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15 Highest-Paying Jobs Without a College Degree (All Pay Over $60K)

15 Highest-Paying Jobs Without a College Degree (All Pay Over $60K)

Society is wrong. You can absolutely land a high-paying job without a college degree.

January 25, 2024

Daniella Flores

Has anyone ever told you that you have to go to college to get a high-paying job? Even if they don't know what you even want to do, society still pushes college as the ultimate solution. 

With the average cost of a 4-year college being $38,496 for in-state students and $54,183 for out-of-state students, according to the Education Data Initiative, college degrees are becoming harder and harder to afford.

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Even though college degrees are necessary for several professions such as for doctors or lawyers, they aren’t required for everything. Many companies now value experience over a college degree and are changing their policies to attract better candidates. 

Key points:

  • There are jobs paying over $60,000 that don’t require a college degree.
  • Some of the highest-paying jobs that don't require a degree include software engineers, real estate brokers, and entrepreneurs. 
  • Necessary skills and experience can be learned through online courses or on the job.
  • Our Salary Database has access to more high-paying job titles.

 

15 Highest-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree (All Pay Over $60K)

Use this list of 15 high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree to start thinking of what you want to do and what’s required. 

All salary information below was pulled from Glassdoor where you can also view open roles for each position. Job growth information was pulled from the Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Keep in mind that the numbers below may change depending on your location.

Our Salary Database is another great resource for salary reporting. Thankfully, pay transparency laws and the salary transparency movement has allowed for easy access to that salary information. 

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Highest Salaries We Interviewed In 2023 | Salary Transparent Street Compilation

1. Real Estate Broker

A real estate broker is someone who is a licensed intermediary between buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. They're basically real estate agents with an additional license to be a broker. Their primary role is to facilitate the purchase, sale, or lease of properties.

The top skills needed for this job are communication skills and market knowledge, which can also be learned on the job.  

Entry-level education required: High school diploma or equivalent, real estate agent license, real estate broker license, and any specific licensing requirements that vary by state

Work experience required: None

Median annual salary: $178,287

Total potential pay: $132,000 - $236,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 3%

2. Insurance Agent

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Insurance agents help their clients to determine their specific insurance needs and select the appropriate coverage plans. Their responsibilities include explaining policy details, answering any questions, and providing recommendations. They also work with clients throughout the application process, for claims processing, and are available for any needed help during the coverage plan period.

Since they’re expected to maintain ongoing relationships with clients to ensure their insurance coverage remains suitable over time, they must be highly skilled in communication. Insurance agents should also have a vast knowledge of insurance products so they can effectively analyze plan options and drive sales.

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Work experience required: None

Median annual salary: $80,128

Total potential pay: $60,000 - $108,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 8%

3. Sales Representative

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A sales representative, also known as a sales rep, is responsible for promoting and selling products or services on behalf of a company. A sales department exists in almost every industry and every type of company you can think of. This means you can work in any sector of your choosing – whether it’s technology, healthcare, or any other sector. 

This job involves identifying potential customers and their problems so they can present solutions that align with the benefits of whatever product they’re selling. 

The number one skill they need to do this job well is relationship management so they can work to build and maintain relationships with clients – as well as address inquiries, negotiate terms, and close deals.

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Work experience required: None

Median annual salary: $104,536

Total potential pay: $78,000 - $143,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 4%

4. Application Tester

Application testers, also known as a software testers or quality assurance (QA) testers, evaluate software applications to ensure they meet quality standards and functional requirements before being released to the public. Their primary role involves identifying defects and bugs in software applications and provide feedback to developers for improvement.

Their daily responsibilities range from test planning and execution to bug reporting and collaborating with cross-functional teams. Due to their role, they must have an attention to detail, possess high analytical skills, and have a technical aptitude to be able to perform tests.

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Work experience required: Some hands-on application testing experience

Median annual salary: $99,731

Total potential pay: $76,000 - $122,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 25%

5. Language Translator

A language translator is someone who is responsible for converting written or spoken content from one language to another. This involves accurately conveying the meaning, tone, and cultural nuances of the original text or speech. 

Translators work across various industries, including legal, medical, technical, and literary fields, ensuring effective communication between individuals and groups who speak different languages.

