High Paying Jobs Without A College Degree

In today’s job market, a college degree is not always required to land a high paying position. Many employers value work experience, skills, and certifications over traditional four-year degrees. This article will explore some of the best options for securing a job that pays over $50,000 per year without having a bachelor’s degree.


When it comes to high-paying jobs without a college degree, sales positions are often at the top of the list. Sales roles offer the potential for lucrative earnings and the opportunity for individuals to excel based on their skills and performance.

With the right combination of interpersonal skills, persistence, and a knack for closing deals, a career in sales can be highly rewarding.

Pharmaceutical Sales

Pharmaceutical sales is a field that offers excellent earning potential for individuals without a college degree. Pharmaceutical sales representatives are responsible for promoting and selling prescription drugs to healthcare professionals.

They often work closely with doctors, pharmacists, and hospital administrators to educate them on the benefits and features of their products. With the healthcare industry constantly growing and evolving, the demand for pharmaceutical sales representatives remains strong.

Real Estate Sales

Real estate sales is another lucrative option for individuals without a college degree. Real estate agents help clients buy, sell, and rent properties, earning commissions on each successful transaction.

The real estate market is highly competitive, but with the right networking skills and knowledge of the local market, individuals can build a successful and profitable career in this field. Additionally, real estate agents have the flexibility to work independently or as part of a larger brokerage.

Insurance Sales

Insurance sales is a field that offers the potential for high earnings and the opportunity to help clients protect their assets. Insurance agents sell various types of insurance policies, including life, health, auto, and home insurance.

With the increasing complexity of insurance products and the need for individuals to protect themselves and their families, insurance sales agents are in high demand. Successful agents often build long-lasting relationships with their clients, leading to recurring commissions and referrals.

Tech Sales

In today’s digital age, tech sales has emerged as a lucrative career option for individuals without a college degree. Tech sales professionals are responsible for selling technology products and services, such as software, hardware, and IT solutions, to businesses.

With the rapid advancement of technology and the increasing reliance on digital tools, the demand for tech sales professionals continues to grow. Individuals with a strong technical acumen and excellent communication skills can excel in this field and earn substantial salaries.


Trades offer excellent opportunities for high-paying jobs without a college degree. Skilled tradespeople are in high demand, and their expertise is crucial in various industries. Here are some trades that can lead to lucrative careers:


Plumbing is a trade that involves installing, repairing, and maintaining plumbing systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Plumbers play a vital role in ensuring the proper functioning of water supply and drainage systems.

With the increasing demand for modern infrastructure, plumbers are always in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for plumbers was $55,160 in 2020. Plumbers can also work independently and start their own businesses, which can lead to even higher earnings.

HVAC Technician

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technicians specialize in installing, repairing, and maintaining HVAC systems in buildings. With advances in technology and the need for energy-efficient solutions, the demand for HVAC technicians is growing.

These professionals ensure that buildings have comfortable indoor climates. The median annual wage for HVAC technicians was $50,590 in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. HVAC technicians can work in various settings, including residential homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities.


Electricians are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems in buildings. They work with wiring, lighting, and other electrical components to ensure the safe and efficient distribution of electricity.

The demand for electricians is expected to grow as new construction projects and infrastructure upgrades continue to take place. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for electricians was $56,180 in 2020.

Electricians can also specialize in specific areas such as residential, commercial, or industrial electrical systems.


Welding is a skilled trade that involves joining metal parts together using heat and pressure. Welders work in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, and automotive. They play a crucial role in building and repairing structures and equipment.

The demand for welders remains strong, and the profession offers excellent earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $44,190 in 2020.

Welders can also specialize in different types of welding techniques, such as MIG, TIG, or stick welding.

These trades provide great opportunities for individuals without a college degree to build successful and well-paying careers. With the right training and experience, individuals can enter these fields and enjoy stable employment and significant earning potential.


When it comes to high paying jobs without a college degree, the transportation industry offers several lucrative opportunities. These jobs often require specialized training and certifications, but they don’t necessarily require a four-year degree.

Here are three high paying transportation jobs that you can pursue:


Becoming a pilot is a dream for many aviation enthusiasts, and it also happens to be a high paying job. Pilots are responsible for flying aircraft, ensuring the safety of passengers and cargo, and adhering to air traffic control instructions.

