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10 High Paying Jobs without a Degree

March 21, 2015 - Posted to Study

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My friend Tara did not go to college.

Oh, she was smart enough and had the grades to prove that. But, her parents couldn’t afford to send her, and she didn’t want to end up like her aunts and uncles – adults with good careers but with huge student debt that they would be paying off the rest of their working lives. And she has older cousins who were college grads with no job prospects and only a mountain of debt for all of their hard work. Her current neighbor graduated from law school last year with almost $100,000 in debt and is still working as a paralegal.

Tara chose a better route for herself – looking into jobs with no college degree requirements. If this sounds like you, take heart! There are high paying jobs without degree requirements, and here you will find a list of top paying jobs without a degree. They come from all fields, and surely you can find one or more that will peak your interest.

Real Estate: I have listed 4 specific careers in this field, because they are among the top careers without a college degree that are available for individuals with both people skills and those who prefer solitary work.

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  • Real Estate Agent

Job Description/Qualifications: If you are personable and outgoing, this job may be for you. You will be listing homes of sellers and drumming up potential purchasers through ads and networking. You must take a real estate course (usually paid for by the realty company for which you work), and must pass a state licensing test.

Average Income: There is a huge range, dependent upon your energy level and marketing ability, but it generally ranges from $50,000 – to $200,000 per year – not bad for one of many jobs without a degree!

  • Home Inspector

Job Description: Passing a course and joining one of two national inspection associations is all you need! You spend about two hours in a home, inspecting structures and systems for a potential buyer, and complete a computer-generated report of your findings.

Average Income: $200-$300 per inspection, dependent upon geographic area

  • Real Estate Appraiser

Job Description: Completion of a course and passing a state licensing exam certifies you. Using set criteria, you generate a report that establishes the market value of a property.

Average Income: $350 - $400 per appraisal

  • House Flipping

Job Description: If you are “handy,” you purchase a property at a huge discount (it’s usually in pretty bad shape), fix it up quickly, and put it back on the market. Timing is key: get in, get out, and sell at a good price!

Average Income: $5000 - $30,000 per property

Additional Best Jobs without a Degree

  • Oil and Gas Drilling

Job Description: Semi-skilled labor on rigs requires on-the-job paid training, and, for those willing to re-locate, the market is hot!

Average Income: $75 - $100,000 per year

  • Freelance Writing

Job Description: If your grades in high school English classes were good, and you have a creative “bent,” this may be the field for you. From web content to articles, to blogs, your talent is in demand. Most of the software used can be self-taught, with little-to-no investment.

Income: the range is large. Once established with solid regular clients, and the ability to produce quickly, $4000 a month is a good average!

  • Computer Tech

Job Description: If you have tinkered with computers and programs and love it, you can land a number of jobs with simple skills tests. Basic repairs for individuals and businesses are in high demand. Work for someone else and then go independent.

Income: Expect $50 - $75 per hour

  • Website Designer

Job Description: You must be creative and artistic, but, with an investment in several reasonably-priced pieces of software, you can become a great web designer. Develop a few “sample” sites to market your skills! If necessary, work of a web design company first, before striking out on your own.

Expected Income: $50 per hour

  • Skilled Trades

Job Description: Trade school completion and perhaps an apprenticeship in carpentry, plumbing, brick laying, welding, electricity, heavy machine operation, mechanics, HVAC, etc. will get you into a great income bracket quickly.

Income: $40 - $75 per hour dependent upon years in the trade

  • Re-Selling

Job Description: Buy items on auction sites, at garage sales and storage auctions; complete minor repairs if necessary, and re-sell them on EBay, Craigslist, or at flea markets. Many people make a full-time career of this business!

Income Expectations: Varies, but I know people who average $75 - $100,000 per year (and they are not stars on “Storage Wars”).

Finding jobs without a college degree requires a bit of “out-of-the-box” thinking and just some good old research!

If none of the above appeal to you, consider a myriad of other opportunities – funeral and wedding planning, mass transit operation, gaming/casinos, medical marijuana, to name a few. You have interests and talents – put them to use and pity the poor college grad who cannot find a job in his/her career field!  

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