10 Best Paying Jobs, No College Degree Required


Have you considered diving headfirst into the job force without a four-year college degree or making a major career change?

The beauty of 2013 is that today college has become less and less critical for making a pretty decent salary and keeping yourself out of debt. In fact, some of the hottest jobs on the market only require an associate’s degree, vocational certification, or even less.

Two Reasons People Are Foregoing College

“I’m just not into college, I’d rather learn on the job,” recently exclaimed my friend Heather. She has been an on-again, off-again student, and finally decided she would rather be earning dollars than a diploma.

As the beholder of both a bachelors and masters degree myself, I had to admit to Heather the majority of my courses didn’t directly make me better at my job. My skill set is largely the result of my experiences in the workplace.

The second common complaint is the rising cost of education and debt after college. According to a recent Forbes report, the average American graduate owes $27,000 in college loans.  This has led to the growing discussion on the true “worth” of college. Most college graduates end their education with dreams of grandeur, assuming they will make big bank.

“The ugly truth… is that entry-level salaries are often no match for massive monthly student loan payments, or worse, there’s no job available by the time the first payment comes due,” shares Halah Touryalai of Forbes.

10 Best Paying Jobs that Don’t Require a College Degree

Depending on your passions and talents, there is probably an excellent career out there for you. For guidance, we have compiled 10 potential-filled options:

Web Developer
The average salary of a Web developer is $76,000. To score a great job, enroll in a certification program. For example, General Assembly offers 12-week intensive programs in New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles. The curriculum is centered around an innovative “learning-by-doing” methodology. You can expect to earn about $43,000 for your first job.

Air Traffic Controller
Not only can you become an air traffic controller without going to college, it’s possible to earn up to $160,000 per year. Getting the job depends on your ability to complete a rigorous training program at the Federal Aviation Administration’s facility in Oklahoma City.

Dental Hygienist
Willing to spend a couple years in college? Dental Hygiene requires two years of coursework, which leads to an associate’s degree and certification. Once you jump into the workforce, starting salary is $45,000. Over time, it can increase substantially, plus you can develop a flexible schedule.

Insurance Agent
There is never a shortage of insurance-related jobs, which average $47,000 per year. According to, the income growth potential of an entry-level insurance agent is 342 percent. Your success in this position depends on your ability to build and maintain relationships.

Prefer life in the outdoors? As a surveyor, you’re responsible for making exact measurements and determining property boundaries. Depending on the state you live in, there are varying requirements, while the average salary across the nation is $55,000.

Tax Examiner
If you’re a detail oriented person, the IRS has a career path for you. With a median salary of $49,000 (with 207 percent income growth potential) and great benefits, tax examiners are always in demand. To qualify, you must have your high school diploma or GED at minimum.

Online Advertising Manager
Sales minded individuals can make a lot of money (between $40,000 and $100,00+) in the online advertising world. In this role, you secure online ads for Websites, place ads, and/or implement advertising campaigns. Many organizations hire people without a college education — the key is being a people person and ambitious from the word “go.”

Nuclear Medicine Technologist
A two-year associate’s degree in nuclear medicine technology will prepare you to work directly with patients undergoing radiology treatment. The job involves administering radioactive chemical compounds, performing imaging procedures, and analyzing biologic specimens. The median salary for this position is $71,000.

Court Reporter
Life is never boring in a courtroom for court reporters, also known as stenographers and voice writers. To become certified, you receive training in a vocational or technical school certified by The National Court Reporters Association or National Verbatim Reporters Association. The average salary is about $51,000.

Electrical Technician
Enjoy working with electrical gadgets? To become an electrician, you must have a high school diploma or GED and join an electrician apprenticeship program. You then become licensed and are ready to make a decent wage –an average of $45,000. As time progresses, you may decide to specialize and increase your salary to $75,000 or more.