15 Six-Figure Jobs You Can Get Without A College Degree

Finding a steady, well-paying job after high school can be difficult for the ones who do not continue their formal education. In today’s labor market, earning a four-year college degree is the only path to a successful future. Still, plenty of high-paying opportunities will allow you to forego academia in favor of technical or on-the-job training.

All you need should know is where to find and prepare for them.

To assist job seekers in better focusing their efforts, we have made it simple to find six-figure jobs that don’t require a college degree. Of course, this does not mean that this will require no studying. Most of these positions necessitate extensive on-the-job training, certifications, lengthy internships, or a bachelor’s degree. Consider one of these 15 jobs if you want to earn a high six-figure salary without a college degree:

1. Commercial Pilots

  • Median annual pay: $100,000
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 4%

These pilots handle unscheduled flight activities, i.e., aerial applications, charter flights, and aerial tours. Some corporate pilots transport executives for companies. They are also typically in charge of non-flight duties such as flight schedules, aircraft maintenance, and luggage loading.

A pilot’s license and a high school diploma are required to become one. Most commercial pilots receive training from independent FAA-certified flight instructors or flight schools.

2. Detectives And Criminal Investigators

  • Median annual wage: $105,000
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 5%

These law enforcement officers gather evidence and facts for criminal cases. They conduct interviews, examine records, observe suspects’ activities, and participate in raids and arrests. They usually specialize in one type of crime, such as homicide or fraud, and work on a case until an arrest or trial is completed or the case is dropped.

Ordinary citizens go about their daily lives blissfully unaware of the slew of crimes around them because criminal investigators are on the case.

A criminal investigator or detective steps in to solve a crime when all of the pieces are not laid out for police officers. It includes evidence collection and analysis, surveillance operations, interviewing suspects, and making arrests.

Being a criminal investigator is a well-respected profession with a high earning potential, which is enticing enough. Furthermore, there aren’t many educational requirements for the position. While a higher degree may improve your chances of getting hired, criminal investigators must only have a high school diploma.

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Criminal investigators are typically highly motivated, logical, observant, and analytical. They possess the technical skills required to operate their equipment and the ability to notice connections between details and events to piece together the disparate and sparse pieces of a situation. A high school diploma is needed to become a detective, though many federal agencies and police departments might require college coursework or a college degree.

3. Elevator Installers And Repairers

  • Median annual wage: $105,000
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 12%

It’s big business to keep people moving with little personal effort. According to the BLS, demand for elevator installers and repairers is expected to grow 12% over the next six to seven years, much faster than the average rate for most jobs in the United States. Escalators, elevators, moving walkways, chairlifts, and other lifts are installed, repaired, and maintained by these workers. Elevator repairers typically earn slightly more than installers because their job requires a greater understanding of electronics, hydraulics, and electricity. A large part of repair and maintenance work is troubleshooting.

An apprenticeship program of four years sponsored by a union, industry association, or individual contractor is the first step toward becoming an elevator installer or repairer. A high school diploma is required to enroll in such a program. Even after completing the program, ongoing training is required, and 35 states currently require a licensed installer or repairer.

4. Air Traffic Controllers

  • Median annual wage: $124,540
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 3%

Coordinating the safe movement of aircraft pays well, but it also necessitates extensive training. Air traffic controllers control all ground traffic on runways and taxiways, direct aircraft on the ground and air, and instruct pilots on landing and takeoff procedures. They must be trained and licensed because their role affects the safety of thousands of passengers per flight. The role typically requires quick decision-making for multiple aircraft.

They are solely responsible for ensuring the safety of the flights under their jurisdiction while also considering airport efficiency to reduce the possibility of delays. They monitor all aircraft movements in and out of the airport from a control tower and track hourly weather trends to keep pilots informed.

Being the all-powerful controller of airport space and nearby flying zones can put a lot of strain on air traffic controllers, but they’re well compensated for the added stress. These controllers make a median annual salary of $124,540.

Furthermore, becoming an air traffic controller requires far less education than you might think. An associate’s degree and the necessary certifications should get you an entry-level air traffic controller job.

