While a degree is often considered a prerequisite for securing employment, many individuals, driven by a lack of interest or financial constraints, are unable to pursue higher education, casting doubt on their prospects of landing a high-paying job.

A user asked the forum, “What are high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree? At least $ 70k a year & up. Does that even exist?”. Let’s look at the top responses.


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One says, “Lots of trades can pay even more than that, plus in IT, certifications can get you in the door.”

The other says, “I work in IT, and he’s correct; certifications will help a lot depending on the field you’re looking into. One caveat you need to know is that you may need to get more and/or maintain your certification(s) status.

While you definitely don’t need a bachelors to get started, you should know that technology is always evolving. I have a Bachelor’s degree, and I feel like I am ALWAYS studying, and I’ll take college exams any day over certification exams.

It does get easier to do as you get more knowledgeable, but getting my very first cert was challenging; I passed, but it was definitely stressful for me. I would also say take time to LEARN what you’re studying for because you don’t want to be what we call “paper engineers”.

It will be obvious to your future colleagues right off the bat what your skill set is. IMO, technical roles are tough to “fake-it-until-you-make-it.” At my previous employer, we interviewed people who claimed they were Subject Matter Expert on something, and then when questioned, they knew almost nothing about the subject.

I think you should start with a network certification, not security; even CompTIA recommends Network+ before Security+. It’s not necessary, but I think it’s a good foundation to start with.”


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“If you’re in the US and under 31, Air traffic control. Depending on where you’re sent, it could be 65k-150k per year once you finish training with a pension and are forced to retire at 56 (the reason for the age limit of 31).

There is one bid per year for “off the street” hiring, which only requires three years of work experience. The hiring process can take up to a year and a half because the federal government doesn’t do anything efficiently.

But if you make it through that and get offered a position, you go to the academy in Oklahoma City for three months of pass/fail training. If you pass, you get the job and a list of locations to pick from (it will more than likely be far from Home).

Out of the academy, you’ll make $20-25 per hour to start and get raises throughout training as you reach certain milestones until you’re fully certified and you reach the minimum pay for that facility. That can range from 65k-150k (not exact numbers, but fairly close).

Pay depends on how busy the facility is, and it’s kind of the luck of the draw with no reasoning on why some facilities are offered. Back to the academy; if you fail, you no longer have the job. It’s a risk, and you will more than likely move to a different state, but you get federal benefits and good pay.

Training once you get to your facility takes 1-3 years. There are medical requirements and a pretty in-depth background check process.”


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“Sales. If you’re good at it.”


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“Go work on an oil drilling rig. 100k for six months of work. 2 weeks on, two weeks off. But it’s actual work.”


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“I’m not sure what country you’re in, but in Australia, train driving pays very well. I’m going through the training now. The pay is decent; I’m still a trainee but get decent money. It’s a lot more once qualified and has good penalty rates, too, so yearly income is well over 100k.”


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“Amazon. They’ve waived their degree requirement for the first few steps of management levels. My fiancee and I met while working at Amazon, both as level 1 warehouse associates.

I’ve since moved into another industry, but she’s stayed and climbed the ranks (about five years now), and she’s making roughly $95K. No degree, just Amazon experience and promoted up into management.”


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“Wastewater. You can make an absolutely great career with far-above-average pay. Get outside; if you’re good at wrapping your head around stuff, you get to learn chemistry and biology without the formal education, make a lot of money because people think it’s gross (sometimes it is, mostly it’s not), and save the planet. Great gig.”


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“Garbage Truck Driver. Our drivers clear over 100k with overtime and make 80k without. Full boat pension and benefits, too.”


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“Data Analytics. If you can learn skills in SQL, Excel, and other types of data software, salaries tend to be in the 100k+ range. It’s lower than software development, but the skill ceiling is lower, too.

Expertise in marketing tends to help a lot as well. Granted, those things can be pursued as degrees, but job experience tends to help even more.”


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“Dropped out of college to learn how to code. Five years later, I am making six figures, maxing out retirement accounts, and debt-free. The first job paid $65k/year back in 2017.”


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“Be a linemen. The electric grid will need to be upgraded all across America for at least the next 25 years. They can make 200k or more with OT.”


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“I make $175,000 a year managing cybersecurity teams at a Fortune 500 company. I don’t have a degree in anything.”


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“The easiest way to get there is probably the navy or air force and then go into military contracting. You’re pretty much guaranteed employment and high 5-figure salaries with a high school degree.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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