20 Well-Paying Jobs that don’t Require a College Degree

Melanie Thomas, Reporter

This list contains a number of jobs and careers that are well paying, can fit many interests, and do not require any degree higher than a high school diploma, and sometimes not even that. A college degree is not essential in life or in making a good living and these jobs/careers are just some of many that fit that criteria. This list ranges from the lowest to the highest paying job and includes additional information you might need to get a feel of which job you would be interested in pursuing.


The median household income as of 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is $61,372.

  1. Mail carrier – $51,130

Deliver or collect mail to/from the appropriate businesses and residences. All routes are already established and job training is provided.

  1. Choreographers – $51,560

Their job requires creating new dances, combos, etc., for a specific studio or team (or you can hold auditions for it). Most choreographers started as dancers, but you don’t have to be one to become a successful choreographer.

  1. Food service managers – $53,640

They hire, train, and sometimes fire members of their particular food organization. They also plan, direct, or coordinate activities order any of the supplies and food needed and oversee preparation.

  1. Catering managers – $54,000

A food service manager, but working for a catering company. You supervise all aspects of the catering event.

  1. Real estate sales agents – $58,410

DISCLAIMER: A college degree is not required, but those with more experience or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Real Estate have a greater chance of getting better job opportunities.

Basically they help future home owners or investors search and purchase houses or real estate. They must have extensive knowledge of the real estate market to effectively do their jobs. They also verify property ownership and organize meeting between buyers and sellers.

  1. Stationary engineers – $60,480

They operate and maintain equipment used in providing utilities such as light, heat, ventilation, and power for industrial plants, large building etc.

  1. Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs – $61,270

Enforce state and local laws and work under stressful high risk situations. Basically do everything involved with crime scene investigations.

  1. Small business owner – $61,600

Basically you run everything involving your company, hiring, firing, financing, etc. A lot of planning goes into a small business starting with business, marketing, production, and budgeting plans as well as sales forecasts (not necessarily in that order). You also need to have product suppliers or service vendors for delivery. You also might have to meet with local officials. This particular job has many aspects and takes lots of dedication and patience.

  1. Correctional officer supervisors – $62,770

They manage prison guards but their main duty is to ensure inmates remain confined to protect the public from criminal activities.

  1. Subway operator – $66,420

Operate the subway, provide information (concerning fares, schedules, transfers, and routings), and handle fares.

  1. Creative writers – $69,130

It is a very broad field that includes many different career paths (magazines, articles, short stories, novels, etc.). It requires strong English skills, a wide vocabulary, and a strong grasp on grammar. Creative writers need to be capable of original thought and imaginative.

  1. Commercial pilot – $73,280

This career would require a commercial pilot’s license and 250 hours of flight experience. You would have to be able to navigate either a certain or many types of aircrafts.

  1. Customs brokers – $73,480

They prepare customs documentations and make sure that shipments all laws (that are applicable) to assist the import and export of goods. Under a power of attorney, the sign documents and they also track and determine duties payable and process payments on the behalf of a client they represent.

  1. (Casino) Gaming managers – $77,770

Oversee casino operations and ensure that casino guests have a pleasant experience.

  1. Police records officer – $79,620

Collect crime scene evidence, identify/classify fingerprints, photograph evidence.

  1. Athletes – $80,490

Play well for a professional sports team (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, etc.).

  1. Ship pilots – $83,150

Command ships to steer them into and out of bodies of water (MUST be licensed by U.S. Coast Guard).

  1. Nuclear power reactor operators – $88,820

They control the flow of electricity a nuclear power plant generates, maintain equipment, and implement procedures to regulate startup and shutdown of the facility.

  1. Financial service sales agents – $102,860

Sell financial services (loans, tax, securities counseling, etc.) to customers of financial institutions and business establishments.

  1. Air traffic controller – $139,300

*DISCLAIMER: this is a high stress job, and if you do your job wrong, people could die.

They coordinate the movement (ground and air) of aircrafts to maintain safe distances between them. They also inform pilots about weather, runway closures, and any other critical information. The primary concern of an air traffic controller is safety.


*All yearly salaries listed are estimates and are subject to change