree?

Being a bartender is fun, and the earning potential is surprisingly high, especially if you’re working in world-renowned clubs and bars. You get to meet new people and prepare creative drinks while being paid an average of $24,960 per year before tips.

What are the Easiest High-Paying Jobs?

Video game testers earn an average of $69,995 annually, as reported by Indeed. This makes video game testing a relatively easy and high-paying profession. Your job involves playing games before they are released and finding bugs.

Low-Stress Jobs that Pay Well Without a Degree

One of the best jobs without a degree that’s also low-stress is a lighting technician. They are responsible for setting up and controlling television show lights. Fortunately, most entry-level positions will teach you everything you need to know.

6 Figure Jobs Without College Degree

Becoming a real estate agent is a popular way of earning six figures without having a degree. All you have to do is take a real estate exam, and once you pass, you’ll be able to sell houses and earn a commission. Be aware that the median salary is $48,770 per year.  But the best-performing real estate agents make over $100,000.

Jobs that Don’t Require a Degree or Experience

If you’re looking for high paying jobs that don’t require a degree or work experience, consider joining the police force and working up to a first-line supervisor. The median salary is up to $91,090 per year.

High-Paying Jobs Without a Degree or Experience

Some high-paying jobs to consider if you don’t have a degree include becoming a commercial pilot, transportation manager, computer programmer, elevator mechanic, or power plant operator. These median salaries range from $84,990 to $121,430 per year.

Unique Jobs that Pay Well Without a Degree

A DJ is a unique job that pays surprisingly well. Salaries range from $10,000 to over $400,000, so there’s a lot of earning potential. The good news is that social media has made it easier to build a following as a DJ.

Government Jobs that Pay Well Without a Degree

A patrol officer is the highest-paying government job that doesn’t require formal education. The median salary is $65,170; however, it’s hard work depending on where in the US you live. You’ll be responsible for patrolling areas, preventing illegal activities, and protecting the community.

References: 

Job salary statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Career Institute and Learn.org

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