Let’s be real for a second - there’s a stigma in place when it comes to education. People who don’t go to college are often seen as having less earning potential. But that’s flat-out wrong on so many levels because there are jobs that pay well without a degree!
It’s possible to be successful no matter your education level. And we’re here to prove it.
We’ve compiled a great list of good paying jobs without degrees. If you’re looking for a way to make money and get paid what you deserve, one of these jobs that pay well without a degree might be right for you.
Can I find jobs that pay well without a degree?
Yes, obviously! There are plenty of great jobs with high pay. Just because you didn’t go to college doesn’t mean you are limited in your earning options.
On average, workers 25 years or older without a college degree earn $827 a week. That is lower than the average bachelor’s degree salary, but that’s not set in stone.
There are plenty of occupations without a degree that pay more than that. Let’s take a look at the highest paying jobs without a degree so you can see what fields might be right for you.
Hands-on jobs that pay well without a degree
These jobs are hands-on and are in a variety of exciting fields. If you like to learn on the job, you may choose one of these options.
1. Power plant operator
Median pay: $94,790/year (operators, distributors, dispatchers from BLS)
Power plant operators are one of the best jobs without a degree to have. Basically, you’d be in charge of controlling the systems that generate and distribute electric power.
So as you may have guessed, this is kind of a high-pressure job. You’ll typically work 8 or 12-hour shifts on a rotation.
You'll need a lot of on-the-job training to give you the skills and knowledge you need to manage the plant, but the average annual salary is great.
2. Elevator installer and repairer
Median pay: $97,860/year
Do you have a knack for fixing things? If so, you might put those skills to good use as an elevator installer or repairer, also on the list as one of the highest paying careers.
You’ll work directly in crawl spaces and machine rooms to make sure an elevator is working right. Just make sure you’re not afraid of heights! It’s also not uncommon to work directly in an elevator shaft.
Don’t worry if you’re not an elevator whiz — you’ll learn all you need to know in an apprenticeship.
3. Police officer or detective
Median pay: $66,020/year
Being a police officer or detective means you can help protect people. You’ll get to solve crimes and bring criminals to justice. Which includes collecting evidence, apprehending suspects, and de-escalating dangerous situations.
Obviously, there are a lot of risks to being a law enforcement officer. The job is stressful and demanding, so it’s not right for everyone. While it is one of the jobs that pay well without a degree, you will need to attend police training before you can get your badge.
4. Railroad workers
Median pay: $64,150/year
Believe it or not, your childhood dream of being a train conductor really can come true. Railroad workers do more than just conduct, though. It’s their responsibility to make sure trains run on time and according to safety regulations.
Where you work depends on your role. A conductor will obviously travel on the train, but a railroad worker might stay in the same yard all day long to operate switches. While you don’t need a degree, you’ll often require a few months of on-the-job training to fully get into the career.
Median pay: $60,040/year
Light up your life as an electrician. It will certainly supercharge your bank account! You’ll be responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing power, communications, lighting, and more in buildings and homes.
Life as an electrician can be very busy. You’ll frequently move around from job to job (not to mention tons of overtime), but the pay makes it worthwhile.
And best of all, you don’t need a college education. You’ll cover all you need to know in an apprenticeship.
6. Plumber, Pipefitter, or Steamfitter
Median pay: $59,880/year
There’s a reason Mario is always collecting golden coins. He’s making bank at his job, and you can too. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters all work on fixing and maintaining piping fixtures and systems, and these are good paying jobs without degrees.
Work can be in homes or commercial buildings. You may also have a lot of emergency calls to deal with, as plumbing disasters typically can’t wait until morning. It's another job that provides an apprenticeship to teach you everything about working in the field.
Median pay: $57,160/year
Are you tough as steel? Maybe being an ironworker is your calling! The job involves installing structural steel and iron when building roads, bridges, and structures.
The career isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll often be high up on platforms performing physically demanding work, but it's one of the jobs that pay well without a degree. Plus, you only need an apprenticeship to get started.
8. Commercial pilot
Median pay: $99,640
If you want to fly and find careers that pay well without a degree, you can become a commercial pilot. It's a little different than airline pilots. You'll still need training, but then you can do a multitude of different flights such as transporting skydiver passengers or working as an air ambulance pilot.
It's a great job for people that love adventure and it's one of the highest paying jobs without a degree.
