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Highest paying careers without a degree

If you’ve ever dreamed of earning a lot of money without going to school, your dreams are about to come true.

While the list below doesn’t include every profession that can be lucrative without an advanced education, it does give you an idea of what’s possible out there.

best paying careers without a degree

1) Elevator repairman | Highest paying careers without a degree

The best part of the job is that you don’t have to be in college. However, you’ll be hired if you have a high school diploma and can pass some tests.

The average salary for an elevator repairman is $62,000 a year, but it can go up as high as $75,000 depending on where you live and what type of equipment your employer uses.

The advantages of this career are that it’s fun, exciting work, there are no long commutes because most jobs are done on-site, there isn’t much pressure or stress involved because most days won’t be too busy, and there aren’t many injuries because almost all maintenance tasks can be done safely from inside the cab.

There aren’t many disadvantages to being an elevator repairman. Most people think about how boring it must be (“It sounds like watching paint dry”), but I say this job is just as exciting as any other, if not more so. You can see amazing things during repairs, like waterfalls in hotel bathrooms or giant fountains in office buildings.

Then there’s always the chance that something might happen during repairs that make your day more interesting (like when one time I got locked out of my cab).

It also doesn’t hurt that when someone else calls me again saying they need help fixing their elevator (which happens often), I get paid even more money.

2) Biofuel research engineer | Highest paying jobs without a bachelor’s degree

A biofuel research engineer is a professional who works to develop fuel from non-conventional sources. As the name suggests, these individuals work with biofuels, which can be derived from renewable materials.

For example, algae and grass may be used for their lipid content, wood chips may be used for their cellulose content, and even municipal waste products like starch can be converted into biodiesel.

While some of the most common types of biofuels are already commercially viable on a small scale (like ethanol made from corn), there is still much research on other potential sources, namely those that have yet to be fully explored by scientists or engineers alike.

Researchers help in this process by conducting experiments using plants grown in controlled environments and working closely with teams of engineers who design equipment intended to convert these raw materials into usable forms such as liquid fuel or electricity.

highest paying jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree

3) Windows installer | Top paying careers without a degree

  • A commercial driver’s license is not required.
  • You must work with windows and install them; sometimes, you must do it in a large building or high floor.

4) Legal nurse consultant | Highest paying careers without a degree

If you have a passion for nursing and law, becoming a legal nurse consultant may be your best career option. Legal nurse consultants are nurses who are also lawyers.

They provide expert advice to medical facilities on issues related to medical liability and negligence cases.

5) Translator | Highest paying careers without a degree

Translators are in high demand, earning an average of $52,000 per year. The job can be done anywhere worldwide as long as you have a good internet connection.

You’ll need to be able to translate written material into another language, spoken material into another language, or back again and documents like government contracts or software instructions.

Translators tend to be very detail-oriented people who love words; this is not a job for someone with attention deficit disorder!

highest paying careers without a degree

6) Power operator

Power operators work in various industries, locations, shifts, and environments. For example, you will find them working in power plants, oil rigs, or at drilling sites for wells. You will also find them working on construction sites or factories.

  • A high school diploma is required.
  • The median annual salary is $55,000

7) Operating engineer

You’ll be responsible for moving machinery, equipment, and other objects as an operating engineer. The job requires physical strength, precision skills, and knowledge of safety regulations.

Just like construction jobs that require special training and certifications like a crane operator or heavy equipment operator, operating engineers must also complete an apprenticeship program that lasts between five to six years.

In addition to these requirements, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED before getting your foot in the door at an apprenticeship program in your area.

However, once you pass all of these qualifications and become certified as a journeyman operating engineer (which is what most employers will look for), there’s no limit on how much money you can make.

10) Blood bank manager

Blood bank managers are responsible for the operation of a blood bank, including collecting and distributing blood products. Blood banks collect and store donated blood for transfusions or other medical procedures.

Blood bank managers must work with staff members, donors, government agencies, and hospitals to ensure that their facility is running smoothly.

Ensure that all staff working at the blood bank have been appropriately trained on collecting, processing, and storing donated blood.

11) Loan Officer

A loan officer is another one of the highest paying careers without a degree. A loan officer is a person who works in a bank or other financial institution and is responsible for the management, administration, and disbursement of loans.

Banks or other financial institutions usually employ loan officers. Most employers require that loan officers have at least a bachelor’s degree in finance from an accredited college or university. Loan officers earn a median salary of $71,000 per year (BLS).