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent and fluency in 2 or more languages

Work experience required: None

Median annual salary: $70,713

Total potential pay: $56,000 - $90,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 4%

6. Video Editor

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Video editors are responsible for refining raw video footage into a polished final product. This involves cutting and sequencing clips, with transitions, effects, and sound elements to enhance storytelling. 

A few of the tools they use to do their job are a computer, video editing software, photo editing software, and anything else they need to complete the project. They also must stay updated on industry trends and possess a keen eye for detail to ensure high quality work.

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Work experience required: None but companies prefer to see portfolios (which you can create one using mock projects of your own when you have no work experience or through freelance projects)

Median annual salary: $61,468

Total potential pay: $46,000 - $82,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 7%

7. Entrepreneur

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An entrepreneur is someone who creates their own business and is their own boss. They either work as a sole proprietor where they’re the only one who gets paid in their business after expenses (this is what freelancers do), or they could also be responsible for paying contractors or employees that work for them.

Entrepreneurs are responsible for almost everything in their business, aside from what they don’t outsource. When they aren’t working on product ideas, one-on-one clients, or anything else they do within their business, they might also have to handle bookkeeping, accounting, and legal side of the business. 

Education, training, or license requirements: None but taking online courses on how to run a business can be helpful

Work experience required: None

Median annual salary: $117,921

Total potential pay: $88,000 - $162,000 (or more depending on the size of the business)

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 8%

8. Web Developer

A web developer is someone who is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining websites or web applications. Their job involves translating a client's or organization's needs into functional and visually appealing websites, ensuring a user-friendly experience. Usually this also involves working with designers and content managers to make sure all requirements are met for the final product.

Web developers use programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and may work with various frameworks and content management systems. 

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent and aspiring web developers can take online training with organizations like Space Coders, which is a program that teaches kids and adults how to code through playing games

Work experience required: None but companies prefer to see portfolios (which you can create one using mock projects of your own or through freelance projects)

Median annual salary: $89,521

Total potential pay: $70,000 - $115,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 16%

9. Software Engineer

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Software engineers are responsible for designing, developing, testing, and maintaining software applications or systems. Their job includes analyzing user requirements and creating efficient algorithms using programming languages such as Java, Python, or C++. 

“Software engineer” has become a sort of catch-all position and not all companies use that title. Other job titles with the same duties include “software developer”, “front-end developer”, “back-end engineer”, and “machine learning engineer” – among many others. 

They’re usually required to work in cross-functional teams, including product managers and quality assurance, so they must possess sufficient problem-solving and communication skills. 

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent and Space Coders is a great service to learn how to code software (in addition to web development and any other job that requires coding)

Work experience required: None but companies may ask for code samples or if you have a github (which you can create using mock projects of your own or through freelance projects)

Median annual salary: $140,318

Total potential pay: $113,000 - $176,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 25%

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10. Ethical Hacker

An ethical hacker, also known as a white-hat hacker, is a cybersecurity professional who is authorized to target vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and applications. Their primary role is to identify and assess potential security risks and weaknesses in order to strengthen a company's cybersecurity. 

Ethical hackers use skills such as networking knowledge and cybersecurity fundamentals to simulate cyber-attacks. This allows them to provide recommendations for enhancing security measures.

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent and some companies may require cybersecurity certificates, which can be acquired through online courses and training

Work experience required: Some I.T. experience may be required

Median annual salary: $134,452

Total potential pay: $101,000 - $184,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 32%

11. Technical Writer

Technical writers specialize in creating clear and concise documentation for complex technical information. This documentation can be anything from internal documentation and user guides to technical blogs and whitepapers.

Their job involves translating technical concepts, processes, and procedures into accessible and user-friendly content. Skills required to do this job include technical proficiency, writing skills, and the ability to communicate complex information in a way that is easily digestable for the target audience.

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Work experience required: None but companies prefer to see portfolios (which you can create one using mock projects of your own or through freelance projects)

Median annual salary: $81,911

Total potential pay: $67,000 - $101,000 

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 7%

12. Digital Marketer

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A digital marketer is responsible for planning, executing, and optimizing online marketing strategies to promote products, services, and brands. Several other job titles also fall under the role of “digital marketer” including “digital marketing manager” “digital marketing analyst”, and “digital marketing specialist”. The specific title depends on the company hiring.

Their job involves leveraging various digital channels, such as social media, email, search engines, and websites, to reach target audiences and drive engagement. Their goal is to increase brand awareness and generate leads for a business.