9. Sheet metal worker
Median pay: $53,440/year
Another type of construction worker is a sheet metal worker. Which involves fabricating and installing products made of thin metal sheets.
Like other labor gigs, it’s a strenuous position. You’ll be bending, climbing, and squatting as you maneuver the metal sheets into place. You’ll learn the trade through an apprenticeship.
Administrative jobs that pay well without a degree
If you want to work in an office setting these are the perfect occupations. Here are the best jobs without a degree in the administration field.
10. Claims adjuster
Median pay: $65,080/year
As a claims adjuster, you’ll be the one responsible for evaluating insurance claims and either approving or denying them. Because insurance claims can happen in a variety of places and scenarios, you’ll often get to be out of the office. You’ll need to inspect damages in person to make your assessment.
While some positions do require a bachelor’s degree, you can still find some that don’t. You’ll get all the knowledge you need while working on the job.
11. Executive assistant
Median pay: $62,060/year
As an executive assistant, you’ll basically be a manager's right-hand person. This means you may need to prepare important reports, conduct research, and handle any information requests.
You want to make sure you’re a people person, as you’ll be answering phones and scheduling meetings. You may even receive visitors.
All you should need for this job is prior work experience, good people skills, and superior computing abilities. It's one of those great jobs that pay well without a degree, and this position can open the doors to many opportunities. So it's not uncommon to see executive assistants step into managerial roles.
Jobs that pay well without a degree that involve sales
Maybe you're great at pointing out all the positives of a product and you love to earn a commission. These sales jobs could be for you!
12. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representative
Average pay: $69,540/year
A wholesale and manufacturing sales representative is another of the best jobs without a degree. Why? There’s always money in sales!
Particularly in wholesale and manufacturing. So this might involve closing deals with businesses, organizations, and government agencies.
Keep in mind, that a lot of sales positions do run on commission. So you need to make sure you’re a persuasive person who can sell anything to succeed in this role.
As long as you’re not selling anything too scientific or technical, you shouldn’t need anything more than a high school diploma to get started.
13. Insurance sales agent
Median pay: $49,840/year
There are all types of insurance out there, and selling these policies to clients can earn you a hefty commission. You’ll meet with your clients, find them the coverage that meets their needs, and answer their questions.
Another people-oriented position, this job does rely on you being friendly and open. There’s also a lot of paperwork involved. Most states don’t require you to have a degree, though you may need training.
You’ll also need to be licensed in your state. If you can get past the hoops, this is another one of the jobs that pay well without a degree.
14. Real estate agent
Median pay: $48,340/year
If you love watching “House Hunters,” maybe it’s time you turned your passion into a moneymaker. Being a real estate agent means you will help people buy and sell their homes, and it's one of the careers that pay well without a degree.
It does take a lot of work, though. Your weekends will be dedicated to house showings, meaning you won’t have a typical 9 to 5 schedule.
Most states don’t require you to have a college degree. Though they will require you to take licensing courses to become certified, as well as pass a licensing exam.
Being a real estate agent is a career path that doesn't have a limit as you can grow as large as you'd like. Of course, this is all just as long as you're willing to put in the work, then it can be one of the highest paying jobs without a degree.
People-oriented jobs that pay well without a degree
Do you love to help others and prefer to interact with a lot of people throughout your day? Check out these people-oriented, good paying jobs without degrees.
15. Hearing aid specialist
Median pay: $59,500/year
Another job that helps people, a hearing aid specialist works to select and fit hearing aids for consumers. You’ll get to make a real difference here as you make it easier for people to hear again.
Working as a hearing aid specialist will require one-on-one work with your customers. You may also need some technical knowledge, as you’ll have to assess hearing instrument efficacy.
Other than that, though, a high school diploma is just fine in this career, and it's one of the most rewarding jobs without a degree.
16. Fedex driver
Average pay: $52,717/year
Fedex has pretty high-paying jobs for their drivers. So if you enjoy driving and like to have a routine, this career may be a good choice. Drop off boxes and packages to various locations throughout the route.
It's a good customer service option if you need to make a good income and don't want to go to school, and also if you prefer to meet many people throughout your day.
17. Flight attendant
Median pay: $61,640/year
Are you people-oriented and do you enjoy traveling to various locations? You might like being a flight attendant, one of the best jobs without a degree.
While you will need to undergo some training and deal with a lot of customers during the day, there are some perks to this career.
