No college degree? No problem for these career paths.
While paying for college can leave you with a mountain of debt, looking for a job with no college degree comes with a host of troubles too. Tons of jobs require those degrees right off the bat, which can drastically narrow your search before you’ve even begun.
And many of the jobs that are left over don’t pay nearly as well.
Luckily, this isn’t true in all cases. If you only have a high school diploma, there are many jobs you can get that that still pay pretty well! That’s why looked through the latest info from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics and picked out 12 primo jobs—all with average annual salaries above $50,000—that don’t require a college degree.
1. Elevator installers and repairers – $78,890 per year
While this job doesn’t require a high school diploma, it will require an apprenticeship. In 35 states, you’ll also need to be licensed. But if you can get the gig, you’ll be bringing in a very nice wage! The Bureau predicts that this field will grow 13% between 2014 and 2024. It’s not like we could have cities (or any tall buildings) without elevators, right?
2. Transportation inspectors – $72,220 per year
This field includes inspectors for both freight and passenger transportation. Odds are you’ll be working in the rail or auto repair industry or for a branch of the government. Sure, this a job that can come with serious consequences if you screw up, but with an average annual wage in the low 70’s, it’s worth it.
3. Gaming managers – $69,180 per year
No this doesn’t mean managing a Game Stop or a D&D store. It means working in the gambling industry. While this is a job you might have to work up to—climbing through the ranks—it’s not like the gambling industry’s going to go anywhere. Even with the advent of internet gambling, there’s something about casinos (the stale smell of sadness and cigarettes) that just can’t be beat.
4. Subway and streetcar operators – $64,680 per year
We’re based in Chicago, which has a pretty fantastic public transportation system, so trust us when we tell you that cities literally could not function without people working these jobs. Sadly, unless there’s a huge boom in local rail construction, these jobs will continue to be less widely available than many of the other ones on this list.
5. Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators – $63,680 per year
This is a great job for someone who doesn’t want to sit around an office all day, as these folks are often going out and inspecting prospective claims. Higher-up positions might require a bachelor’s degree.
While the Bureau doesn’t predict a ton of growth for these roles (3% from 2014 to 2024), there will always be a market for them. People will keep screwing up and/or trying to pull a fast one. It’s what we do!
6. Boilermakers – $62,980 per year
Until we can make buildings that warm themselves, boiler’s ain’t going nowhere. This is another job that usually requires an apprenticeship program (and it helps if you some prior welding) experience. Plus, the work itself can be difficult and dangerous, and you can find yourself working away from home for months at a time. If you want a job where you can earn a great wage working with your hands, then check it out.
7. Construction and building inspectors – $58,480 per year
This is a good job for someone who’s been working construction for a while, as industry experience is a big plus—bordering on a “must-have.” Its availability is tied to the construction industry (more building built = more buildings being inspected) and the Bureau predicts that it’ll grow 8% through 2024.
8. Postal service workers – $56,790 per year
In general, getting a job at the post office is a great idea if you’re looking for a solid job that doesn’t require a college degree. Post office clerks are based in the post-office itself, which means that the job has a heavy customer service aspect to it.
If you’re into something a little more outdoorsy—and like dogs—then being a mail carrier might be a better fit.
9. Electricians – $52,720 per year
By this point, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of these jobs are related to construction. That’s not surprising! A lot of these jobs require hard work, experience, and knowledge—just not the kind you’ll get with a bachelor’s degree!
Becoming an electrician requires an apprenticeship—and always carries the risk of getting shocked—but it’s a great job with a bright (pun intended) future. And if you’re sneaky, like this basketball-obsessed electrician, you can leave your mark on a building for years to come.
10. Telecommunications line installers and repairers – $52,590 per year
We cannot stress this enough: If you are afraid of heights, this is not the job for you. And remember that “risk of being shocked” that we mentioned with electricians? Yeah, that’s also a huge risk here. Being a line worker is a good job it’s just not necessarily the safest. It requires extensive on-the-job training and/or an apprenticeship.
11. Sales representatives – $52,490 per year
Ah, yes. Sales. The world’s second-oldest profession. There are a wide array of sales positions out there, from Best Buy to IBM to Glengarry Glen Ross. These positions can be tough, with a high turnover and a lot of sketchy employers, but they represent a fantastic opportunity for someone who has a knack for it—college degree not required. Just remember your ABCs: Always Be Closing.
12. Hearing aid specialists – $50,250 per year
This is a job that you probably haven’t considered, but it’s definitely one that you should look into. As a hearing aid specialist you will administer hearing tests, take ear impressions, design ear molds, and other duties related to hearing aids.
As the U.S. population ages over the next couple decades, this demand for this job is only going to increase. That’s probably why the Bureau predicts a 27% rise in hearing aid specialists positions by 2024.
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