Many become air traffic controllers after earning at least an associate’s degree through an FAA-approved Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program. All air traffic controllers must also be Air Traffic Control Tower Operator Certificate holders or otherwise qualified. Controllers are tested throughout their careers, with a physical exam required yearly, and a job performance exam required twice a year.

Air traffic controllers must be able to process a large amount of information quickly. It necessitates superior organizational, time management, and concentration abilities.

5. Funeral Service Managers

  • Median annual wage: $100,000
    Projected job growth through 2026: 7% or more

Overseeing the operations of a funeral home might appear to be a morbid job, but it is extremely rewarding. These managers must be capable of not only handling routine business tasks such as staffing, marketing, and revenue maintenance but also of arranging for the removal of the deceased’s body, providing support and counsel to grieving families, and preparing the deceased for the funeral, filing death certificates, and other legal documents with appropriate authorities.

An associate’s degree is mostly required to work in the funeral industry. On-the-job training is also essential, as those aspiring to be funeral directors and morticians must complete one to three-year internships and pass a state and national board exam.

6. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

  • Median annual wage: $105,000
    Projected job growth through 2026: -10%

These employees are in charge of nuclear reactors. They adjust control rods to influence the amount of electricity a reactor generates and monitor generators, turbines, reactors, and cooling systems.

These nuclear power reactor operating professionals typically only need a high school diploma, though extensive on-the-job training is required. Workers typically begin as equipment operators, reporting to more senior employees, and receive formal technical training to prepare for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s license exam.

7. Power Distributors And Dispatchers

  • Median annual wage: $101,000
  • Projected job growth through 2026: -3%

These workers, also known as systems operators, regulate the flow of electricity from generating stations to uses and substations. They monitor voltage transformers, current converters, and circuit breakers across a network of transmission and distribution lines and troubleshoot issues like transformer or transmission line failures.

Several years of on-the-job training, hands-on experience, and a high school diploma are required to become a power plant distributor or dispatcher. Those whose work may impact the power grid may be required to complete a Certification Program (for North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s System Operator).

8. Power Plant Operators

  • Median annual wage: $107,000
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 1%

Types of machinery used to generate electricity and distribute power among generators are controlled and maintained by power plant operators. They must also adjust voltage and flows to meet changing consumer demands as the time of day changes.

The energy that powers cities and individual homes are supplied by power plants, which power plant operators control.

Power plant operators monitor for signs of problems and implement solutions when they do occur. Maintaining the proper operation of large equipment used in power generation necessitates specific knowledge, but it does not necessitate pursuing a four-year degree.

Regardless of the fuel that a power plant operator’s job revolves around, it’s a position that pays well, especially after a few years in the industry. While working as a power plant operator can earn a high salary with little education, the industry is expected to experience a 16% growth decline in the coming years.

A similar path to becoming a distributor or dispatcher is required to become a power plant operator. As with those positions, you’ll need a high school diploma and several years of on-site training and experience.

Specific skills vary by employer, but common skills might include:

  • Monitoring gauges.
  • Examining sensors and taking chart readings to view voltage and electricity flows.
  • Assisting with equipment cleaning and repair.

9. Nuclear Medicine Technologists

  • Median annual wage: $103,000
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 9%

These healthcare professionals prepare radioactive drugs for patients to aid imaging or treatment. They are in charge of the imaging equipment used to diagnose and treat patients. They may also aid physicians in their research into the applications of radioactive drugs.

Nuclear medicine professionals and technologists typically need an associate’s degree from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program. However, some technologists with a degree in a related health field and completing a 12-month certificate program are qualified. They frequently require field certification, and some states may require a license to practice.

10. Nuclear Technicians

  • Median annual wage: $100,370
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 1%

A typical day for these technicians is spent monitoring radiation. They typically work in nuclear energy production or assist physicists and engineers in nuclear research. They operate the equipment required for these nuclear experiments or power generation and monitor the types and levels of radiation produced by such activities. Another aspect of their job may include testing air, water, and soil samples for radioactive contamination.

An associate’s degree in nuclear-related technology or nuclear science is typically required for nuclear technicians. Military service provides some people with comparable experience. In addition, extensive on-the-job training is required.

