In 2017, 67% of the students graduating from high school in the US enrolled in college the following fall. However, the cost of college has been rising drastically in recent years and many Americans are wondering whether or not it is a good investment.
The guiding philosophy for many years was that going to college will help you earn more in your career. Realistically, though, as more people get degrees, the value of each degree in the job market decreases.
While a degree from higher education might be necessary for certain professions, for others it might just be a waste of money and time.
Are you wondering what high-paying jobs without a degree you can get? Let’s take a look at some of the jobs that pay well without a degree.
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1. Computer Security Analyst
You might also hear this profession referred to as an information security analyst. These people help to protect the computer networks and systems of organizations and businesses.
While some employers might be looking to hire someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar field, some prefer to emphasize having skills in IT security, programming, and computer science.
The average salary for this position is $99,730.
2. Distribution Managers in Transportation and Storage
In order to get a job as a manager in this capacity, you typically need a high school diploma and at least 5 years of work experience that occurred in a similar field. In this role, you’ll be in charge of efficiently overseeing the shipping and allocation of merchandise. Managers in this capacity are in charge of coordinating, planning, and directing the transportation of all goods for a company.
The median annual salary for this position is $94,730.
3. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators
This is a job that does require extensive on-the-job training; however, a degree isn’t necessary. It is common for people in this position to start off their careers as equipment operators. They will also have to receive formal technical training in order to prepare for and pass the exam from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Once you’ve worked your way up, though, the median annual wage for this position is $94,350.
4. Database Manager
You might also hear this job referred to as a “database administrator.” In this position, you would organize and store data with the help of specialized software.
Database managers are responsible for ensuring that data is available to those who need to access it and not available to those that don’t.
You can find this type of position in just about any industry. However, it’s common for them to work for businesses in the field of computer systems support and design.
You might find that some positions require a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. However, some companies prefer to hire people who have strong experience in database languages such as SQL.
The average salary for this position is $93,750.
5. Computer Programmer
Some computer programmers might have a bachelor’s or an associate degree, others land their jobs with extensive experience.
There are also certificates that can be received to show your competence in different programming languages. Some people pursuing this path also attend a boot camp in order to land a job.
Computer programmers are responsible for creating, writing, and testing code. This code is what allows applications and computer programs to function properly.
You’ll normally have to know a wide variety of different programming languages for this position. One of the great things about this job is that many programmers are able to work remotely, allowing for a lot of job flexibility.
The median wage for this position is $86,550 a year.
6. Network and Computer Systems Administrator
Another one of the best jobs without a degree is that of a network and computer systems administrator. These people are responsible for the installation and operation of a company’s computer system. There are jobs available in this role in just about every industry.
When looking for job openings, you might find that some require a bachelor’s degree. However, it has become increasingly common to only require strong computer skills and a postsecondary certificate.
The average wage to be a network and computer systems administrator is $83,510.
7. First-Line Supervisors of Detectives and Police
You might also hear this position referred to as police sergeants, police captains, or patrol sergeants. Responsible for making sure that all procedures and cases are legally and properly conducted, in this role you would also train new staff members.
For this position, you need a high school diploma. On top of that, quite a bit of on-the-job training is required.
The median annual salary for this position is $89,030.
8. Power Distributors and Dispatchers
If you’re looking for jobs without a degree and you’ve always had a knack for electricity, you might consider becoming a power distributor or dispatcher. You’ll also find this job referred to as “systems operators.”
In this position, an individual monitors a network of transmission and distribution lines. If problems crop up, such as transmission or transformer line failures, it’s their responsibility to fix these problems.
If you’re looking for careers without a degree, you can pursue this line of work with just a high school diploma. However, you will also need to gain several years of on-the-job training and experience.
For people who are working in a capacity that could affect the power grid, they might have to receive further certification. This would be through the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s System Operator Certification Program.
The median annual salary for this position is $86,410.
Are you wondering what skills are worth developing to help you land a job after school? Check out the ten most important skills employers are looking for.
9. Commercial Pilots
While this is one of the jobs that pay well without a degree, you will have to get a commercial pilot’s license.
As a commercial pilot, you handle unscheduled flight activities. These might include aerial tours, charter flights, and aerial applications. If you choose to become a corporate pilot, you’ll be responsible for transporting business executives.
There are other non-flight duties that you might also be responsible for. These include loading luggage, arranging for maintenance, and scheduling flights.
It is common for commercial pilots to complete their training at flight training schools or with independent flight instructors that are certified by the FAA.
For this position, the median annual salary is $82,240.
(Are you interested in learning without racking up college debt? Check out this article about the best history books to understand the world.)
10. Detectives and Criminal Investigators
These particular types of law enforcement officers are responsible for gathering facts and collecting evidence in regard to criminal cases. They do everything from examining records and conducting interviews to observing suspects and participating in arrests.
It is common to specialize in one specific type of crime. This might mean focusing in fraud or homicide.
At least a high school diploma or equivalent is required for this position. Some police departments or federal agencies might require a college degree or some college coursework.
The annual median salary for this position is $81,920.
11. Electrical and Electronics Repair People
In this role, these electricians, technicians, or repairers are responsible for maintaining, inspecting, and repairing electrical equipment.
Some employers might prefer applicants who have completed some coursework at a technical school or community college in electronics. However, others might only require that you have a high school diploma.
While this is one of the careers without a degree that pay fairly well, it is common for individuals in this field to start their career off as an electrician. This helps them gain the experience they need in order to perform this role.
The median annual wage for this job is $80,200.
Which of These High-Paying Jobs Without a Degree Appeals to You?
As you can see, a college degree isn’t always necessary to make a decent salary. These are only some of the highest-paying jobs without a degree that you can get out of high school or with some additional certification.
Maybe one of these best-paying jobs without a degree is perfect for you, or maybe you’re still on the search. That’s okay!
Deciding which career path to choose can be an overwhelming question. One of the best things you can do is to expose yourself to as many possibilities as you can. This way, you can get a sense of what your options are.
It can also be a good idea to find individuals who work in the fields you might be interested in when searching for the best paying jobs without a degree. They can give you a better sense of what the job is like on a day-to-day basis.
Are you looking for more ideas when it comes to careers you can obtain without a high school diploma? Are you wondering whether or not you should go to college or finish what you’ve started? Take a look at this article to help you decide whether college is right for you.