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 less valuable. That’s flat-out wrong on so many levels! 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 jobs that pay well without a degree you can get without any college experience.
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! 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 $792 a week. That is lower than the average bachelor’s degree salary, but that’s not set in stone.
There are plenty of careers 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 as you.
A list of jobs that pay well without a degree
Here's our list of highest-paying jobs without a degree to help you get inspired!
1. Power plant operator
Median pay: $89,090/year
The highest-paying job you can get without a degree? Being a power plant operator. Basically, you’d be in charge of controlling the systems that generate and distribute electric power. 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.
And the best part? No college degree required! Though you will need a lot of on-the-job training to provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to manage the plant.
2. Elevator installer and repairer
Median pay: $88,540/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. 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. Claims adjuster
Median pay: $68,130/year
As a claims adjuster, you’ll have a lot of power. 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 require it. You’ll get all the knowledge you need while working on the job. This is one of those great jobs that pay well without a degree.
4. Police officer or detective
Median pay: $67,290/year
Being a police officer or detective means you can help protect people. You’ll get to solve crimes and bring criminals to justice. This 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 may need to attend police training before you can get your badge.
5. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representative
Median pay: $65,420/year
This is another one of those great jobs that pay well without a degree. Why? There’s always money in sales! Particularly in wholesale and manufacturing. This might involve closing deals with businesses, organizations, and government agencies.
Keep in mind, 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.
6. Railroad workers
Median pay: $64,210/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.
7. Executive assistant
Median pay: $63,110/year
As an executive assistant, you’ll basically be a manager’s, right-hand lady. 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. This is one of those great careers without a degree as this position can open the doors to many opportunities. It's not uncommon to see executive assistants step into managerial roles.
Median pay: $56,900/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 an education. You’ll cover all you need to know in an apprenticeship.
9. Plumber, Pipefitter, or Steamfitter
Median pay: $56,330/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.
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. This is another job that provides an apprenticeship to teach you everything about working in the field.
Median pay: $53,210/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. However, the benefits are worth it. Plus, you only need an apprenticeship to get started.
11. Hearing aid specialist
Median pay: $52,630/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.
12. Insurance sales agent
Median pay: $52,180/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 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 those jobs that pay well without a degree.
13. Real estate agent
Median pay: $51,220/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. It does take a lot of work, though. Your weekends will be dedicated to house showings, meaning you won’t have a typical 9-5 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 are willing to put in the work. This can be one of the highest paying jobs without a degree.
14. Sheet metal worker
Median pay: $51,370/year
Another type of construction worker is a sheet metal worker. This 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. But since you don’t need to spend extra time earning a degree, it all works out. You’ll learn the trade through an apprenticeship.
There are great jobs that pay well without a degree!
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!
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!