8 High-Paying Jobs in America Without a College Degree

high paying jobs that don't require a college degree

Are there high paying jobs that don’t require a college degree? This is one of the most asked questions by people that have not managed to get into college. The answer to that is yes. With your high school diploma, there are opportunities out there for you.

Not every individual manages to get high grades that lead to college admission. Neither is everyone is in a position to afford the high cost of college tuition. And not everyone that went to college is happy where they wound up. Some are drowning in high student loans while others are still looking for jobs that will pay them for what they think they are worth.

If you are still planning to go to college after high school, I’m all for that. According to a USA Today article, the pay gap between college graduates and everyone else is at a record high and is still accelerating.

But if you cannot afford college, there are also good and rewarding careers available for you and get paid well without a college degree.

Here Are Some of the Best High Paying Jobs in America That Don’t Require a College Degree:

Postal manager

postal manager

Yes, people still send regular postal mails even after emails tried to take over. Regardless of the efficiency, we enjoy with emails, we still send letters and other packages through the postal offices every now and then. That means that postal offices are still in operation and need people to manage. Postal managers manage, do administrative work, plan, coordinate operations in a postal office or facility.

Though most postal managers started off as a regular postal employee like a mailman, mail handler or postal clerk, this experience can lead to a postal manager job.

Postal jobs are considered Federal workers so aside from the good salary, they also enjoy all the benefits of a government employee, such as a retirement plan or Thrift Savings Plan for Federal workers.

Postal managers earn an average of $71,980 in a year, which translates to around $5,998.33 in a month.

UX/UI designer

ux/ui designer

UX designers focus primarily on the user’s experiences. As a UX designer, your job is to provide users of various products and services for companies a great experience in whatever business they offer. UI designers, on the other hand, focus on the interaction between users and the cues and visual elements of a product or service.

As much as these two are seemingly different, it is possible for one to be both.

Some UX/UI designers taught themselves to be one while others attended a UX/UI design boot camps like General Assembly and Designation.

There are also numerous online courses that can teach you UX/UI designs. Start with sites like Udemy, Career Foundry, and Mockplus Tutorial among others.

If you love creative designing and are good with computers, you should learn to become a UX/UI designer and start making money. Although a college education or a degree is preferred by some employers, it’s not generally a requirement.

UX designers can make as much as over $120,000 a year depending on your level of experience.

Graphic designer

graphic designer

There are numerous graphic designers out there that have managed to make thousands of dollars by designing graphics. Some graphic designers have made it without getting a college certificate in graphic design.

There are also boot camps or training camps available if you are serious about this line of work. And again, a college degree is not a requirement.

If you know your way around computers and are interested in creating graphics, you can learn to design using various platforms on your own. Additionally, you do not have to pitch yourself to companies that are only interested in college graduates. There are a number of online sites where you can freelance as a graphic designer.

Create an account with sites like Fiverr and Upwork and create a portfolio that will market your skills. Some freelance graphic designers make as much as $60 per hour. And the good thing about this is as long as you have designs of great quality and meet client’s requirement, not having a college degree is the least of your worries.

The median pay for graphic designers is $47, 640 per year.

Real estate agent

real estate agent

There are individuals out there looking for great houses to buy in various parts of the cities. From apartments to penthouses, contemporary homes, cottages and mansions among others. The real estate business will always be here. If you like sales and talking to people is one of your skills, a career in real estate may be for you.

You will need to pass a real estate exam for your State to become a licensed real estate agent and if you are ready to take your career to the next level, with some experience you can become a real estate broker and be in business for yourself. You will need another licensed to operate as a broker though. Please check your state requirements. Real estate agents usually start as an agent and elevate themselves to a real estate broker after a few years of experience.

Best paid Real estate agents made an average of $71950  (2017 data). 



As a plumber, your job is to install, maintain and repair water pipes, steam systems, valves, pipelines and all types of general fixtures. It could be for homes, offices, or factories among others. The minimum requirement from most employers looking for plumbers is a high school diploma. With proper training, some plumbing education, plumbing licensed and experience you are good to go.