Skills needed usually involve website design basics, creative thinking, and the ability to interpret data to execute marketing campaigns. 

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Work experience required: None but companies prefer to see portfolios (which you can create one using mock projects of your own or through freelance projects)

Median annual salary: $92,682

Total potential pay: $72,000 - $120,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 6%

13. Transportation, Storage, or Distribution Manager

Transportation, storage, and distribution managers are responsible for overseeing the efficient movement, storage, and distribution of goods within a supply chain. Their job involves coordinating transportation services, managing storage facilities, and optimizing distribution networks to ensure timely delivery of products.

A few of their job duties may include collaborating with logistics teams and implementing strategies to streamline the overall supply chain process. They must also have skills in leadership, logistics, inventory control, and anything that helps them be an effective manager.

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Work experience required: Some warehouse and supply chain experience may be required

Median annual salary: $79,417

Total potential pay: $62,000 - $103,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 18%

14. Plumber

Plumbers are responsible for making sure plumbing systems are efficient and safe in residential, commercial, or industrial settings. Their job involves working with various plumbing components to ensure the proper functioning of water supply, drainage, and heating systems. 

They must have knowledge of plumbing tools and be able to critically think and provide advice on plumbing system improvements. 

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, and an apprenticeship where they get paid while training on the job. License requirements depend on your state.

Work experience required: None 

Median annual salary: $60,311

Total potential pay: $47,000 - $78,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 2%

15. Electrician

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Working as an electrician is one of the highest-paying trade jobs out there that also doesn't require a college degree. Their job involves interpreting electrical blueprints, wiring buildings, and ensuring the safe and efficient distribution of electricity.

Electricians must be able to troubleshoot electrical issues and conduct inspections with a heightened attention to detail. They may specialize in areas such as wiring for new constructions, electrical repairs, or maintenance of complex industrial systems. 

Education, training, or license requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, and an apprenticeship where they get paid while training on the job. 

Work experience required: None

Median annual salary: $68,727

Total potential pay: $53,000 - $89,000

Projected growth rate up to year 2032: 6%

Frequently Asked Questions About High-Paying Jobs That Don't Require a Degree

What job without a degree pays the most?

The highest-paying jobs that don't require a degree include software engineers, ethical hackers, real estate brokers, application testers, sales representatives, and entrepreneurs.

What are the easiest high-paying jobs?

No high-paying job is necessarily "easy" but many are low-stress. A few of these low-stress jobs that are high-paying include technical writers and web developers.

How can I make $100,000 a year without a college degree?

Making a $100k salary without a college degree is achievable with the right combination of skills, experience, and determination. A few $100k salary jobs include software engineering, cybersecurity, real estate, entrepreneurship, trade jobs, and commission-based roles like sales. 

Research these industries and focus on building the skills they require. Many of these skills can be learned through online courses, workshops, or self-study resources. From there, look for programs and certifications to increase your earning potential, network and build relationships with people in those sectors, and don't forget to always negotiate your pay and ask for a raise at work when needed (and no, you won't lose a job offer by negotiating)!

What is the highest paid job without experience?

The highest-paying job without experience is working as a real estate broker.

Landing The Job

There are tons of high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. Our Salary Database lists even more salary information for you to use in your research.

If you have a profession in mind that you want to learn more about, start with looking up that job title on job sites to get a clearer idea on the different responsibilities. Our YouTube channel is a hidden gem for learning more about different professions and how much they make. 

Linkedin can be another great tool for researching positions. Search for job titles under the people tab to see what education, training, and experience they have in those positions to get a behind-the-scenes look.

From there, look up online courses to build your skills and improve your resume as you start applying for some of these roles. And don't forget to negotiate your salary using our salary negotiation scripts!

Don’t forget to browse our Salary Database and join the movement

That wraps it up for this week. Until then, stay awesome, stay strong, and keep advocating for yourself no matter what! I’m Daniella, a writer, engineer, and creator of I Like to Dabble and Remote Work Bestie - my blog and podcast for leveling up your money, career, and side hustles. I’m extremely passionate about workers' rights and financial freedom, so it’s a pleasure to be able to bring you this type of content through the Salary Transparent Street blog (thank you for the opportunity, Hannah!) You can also follow me on Instagram, TikTok, Linkedin, and Twitter. Chat soon!

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