14 High-Paying Jobs Without a College Degree

14 High-Paying Jobs Without a College Degree


You don’t always need a college degree to land a well-paying job. Many high-paying careers only require a high school diploma, vocational training, or on-the-job experience. Below is a list of 14 high-paying jobs that you can pursue without a 4-year college degree.

14 High-Paying Jobs Without a College Degree

Important things to remember:

  • Salary: Keep in mind that salaries can vary depending on experience, location, and even the company you work for. The numbers here are a general guideline based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • Training: Some of these jobs may require specific certifications or on-the-job training programs. We’ll mention these where applicable.

14 High-Paying Jobs Without a College Degree

1. Air Traffic Controller

Average Salary: Over $130,000 per year

The Job: Air traffic controllers are the guardians of the skies, ensuring the safe and orderly flow of airplane traffic in busy airspace. They communicate with pilots, monitor weather conditions, and make quick decisions to prevent collisions.


What it takes: This is a high-pressure job that requires excellent communication, problem-solving skills, and the ability to stay focused under stress. Most air traffic controllers need an associate’s degree in air traffic control or a related field, along with several years of experience and rigorous training from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

2. Commercial Airline Pilot

Average Salary: $148,900 per year (BLS)

The Job: Take to the skies as a commercial airline pilot! You’ll be responsible for transporting passengers and cargo safely on scheduled flights.

What it takes: This exciting career demands strong decision-making abilities, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination. While a four-year degree isn’t mandatory, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial pilot license is essential. Earning this license involves flight training, written exams, and practical tests.

3. Web Developer

Average Salary: $105,500 per year (BLS)

The Job: Web developers design, create, and maintain websites and web applications. They use programming languages to build user-friendly interfaces and ensure websites function smoothly.

What it takes: The world of web development is vast, with different specializations. Having a strong foundation in computer programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is a great starting point. Many web developers learn through online courses, coding boot camps, or on-the-job training.

4. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Average Salary: $48,070 per year (BLS)

The Job: LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) to provide basic patient care. They take vital signs, administer medications, assist with daily living activities, and offer emotional support to patients.

What it takes: Compassion, patience, and strong communication skills are key for LPNs.  You’ll need to complete a one-year LPN program at a vocational school or community college, followed by passing a licensing exam.

5. Dental Hygienist

Average Salary: $77,470 per year (BLS)

The Job: Dental hygienists are essential members of the dental team. They clean teeth, perform screenings for oral diseases, educate patients on proper oral hygiene, and assist dentists with procedures.

What it takes: A meticulous nature and a gentle touch are important for dental hygienists. You’ll need to graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program, which typically takes two years. After graduation, you’ll need to pass a national and state licensing exam.

6. Electrician

Average Salary: $60,950 per year (BLS)

The Job: Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring and equipment in homes, businesses, and industrial settings. They ensure electrical systems function safely and efficiently.

What it takes: Electricians need strong problem-solving skills, manual dexterity, and the ability to work safely with electrical currents. Most electricians complete a four-year apprenticeship program that combines classroom learning with on-the-job training.

7. Plumber

Average Salary: $55,160 per year (BLS)

The Job: Keep the water flowing! Plumbers install, maintain, and repair pipes, fixtures, and other plumbing systems in residential and commercial buildings.

8. Wind Energy Technician

Average Salary: $59,190 per year (BLS)


The Job: As the world embraces renewable energy, wind energy technicians are in high demand. They install, maintain, and repair wind turbines, ensuring they generate clean electricity efficiently.

What it takes: This exciting field requires a good understanding of mechanics, electricity, and safety procedures. While some employers may prefer candidates with associate’s degrees in wind energy or related fields, others offer on-the-job training programs.

9. Carpenter

Average Salary: $53,490 per year (BLS)

The Job: Carpenters are skilled craftspeople who build and install wooden structures and fixtures. They work on residential and commercial construction projects, as well as furniture making and cabinetry.

What it takes: A passion for working with wood and a keen eye for detail are essential for carpenters. Many carpenters learn their trade through apprenticeships that combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training under experienced professionals.

10. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedic

Average Salary: EMT – $41,580 per year (BLS), Paramedic – $122,440 per year (BLS)

The Job: EMTs and paramedics provide emergency medical care to people in need. They respond to emergencies, assess patients’ conditions, administer basic life support, and transport patients to hospitals. Paramedics have a broader scope of practice, including administering medications and performing advanced medical procedures.

What it takes: Compassion, a calm demeanor under pressure, and excellent decision-making skills are crucial for EMTs and paramedics. EMT training programs typically take a few months, while paramedic programs require two years or more of training. Both require passing a licensing exam.

11. Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanic (HVACR)

Average Salary: $59,040 per year (BLS)

The Job: Keep things cool (or warm)! HVACR mechanics install, maintain, and repair heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in residential and commercial buildings.

What it takes: HVACR mechanics need a strong understanding of mechanical and electrical systems, as well as problem-solving and troubleshooting skills. Many employers prefer candidates who have completed an associate’s degree in HVACR technology or a related field. However, some positions offer on-the-job training programs.

12. Real Estate Agent

Average Salary: The median annual earnings of real estate agents vary greatly and depend on factors like experience, location, and the number of deals closed. However, the BLS reports that real estate brokers earned a median annual wage of $97,360 in May 2022 ([invalid URL removed]).

The Job: Real estate agents help people buy and sell properties. They market properties, negotiate deals, and guide clients through the complex legal and financial aspects of real estate transactions.

What it takes: Strong communication, marketing, and negotiation skills are key for real estate agents. To become a licensed real estate agent, you’ll need to complete pre-licensing courses, pass a state licensing exam, and work under a sponsoring broker for a certain period.

13. Construction Manager

Average Salary: $101,710 per year (BLS)

The Job: Construction managers oversee all aspects of construction projects, from planning and budgeting to scheduling and ensuring safety. They work with architects, engineers, subcontractors, and other professionals to bring projects to completion on time and within budget.

What it takes: Construction managers need strong leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills. A bachelor’s degree in construction management or a related field is preferred by many employers, but some may consider candidates with extensive experience in the construction industry.

14. Welder

Average Salary: $41,780 per year (BLS)

The Job: Welders use heat to join metal pieces together. They work in various industries, including construction, shipbuilding, manufacturing, and pipeline installation.

What it takes: Manual dexterity, spatial awareness, and the ability to follow detailed instructions are important for welders. Many welders learn their trade through apprenticeships that combine classroom learning with on-the-job training under experienced welders. Some employers may also offer training programs.


Well there you have it, 14 awesome high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree! Hopefully, this list has opened your eyes to some great career paths you can pursue without racking up tons of student loan debt. ­čĺ░Remember, the key is to find a job that aligns with your natural talents and interests.

That way, you’ll be more likely to excel and earn a great income. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring these options and take the first step towards an exciting new career! Thanks so much for reading, and best of luck on your journey ahead. 


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