The prevailing belief suggests that a degree is the sole route to financial success. Nevertheless, countless individuals without degrees have demonstrated that prosperity can be attained through alternative paths.

A user asked the forum, “Those with a successful career with no college degree, what do you do for a living?”. Let’s look at the top responses from the users of the forum.


Programmer working in a software development and coding technologies. Website design.Technology concept.
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“Computer programmer. No degree, no certs. Saved up for a TRS-80 in 1980 and never looked back.”


Rer view shot of a senior mechanic repairing wheels of an auto on car lift
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“I went to community college to learn welding. From there, it branches out into machining. Now, I’m a QC Inspector for a large industrial manufacturer.

Never had any student debt, and I’m making over $100k with a good retirement account that my employer matches 8% of my contributions.”


work 3
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“I work in IT. I’ve been in this career field for 20+ years, and back when I started, you didn’t really need a degree. A certificate or two and the ability to demonstrate aptitude with computers was enough to qualify you for many IT jobs.”


Portrait of confident worker smiling while colleague unloading luggage on runway
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“Oilfield trash here. I make between 150 and 200k USD a year, making sure completion consultants don’t blow us up.”


Shocked young businesswoman sitting at her workplace at the office, looking at computer
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“I’m a full-stack web developer, somehow got a job in the field and managed to keep it for close to 2 years already.”


Solar panel technician installing solar panels on roof
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“Construction project manager. Started by swinging a hammer in my youth and transitioned to management due to my years of experience in the field.”


Worker girl with helmet breaks an electric cable
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“I’m a chief engineer. I do have a college degree now (in business management, so not the field I work in), but I didn’t have it when I started this job.”


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“Own a couple of small businesses. I published a few books. Do some consulting.”


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“I’m a floor layer. At 23, I own a house (I bought it with my brother, also a floor layer) and am almost at the point of a 6 figure income (I can almost taste it; I’m so close)

Really anyone can lay floors, too; 95% of the job a trained monkey can do (my evidence is the fact that I can do it). The last 5 percent requires some real skill, but that comes with practice; y all got this!”


Photographer working with young wedding couple in studio
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“I’m a photographer, and I love what I do. I always wanted to do this.”


restaurant manager
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“Route co-ordinator. I spent my 20’s starting fights with stupid management until I ended up job-hunting my way into a position where I manage.

Now I fight everyone around me and reality-check them.”


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“Senior business analyst working with some of the largest global financial and telecommunications companies in Europe and US. Was it what I wanted to do when I was younger? Not really, but god, I enjoy it, and the salary more than makes up for the harder, more messy jobs I did before getting into the field.”


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“Union Boilermaker pressure welder, $52.07/hr on the cheque and $70/hr total wage package.”


Piping hot baked ham scrolls straight from the oven.
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“Baker. Kinda successful, I guess.”


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“Satellite communications/RF. I build/design ground stations and help build/design low Earth satellite RF comm systems. Help set up ground stations around the globe and help with SC build/test. Never went to school, really, and mostly self-taught.”


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“Air Traffic Controller. You don’t need a degree to be hired, but they do end up sending you to their own school called The Academy. It’s a 3-4 month intense program, and if you don’t score high enough, you don’t get the job.

I’ll add that I DID go to college for Air Traffic but was hired before getting my degree.

FYI you can apply via the USAjobs website. They do off-the-street “open hire” type bids yearly. There’s a list of requirements, but imo they’re pretty easily met.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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