The 10 Highest Paying Jobs where a Full College Degree is Not Needed


You have to go to college and obtain a degree to get a good job and make good money. While this is primarily true, people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg take away from the notion that success is only possible with a college degree. Both are Harvard dropouts, and both have a net worth in the billions. In fact, Bill Gates is the wealthiest man on earth. Since most people without a college degree aren’t worth billions however, education is still important. If you don’t have one, but still want a high paying job, consider one of these jobs that pay well but don’t require a college degree.

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Commercial Pilot — $73,000

Surprisingly, you do not need a college degree to fly a plane. It might seem that you should have some sort of education before flying millions of people around the globe each year, but that’s not something you can learn in college. To become a pilot, you will need to graduate from high school and you will need to obtain your pilot’s license from the FAA and you will need an Airline Transport Pilot certificate. The job pays well, however, and the hours are somewhat friendly. You won’t work every single day, but you might have to work long hours flying long distances.

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Farmer — $69,000

Believe it or not, farmers and ranchers make decent money for people that don’t have an education. Of course, this job is not for everyone. It’s difficult to take vacation, the hours begin early and the work can be stressful when the weather doesn’t cooperate. This job requires a lot of onsite training. Most of the people who farm do so because they grew up on a ranch with their parents. They’ve been doing the job since they were children and understand the early hours and hard labor require to run a successful farm or ranch that’s required.

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Registered Nurse — $65,000

A registered nurse does not need a bachelor’s degree. She does, however, need an associate’s degree and a nursing license issued to her by the state. She will need to provide a number of hours of on the job training and she will need to take nursing classes that will allow her to take on this role in any hospital. There is a state exam required in every state, and no one can become an RN until they pass the National Council Licensure Exam. If you have what it takes, however, you can make a pretty lucrative career for yourself in this field.

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Web Developer — $63,000

Web developers do not need to go to college to earn a pretty decent income. The income they make is more than twice what most degree-less workers make in any field, and it only requires an associate’s degree in web-building. It’s a time consuming job that requires a lot of additional education, such as specialty programming and computer courses. It’s something that you will have to stay up to date with to keep current since web trends and development change frequently, but it’s a lucrative career that can be done on your own or with an existing company.

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Retail Buyer — $61,000

What is a retail buyer? A buyer is the person who you don’t see in your favorite retail stores. These are the people who make the decisions as to what to buy and what to sell. This is the person who is current with the latest trends and styles; the person who wants to ensure that everything sold in a particular store is in style and in demand. This is something you have to have retail experience to do, but it doesn’t require any type of degree further than high school. With retail experience, you can move up into this position.

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Electrical Technician — $58,000

An electrical technician does require an associate’s degree. This is a job that you can obtain by attending postsecondary schools with a trade or vocation. Once you obtain a few electrical programs skills, such as computer repair and circuitry, however, you can begin applying for jobs as an electrical technician. It’s a job that pays fairly well, but it’s also one that doesn’t have the best hours. Most electrical techs are on call all day, which is okay for some and not for others. There are several courses required that help electrical techs learn new techniques, so some additional training might be required throughout the years.

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Police Officer — $57,000

Once you obtain your high school diploma or the equivalent of that, you can join the police academy. This is required if you want to become a police officer. The job is a dangerous one that involves knowing several aspects of the law, how to protect and defend yourself, and how to apprehend suspects without harm as often as possible. This job requires significant training, but it does not require a college education. The starting pay isn’t quite this high, but you can work your way up through the ranks to earn a nice little income.

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Respiratory Therapist — $56,000

A respiratory therapist is a career you can enter into without a college degree. While you will need an associate’s degree, the income for this position is worth the two years of school you will need to attend. This job is one that requires you to take some additional licensing classes in college and it does require that you pass a state and national exam. Not passing these exams means you will not be able to begin your career as a respiratory specialist. The income, however, is worth it if you have an associate’s and want to take the few additional classes necessary for this position.

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Aircraft Mechanic — $55,000

You will need a high school diploma or its equivalent if you want to enter into the field of aircraft mechanics. You will also need to take some additional classes at a trade or vocational school. If you join the military, you might receive the training you need for this position and be able to skip the vocational programs required. You will also need to obtain an FAA-accredited aviation maintenance tech school and pass the exam that is given upon completion of the program before you can begin your career in this lucrative field.

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Communications Equipment Manager — $54,000

To work as a communications equipment manager at any facility, you will need to be able to prove you have a high school diploma or the equivalent of a high school diploma. Once you have that, you will need to enroll in classes at a vocational school that have to do with equipment communications. These classes take a year or two to complete. Some schools will give you a certificate stating that you completed the courses; others will allow you to obtain an associate’s degree after finishing this particular program. It’s worth it, however, because the starting salary is over $50,000 annually.

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Written by Tiffany Raiford

Tiffany Raiford is a lifelong Floridian, wife to my high school sweetheart and mother of four littles (two girls and boy/girl, they are not identical and yes, I'm sure). My kids love to whine, so I love to wine. My loves include nap time, bed time, date night, travel and evenings and weekends when my husband is home because he handles all diaper changes.


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