While it is possible to live in the United States without a bachelor’s degree, the path to achieving financial stability and upward mobility is generally more challenging without one.

A user asked the forum, “Americans without bachelor’s degrees, what do you do for a living?”. Here are the top responses.


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“Auto insurance adjuster. I work completely remotely and make about 70k a year without OT. I made about 108k last year with my OT.”


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“I decorate cakes. I studied fashion design until I had to drop out to take care of my disabled mom. It’s not how I pictured life would work out but making art for a living genuinely makes me happy. So I’m mostly satisfied with how things have turned out so far.”


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“I’m driving a truck.”


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“I’m in the military. My bills get paid though I am single with no dependents; it is harder for those with families. I am actively attending school (online) to finish my bachelor’s, though.”


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“I am an RN with an associate’s degree. I work as a travel nurse and support my family of 4 as the sole income.”


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“I’m a receptionist at a doctor’s office. It doesn’t pay me enough to live; my husband and I combined our finances to be able to afford to live in Denver. (Combined income around $80k — we are barely getting by).”


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“I have zero college education; I work for a European company in the States as a specialized mechanic on heavy factory equipment.

Last year I grossed 90k.

I make well over the average income in my hometown. I moved to the city, so I’m not sure what the average income is where I live. I don’t plan to live here anymore after this lease.

I was able to get land in my hometown, and I will build a place there next year with my VA loan.

I like my job; it’s hard work, though I wish I could have afforded college. I grew up very poor, and I wasn’t about to take out a loan and indebt myself to the government for a student loan.

It pays the bills, and I live comfortably. I’m grateful for my job even though I hate it sometimes. The fact I have such a high wage is the only reason I put so much effort into the job.”


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“My husband doesn’t have a bachelor’s and drives a towboat. He makes six figures a year. I have a master’s and make half of what he does.”


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“I went right to work after high school as a laborer in the labor union. After five years of that, I became an electrician’s apprentice. I’m now a licensed master electrician in 3 states and own my own two men’s electrical business.”


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“My dad didn’t graduate from high school, got into sales, and has a very comfortable life. I just got a degree but worked in sales while I was in school, and I still do. I actually make more money than I would in a job related to my major.”


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“I work at a hospital as a cardiac monitor technician. I learned on the job and took a class at my hospital. I work tons of OT (typically 60 and 48 hours a week for each paycheck)

I make enough to pay my bills, do what I want, go on vacation, etc. I just bought a PS5 the other week with Final Fantasy XVI.”


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“Medical Assistant. I do like it, I work in dermatology, so I’ve seen some things. It pays some of the bills; husband picks up the bulk- he’s a computer guy.”


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“Residential contractor in Los Angeles. I live within my means. It does get tight, but I have a decently furnished townhouse in Burbank (a very nice area), go on a two-week vacation every year, and have an annual supply of meat and weed, so life’s good.”


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“I work full-time in a mortuary. I am trying to get my associate’s in mortuary science to become a contract embalmer. It’s tough, and I am living paycheck to paycheck in a small apartment with my boyfriend and his mom in San Diego.”


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“Well, right now, I’m the manager of a small town furniture store, and I’ve been the manager since I was 19. I guess I’m doing a good enough job ’cause the owner really only comes by once a week to drop off checks; other than that, I’m running the place.”


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“I’m an air traffic controller for the FAA. I don’t even have an associate’s degree.

I make $97k, which is on the low end of my career’s pay; I have the chance to move and make just over twice that.

Those numbers don’t include overtime or other premium pay and since it is a government job, the benefits aren’t too shabby either.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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