9 Low-Stress Jobs That Pay Well Without a Degree ($40.000 is a good starting point)

The world is full of stress. People are running around, trying to finish work before the clock strikes five (or six…or seven), and then relax for a bit.

The unfortunate thing about this situation is that it’s all just one big cycle—once you reach the point where you’re not stressed anymore, your mind races with thoughts about what else needs to be done as soon as possible.

With so much stress in our lives, we need jobs that let us live at peace without having to worry about getting fired or dealing with too much responsibility. Luckily for us, there are plenty of jobs like that out there!

The caveat is that they aren’t fashionable. Telling your friends you work at a huge multinational company has its perks. You get respect and admiration just by saying the name of your employer, even if you’re not exactly proud of what it does.

But when we talk about low-stress jobs without a degree that pays well, we need to let go of our desire for prestige and seek options that will allow us to live stress-free lives.

Doing so, we might find something that makes us happy and lets us make a living without too much hassle. Which is what we are going to talk about in this article.

How Come These Jobs Exist?

You’d be expecting a low-stress job that doesn’t require lots of education to be low paying. Common sense tells us we need a degree to get a high-paying job. It’s true that people with degrees earn more than those without one on average. But it’s also true that there are many jobs out there that pay well and don’t need a degree.

How is that possible?

Economics 101: the law of supply and demand. There are more people gunning for degrees now than ever. And these people—rightfully so—want jobs that align with their degrees.

This means that there are plenty of vacant jobs that nobody wants to do, because they feel like it’d be insulting. Or just not worth it. Getting a degree takes lots of time, effort, and money. People want to leverage their investments to get a cushy job.

This leaves entire markets with openings that are hard to fill. So, these markets will pay a higher rate to attract more candidates. The supply is low compared to the demand, raising prices.

Degrees Aren’t Everything

Don’t think you can just cruise in and get the job. You’ll still have to prove yourself. But what you lack in formal education, you can make up with skills learned elsewhere or natural talents that are just waiting to be discovered by someone who will take a chance on them.

This means looking at alternative sources of information about job openings and their requirements before applying somewhere else where your degree might have helped more than it would here.

Often, you’ll need some sort of certification to perform the jobs on this list. But it’s something that’ll take you months, not years. And since these are jobs that companies are having issues filling, you are almost guaranteed a spot once you’ve gotten your certification.

The 9 Low-Stress Jobs That Pay Well Without a Degree in 2022

There are plenty of jobs out there that satisfy one or two of the conditions we outlined. But few that tick all the boxes. There is no shortage of low-stress jobs that pay very little. Just walk into a big fast-food chain, and you’ll be up and running in no time. Sadly, these openings don’t pay that well.

Conversely, there are jobs that pay lots and don’t need a degree, but they come with lots of stress and pressure to perform. For example, firefighters earn a respectable salary (around $50.000/year), but it’s an extremely stressful job.

So, we picked low-stress jobs that pay at least $40.000 per year. The $40.000 is arbitrary, but it’s around the median salary in the US, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s hard to be 100% objective when picking a median salary. After all, a make-up artist in New York will earn way more than a make-up artist in the middle of Kentucky. There’s no proper way to account for all these variations in salary.

Still, $40.000 is a good starting point. Especially since you can often increase your earnings by a lot if you will work hard. I understand this list is about low-stress jobs, but having more options is always nice, should you reconsider down the line.

The last factor we value a lot is expected growth. Shrinking professions are usually a bad idea. You are better off investing an extra 6 months and getting into a profession that is growing, rather than get right now into.

Editor’s note: The items on this list are in no particular order.

Massage Therapist   

  • Median pay: $43.260/year
  • Job growth (2020-2030): 32%

A massage therapist manipulates soft tissues, muscles, and joints in the body to provide therapeutic relief. Massage therapy is the second most popular healthcare profession in America.

A successful massage therapist must be knowledgeable in anatomy and medical terminology, know when to refer a patient to a physician, be excellent with people skills, have knowledge of how to keep treatments confidential, maintain a professional appearance, have enough energy to do things like standing for 8 hours at a time, have the patience to work with clients who are experiencing pain or discomfort during treatment, show an understanding of medical science so they can communicate effectively with doctors about their clients’ needs.

A massage therapist’s job may involve stretching tight muscles or applying pressure with hands or various devices for therapeutic benefits. A massage therapist may use a range of techniques, such as kneading muscles, applying friction to the skin with hands or an instrument, and deep-tissue muscle manipulation that targets the deeper layers of tissue.

