No College Degree? Here Are 6 High-Paying Jobs Where You Won’t Need It

You’ve probably heard somewhere that a bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma.

Without it, you risk making significantly less than your college-educated peers over your lifetime. You’ll also have difficulty finding work, with many employers favoring college graduates.

To an extent, it’s true. High school graduates have a lower job participation rate, and their median annual income hovered around $30,000 in 2021.

But this doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities if college isn’t for you. From healthcare to tech, many industries focus on hiring people based on skills rather than a long degree.

Our list will cover a few high-paying, high-demand jobs that you can do without worrying about a full college degree. Let’s dive in!

6 High-Paying Jobs Where You Don’t Need A 4+ Year Degree

Each of these career paths focuses heavily on skills. While you don’t need a 4-year+ degree per se, you’ll need to focus on gaining specific credentials and work experience to be successful.

Take a look at these top-paying careers without a long degree:

1. Radiation Therapist
Average Salary: ~$126,000 per year
Job Outlook: 6%

A radiation therapist administers radiation treatment to cancer patients. Their duties include prepping them for treatment, protecting them from overexposure, maintaining the medical equipment, and recording data.

While a full college degree isn’t needed, you must undergo a 2-year radiation program to qualify.

2. Commercial Pilot
Average Salary: ~$100,000 per year
Job Outlook: 6%

Becoming a commercial pilot can be a rewarding and lucrative career if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to fly a plane. Airline pilots will always be in demand, especially since low-cost flights have become more common.

You’ll need to undergo at least 250 hours of flight time before you earn your commercial pilot’s license. Pilots also need specific training and certifications depending on the type of aircraft they want to fly.

3. Makeup Artist
Average Salary: ~$75,000 per year
Job Outlook: 12.5%

Do you want to make people look stunning? Becoming a makeup artist can be the perfect way to express your artistic side while boosting a person’s self-confidence. Makeup artists can also find well-paying niches like theater management, weddings, or corporate events.

With the right marketing skills, top-level makeup artists can even become globally in demand and travel to their favorite destinations doing what they love!

4. Copywriter
Average Salary: ~$60,000 per year
Job Outlook: 4%

Being a creative writer and generating thousands of dollars in sales takes effort and the right skills to succeed. But once you hone your writing chops and find a lucrative niche, the sky’s the limit to where copywriters can take their careers.

The better your copy makes sales for your clients, the more they will pay top dollar for your services. I even know copywriters with no degree that make well over $10k per month creating video scripts or simple sales letters that have made companies millions.

5. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installer
Average Salary: ~$50,000 per year
Job Outlook: 27%

With solar panel installations rising by 34% in 2021 alone, there’s a high demand for PV installers to help property owners transition to green energy. Besides setting up solar panels, PV installers are also responsible for repairs, general maintenance, and weatherproofing them to prolong their lifespan.

6. Translator
Average Starting Salary: ~$50,000 per year
Job Outlook: 20%

The world’s becoming more interconnected than ever before. Companies, governments, and NGOs understand this, so they need the help of interpreters and translators to help them overcome the language barrier.

Translators fluent in rare languages like Arabic or Farsi make much more and face less competition. You’re almost guaranteed to find work as long as you have some experience and professional certification!

The Bottom Line

The job market can be hard to navigate, especially if you need a college degree for most positions. But thankfully, many employers are starting to realize that a formal college education isn’t the end all be all.

Large corporations like Google, Hilton, and Apple have dropped their degree requirements for most positions. They have many opportunities open for high school grads. Other businesses will be happy if you show them your skill set and have some experience under your belt.

If you’re willing to work on your craft, build an eye-catching resume, and know how to market yourself, there’s no reason you can’t succeed without a long degree!

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