7 Good Paying Jobs That Do Not Require a College Degree

Previous generations have been taught that a college degree ensures a higher paying job. In recent years, college graduates are finding that no longer holds true. In fact according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 8 of the 10 fastest growing jobs do not require a college degree. That isn’t to say formal education isn’t beneficial — even getting something like a specialized Associates degree can help you stand out among the crowd. But a degree isn’t always a requirement for career success as you might think it would be.

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Great Jobs That Do Not Need a College Degree

These seven jobs have something very similar in common, they are all service related jobs and they cannot be outsourced.

1. Personal and Home Health Care Aides

As our country population gets older due to the massive Baby Boomer generation entering retirement age, it will require more people working in the area of elderly care. The education requirements vary from on-the-job training to vocational classes. Aides receive an hourly rate that can range from $15 to $45 per hour.

2. Airplane Pilot

An airline pilot can average between $50,000 and $65,000 per year. A college degree is not required but the pilot will be responsible for gaining their pilots license on their own. Also, commercial airline makes considerably less than someone who flies for a private company, these salaries can extend beyond $100,000.

3. Firefighters

College degrees are not required to become a firefighter but there is special education and training that you must attain. A forest firefighter will make more money than a typical firefighter. Salaries range from $50,000 – $75,000.

4. Police Officers

Much like that of firefighters, police officers are not required to have a college degree but there will be some education involved as well as attending the police academy. Military service lends itself well to becoming a police officer. Typical salaries range from $50,000 to $65,000.

5. Systems and Network Administrators

Training for a career such as this ranges from hands-on, self-taught training to network administration classes up to college degrees. A four year degree, however is not needed to perform this job. One may need to start at a lower paying job and work their way up to this position but it is one that can be done without going to college. The average salary for these jobs is about $60,000.

6. City or Municipality Workers

As the population grows, suburbs increase in size and cities find themselves needing to hire more workers. One such position is that of a sanitation worker. This position can provide a salary of as much as $80,000 (average salary is about $40,000).

7. Management Positions

Non-retail managers, transportation managers, storage and distribution managers and sales managers are all positions that will earn an employee over $50,000 annually. These positions are usually promoted from within and do not require a college degree to be successful.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics Data

Here’s a chart from the link to US Bureau of Labor Statistics site above:

A college degree does not guarantee a high paying job like it once did; although college experience and degree have numerous benefits. However, a degree is not required for a successful career. If the expense of a college degree is prohibitive, or attending college is not an option, there are still opportunities for motivated high school graduates to find themselves in a position to earn an above average salary without a college degree.

For more information, you can also check out these articles:

About the Author

By , on Aug 11, 2013
Kevin Mulligan
Kevin Mulligan is a debt reduction champion with a passion for teaching people how to budget and stay out of debt. He's building a personal finance freelance writing career and has written for RothIRA.com, Discover Bank, and many others.

Leave Your Comment (7 Comments)

  1. Shelley Webb says:

    Personal and home health care aides do not make anywhere near $45.00 an hour. You are lumping registered nurses into that category which only proves that the public has little understanding of who is actually caring for them.

    As a geriatric care manager, I find that most home health care aids receive $8.00 – $12.00 an hour thus they are usually under-educated, underpaid, over-worked and a frightening commodity caring for our elderly. The agency they work for may receive the $ of which you speak.

    Secondly, while not ALL registered nurses have a bachelor’s degree, many do and the others have at least 3 years of college education before they complete their ADN and are allowed to sit for boards.

  2. Emma | iHELP students loans says:

    Good tips. It’s true that there ARE good careers out there that do nit require a college degree. It’s also true that not everyone can or even should go to college.

  3. Brandt Smith says:

    I find that most jobs require a degree, especially in this down economy. Heck, I went back to earn a second degree (engineering) because it was required. While I could land jobs with a combination of a decade of experience and a BS in Business, it held back my promotions and pay. Earning a degree moved me ahead a decade.

    The thing to remember is that traditional college and the University of Phoenix are not the only ways to earn a real degree. There are ways to earn a bachelors degree in 18 months or less at a 75% discount.

    So if you can earn a degree quickly and for little money, why hamstring yourself and try to find “high paying jobs” that don’t require a degree.

  4. Squeezer says:

    Pretty much any Systems and Network Administrators requires a 4 year degree in computer science anymore. A degree may not have been required 10 years ago but that is not true now. Without a degree you will get screened out of HR.

    • Pinyo says:

      @Squeezer – I think that’s true for a lot of jobs now that the unemployment is so high and there are a lot more college grads apply for all kind of jobs.

  5. Jeff Crews says:

    These are some great options. I have a couple good friends that have college degree but are not able to find a job currently. These could be some great things to check out and see what doors open up. In today’s internet world, entrepreneurship is growing. That is always an option, if one plans appropriately.

  6. Interesting stats…and I love all the different options. There’s no point in going into myriads of debt if you’re able to get training for one of these other options!

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