How long it takes to get a certification varies by state. For example, if you are in Tennessee, it takes around 500 hours of training to get your certificate. The same certification in Nebraska takes around 1000 hours.

It might seem like a straightforward job since all you do is give massages—and that’s true for about 75% of the job. The other 25% is what makes it so tough: you have to be on your feet for hours, constantly bending and stretching in awkward positions while working with clients one-on-one or in groups.

Still, it’s a low-stress job that pays well and doesn’t take a lifetime to get into.

Solar Photovoltaic Installers

  • Median pay: $46.470/year
  • Job growth (2020-2030): 52%

A solar photovoltaic installer is someone who installs solar photo voltaic panels on roofs, as well as other structures such as parking garages. These installations can be as small as a few panels or as large as hundreds of panels.

The job does not require much experience, but it requires the ability to understand complex electrical wiring and troubleshooting. A significant labor shortage in the US has led to many companies looking for these installers and paying well over $40,000 per year.

A solar photovoltaic installer’s duty is to install, test, and sometimes maintain large systems on buildings or other structures. They may also perform maintenance and repairs of installation.

There are only a few years of training before one can become certified in this job. The certification is offered by NABCEP, and takes about 3 months to get. The license lasts for 3 years, after which you’ll have to renew it.

The photovoltaic sector is going to grow in the coming years. It’s a low-stress job that pays well and is in high demand, so it might be worth looking into if you’re at all interested.

Computer Support Specialist

  • Median salary: $55.510/year
  • Job growth (2020-2030): 9%

A computer support specialist is someone who provides technical help and information on new technology to their organization. They may be responsible for training employees on how to use new software as well as providing them with any necessary technical help.

A computer support specialist’s duty is to provide technical help and information on new technology that helps an organization run smoothly, efficiently and productively.

A computer support specialist needs to have a firm knowledge of software and hardware, as well as an understanding of their organization’s business processes. They may also need some creativity, since they’ll often be the ones coming up with new ways for employees to use technology at work more effectively – which can lead to happier workers and better results.

As far as education goes, there are no formal requirements to become a computer support specialist. Usually, you’ll get most of your training on the job in an entry-level role. However, it’s still worth having some related experience and knowledge before applying for these jobs, such as how computers work and what major operating systems there currently are. It will also help if you have some experience with networking, since most of your work will take place on the computer network.

There is no shortage of certifications in the sector, usually offered by the same companies that make software and hardware. You should a couple in the areas that interest you the most.

High job growth is expected in this field, so it’s definitely worth looking into if you want to have a low-stress job that pays well without requiring education beyond high school.

Photographer

  • Median salary: $41.280/year
  • Job growth (2020-2030): 17%

Photographers take pictures, capture videos and create illustrations for a variety of purposes – from recording memories to selling products.

A photographer’s duty is to take pictures and capture videos that show the story or message they want to convey through their images. Things they do include as capturing happy moments with family and friends, photographing products, or recording memories.

Photographers need to have a good sense of composition, lighting and timing in order to capture the images they want. It will also help if you are creative enough so that you can come up with interesting ways of showing off your subject–whether it’s people, places or things.

You don’t need formal education to take breathtaking pictures. But you need to have some training in art and design, photography or videography. Most photographers start their career as assistants to experienced ones until they learn the basics of how it works. Then, they are free to develop their own style through practice with friends and family before branching out into other areas such as weddings or events.

Masonry worker

  • Median salary: $47.710/year
  • Job growth (2020-2030): -2%

A masonry worker’s primary duty is to handle orders from the construction foreperson and other high-ranked workers on site, but they also get involved in their own work when needed.

They build anything that needs using brick, block or stones. They handle the construction and repair of walls, floors, walkways and other related structures in both residential and commercial buildings.

Since this job doesn’t require formal education beyond high school, it may be a good option for some people who want to work right away while still having time for family or other interests outside of work.

Masonry workers need to have a firm knowledge about tools used in this job which includes trowels (tools required by workers who lay tile). It will also help if you know how much work it takes to make each material — like cutting stones into different sizes so they fit together perfectly.

Construction Painter

  • Median salary: $42.130/year
  • Job growth (2020-2030): 5%

Construction painters paint buildings, bridges and other structures that need to be painted. They also paint road signs, vehicles and even equipment such as boats or ships.

