College costs are out of control with an average cost of almost $10,000 per year for a state resident at a public college or $35,000 at a private college. Getting a college degree isn’t the only way to increase earning potential, though. Here are 50 jobs that can bring in $50,000 or more with no degree necessary.
Blue Collar Jobs
Blue collar jobs usually have an hourly wage and may involve manual labor. They’re also among the best jobs to earn $50k or more without a college education.
Get into plumbing as an apprentice to earn $20 or more per hour while learning the trade. After completing an apprenticeship, it’s possible to get a license and start a solo business with greater earning potential.
Not many people go into welding today, which has led to a high demand for this specialized skill. Welders can charge up to $70 per hour for custom steelwork for consumers, contract with government agencies, or work for an existing business.
Electricians can make $65 to $85 per hour by completing an apprenticeship under a licensed electrician. Once licensed, electricians can open their own businesses and work directly with business owners and homeowners.
Painting is a career that doesn’t require much experience and no education at all. Painting contractors can charge up to $40 per hour depending on the project with many specialties available like exterior painting, furniture painting and refinishing, and interior painting.
Carpentry doesn’t require a degree, just time spent learning the trade. Experienced carpenters can earn more than $50 per hour building decks and fences, but interior projects like bathroom and kitchen remodeling can pay even more.
6. Tile Setter
Tile and marble setters earn $50-$65k by installing tile patios, countertops, walls, showers, floors, and more.
Landscapers earn an average salary of about $50k per year but independent landscapers running their own business can earn more with experience.
Excavators can rent or buy a track-drive excavating machine to do contract work for homeowners, home builders, and city governments. The downside to this career is the high pay of up to $2,000 per day comes with a high investment cost for equipment.
9. Auto Mechanic
Mechanics are in high demand with the high salary that goes with it. Most garages and auto shops offer apprenticeships to teach new workers the skills they need to get certified without a degree.
10. Elevator Repair and Installer
The men and women who repair and install elevators typically get into the field with no more than a high school diploma. Like many blue collar jobs, an apprenticeship is necessary, but the average pay is $79,000 per year.
11. Police Officer
Police officers earn an average annual salary of about $55,000, although there is the potential to make much more with rank and experience. Larger jurisdictions tend to pay more than small cities and towns.
12. Oil Rig Worker
There are some oil rig careers that require a degree, but the vast majority require no more than a high school diploma. Salaries can reach more than $100,000, depending on the company and role, without a degree.
The average bartender makes just $18,000 in salary, but don’t forget about tips. This is where most of a bartender’s income comes from and it can push annual income to between $50k and $100,000.
Surveyors prepare construction sites and update boundary lines to help create maps, settle property disputes, and plan for building and road construction. On average, surveyors make more than $52,000 per year.
15. Sewer Line Inspector
This job, which is sometimes offered by plumbers, involves running a specialized camera down a basement floor drain to produce a video recording of a sewer line. The average fee is $200 for about 20 minutes of actual work.
16. Commercial Diver
This career involves scuba diving and the use of construction equipment to repair and inspect underwater structures. The average salary is more than $50,000 per year.
17. HVAC Technician
HVAC technicians install and repair heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment for homes and buildings. The average technician earns $50k per year with the option to achieve additional certification for higher pay.
18. Diesel Mechanic
Diesel mechanics earn about $52k on average with bonuses and profit sharing available. Also known as diesel techs, the job involves repairing and inspecting buses, trucks, and other diesel engines.
Firefighters do not need any type of education or training to get started, but new hires do go through rigorous training programs. This challenging and in-demand job earns $50k on average with the potential for a much higher salary with experience.
Dispatchers earn a median salary of up to $50k with a high school diploma. Dispatchers are responsible or handling emergency calls and dispatching first responders to the scene with as many details as possible.
These careers do not even require leaving the house.
21. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant may have many tasks like bookkeeping, booking flights, scheduling meetings, and managing a website or social media. Virtual assistants can earn $30 per hour or more with experience.
Transcribers may not have the most exciting job, but it can pay very well. A transcriptionist types out recordings, podcasts, conversations, interviews and other types of audio with an average wage of $23 per hour.
23. Graphic Designer
Graphic designers create user-friendly and attractive website designs for clients. With some Photoshop knowledge and a bit of experience, graphic designers can earn $55,000 or more a year.
24. Freelance Writer
Freelancers write digital content of all types for a wide variety of clients, including business owners, magazines, and more. As with many jobs, experience and knowledge can dramatically increase earnings over time. Successful freelancers earn $50k or more with a few years of experience.
