If you're looking for a high-paying job but didn't go to college, you're in luck. Check out this list of the 10 best careers you can learn without a degree.

10 Highest Paying Jobs (Without College Education): The Best Careers for Non-Traditional Students

It’s no secret that the cost of college tuition has been on the rise for years. And with student loan debt reaching epidemic proportions, more and more people are looking for alternatives to a traditional four-year degree. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry – there are plenty of high-paying jobs you can learn without a college degree. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at 10 of the highest-paying jobs you can get without a diploma. So whether you’re just getting started in your career or you’re looking to make a change, read on for some great options!

10 Highest Paying Jobs You Can Learn Without College

1 . Commercial Pilot

Soaring through the clouds in a jetliner is one of the coolest jobs out there, and it doesn’t require a college degree. To become a commercial pilot, you’ll need to attend an FAA-approved flight school and earn your pilot’s license. Once you’ve logged enough flight hours, you can apply for a job with an airline or other commercial flying services.

The salary for commercial pilots can vary pretty widely depending on the company you work for and the type of aircraft you fly, but the median income is around $78,740 per year. And if you really want to make some serious money, you can always become a corporate or private jet pilot – those guys can make upwards of $100,000 per year or more! So if you’ve ever dreamed of being a pilot, there’s no need to let go of that dream – just start working towards your goal today. Who knows, maybe someday you’ll be the one flying me around on vacation!

2 . Web Developer

There are plenty of well-paying jobs out there that don’t require a college degree or diploma. If you’re looking to make a good wage without racking up student debt, becoming a web developer is a great option. The demand for web developers is high, and the median salary for the profession is over $67,000 per year. Plus, you can get started in this field without spending years in school. Many web developers are self-taught or have completed short-term training programs. So if you’re willing to put in the work, you can start earning a good living as a web developer without ever setting foot in a classroom.

3 . Sales Manager

Sales managers are responsible for leading and guiding the whole team of salespeople. They work to ensure that the team meets its sales goals and targets. A successful sales manager must be able to motivate and inspire their team, as well as provide them with the necessary tools and resources. They also need to have strong communication and negotiation skills. While a college degree is not required to become a sales manager, many employers prefer candidates who have one. The median annual salary for sales managers is $120,000.

4 . Personal Trainer

Think college is the only way to make good money? Think again! There are plenty of well-paying jobs out there that don’t require a four-year degree. Here’s one of them: personal trainer. 

As a personal trainer, you’ll help people reach their fitness goals. This can be anything from training for a marathon to simply becoming more active. No matter what the goal is, it’ll be your job to design a personalized workout plan and help your clients stick to it. 

Of course, being a personal trainer requires more than just knowing how to make someone sweat. You also need to be able to motivate and encourage your clients. After all, working out isn’t always easy! But if you’re patient and have good people skills, you’ll do great as a personal trainer. 

The best part about being a personal trainer? The pay! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for personal trainers is $39,820 per year. Plus, you can often set your own hours and even work from home if you want to. 

5 . Freelance Photographer

Ever thought about ditching the 9-to-5 and pursuing a career that lets you set your own hours? If so, you’re in luck — there are plenty of high-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. And if you’re interested in a creative field, one option to consider is freelance photography. As a freelancer, you’ll be able to choose the types of assignments you work on and set your own rates.

Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the flexibility that comes with being your own boss. Of course, becoming a successful freelance photographer takes more than just owning a nice camera — it requires talent, dedication, and a strong work ethic. But if you’re up for the challenge, it can be an incredibly rewarding career. Not to mention, it’s one of the highest-paying jobs you can learn without going to college!

6 . Air Traffic Controllers

Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of aircraft to maintain safe distances between them. It’s one of the highest-paying jobs you can learn without going to college! An air traffic controller’s median salary is $124,540 per year, and the job outlook is positive, with a projected 6% growth in employment from 2019-to 2029.1

To become an air traffic controller, you must first complete a degree from an accredited college or university or complete an air traffic control specialist program at an FAA-approved facility. You also need to pass a written exam and a skills test. Once you’ve completed these requirements, you’ll need to obtain a license from the FAA.

With the high salaries and promising job outlook, becoming an air traffic controller is a great way to start your career without attending college!

7 . Construction And Building Inspectors

It’s no secret that a college degree doesn’t guarantee you a job. In fact, many of the highest-paying jobs out there don’t require a four-year degree. If you’re looking for a well-paying career that doesn’t require a lengthy (and expensive) education, consider becoming a construction or building inspector. Construction and building inspectors are responsible for ensuring that structures meet code requirements. They typically work for government agencies or private engineering firms, and their job duties can include anything from inspecting foundations to checking for fire hazards.

The median annual salary for construction and building inspectors is $58,340, and the top 10% earn over $93,350 per year. Plus, the job outlook is promising—the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment will grow by 5% between 2018 and 2028. So if you’re interested in a high-paying career in the construction industry, becoming a construction or building inspector is a great option to consider.

8 . Makeup Artist

Whether you’re looking to make some extra cash or start a new career, becoming a makeup artist is a great option. With the rise of social media, there is a growing demand for talented artists who can help people look their best. While you don’t need to have a college degree to become a successful makeup artist, you will need to have some natural talent and be willing to put in the time to perfect your craft.

There are many ways to learn about makeup, including attending workshops, taking classes, or simply experimenting on your own. Once you have developed your skills, it’s important to build up a strong portfolio that you can show prospective clients. Networking is also key in this industry, so attend as many industry events as you can and make sure to stay connected on social media.

If you’re passionate about makeup and have the drive to be successful, becoming a makeup artist can be a great way to turn your passion into a lucrative career.

9 . Ship Engineers

Many people believe that the only way to achieve success is by attending a four-year university. However, there are actually many high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. One of these careers is ship engineering. Ship engineers are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the engine room on a vessel.

They must have strong knowledge of diesel engines, boiler systems, and electrical generators. Ship engineers typically start out as engine room assistants or oilers and then move up through the ranks as they gain experience. The median salary for ship engineers is $85,000 per year, making it an excellent career choice for those who are looking for a high-paying job without the need for a college degree.

10 . Financial Managers

If you’re looking to make a high salary without the hassle (and cost) of attending college, then you might want to consider a career in finance. Financial managers are responsible for overseeing the financial health of an organization, and they are often well-compensated for their expertise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for financial managers is over $100,000. And with the right experience, you can easily command a six-figure salary. So if you’re good with numbers and have an interest in business, then a career in finance might be the right choice for you.


So, if you’re looking for a high-paying job but don’t want to go to college or university, consider one of the careers on our list. With the right training and a little hard work, you could be on your way to a lucrative career that doesn’t require four years (or more) of study. Have we convinced you? What are you waiting for? Start exploring your options and see which of these top-paying jobs is the perfect fit for you!



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