Airlines usually include traveling standby for free for flight attendants, and you'll have the chance to meet people from around the world. So if you are determined to travel and don't mind long hours, this could be a great job for you.
Jobs that pay well without a degree for creatives
If you often work on different projects and have a great imagination, you will probably like a creative job. Here are some of the best ones.
Median pay: $69,510/year
Becoming a writer or author typically means working on your own schedule from whatever location you choose, although you may have writing deadlines.
If you've got a way with words or did well in language and literature classes, you may be able to make a career of this, or work doing this short-term while between jobs.
There are many different specialties for writers and some fields like blogging, white papers, and sales have high pay. And for those that prefer to start their own blogs, earning potential is unlimited. You can even do this job part-time and still make a decent amount of money.
19. Social media manager
Average pay: $71,216/year
You don't need school for this job, just experience. So if you enjoy social media and would like to manage and plan other people's accounts, this is a great gig. If you're creative and great at marketing you should excel in this role.
You don't need a four-year degree to make this work, but it helps if you know how to do several things, like if you have photographer or video editing skills, or are good at writing.
20. Makeup artist
Median pay: $75,730/year (performance and theater)
Are you creative and fashionable? Have you been perfecting makeup looks for years? A professional makeup artist career might be a small step and a decent paycheck.
You may need to get a cosmetology or esthetician license, and obviously, you'll need to practice a lot to be a professional. But once you get some certifications and experience this can be very exciting work, and one of the careers that pay well without a degree.
Computer jobs that pay well without a degree
Are you interested in computers and great with all things tech-related? These good paying jobs without degrees may be just what you need!
21. Cyber security analyst
A cyber security analyst is one of the highest-paying jobs without a degree, ideal for people who love computers and are great with technology.
A cyber security analyst protects from digital attacks and malware. You won't need a degree to get started, either, and there's an excellent average salary.
22. Web developer
Median pay: $77,200/year
Web developers make websites, which is a pretty useful skill these days. In addition, if you have web design or graphic design skills, that's even better.
You could easily work as a freelancer full-time and make some great money creating websites for businesses and companies.
23. Mystery shopper
Average pay: $21.35 per hour
As a mystery shopper, you could shop at a variety of different stores and dine at various restaurants. Your job is to review your experience and provide feedback to the company so they can create business improvements.
As you search for mystery shopper jobs be sure to select companies that are members of the MSPA Americas; a trade organization made up of legitimate mystery shopping companies.
Apply for and get jobs that pay well without a degree
It's good to know that there are high-paying jobs in a lot of different fields that don't require a college education. But how do you get one of those jobs? See the tips below.
Have the right mindset
First, have a healthy mindset. If you're looking for a job to replace your current one, be patient in your search. On the other hand, if you need a new job immediately, know that it's alright to take a job that pays the bills while you search for the job of your dreams.
Also, be open to furthering your education through courses and certifications. Even if you don't want to get a degree, the job you want may require or recommend that you know some new information. Get ready to learn!
Where to find jobs that pay well without a degree
Where should you look for new jobs? Start off with job boards like Indeed and see what's available. If you feel that you've exhausted those options, try networking through LinkedIn, or talking to acquaintances and friends about opportunities.
Remember to update your resume and try to make new friends and connections that could open doors for you with a new job. But always be genuine and helpful!
Interview tips to get jobs that pay well without a degree
Go to the interview prepared. Pick out a professional outfit you feel confident in. Practice answering questions, and be sure to have your resume as updated and impressive as possible.
Making a good first impression isn't all that matters. Remember to take time after the interview to make notes, and it doesn't hurt to send a thank you email, either.
Have a plan for your income
Hopefully, finding a career in a new field that you enjoy will also come with a salary increase. (Especially if you choose one of the high-paying jobs we've mentioned in our list.) And you should be prepared with a financial plan for your increased income.
There are great jobs that pay well without a degree!
A college education isn’t essential as long as you’re in the right field. Jobs that pay well without a degree are at your fingertips. Plus, without student loans dragging you down, you’ll be able to start earning big right away.
That will make it so much easier to create a solid financial plan for the life you want. All you'll need to worry about when you get hired is writing the perfect self-assessment for your annual review!
All the jobs mentioned here are careers that pay well without a degree. Still, keep in mind that building wealth has less to do with earning six figures and more to do with how you manage and plan what you earn! For more advice about handling your money, check out our free courses.