Not everyone has the opportunity to earn a degree, but many people without degrees are still able to find good-paying jobs and support themselves.

A user asked the forum, people who don’t have a degree, what do you do for a living? Here are the top responses. 


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“I’m a janitor.” However, it doesn’t always pay well.


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“Mail carrier. Tough at first, but once you get used to it, it’s cake. Sometimes the hours are long, but I easily clear six figures. Not to mention I can shop, eat, etc., all on government time and still get paid hourly.

I have a job for life, that’s what they tell us when we’re hired, and they’re not lying. It’s a sweet job, but not for everyone.”


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“I’m a butcher. Thirty-five hours a week and overtime if I want it. Plus, I get deeply discounted meat, saving me 1000s on groceries yearly.


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My friend, who dropped out during the pandemic, is now a wonderful baker. Exquisite cakes for weddings.”


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“Aquatics Director. Started as a Lifeguard / Swim Instructor and moved up the chain over time.”


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“I’m a video editor. Not too difficult to get into, and it is hard working your way up through gigs. Networking is crucial. Freelance has been tough, but I should find out if I’ve landed my first corporate gig this week. Wish me luck”

Video editing is an in-demand skill and pays really well.


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“Software engineer. The only people who cared were my parents. When I would bring someone home for dinner, they would first mention, “Do you know she didn’t graduate college?”.”

“Not who you asked, but I’m also a software engineer with no degree (I almost but not quite finished an AS at community college). The short answer is a little bit of luck and being willing to take less-than-glamorous and underpaid positions so you can get experience to get something slightly better, then repeat the process. My first perm position started at $45k, and I also had to do IT and user support. My second job started at $55k for a jr role, but I was on a dev team. After several years, I was a Sr at $95k, and then I got laid off. My current job isn’t technically a “senior” role, but I’m up to $130k.”


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“I work in Cannabis now. I was doing medical billing, but for eight years of experience was getting offers of $14.

Making much more as management in CannabisCannabis in a laid back environment, better work conditions, and better management.”


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“I am a scrub technician for surgical operations and make 27 dollars an hour.”


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“Nearly 26f – I’m an ATM Operations Specialist for a local community bank. I run day-to-day ops, replenishments, maintenance calls, and I work on many big project management like fleet upgrades, new machine installs, and insurance claims from vandalism events.”


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“Dog groomer. I had the opportunity to learn how to groom at 18 years old and have been doing it for 16 years now. I work four days a week, have full benefits, and make great tips. Plus, I like my job.”


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“I work for the railroad. I’m Carmen, and I fix the rail cars.”


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“I’m an instructional designer … my base salary is $150k, and I take on instructional design side projects (3-6-12 month long contracts) that round out my annual income to be about $350k.”


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“Business owner! I own a screen printing and powder coating shop.”


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“Neither my husband nor I have a degree. I’m a licensed practical nurse; the 12-month program earned a certificate, almost like a trade school. My husband is a radiologic technologist; he went to a hospital-based program. Between us, we bring home a decent living, even though I’m in the non-profit sector.”


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“I’m a barista. I’m not making a lot of money, but I love my flexible schedule and wonderful connections with others during my shifts.”


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“I’m a contract analyst who makes over $80k annually. No degree… kinda fell into it and now have been doj it for 5+ years.” 


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“My son works at Costco as a supervisor making $30 an hour at 21 yo. The company treats him well.”


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“I drive school buses for $27 an hour, which’ll go up a few more dollars in the fall. I’m working on my bachelor’s right now during my 5-hour break (I also get to nap, do chores, go for a walk, etc.) It’s nice.”


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“Union electrician, 57.50/hour, full benefits, two pensions, and a matching up to 6% 401k.”


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“I’m a web developer making more money than my friends with degrees. Well, many but not all of them.” 

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