10 High-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts and has counseled both students and corporations on hiring practices. She has given hundreds of interviews on the topic for outlets including The New York Times, BBC News, and LinkedIn. Alison founded CareerToolBelt.com and has been an expert in the field for more than 20 years.
Are you seeking a high-paying job, but don’t want to invest in a four-year or graduate degree? You don’t need to have a college degree to get a good job. There is a new kind of job that emphasizes skills over education and work experience.
“New-collar jobs,” also known as “middle-skill jobs,” are those that require certain hard skills, but do not necessarily require a four-year college degree (or an extensive work history). Often, employees can get the skills they need for the job through vocational training, a certificate program, an apprenticeship, or a two-year degree program.
Hospitals, state governments, schools, manufacturers, IT companies, and other organizations have begun to search for employees with the right skills, rather than the right degree. Some companies even offer paid training programs for job candidates, which are similar to apprenticeships.
Here is a list of 10 of the top new-collar jobs. These are jobs that do not require a four-year degree, offer good salaries, and are in high demand. Read the descriptions of each job, as well as a list of more opportunities, and see which new-collar job is right for you.
A database manager (also known as a database administrator) is someone who stores and organizes data using specialized software. He or she makes sure that data is secure and available to the people who need access to it. Database managers can work in almost any industry, but they typically work for companies in computer systems design and support.
While some database manager jobs require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in management information systems, some employers look for database managers who simply have strong knowledge of database languages, such as Structures Query Language (SQL).
Many top-earning digital marketers have nothing but a high school diploma. They’re either self-taught or enrolled in digital marketing courses rather than spending four years to obtain a general college degree.
Many successful real estate professionals don’t have a college education. Instead, they obtain a high school diploma and then proceed to get their real estate license and begin working.
Like salespeople (mentioned earlier) real estate agents and brokers earn a commission or percentage of the deals they close, so your earnings can be very high (hundreds of thousands of dollars) if you are successful in this business.
Because this job is typically centered around one city or location and requires you to build a network, it’s best to choose this path if you plan on staying in your city or region for a long time.
After that, you’d want to look for an apprenticeship to begin learning the job-related skills. You may also need to obtain licenses as a final step, depending on what state(s) you’re going to be working in.
I began my career working as a cashier at Whole Foods Market (before they were acquired by Amazon). This was more than a decade ago, yet even then, the store manager made more than $80,000.
Department leaders (like the head of customer service, produce, meat and fish, etc.) all made approximately $20-22 per hour… and were on the path toward potentially becoming store leaders.
So if you don’t mind having to work some odd hours and weekends (which is normal for practically everyone in retail), and don’t mind interacting with customers, then don’t overlook retail store management.
Requirements: You must have completed your high school diploma or equivalent, complete a vocational education program and earn a certificate from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Most employers will offer specific on-the-job training, too.
Requirements: You must have completed your high school diploma or equivalent, be at least 18 years of age, have a driver’s license in the state where you will work, pass written and physical tests and complete fire academy training. Some states may also require firefighters to earn an EMT license.
Primary job duties: Firefighters respond to fires, car accidents, floods, chemical spills and other emergency situations on a moment’s notice to rescue humans and animals and protect the general public. When they’re not on a call, on-duty firefighters work to keep the station and equipment cleaned, maintained and ready for use.