Best Paying Jobs Without a College Degree

In some industries, a Bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma. However, for those of us that did not aspire to academic greatness, there are still a wide variety of jobs that offer excellent compensation without demanding a degree. Here are the top occupations available to anyone with a high school diploma and the necessary drive to learn and succeed.

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Air Traffic Controllers

While computers can help plot the safe departure and arrival of planes, it takes a quick-minded human to play traffic cop of the friendly skies. With the constant delays, air traffic controllers are constantly readjusting the schedules so that planes do not interfere with one another or fly too close. While no degree is necessary, applicants must attend and pass a course offered by the Federal Aviation Administration. Successful air traffic controllers can expect to make over $100,000 or more. However, the job is considered very stressful and burn-out rates are high. Obesity, hypertension, and peptic ulcers are also common in this occupation. Those who are successful at it enjoy high-pressure situations, thinking on their feet, and multi-tasking.

A Variety of Management Positions

There is a large selection of managerial jobs that are usually awarded to long-standing, loyal employees. Managers in logistics, industrial production, storage, and distribution enjoy salaries ranging from $79,000 to $85,000 and beyond. While some of these positions require outrageous hours and high responsibility, others are more reasonable. Often, managers are plucked from the workforce already employed by the company, so treating every job as if it could become a high-paying opportunity is the best approach.

Drill Operators

The drills used to release natural gas and crude oil from the earth are complicated, multi-million-dollar machines. While safety measures are paramount in these industries, there is also the constant threat of explosions, fires, and (in the case of gas) asphyxiation. Average salaries in the field range from $58,000 to $64,000. Many of these jobs are taught to those working in the field, so starting out working on rigs or derricks is the right place to start. An ability and willingness to travel is also important, as new sites are constantly being explored and drilled.

Commercial Divers

If plundering the high seas for treasures long forgotten is your idea of fun, becoming a commercial diver could net you a salary of $58,060 on average. Commercial divers do a wide variety of jobs, including inspecting underwater bridge components, welding, salvage, videography and photography, and even teaching others to dive. Those wishing to learn to dive often do so by learning from other experienced people and taking classes related to safety, diving equipment, and the work to be performed.

Sales Reps in Technical, Medical, or Wholesale Capacities

The person who visits your doctor and sells him their particular brand of medications makes around $72,000 a year. The same can be said for those who peddle supplies to medical research facilities and the person in charge of selling new textbooks to schools and universities. These occupations usually require huge amounts of driving or flying. Odd hours are often necessary, considering that you may have to meet those responsible for purchasing around their own schedules.

Elevator Installers and Technicians

This field pays around $69,000, and a very experienced technician might make as much as $80,000. Most of those working in this field learned from others by being an apprentice and by attending safety classes. Workers must be comfortable with heights and may need to be on call at odd hours. In cases of elevator entrapment, you may need to keep a cool head with hysterical people crying to be released. You will also need to be comfortable in confined spaces.

Police and Fire Fighter Supervisors

In police and fire work, those who do well as beat cops or volunteers can often work their way up the ranks. Once you reach the supervisory level, you can expect an average salary of $68,000. The city you live in and the local cost of living will help determine which side of the average you will paid, along with your experience and service record. Be aware that many departments have mandatory retirement ages much lower than that of the general population, so be sure to have alternate plans for work once you meet the mandatory retirement age.

Artists, Musicians, Actors, and Writers

It bears worth mentioning that the average salary for these occupations is in the low-to-normal range. However, those that succeed often rake in six or seven-figure salaries. If you feel passionate about any of the arts, it is best to explore it while working another job you like. Don't get sucked into a job you do not like simply as 'filler'. Many of the best actors, writers, and musicians come from working-class backgrounds, so don't be afraid to explore an artistic path while still enjoying your primary job.

Obviously, a college degree is not a prerequisite for a successful, well-paid career. Often, performing a specialized task or possessing a specific skill set can earn a salary every bit as rewarding as that of a college graduate.

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Posted in Jobs/Employment Post Date 01/28/2021


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