High-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

While getting a college degree is undoubtedly worth it and sometimes required for specific career paths, it’s not necessary to obtain a higher paying job. Spending the money and taking out loans to earn a degree isn’t always an option or a desire for everyone, not to mention that not everyone has the time to invest in further education.

Fortunately, there is an ever-increasing amount of well-paying jobs available in the medical, information technology (IT), government, and business industries that do not require four-year college degrees; some positions simply require two-year degrees, certifications, or in-field training to obtain higher salaries. Below are some high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree for your consideration.

Railroad Operator

Average Salary: $45,917

This job entails throwing track switches on rail yards or in plants or quarries. There is no college degree required; however, there is typically certain trade school, certification, and experience requirements.

Flight Service Manager

Average Salary: $78,463

The position of a flight service manager oversees flight staff and attendants by ensuring performance, pre-flight duties, and appearance requirements are met. High school or equivalent is required, along with some required training, experience, and certification.


Average Salary: $35,840

The job of an EMT (emergency medical technician) is to judge the extent of injury or illness while in the field and use available and necessary medical equipment and technique to provide necessary care to the patient. Training, certification, and proper licensing is required, but this job only requires a high school diploma or equivalent.

Medical Coder

Average Salary: $32,350

A medical coder will utilize patient medical records and other documentation provided by doctors and clinicians to accurately code procedures for insurance billing. Educationally, there are no requirements, however, some employers may prefer at least a high school or equivalent diploma; certification is not required, but training usually is.

Crane Operators

Average Salary: $47,180

Crane operators specialize in operating heavy machinery that lifts equipment and material on construction sites. A high school diploma or equivalent is required in this field, as well as usually a minimum of 4 years’ experience.

Air Traffic Controller

Average Salary: $84,831

The job of an air traffic controller is to direct airplane traffic both in the air and on the ground. Controllers deliver alerts and assistance when there may be obstructions to flight paths or bad weather. Educational requirements vary, but can sometimes include a related associates degree and/or traffic control courses, as well as proper license and certification requirements.

Lead Carpenter

Average Salary: $67,047

A lead carpenter’s job primarily deals in wood-working to erect housing frames. Blueprint analyzation, as well as timeline and project layout management, are usually involved. There is no education requirement, however, a high school diploma or equivalent is usually preferred, and there is usually a period of apprenticeship required.

Elevator Mechanic

Average Salary: $76,860

Mechanics in this field ensure routine maintenance and repairs are carried out so that elevators can run smoothly and safely. A high school diploma or equivalent is usually a requirement, as well as an apprenticeship for training.

IT Technician

Average Salary: $48,900

An IT technician performs computer installation, systems maintenance, and troubleshooting processes for persons or companies. Usually, at least an associates degree is required; however, some technicians find lucrative positions based simply on their experience and knowledge.

Postal Worker

Average Salary: $57,260

Postal workers are responsible for every day, prompt delivery of letters and packages for the US Postal Service. A high school diploma or equivalent, as well as training and experience, is required.

Pharmacy Technician

Average Salary: $35,060

Pharmacies will hire pharmacy technicians to assist in preparing patient prescriptions for pharmacists, as well as inputting information into computer systems and checking insurances. A high school diploma or equivalent is required.

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