25. Travel Agent
Self-employed travel agents can work from home to help people plan accommodations, book an itinerary, recommend excursions, and more. This job often requires industry training and partnership with an agency at first with the potential to earn more than $50,000 a year.
26. WordPress Developer
WordPress is the most popular content management system that’s behind millions of popular websites. Basic programming knowledge and some hands-on learning can result in a lucrative career.
27. Software Designer
Software developers can make software programs, games, and operating systems while earning an average salary of $102k.
28. Web Developer
Web developers create and modify websites with the right programming language, database, multimedia, and graphics. This job pays an average of $35 per hour.
29. App Developer
App developers can work for companies or develop their own apps to earn revenue on the Google, Android, and Apple app stores.
30. Online Reseller
It can be relatively easy to find undervalued items for sale on Etsy, Craigslist, Ebay, and in thrift stores. Resellers make their money by scooping up underpriced items and reselling them for a profit. The ability to refurbish and repair items can net even more money.
There are also a wide range of tech jobs that aren’t done remotely.
31. Computer Technician
Computer techs earn $25 per hour on average to troubleshoot problems, set up security, and install software and hardware.
32. Computer Network Architect
This trade job involves designing secure networks for data communications for businesses around the world. The average pay is $50 but top earners bring in more than $76 an hour.
Not all jobs in the medical field require a degree.
33. Dental Assistant
Dental assistant don’t need a degree, just a certification program. Examining and cleaning teeth and checking for issues a dentist should address pays an average wage of $35 an hour.
34. Hearing Aid Specialist
This job only requires a high school diploma or equivalent to earn about $50k a year to evaluate people with hearing issues and help them choose the right hearing aid.
35. Home Health Aide
This is a great choice for people who want to get into the medical field without a degree. Home health aides work in the homes of patients to assist with living tasks and light housekeeping.
36. Massage Therapists
Massage therapists earn an average of $38k per year, but there is the potential to earn much more with experience. Serving at-risk groups like the elderly and offering mobile massage can increase earning potential even further. Only a post-secondary certificate is necessary to get started.
37. Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs work directly under pharmacists and make a good living. Many pharmacies also allow techs to study to get their degree to become a full-fledged pharmacist while helping to pay for the education. Pharmacists earn an average of $121,000 per year.
38. Licensed Practical Nurse
LPNs work under doctors and registered nurses to offer basic care like checking blood pressure. A diploma from a program is necessary, but not a degree. The program takes about 1 year or less to complete.
The real estate industry offers many ways to make a good living without a college education.
39. Mortgage Broker
Mortgage brokers only need to complete a 20-hour program and pass a test to become licensed and earn $50 to $90k per year.
40. Property Manager
On average, property managers bring in $55k a year with no formal education or training necessary.
41. Property Apprasier
Earn about $52-66k per year appraising properties for buyers, sellers, and lenders.
42. Home Inspector
Home inspectors earn a decent salary as well as benefits. A knowledge of HVAC, construction, and other industries can further increase earning potential.
43. Real Estate Agent
On average, agents earn $50k per year although the best-paid agents earn more than $110k. Real estate agents represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions to assist with finding a home, negotiations, attracting buyers, and more.
44. Escrow Agent
Becoming an escrow agent does not require any education or experience with an average salary of around $50k. State licensure is usually necessary as the job involves ensuring honest, fair transfers of property and money in a real estate transaction.
Here are a few other jobs to consider.
45. Truck Driver
Truck drivers earn an average of $40-50k to start after receiving a commercial driver’s license, but top drivers also receive perks and bonuses. In some high-demand areas, drivers earn $73k or more to start.
46. Airport Shuttle Driver
Airport shuttle drivers are usually independent contractors. Salaries can range a great deal depending on the company and region. Airport shuttles tend to make more than shuttle drivers at hotels and amusement parks.
47. Funeral Service Manager
Coordinating resources and activities for funeral homes and putting together memorial services for families can pay $43 to $70 an hour.
48. Interior Designer
Interior designers earn a median salary of about $50k per year but the salary can top out at $70,000. Some jobs do require a degree, but others allow for on-the-job training and apprenticeship under an experienced designer.
49. Debt Collector
A debt collector doesn’t have a particularly enjoyable job, but contacting people who have defaulted on their loans can be lucrative.
50. Private Tutor
Those with good knowledge of a specific field can make more than $25 per hour as a private tutor. Tutors can work in many areas, including tutoring young children, helping college students, helping adults learn a new language, and assisting special needs children.
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