While a college degree is not required, aspiring pilots must complete flight training and earn a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers was $147,220 in May 2020.

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers play a crucial role in maintaining the safety and efficiency of air travel. They coordinate the movement of aircraft, issue clearances for takeoff and landing, and monitor radar screens to ensure proper airspace separation.

To become an air traffic controller, extensive training is required, typically through the FAA’s Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative or the Air Traffic Basics Course. The median annual wage for air traffic controllers was $130,420 in May 2020, making it a highly lucrative career choice.

Commercial Driver

If you enjoy being on the road and have excellent driving skills, a career as a commercial driver might be a great fit for you. Commercial drivers operate large trucks or buses to transport goods or passengers over long distances.

While a college degree is not required, drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and complete specialized training. The demand for commercial drivers is expected to grow in the coming years, and the median annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $47,130 in May 2020.

These high paying transportation jobs offer great earning potential without the need for a college degree. However, it’s important to note that they require rigorous training, certifications, and a commitment to safety.

If you’re passionate about aviation or enjoy being on the road, these careers could be a perfect fit for you.


Marketing Manager

A marketing manager is responsible for creating and implementing marketing strategies to promote a company’s products or services. They analyze market trends, conduct market research, and develop advertising campaigns.

While a college degree in marketing or a related field is often preferred, many marketing managers have gained their skills through work experience and on-the-job training.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for marketing managers was $147,240 in May 2020. This high-paying job offers opportunities for growth and advancement in the field of marketing.

IT Manager

An IT manager oversees the technology infrastructure of a company, ensuring that computer systems and networks run smoothly. They are responsible for managing IT projects, implementing security measures, and troubleshooting technical issues.

While a college degree in computer science or a related field is common, some IT managers have gained their skills through certifications and practical experience.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, the median annual salary for IT managers was $146,360 in 2020. With the increasing reliance on technology in businesses, the demand for skilled IT managers is expected to grow.

Executive Assistant

An executive assistant provides administrative support to high-level executives and managers within an organization. They manage schedules, arrange meetings, handle correspondence, and perform various other tasks to ensure the smooth running of the executive’s office.

While a college degree is not always required, strong organizational and communication skills are essential for this role.

According to Indeed, the average annual salary for executive assistants in the United States is $59,977. While not as high-paying as some other jobs on this list, executive assistants often enjoy a diverse and challenging work environment.

These high-paying jobs in the services sector offer opportunities for individuals without a college degree to build successful careers. While formal education can be beneficial, gaining experience, acquiring certifications, and demonstrating skills can also lead to lucrative job opportunities in these fields.


Wind Turbine Technician

As the demand for renewable energy sources continues to grow, the job market for wind turbine technicians has seen a significant rise. These technicians are responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repair of wind turbines.

They work at heights to ensure the turbines are functioning optimally and safely. With on-the-job training or an associate degree in wind energy technology, individuals can enter this high-paying field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for wind turbine technicians is $56,230, and the job outlook is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.

Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineering is a highly specialized field that involves the exploration, extraction, and production of oil and gas. Although a bachelor’s degree is typically required, there are opportunities for individuals without a college degree to enter this field through extensive work experience and certifications.

Petroleum engineers play a crucial role in the energy industry, designing and developing methods for extracting oil and gas from underground reservoirs. With a median annual wage of $137,720, petroleum engineers are among the highest-paid professionals without a college degree.

Solar Installer

The increasing adoption of solar energy has created a demand for skilled solar installers. These professionals are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing solar panels on residential and commercial buildings.

While a college degree is not always required, solar installers often undergo specialized training or apprenticeships to gain the necessary skills. With the rising popularity of solar energy, the job market for solar installers is expected to grow rapidly.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry employed over 231,000 workers in the United States in 2020, and the median annual wage for solar installers is $46,470.

For more information about the energy industry and high-paying jobs without a college degree, you can visit Bureau of Labor Statistics or Solar Energy Industries Association.


While some of the highest paying jobs do require a bachelor’s degree or higher, there are still many options in fields like sales, trades, transportation, services, and energy that provide the potential to earn over $50,000 without a college education.

The key is gaining the right certifications, experience, skills and knowledge that make you qualified for these in-demand roles.

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