A construction painter’s duty is to apply the right paints on metal or wood surfaces so they can remain durable and weather-resistant–especially if it’s exposed outdoors. Their knowledge about various types of coating material would be an added advantage since there are different used depending on what surface you’re working with—from clear coatings which protect against water damage, to epoxy materials that make a surface stronger.

Construction painters need to have a basic knowledge of how to use tools and equipment needed for this job. You don’t need formal training or certification, since most employers prefer someone who’s willing to learn first before applying any skills they already have. But you can take a short course in it so that you’ll know the basics about painting surfaces as well as apply paint evenly on those surfaces–which is an art unto itself!

In addition, construction painters should always wear protective gear such as masks and gloves when working with chemicals used in paints because some types are hazardous if inhaled or come into contact with your skin. Construction painted jobs require physical strength too because there will be times where heavy objects like wood planks may block parts of the surface you’re working on.

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver

  • Median salary: $47.130/year
  • Job growth (2020-2030): 6%

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers’ principal duty is to transport goods from one location to another. They must be able to determine the most efficient route possible while taking into consideration weather, traffic and road closures for their deliveries.

Some states require heavy or tractor-trailer truck driver jobs to have a commercial driving license (CDL) since they need these licenses in order to operate large trucks on highways, such as 18 wheelers with trailers attached. But if you’re planning on working locally, like hauling items within city limits only, then having a CDL might not even be necessary at all!

Drivers also get paid by how many hours they’ve worked, so this job can help them earn more than what other high school jobs can offer. A long haul truck driver who spends days on the road gets paid more than one working locally.

In addition, heavy and tractor-trailer trucks drivers have to be physically fit since they’ll need to lift up heavy objects from time to time–or even move those items if needed. You must also know how to drive large vehicles with trailers attached in areas where roads are narrow because of traffic jams or just lack of space.

Personal Trainer

  • Median pay: $40.510/year
  • Job growth in ten years: 39%

Demand for fitness trainers is skyrocketing. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has listed it as one of the top jobs to have because of its increasing demand by those wanting to improve their health.

Fitness trainers instruct clients on how they should perform specific exercises and training activities in order for them to achieve certain goals–whether that’s losing weight or building muscles, so you’ll look good at a pool party come summer.

You can work either part time or full time depending on your preference since there are fitness clubs who prefer instructors working at nights and weekends because this is when most people visit these facilities after work hours.

Although some employers will prefer personal trainers with a degree in a field related to fitness, many won’t care. As long as you have an engaging personality, are knowledgeable about various training methods and can motivate your clients so they would want to keep coming back, you’ll do great.

Flight Attendants

  • Median salary: $59.050/year
  • Job growth (2020-2030): 30%

Flight attendants are one of the most important people on an airplane. They make sure everyone is safe and comfortable by doing things like showing travelers where to store their carry-on luggage, answering questions they may have about airline policies, or how to buckle themselves in during take offs and landings.

Because this job requires helping others, flight attendants also need excellent communication skills so that passengers can feel at ease when discussing concerns with them–whether it’s a weird smell coming from somewhere (yup! It happens!) or asking for another bag of pretzels because there weren’t enough snacks before takeoff. On top of all these skills, customer service experience will definitely help you get ahead, since being able to provide great services for those who come to you for help is a must.

Flight attendants also get to travel the world and stay in hotels that are provided by their employers–just imagine all those free vacations! They’re even given meal allowances so they can eat well during layovers too. What’s more, this job has good salary potential since experienced flight attendants who have worked with airlines for many years can earn as much as $80K+.

Although having a degree isn’t necessary, some employers may prefer applicants who hold degrees such as hospitality management or business administration, so they’ll be better equipped at handling client concerns and organizing company operations, respectively.

Conclusions

There are many jobs out there that don’t require a degree and still pay well. Most of them are also relatively stress free. That doesn’t mean you’ll never, ever run into stressful situations. Especially with jobs where you are always in contact with people like flight attendant. People can be…unhinged. But the vast majority of time at work will be chill.

Since few people want to do these jobs, competition for the vacant spots will be low, if not missing. This means that employers are willing to pay a premium to get them filled. And you might even snag some extra benefits during the job interview. Remember, nobody wants to do these jobs anymore.

As long as you show up and prove you can deliver great work consistently, you’ll be revered by your employer. They need you more than you need them. Such is life in today’s job market in these sectors.

Picking a job from this list will get you a decently paying occupation, with plenty of growth opportunities. And it won’t take you years to enter the workforce. At most, you’ll have to study for 1 year to get your certification, but most on this list won’t take you longer than a couple of months to get into.

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