Jobs that pay up to $100,000 a year without a college degree

No degree on your resume? No problem

Whether you’re put off by the prospect of debt hanging over you, or just can’t stand the thought of further education, you'll be pleased to hear that a bachelor’s – or even an associate – degree isn’t a prerequisite for a well-paid job. Click ahead to see the highest-paying professions that don’t require a college degree, with salary estimates as of May 2018 taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Industrial machinery mechanic: $54,000

Industrial machinery mechanics install, repair and maintain factory equipment and other industrial machinery. A high school diploma followed by at least one-year on the job training is the general qualification route. The average annual salary is $54,000.

Ironworker: $54,670

You'll need nerves of steel for this one, as ironworkers are required to install, maintain and repair iron and steel reinforcements in buildings, often climbing to tall heights and working several feet above ground. A high school diploma is the entry-level requirement and training is either done on the job or through an apprenticeship. The average annual salary is $54,670.

Media and communication equipment workers: $55,970

Media and communications equipment workers install, maintain and repair audio and visual systems. They might work in the film and movie industry, in homes or for businesses, and although they don’t need a college degree for the job it does help to have some work experience. It’s predicted to be one of the fastest-growing occupations over the next few years, and with an average salary of $55,970 it's not hard to see why.

Computer support specialist: $57,950

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?" As a computer support specialist, you'll likely end up saying this a lot, as your job is to provide technical and IT support for a company or organization. Specialist roles will require a bachelor's degree, but more entry-level positions will simply need applicants to demonstrate a knowledge of computers and to have taken some computer classes. The average annual salary is $57,950.

Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters: $58,150

A surprisingly physically demanding job, plumbers install and repair pipes that carry liquids or gases to, from and around homes, offices and factories, as well as assembling heating systems. Most plumbers learn on the job through an apprenticeship, for which a high school diploma is the main requirement. The average annual salary is $58,150, although again those who go on to set up their own business can earn considerably more.

Electrician: $59,190

Just because you don't need a college degree for a role doesn't mean it's not challenging: as an electrician you'll install, maintain and repair various electrical systems, which is both technically difficult and requires a commitment to safety procedures. Most electricians learn through an apprenticeship, for which a high school diploma or equivalent is often the minimum requirement. The average annual salary is $59,190, but those working late hours or who go on to set up their own business can earn considerably more.

Real estate agent: $61,720

If you love snooping around people's homes, this could be the job for you. As a real estate agent you'll help people and companies to buy, sell and rent properties, and a high school diploma is the minimum requirement – although you'll also have to complete a certain amount of training and college courses, which varies by state. The average annual salary is $61,720, but those who move into the top end of the market can earn considerably more than this.

Subway operator: $62,970

If you're not fussed about seeing a lot of daylight, landing a role as a subway operator comes with a handsome $62,970 average salary without the need for a degree. You'll be expected to drive trains that travel both under and above ground, look out for passengers' safety and stay ahead of journey developments. As well as a high school diploma, a local transit training program and on-the-job training will help you secure this job.

Boilermaker: $63,240

Boilermakers assemble, install, maintain and repair boilers, closed vats and other large vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases. It is a physically demanding job, which can involve considerable travel. A high school diploma is the standard entry requirement and training is given through an apprenticeship program. The average annual salary is $63,240.

Police officer: $65,460

Laying down the law requires problem solving, effective communication and physical strength, and while the entry requirement for most police forces is a high school diploma, some do require a degree. Once approved for the job, candidates must graduate from their agency’s training academy and complete a period of on-the-job training, after which there is the opportunity to rise through the ranks. The average annual salary is $65,460.

Insurance sales agent: $67,890

An insurance sales agent sells property, life, casualty, health, automotive and other varieties of insurance. Although some employers require a college degree, a high school diploma or equivalent is often an acceptable qualifier. New starters will be put through intensive on-the-job training with their employer. The average annual salary is $67,890, but this is often based on earning a certain level of commission from sales.