12) Warehouse manager

A warehouse manager is another one of the highest paying careers without a degree. Warehouse managers are in charge of overseeing the inventory and operations of a warehouse. They work with a team to ensure that all products are shipped out on time while managing inventory levels and keeping track of shipments coming in.

Warehouse managers must possess excellent communication skills, as they need to communicate effectively with their employees and customers.

They must also be good at problem solving and management because it’s their job to get things done quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality or accuracy.

To become a warehouse manager, you need an associate’s degree from an accredited college program in business administration or logistics management (or similar). This is why this makes being a warehouse manager a highest paying career without a degree.

You can then complete additional training programs at companies like UPS or Amazon, where they teach you how their specific warehouses work. You can apply this knowledge when working for another employer later on down the road if necessary.

13) Patrol officer

A patrol officer’s median salary is $65,540. Patrol officers spend a lot of time updating records and writing reports. You’ll often be out on patrol responding to incidents and making your presence known in your community when you aren’t at a desk.
While there is a clear public service component to this job, it also comes with a personal cost. Officers are often required to work long hours and can sustain serious injury from their job. The protect-and-serve career can still be rewarding for those who have the right character.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 7.2 percent growth in employment for patrol officers between 2020-2030. An estimated 48,600 new jobs will be created during this period.

14. Executive Assistant

An executive assistant earns $63,110 as the median salary. The median salary for an executive assistant is $63,110. They coordinate meetings, take messages and manage the boss’s calendar. Executive assistants also provide high-level administrative support to the company and its top executives. Executive assistants may be responsible for analyzing documents and preparing research reports, as well as supervising clerical staff. Executive assistants are an indispensable and integral part of any office.
Executive assistants work as juggling staff for higher-ups. Hopefully those higher-ups will not be like the “dragon woman” in “The Devil Wears Prada.” They may be in the service of their boss or CEO, but they could also be a literal and proverbial seat at their boss’s table. Executive assistants need to be ready for anything in either situation.

15. Sales Representative | Highest paying careers without a degree

The median salary of sales representatives is $62,070. Instead of selling directly to consumers, sales representatives sell goods or services to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. To market their merchandise, manufacturers and wholesalers heavily rely on sales representatives (also known as manufacturers’ agents or manufacturers’ representatives) to sell it. This could be anything from laboratory equipment to soft drink. To be a successful sales rep, you must have an enthusiastic personality as weall as a willingness to travel. To keep up with changing customer requirements and evolving products, sales reps will need to attend trade shows. They may also be responsible to file expense accounts or analyze sales statistics.

The growth of the economy is a major factor in the availability of sales rep jobs. Sales representatives are also more likely to be hired if there is a new product or specialized. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 4.5 percent increase in sales rep employment between 2020 and 2030. An estimated 59,400 new jobs will be created during this period.

16. Flight Attendant | Highest paying careers without a degree

A flight attendant’s median salary is $59,050. A flight attendant is one of the highest playing careers without a degree. It comes at #4 as the highest paying career without a degree. Flight attendants are probably the most frequent contact with passengers on the flight crew. They make sure passengers feel comfortable and are ready to address any safety concerns that might arise on the flight.
Flight attendants inspect all emergency equipment before each flight. They provide safety instructions to passengers, including how to use an oxygen mask and how to evacuate the plane; show how to use seatbelts; and make sure passengers secure their seat belts before taking off.

American Airlines flight attendant Allison Pereira from Philadelphia says, “Our duties start when we board an airplane and ensure that all the required emergency equipment is onboard.” “Many customers don’t realize that we almost always respond to any situation onboard.

You can earn a lot of money without a degree

If you’re looking for a career that pays well but don’t have the time or money to invest in getting a degree, there are still plenty of options. Below is just a small list of some careers that pay well without requiring a college degree:

  • Food industry: You’ll be surprised by how much money you can make in this field if you have the right skill set. If your home is filled with food lovers, consider starting as an assistant cook at one of their favorite restaurants or bakeries.
  • Automotive industry: There are many types of positions available within automotive sales and repairs, from dealership management positions down to tire technicians and gas station attendants—and each role has its unique salary range based on experience level and performance metrics (like several cars sold).


We hope you found this article helpful and encouraging. However, plenty of jobs out there pay well without requiring a degree, and they’re probably not what you expected.

Whether repairing elevators or translating documents, if you love what you do and are willing to learn new skills, you can earn money without going to college.

Other resources:

You can check out my guide on how to make money in high school.

You can check out my guide on how to make money online as a teen.

You can read my investing for teens guide.

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