11. Radiation Therapists

  • Median annual wage: $100,100
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 13%

These therapists operate the machines that deliver concentrated radiation therapy to a patient’s tumor as part of the healthcare teams called in to treat cancer. They have to explain treatment plans to patients, determine the region of the body receiving treatment, and monitor for unusual reactions.

It is a position that necessitates knowledge of medical procedures, long periods of standing, and interaction with vulnerable people.

Receiving radiation treatment for cancer is an emotionally and psychologically taxing process for patients. They can depend on well-trained radiation therapists to properly operate equipment, explain all procedures they will face, and provide general support throughout treatment, alleviating a lot of the stress.

While most jobs in the medical field require a decade or more of education, becoming a radiation therapist does not. You will need to complete a two-year radiation therapy program. Radiation therapists can earn at least $100,000 annually after graduation and licensing.

Radiation therapists should have a good understanding of the tools and methods available, an eye for detail, and technical and communication skills.

Employers prefer hiring applicants with at least an associate’s degree in radiation therapy, though some will accept those who have completed a certificate program. Radiation therapists are required to be licensed or certified in the majority of states. The requirements might vary by state but typically include passing a national certification exam.

12. Wind Turbine Technician

  • Median annual wage: $107,000
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 50%

It’s no secret that the world’s current energy sources are harmful to the environment, increasing wind turbine technology. The rise in wind-based energy solutions has resulted in significant job growth in the field, including opportunities for wind turbine technicians.

Wind turbine technicians are in charge of installing and maintaining wind turbine towers. While the position necessitates a thorough understanding of wind turbines to identify and resolve potential issues, it does not necessitate any formal education beyond a high school diploma.

Wind turbine technicians with experience can earn a median salary higher than the national average, and this industry is expected to grow even more over the next ten years.

Interpersonal, technical, attention to detail, teamwork, technical, and communication skills are required for this position. Wind turbine technicians must also understand LOTO, which stands for Lockout Tagout. The same is a procedure that controls harmful energy and keeps workers safe.

13. Copy Writers

  • Median annual wage: $110,100
    Projected job growth through 2026: 8%

Working as a copywriter is one of many opportunities for recent high school graduates in the advertising industry. Companies frequently have specific goals in mind for their advertisements, but they are unsure how to translate those goals into a marketable strategy.

Copywriters meet with these clients to understand their message and create visual and word-based advertising options known as copy.

A copywriter’s job entails research and accuracy because they must produce high-quality content. Aside from a high starting salary and few strict educational requirements, copywriters are frequently given the option of working remotely or on a contract basis.

It’s a great job for someone who wants to work from anywhere. Copywriters must have exceptional writing and grammar skills, communication skills, negotiation understanding, organizational skills, social media writing skills, and basic office software proficiency.

14. First-Line Fire Fighting And Prevention Workers

  • Median annual wage: $104,000
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 7%

As the name implies, these are firefighters who supervise and coordinate the actions of other firefighters fighting fires or working on fire prevention measures. They may also be required to supervise rescue operations. It is also their responsibility to enforce proper departmental procedures.

Workers typically have some college, but no degree is required, and does a fair amount of on-the-job training to achieve this rank in a firehouse.

15. Transportation, Storage, And Distribution Managers

  • Median annual wage: $105,000
  • Projected job growth through 2026: 7%

These managers are in charge of allocating and shipping merchandise in the most cost-effective and time-efficient manner possible. They plan, direct, and coordinate all goods transportation to ensure proper distribution.

To be considered for this position, you should have at least five years of experience in a related field. Plus, a high school diploma.

Conclusion

You must demonstrate your skills and abilities through related professional experience if you don’t have a degree. Recruiters and hiring managers would like to see if you can handle similar tasks.

This content is for you if you want to start your career and don’t yet have a college degree. We have provided the best jobs, which might suit you to some extent. You must give a quick look at them.

Many well-paying jobs requiring no degree still require some professional certification. Take the time to research which certifications might be useful in your job search. Be aware that many certifications require time and financial investment, so plan accordingly.