Highest Paying Jobs Without A College Degree

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 60 percent of U.S. workers do not have a bachelor’s degree. Although attending the best college may be the surest way to earn a high salary, a college education may not be for everyone. Whether it involves family responsibilities, financial hardship, or the fact that your chosen career may not require you to attend an university, specialized knowledge and skills will always be in demand. The BLS offers research that shows dozens of high paying occupations that don’t require a college degree.

The list below is in order of median annual wage, starting with the highest, and includes complete compensation, such as annual salary plus commissions and production bonuses. Achieving financial independence and success is within everyone’s reach. With some determination and hard work, you can take advantage of these high paying jobs without a college degree.

Air Traffic Controllers1. Air Traffic Controllers

  • Median Annual Wage: $110,000
  • Degree Required: Associate’s
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 10,000
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

General Managers2. General and Operations Managers

  • Median Annual Wage: $95,000
  • Degree Required: Associate’s
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 415,000
  • Work Experience: 1-5 Years, Entry-Level
  • Training: None. Previous work experience should suffice.

Construction Managers3. Construction Manager

  • Median Annual Wage: $85,000
  • Degree Required: Associate’s
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 120,000
  • Work Experience: 5+ Years
  • Training: None

Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers4. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

  • Median Annual Wage: $80,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 38,000
  • Work Experience: 5+ Years
  • Training: None

Police Officers and Detectives5. Police Supervisors and Detectives

  • Median Annual Wage: $78,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 39,000
  • Work Experience: 1-5 Years
  • Training: Some job training.

Administrative Services Managers6. Administrative Services Managers

  • Median Annual Wage: $78,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 100,000
  • Work Experience: 1-5 Years
  • Training: None

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators7. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators/Technicians

  • Median Annual Wage: $76,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 2,000
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Radiation Therapist8. Radiation Therapist

  • Median Annual Wage: $75,000
  • Degree Required: Associate’s
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 7,000
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: None

Elevator Installers and Repair Services9. Elevator Installers and Repair Services

  • Median Annual Wage: $71,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 8,000
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Apprenticeship

Power Distributors and Dispatchers10. Power Distributors and Dispatchers

  • Median Annual Wage: $69,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 3,600
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Detectives and Criminal Investigators11. Detectives and Criminal Investigators

  • Median Annual Wage: $69,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 30,000
  • Work Experience: 1-5 Years
  • Training: Moderate on the job training.

Nuclear Medicine Technologists12. Nuclear Medicine Technologists

  • Median Annual Wage: $68,500
  • Degree Required: Associate’s
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 7,500
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: None

Dental Hygienists13. Dental Hygienists

  • Median Annual Wage: $68,000
  • Degree Required: Associate’s
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 105,000
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: None

Fire Fighters14. Fire Fighting and Prevention Supervisors/Managers

  • Median Annual Wage: $68,000
  • Degree Required: Post-Secondary Non-Degree Award
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 33,000
  • Work Experience: 1-5 Years
  • Training: None

Commercial Pilots15. Commercial Pilots

  • Median Annual Wage: $67,500
  • Degree Required: Post-Secondary Non-Degree Award
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 19,000
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: None

Electrical, Electronics Repair16. Electrical & Electronics Repair – Power Generation/Distribution

  • Median Annual Wage: $65,000
  • Degree Required: Post-Secondary Non-Degree Award
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 6,900
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Registered Nurses17. Registered Nurses (RNs)

  • Median Annual Wage: $65,000
  • Degree Required: Associate’s, Certification
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 1,210,000
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: None

Fashion Designers18. Fashion Designers

  • Median Annual Wage: $64,500
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 6,700
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers19. Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

  • Median Annual Wage: $64,000
  • Degree Required: Associate’s
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 32,000
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Power Plant Operators20. Power Plant Operators

  • Median Annual Wage: $63,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 14,400
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Business Operations Specialists21. Business Operations Specialists

  • Median Annual Wage: $62,500
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 327,000
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Media and Communications Equipment22. Media and Communications Equipment Workers

  • Median Annual Wage: $62,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 3,300
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Moderate-term on the job training.

Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Managers23. Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Managers

  • Median Annual Wage: $61,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 235,000
  • Work Experience: 5+ Years
  • Training: None

Postmasters and Mail Superintendents24. Postmasters and Mail Superintendents

  • Median Annual Wage: $60,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 4,800
  • Work Experience: 1-5 Years
  • Training: Moderate-term on the job training.

Refinery Operators25. Petroleum Pump System/Refinery Operators and Gaugers

  • Median Annual Wage: $60,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 14,400
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Mechanic, Installers, and Repairers Managers26. Mechanic, Installers, & Repairers Managers/Supervisors

  • Median Annual Wage: $59,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 165,000
  • Work Experience: 1-5 Years
  • Training: None

Insurance Adjusters, Examiners, Investigators, Appraisers27. Claims Adjusters, Examiners, Investigators, Insurance Appraisers

  • Median Annual Wage: $58,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 79,900
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Engineering Technicians28. All Engineering Technicians

  • Median Annual Wage: $58,000
  • Degree Required: Associate’s
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 74,900
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: None

Artists and Designers29. Artists and Designers

  • Median Annual Wage: $58,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 4,800
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Electrical Power-line Installers and Repairmen30. Electrical Power-line Installers and Repairmen

  • Median Annual Wage: $58,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 52,700
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Gas Plant Operators31. Gas Plant Operators

  • Median Annual Wage: $57,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 4,500
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Subway and Streetcar Operators32. Subway and Streetcar Operators

  • Median Annual Wage: $57,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 4,500
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Purchasing Agents33. Purchasing Agents

  • Median Annual Wage: $57,000
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 91,200
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Long-term on the job training.

Loan Officers34. Loan Officers

  • Median Annual Wage: $56,500
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 115,200
  • Work Experience: None
  • Training: Moderate-term on the job training.

Correctional Officers35. Correctional Officers

  • Median Annual Wage: $55,900
  • Degree Required: High School Diploma
  • Projected Openings Through 2020: 16,500
  • Work Experience: 1-5 Years
  • Training: Moderate-term on the job training.
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