12 Jobs That Pay More Than $100K but Don’t Require a College Degree

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Growing up, a lot of people hear the message that the only way to get ahead in life is to get a college degree. While it’s true that people with college degrees do earn more on average than people without them, it’s simply not true that you can’t be financially successful if you haven’t graduated from college. In fact, many Americans without college degrees are doing quite well financially.

Following are 12 jobs that pay well without requiring a college degree.

1. Information Systems Manager

Information Systems Managerkground
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This position requires you to oversee and implement a company’s internet technology (IT). While many information systems managers do have degrees in computer science, a lot of companies will hire you for this role even if you don’t have a degree, provided that you have extensive experience and expertise in the field. Actually, there are many jobs in tech that pay well where skill with computers is more valuable than a college degree.

2. Fire Chief

fire chief
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A lot is riding on the skill, knowledge, and experience of a fire chief, whose task is to manage and oversee a fire department. Some fire chiefs have degrees in fire science, but that’s not the only path to becoming one. While you can’t just walk in and apply for the job (well, you can, but you won’t be hired), a firefighter with just a high school diploma and some vocational training can accrue the experience and certifications requisite for running a fire department.

3. Software Developer

Young Asian woman software developers using computer to write code sitting at desk with multiple screens work remotely at home. Programmer development concept.
Image Credit: istockphoto/MTStock Studio.

Software development is an excellent example of a lucrative field where a college degree often isn’t a necessity. Many people skilled in this area drop out of college or don’t enroll at all, instead opting to get started in this high-paying career.

4. Air Traffic Controller

air traffic controller man in tower
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This position has the critical job of managing the flow of air traffic into and out of an airport safely and efficiently. You don’t need a college degree to become an air traffic controller. What you do need, though, is to undergo intensive training, screening, and psychological testing to make sure that you have the right temperament and mental faculties for such an important, stressful job.

5. Information Security Analyst

Information Security Analyst
image Credit: istockphoto/Erikona.

Online fraud and identity theft are huge problems that get tougher to tackle every year. As a result, businesses are prepared to pay very well for people who can keep the company’s and the customers’ information safe. Knowledge of cyber security and professional certification in the field is required; a college degree isn’t.

6. Business Owner

Gallery Owner
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Small businesses are often called the backbone of our economy for the essential services they provide, the community ties they create, and the millions of people they employ. It isn’t easy to make it as a small business owner, but if you can survive the first few years, you can earn a really nice living while being your own boss.

7. Real Estate Broker

Real Estate Broker
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Real estate brokers handle the selling and renting of people’s properties. In a strong market, they can easily earn over 100K a year, and the price of entry is passing an exam and obtaining a license. That’s a lot cheaper than paying for college.

8. Owner-Operator Driver

truck driver
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Here, you own your own truck or trucking business, and you lease out your trucks or services to businesses that need to transport goods. Some licensing and registration are required, and of course, there’s the capital investment for your truck(s), but you don’t need a college degree.

9. Plumber

Plumbing problems
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Plumbing problems can be messy to deal with and difficult to repair, so it’s no surprise that professional plumbers are always in high demand. That’s also why plumbing work can be expensive. A licensed, skilled plumber, especially an independent operator, can have no trouble earning over 100K annually.

10. Site Manager

two construction workers
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

The site referred to here is a construction site. Construction is hard work and tends to pay well, and most of the time, you don’t need a civil engineering degree to manage a construction site. Many who go into construction during or after high school spend time as site managers en route to owning their own firms.

11. Head Chef

Head Chef
Image Credit: istockphoto/Drazen Zigic.

If you love to cook and have a talent for it, a career as a chef may await you. If you’ve studied and mastered culinary arts and can land a position at an upscale, trendy restaurant, you can bring in some big bucks.

12. Blogger

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While it may seem like an easy job, there’s more to it than simply sending words out on the internet, hoping someone reads them. However, with the right structure, a blog can bring in revenue via ads placed on the site, affiliate income, products sold (digital or physical), etc. Many full-time bloggers earn six figures a year, and no formal education is required to be in this field.

Most Dangerous Jobs in America, Ranked

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Uncover the sobering truth behind the top 10 most hazardous jobs, where courageous individuals face danger every day in order to keep the very fabric of American society from unraveling. The fatality rates presented in this article are based on the number of deaths per year per 100,000 full-time employees, assuming a standard work schedule of 40 hours per week and 50 weeks per year.

Most Dangerous Jobs in America, Ranked

This article was produced by Our Woven Journey.

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Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.