Not all high-paying jobs in the US require a college degree. There are also many non-degree skills and experiences that you earn big from. Our list of the Highest-Paying Jobs Without A Degree features the best jobs that don’t have a degree requirement and yield the highest earning potential. Check out which best-paying jobs without a degree may be the right fit for you.


Plenty of high-paying and fulfilling jobs don’t require a degree. Some of these jobs require an associate degree, some trade school, and others specific certifications or apprenticeships. You can earn good money and enjoy meaningful work without spending four years at college. This does not in any way eliminate the importance of you getting a degree. However, there are many whose career path doesn’t require a university degree. While you may not need a bachelor’s degree, you may need some form of education.


While some of the jobs listed may need a bit more education and require a postsecondary nondegree award, many jobs only require a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also discover that some high-paying jobs on the list don’t require any formal education credentials.

Top 10 High-Paying Jobs in the US Without a Degree

1. Commercial Pilots

Commercial pilots navigate aircraft for charter flights, rescue operations, aerial photography, and other non-airline flights. A college degree is not necessary in order to work as a commercial pilot. Commercial pilots earn their wings through training and experience, with many attending certified flight schools. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, jobs for commercial pilots are growing faster than average. The average salary potential for commercial pilots is $160,480.

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2. Aircraft Mechanics

Aircraft mechanics are responsible for keeping planes safe and in top working condition. They inspect planes for damage, perform required maintenance and make repairs. Aircraft mechanics also keep detailed logs of plane maintenance and repairs. Although they don’t need a college degree for this job, they require certification from the Federal Aviation Association.


3. Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers are responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient movement of aircraft. The work can be demanding and requires controllers to make judgments quickly. They are also subject to stringent rules and work in stressful conditions. Air traffic controllers’ jobs are secure, and they are given perks like paid time off and insurance coverage. The minimal educational qualification is a high school diploma, however, most air traffic controllers go through an FAA-approved training course. Additionally, they need to pass a series of exams given by the FAA. The average salary of an air traffic controller is around $129,750.


4. Makeup Artists

Make-up artists are among the best-paying jobs without a degree in the US. These artists prepare actors for theatrical performances and film and TV productions. There’s no formal post-secondary academic training necessary for this occupation but it basically requires talent. Newly hired makeup artists undergo a fairly extensive on-the-job training programme that may take at least two years to complete. Employment opportunities for makeup artists are growing faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), so it’s a good time to enter the field. Typically, a makeup artist could get as much as $130,710 annually.

5. Construction Managers

Construction managers oversee construction projects from cost estimates to final inspections. They may supervise subcontractors working on building, masonry, electrical systems, or plumbing. Construction managers are required to have a high school diploma, but some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in construction management. Candidates must also have several years of experience working in the construction industry.

6. Real Estate Agent/Broker

Real estate agents help connect buyers and sellers of real property, such as homes, land, and commercial buildings. The more houses you can sell, the more money you make. If you want to be a house agent, you need to be good at networking and building relationships. You must also be comfortable working long hours, as your clients often want to see properties outside regular business hours. The neat thing about real estate is that it’s commission-based, so you eat what you kill. You can put in lots of hours and effort to grow your business, or you can work on a more flexible and part-time schedule. Most states require real estate brokers to have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete some real estate courses and pass a state-administered exam. The average annual salary for a real estate agent is around $75,010.


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7. Elevator Installer and Repairer

Elevator installers and repairers make good money working with their hands. They’re often required to be on call 24 hours a day for repairs. Elevators require proper installation and regular maintenance to transport individuals safely. Most states in the US require a license to work on an elevator system. This occupation requires workers to work at tall heights and in cramped spaces. Despite the working conditions, they’re compensated well. With a high school diploma or equivalent and apprenticeship, you are set to venture into this career path. The average pay for the workers in this field is $97, 450. This earns them a place on our list of best-paying jobs in the US without a degree.

8. Web Developer

Web developers create and maintain websites and are responsible for the design, layout, and content. They also create and implement web-based applications. You don’t need a college degree to become a web developer, but you should be proficient in coding languages, especially HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Web development is a high-demand job that you can find in a variety of agencies or businesses. On the other hand, you can work as a freelancer if you don’t want to be tied to a particular organization. In the US, most web developers make up to  $107,000 a year.

9. Plumber

You may be surprised at seeing plumbing getting a spot on our list of high-paying non-degree jobs in the US. In reality, plumbers are actually some of the high-paying non-degree professionals in the US. A plumber is a tradesman who works with plumbing and piping systems. Plumbers can repair plumbing systems in residential and commercial buildings. A plumber can also repair a building’s drains by cleaning them, removing blockages, and replacing damaged pipes. They can install plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, bathtubs, and water heaters. Some of them earn as high as $60, 000 annually.


10. Product Manager

Distribution managers are among the best-paid non-degree jobs in the US. Distribution managers may assist businesses in making plans for their products, ensuring their safety, and achieving their distribution and production targets. They can design inventory management programs that display how many goods a business has on hand and manage product delivery. A distribution manager can also plan maintenance for warehouse machinery and transportation vehicles.



With the right skills and training, you can start your career in a high-paying field without setting foot in a college classroom. A college degree may not be a requirement for these jobs, but it is always a good idea to further your education. With the ever-changing workforce landscape, it is crucial to be open to new opportunities.

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