A college degree has long been thought of as a necessary requirement to landing a good-paying job, but that’s not always the case. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 jobs that require little to no college education, and ones where you can support yourself (e.g. working at McDonald’s, while not requiring a college degree, wouldn’t make the cut). Jobs also have to pay at least $30,000 a year to make the list.
You’ll have to undergo specialized training for this, but it certainly doesn’t take a college degree. Instead, you’ll likely undergo an apprenticeship with a more experienced welder, giving you time to building up your knowledge and skills on the latest technologies in the field.
Average Salary: $35,220
Lost keys and broken locks are an inevitability when owning a home, even if it doesn’t happen on a weekly basis. And with picking locks and installing new ones is not a difficult job at all, you can skip college and head directly to payday.
Average Salary: $37,550
If you’re starting to sense a pattern with jobs in the trades, you’d be absolutely right. Working with your hands can be very profitable, especially in plumbing, one of the largest construction industries in the country. Your job will be gloopy and messy and you’ll have to first complete an apprenticeship followed by an exam, but you’re your own plumber after that.
Average Salary: $50,360
4. Subway Operator
Getting paid to ride the rails all day? In cities that feature a subway system, that dream is a reality for people who haven’t gotten a college degree. The job has a tendency to get a little monotonous because you’re underground all shift, but the subway operators who crack a few jokes over the intercom are the ones riders appreciate most.
Average Salary: $56,880
5. Claims Adjuster
When people file insurance claims, it’ll be your job to investigate the details of it and report accordingly. It can be a pretty thankless job, especially if the claimants aren’t pleased with your final figures, but the numbers on your paycheck will make everything else a faint memory.
Average Salary: $59,290
6. Dental Hygienist
When people show up for their twice-yearly dental appointments, you’re their first point of contact. Typical duties include checking in with them for the last six months, performing a cleaning, and ascertaining any preliminary dental damage (or health!) to pass onto the dentist.
Average Salary: $68,000
7. Police Officer/Detective
Almost all states don’t require you to have education, but each police department varies on what that means. For example, with the New York Police Department, you need to have “successfully completed either sixty (60) college credits from an accredited college or university with at least a 2.0 GPA or two (2) years, full-time United States Military Service.
Average Salary: $44,744 (NYPD Police Academy) to $68,820 (detective or criminal investigator)
8. Air Traffic Controller
On the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website, highly educated people have the option of using their college degree as a qualification, but it’s not a must. Instead, you can opt for either “three years of progressively responsible work experience…or a combination of post-secondary education and work experience that totals three years”. All those accepted have to start at the FAA Academy, anyway, and before they turn 31.
Average Salary: $108,040
If you like measuring things as precisely as possible and think nothing beats working outside, then this is a great fit for you. Being a surveyor means figuring out boundaries and borders by using exact measurements, and ranges from commercial enterprises to individual homes.
Average (Starting) Salary: $31,000, but contains an income growth potential of 190%
10. Freelance Web Developer
Cut out the middle man and work for yourself, because that’s where the big bucks are. You don’t need a college degree anymore to “work on internet”, as computer science info is widely available online for free. What’ll get you noticed—and paid—is your ability to do the job better, quicker, and more efficiently than others.
Average (Starting) Salary: $43,000
For a list of jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree and their salaries, visit the following sites: