Looking for jobs that pay 100k a year without a degree? While it may not be possible to earn a six-figure salary right from the start without a college degree, it is certainly possible over time.
Here you will find information on some of the highest-paying jobs that don’t require you to attend college or have a degree.
What Is a College Degree?
A four-year college degree is a certification earned by college or university students after passing a series of classes and exams. While a four-year degree is the most common, there are also other degrees students can earn in their higher education.
An associate degree is a certification typically earned at a community college. An associate’s degree requires fewer credits and classes than a traditional bachelor’s degree, which is why you can usually earn one in about two years or less.
A bachelor’s degree is a traditional four-year degree from a college or university. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in subjects like:
- English or writing.
High Paying Careers That Provide On-the-Job Training
Fortunately, many jobs that are high-paying offer free training!
Sales Consultant or Sales Director
Sales jobs can be very profitable since they are typically primarily commission-based. Commission is a percentage of a sale granted to the person who made the sale. Sales consultants and directors can work to sell just about anything from physical products like computers to services like personal training. To be the best sales consultant or director you can be, choose an industry that already interests you, so you are selling something that you genuinely believe in.
Nuclear Power Reactor Operator
Becoming a reactor operator at a nuclear power plant does not require people to attend college, but be aware that this job can come with a high risk. Nuclear power plants can be a very dangerous place. So, while you can earn a great annual salary as a nuclear power reactor operator, it can be quite a demanding job.
Radiologists are a particular type of medical expert that identifies and suggests treatment for patients using radiology. Radiology procedures used by radiologists are:
- Computed Tomography (CT).
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET).
Radiologists can earn up to $116,000 each year.
Director of Security
There are teams of security officers at just about any major building. Hotels, entertainment centers, schools, office buildings, and other places where many people gather usually have a staff of security monitoring the property 24 hours a day. The risk of this job depends on the type of building your team is securing. For example, maintaining security at an office building is typically a less dangerous experience than security at a large and rowdy place like a club or bar. Directors of security can make up to $106,222 a year.
A steward works in the hotel and hospitality industry and assists guests new to the area on places to eat or visit. Stewards are usually stationed in the lobby of a hotel, so they are easily accessible to guests who need assistance. The only investment you may have to make in becoming a qualified steward is to take the time to attend hotel school, since you don’t need an official university degree. Master stewards can earn a median annual wage of $160,000 a year.
Air Traffic Controller
Air traffic controllers are the people who direct airplanes and let them know when it is safe to take off or land. While not all airlines require their air traffic controllers to have college degrees, there is some official training and schooling you will have to go through and complete. But once completed, you can make an average salary of $179,111 as an air traffic controller.
Plumbing is a career path that does not require a college degree but does require a few years of training. With plumbing, you will repair, maintain, and even build the pipes that distribute water in a person’s home. Plumbers usually work in rooms like kitchens or bathrooms since they are the areas in a home that distribute the most water.
Head Restaurant Chef
Being a head chef at an up-market restaurant can bring in up to $150,000 a year! While you may not have to go to a traditional college to become a head chef, you will most likely have to attend culinary school.
Professional Games Arbitrator
A games arbitrator is someone who judges the fairness and sportsmanship of athletes. As a pro arbitrator, you will have to be an expert on the rules of the sport you choose to arbitrate, but you most likely won’t have to go to a college or university to learn those rules.
Risk managers are consultants for businesses undergoing major projects or ventures. As a risk manager, you will offer advice on your client’s business strategy and assess the financial, economic, and/or social risks associated with their proposed strategy. Being a curator of risk strategies can bring in up to $100,759 a year.
Firefighters are brave men and women who fight local fires in their area. You will have to be trained in certain medical practices as a firefighter, but this training usually does not require a college degree.
Policing is another community service career that does not always require a college degree. As a police officer, you will help ensure the safety of people in the local community.
Site managers can make about $40,000 – $130,000 a year. When working in site management, you will be responsible for overseeing projects, distributing the workload, communicating with clients, and ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.
Technical Program Manager
Technical program managers can earn an average pay of $101,855 a year. As a technical manager, you will be in charge of the inner workings of technical projects and ensure that your team hits production targets and deadlines.
As a massage therapist, you have the potential to earn an annual salary of up to $141,000 a year! Message therapy is a career that doesn’t require a traditional degree but requires some schooling and training. Message therapists deal directly with musculoskeletal aspects of a person’s body, so it is important they are properly trained.
Other High Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree
There are also other employment avenues to explore if your goal is to earn 100k a year without a degree. Below are a few career paths that may not offer on-the-job training but can be highly profitable even if you don’t have a degree.
One of the most lucrative jobs that can pay 100k a year without a degree is being a business owner. When you own your own business, you are in charge of everything from managing accounts, business procedures, and distributing profits. It may take a while before you start profiting 100k a year, but with determination and persistence, it is possible!
Remember that starting a business is no easy feat, and you should plan ahead and perhaps even consult business or financial experts beforehand. This help may be even more valuable if you are looking to open a business with less than perfect credit.
Real Estate Broker
Real estate brokers make a national average salary of $131,742 a year. As a real estate broker, you would help people find homes and properties that fit their needs. Real estate can be a tricky business, so it is best to get some training from a senior real estate manager to set yourself up for success.
Virtual assistant work is another job you may take advantage of even if you don’t have a high school diploma. One of the best things about being a virtual assistant is that it’s a job where you work independently, giving you plenty of freedom and autonomy in your daily life.
A handyman is someone who has a wide variety of skills when it comes to practical household repair, maintenance, and building. Being a handyman is one of the most versatile types of jobs and can pay handsomely depending on the work someone needs to be done. For instance, handypersons with a knowledge of electricity and electrical wiring can make thousands of dollars on a single job. The average salaries for handypersons can reach up to $102,000 a year!
The contracting business can be pretty lucrative. If you enjoy writing, you may consider becoming a contract freelance writer. With the boom of e-commerce, business owners are looking for people to write content for their websites in order to draw in more people and sales. You may be able to snag a gig writing about your interests like books, movies, beauty products, financial products, and more!
Vehicle owners may also be able to make a sustainable career out of freelance delivery. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you can deliver anything from food, ice, flowers, furniture, or other goods. Keep in mind that with a career like freelance delivery, you may have to pay for your own gas and vehicle repair.
A digital nomad is a kind of like a handyperson, but for online purposes. People need all types of assistance online, from social media engagement managers, website builders, graphic designers to personal finance account managers. Depending on your skill set, you may be able to be a successful contractor doing various jobs for people online.
Professional athletes can have a salary ranging anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to millions! However, if you want to become a professional athlete, you may have to make this decision early in life. Professional sports can make for a demanding job, so athletes usually start when they are quite young and retire at or a bit before they are middle-aged.
How To Get Money When You Don’t Have A Job
Need a bit of extra money to get by while you find a job? Some quick cash options you may consider are:
- Convenient Online Installment Loans — If you are looking for a stress-free long or short-term loan option.
- Fast Payday Loans — If you only need a minimal amount and can pay back your balance within two weeks or less. However, there may be better options like bad credit personal loans.
- Asking a trusted friend or family member.
- Getting a temporary part-time job.
- Selling items you don’t need or use at a garage sale or online.