First-line supervisor of construction trades and extraction workers: $70,540

First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers supervise, co-ordinate and schedule the activities of construction or extraction workers, making sure that everything goes to plan. A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Most people in these roles work their way up from lower down the construction ranks. The average annual salary is $70,540.

Transportation inspector: $75,330

For those who are interested in the workings of trains, planes, subways and buses, this technically demanding role could be for you. Transportation inspectors check machinery, equipment or goods for the safe transport of cargo or people. While some operators require a degree, for those that are willing to start from the bottom and learn on the job under the supervision of a qualified inspector, a high school diploma is sufficient. The average annual salary is $75,330.

Ship engineer: $75,710

If you're good at keeping things shipshape, look no further. A ship engineer supervises and co-ordinates the activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines, boilers, deck machinery and electrical, sanitary and refrigeration equipment aboard ship. While some employers require a college degree, there is the opportunity to progress up the shipping ranks and learn on the job. The average annual salary is $75,710.

Loan Officer: $76,270

Though you might avoid getting a college loan yourself, in this role you’ll help others to get one. This job requires helping people to make applications for various types of loans from banks, mortgage companies and credit unions, often traveling to meet clients at work or at home. You won’t need a college degree, although it is sometimes preferred, and two to five years of experience is required before you’re fully qualified. Loan officers earn on average $76,270.

Postmaster: $77,040

Signed, sealed, delivered, this job could be yours. Postmasters manage a Postal Service branch, overseeing the post office operations and administration, supervising employees and maintaining service standards. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for the role, plus some experience of working in the Postal Service, but otherwise training is given on the job. The average annual salary is $77,040.

Power plant operator: $78,030

Power plant operators control the systems that generate and distribute electric power within a power plant. To undertake this job you typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, combined with extensive on-the-job training that may include a combination of classroom and hands-on assignments. The average annual salary is $78,030.

Elevator installer and repairer: $79,370

A degree may not be required for this role, but you'll need to be happy working in small spaces and at tall heights – those with claustrophobia or acrophobia need not apply. Elevator installers and repairers install, fix and maintain elevators, escalators and moving walkways. Emergency breakdowns may require working late hours, but the rewards can make it worth it: the average salary for an elevator installer and repairer is $79,370.

Farmer, rancher or agricultural manager: $79,940

The hours may be long, you will have to work in all weathers and the tasks will be strenuous and physical, but people that work the land can earn around $79,940 per year. Most employers will require a high school diploma a or equivalent and for you to demonstrate a willingness to learn on the job.

Criminal investigator: $85,020

Criminal investigators examine written records, prepare evidence for trial, study the crime scene and interview witnesses and suspects. Although sometimes organizations require a college degree, some will employ people with only a high school diploma or equivalent and train them on the job and through courses. The average annual salary is $85,020.

Gaming manager: $85,260

It might look glamorous, but this job isn't all fun and games. The role involves ensuring that the casino and games room are operating properly, that staff on the floor are acting professionally and that customers are happy. There are no specific qualifications, but experience of working in a casino is often desired and you will be expected to undergo an intense period of on-the-job training and to work antisocial hours. The average annual salary is $85,260.

First-line supervisor of non-retail sales workers: $84,600

This very grand-sounding job title covers sales manager, branch manager and sales supervisor roles, but requires very few professional qualifications. A high school diploma or equivalent is generally adequate as most staff work their way up, receiving training as they go. The average annual salary is $84,600.

Commercial pilot: $96,530

Some airlines do require their pilots to have a college degree, but many only require a high school diploma or equivalent, proof of medical fitness and, of course, the relevant training. However, the training is expensive, unless you can get onto a sponsored course. The final rewards are hefty though with average salaries around $96,530 a year.

Administrative service manager: $106,050

This position involves planning, organizing, directing and coordinating the support services of a company or organization. It's about ensuring that everything happens at the right place, on time and in the correct order. Many people work their way up to this role from an entry-level position and often only have a high school diploma or equivalent. The average annual salary is $106,050.


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Unplugged Magazine: Jobs that pay up to $100,000 a year without a college degree
Jobs that pay up to $100,000 a year without a college degree
Unplugged Magazine
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