Plumbers are always in demand and most of them are union members, which gives them access to great health insurance and retirement benefits.

With time, you can even start your own plumbing business and start earning more. I remember hiring an independent contractor plumber one day due to a busted water pipe and was charged $436 for a two-hour job. A high-paying job indeed I must say.

Plumbers make a median salary of $52,590 a year, which is around $4,290.50 in a month- give or take.  That is some pretty decent money for someone that does not have a college degree plastered somewhere on their living room wall.

Licensed truck driver

licensed truck driver

As long as you do not mind spending a lot of time away from home and love driving then you are good to go. The annual salary will also depend on the type of company you are working for. It will also depend on the years of experience you have and what you will be transporting. Some trucking companies transport gas while other transport hazardous chemicals. Such truck drivers earn more than those that do not transport such items.

The basic requirements as a licensed truck driver include being 21 years of age and above (in most states). You will also need to have a clean driving record and a high school diploma or GED. Also, make sure you are eligible to work in your state or in the country in case you get a job with a truck company that does interstate trucking services.

If you know you have met these requirements, go ahead and sign up with a truck driving school that is close to you. Pick a program that you feel suits you. This will help you learn the rules and regulations of truck driving as well as give you a chance to do practical truck driving lessons. After this, take your licensing exams as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) exam, pass, and start applying to jobs.

As with most truck driving companies, there is an orientation period and a training period with experienced drivers. Passing this part of the test is what will get you your own truck and driving route. A Commercial Learner’s Permit (CPL) and or a Commercial Driver’s Licensed (CDL) specific for truck drivers is usually required by Federal and State law to have.

Licensed truck drivers make between $45,000 to more than $80,000 in a year.

Creative writer

creative writer

From creating website content to writing eBooks, prose, poems, scripts, blog posts, and product descriptions. Creative writing is one of the high paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. All you need to be is a good writer with proficiency in the English language.

You can either be employed by a firm or you can work as a Freelancer. If you want to work on your own as a freelancer, a good start is to create your account with Freelancing sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer. Depending on your writing experience or skills, you can charge as high as $45 per hour. Some even charge higher rates and still able to get clients.

Being an English major in a fancy college or holding a college degree is not your ticket to making good money as a creative writer.

There are also numerous sites that you can visit that can help if you want to develop or polish your creative writing skills.

On average creative writers makes over $46,000 per year.


athlete high paying jobs without a degree

We all know that athletes make a lot of money, especially professional athletes. Are you great at basketball at your school? Maybe you are great at tennis, running, gymnastics or football among others. A lot of famous athletes in any field of sports are getting paid extremely well and without degrees. After high school, they are simply discovered by scouts or they sign up as an athlete with various teams and compete.

Start competing in athletic events in your area, build your name, and get a manager as you keep progressing. Some athletes have even made to represent the country in various international sports and made thousands of dollars.

Keep developing your skills, there’s a lot of work to do but if you stay focus on your goal, with hard work and proper mindset, anything is possible. Your athletic prowess could be your ticket to making money without a college degree.

Athletes can make as much as $50,000 to millions of dollars a year. They are considered as one of the highest-paying professions in the world. 

In closing

Not getting into college should not discourage you from getting a high paying job. There are many high paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. It is only your imagination and capabilities that will limit you.

Use anything that you have to your advantage. Perfect your graphic designs with a few online tutorials and start working as a freelancer. We have postal offices that need managers and trucking companies that need drivers. At the end of it all, a college education is not a requirement to be successful. It’s not a requirement to make a good amount of money. With perseverance and self-discipline, you can compete and land a high paying job without a degree and succeed.

BA in Accountancy, he entered the entrepreneurial world by starting his first online marketing business in 2004. He is passionate about personal finance, self-development, the stock market, and a digital marketing addict. He strongly believes that financial knowledge combined with self-discipline is the key to achieving financial freedom.  He is also an avid golfer and a 15 handicapper.

    Moneylogue articles delivered straight to your inbox

    Disclosure: This site uses affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we sometimes receive a small compensation if you purchase through the links within our articles.