15 Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree

15 September 2020

Where There’s a Will There are Bags Full of Cash. Let’s Explore Options for a Dropout to Earn the Top Dollar.

Welcome back Aluxers. Getting a degree is a very personal decision. Some believe it’s a waste of time, while others believe a “degree of life” is a key to the highest paying jobs.

So, if you’re not keen on getting a degree but would like to earn a decent salary, we have 15 of the highest paying jobs that you could consider.

Aluxers, bear in mind the annual wages are an estimate and are known to differ state to state and country to country. Wages could also differ with experience and rank and we’ve rounded the numbers up.

Welcome to Alux.com – the place where future billionaires come to get inspired.  If you’re not subscribed yet, you’re missing out.

If distaste for reading is one of the reasons why you didn’t go for a degree, here’s all of this article’s content articulated for you in a video:

With that taken care of, let’s have a look at the abundant career options we have in this list.


Transportation Inspectors – Median Annual Wage: $73,000

These are the guys who grease the wheels, and keep the world moving. Transportation inspectors are responsible for checking different modes of transport are safe for use. Every form of transport has inspectors, from airplanes to trains, buses, and ships. Everything from the steering to the track needs to be checked, so you have to have an eye for detail and a handle on safety to thrive in this line of work.

Transport inspectors usually undergo specific training to the make and models of vehicles they will be dealing with on the daily. They are usually mechanically minded people, with a background in mechanics or maintenance. Training happens on the job, or through short courses, and you can expect to be continually learning as machinery, processes and safety standards are always changing.

It is a huge responsibility because you’re responsible for making sure passengers get to their destination safely and on time, so you need to have a good degree of responsibility, but no formal degree required. All aboard!


Transit and Railroad Police – Median Annual Wage: $74,000

Let’s stay with transportation and have a look at transit and railroad police. Although a college degree is recommended, it is possible to enter these fields with only a high school degree or GED. It just means extensive training and qualities like excellent communication skills, empathy and good judgment go a long way in this field.

It’s predicted that between now and 2028, the industry is expected to grow 5% in the US, producing 37,500 job opportunities.

It’s possible that people will slow down and enjoy the journey once we’re given the all-clear to travel.

Agatha Christie once wrote, “trains are wonderful…to travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches and rivers, in fact, to see life.”

Tickets please!


Gaming Managers – Median Annual Wage: $75,000

If the sound of slot machines and the bright lights of a casino appeal to you, you might consider a career as a gaming manager. It would be your responsibility to supervise the gaming tables and dealers and ensure nothing dodgy is happening. You’ll need to keep a look out for wheel gaffing, sector targeting, top-hatting and magnetic balls. Poker is a bit trickier, often the dealer is in on it, but it’s the slot machines where you need to focus extra attention. Duties also include day to day operations, cash flow, security and customer service.

You can bet that there is never a dull moment in this industry! Aluxers while this is a high paying job, it’s time to up the ante and see what could earn you more than a gaming manager.


First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers – Median Annual Wage: $76,000

It’s time to be the hero and a career in firefighting would do just that! 35% of people who enter this industry have no college degree according to careeronestop.org. People who choose this career usually have a postsecondary certificate, have less than 5 years’ work experience and complete 1 to 12 months on-the-job training.

Like our famous contributor, anonymous once quoted, “all men are created equal, then a few become firemen.”

Your role would be to directly supervise and co-ordinate those involved with firefighting and the prevention and control of fires. Ok, so you’re not exactly a fireman, but close enough!


Media and Communication Equipment Workers – Median Annual Wage: $79,000

Aluxers, we watch news updates often and when a story breaks, the media are out in full force capturing every moment, bringing it to us live as the action unfolds.

We rarely stop and think about how that information makes its way from the place of origin to go global.

That’s the job of media and communication equipment workers; ensuring that communication equipment is working all the time. They also install, maintain and repair audio and visual systems for companies, businesses, and homes. Other opportunities include the film industry, airports, malls, and events.

No degree is required, but experience will take you the extra mile!


Power Plant Operators – Median Annual Wage: $79,000

When you see a title like “Power Plant Operator,” you immediately think you need years of college tuition, but plant operators, distributors and dispatchers usually just need a high school diploma or the equivalent thereof.

That’s not to say that the person whose hiring doesn’t prefer a candidate to have a qualification, but on paper, no degree is required.

Training, as you can imagine, is rigorous and throughout your career you never stop learning and training.

Nuclear power reactor operators need a licence through the NRC and a yearly plant-operating exam must be taken to keep that licence valid.


Elevator Installers and Repairers – Median Annual Wage: $79,000

Going up or down, it doesn’t matter because if you’re keen to do this job, you don’t need a college degree. What you do need is a high school diploma or equivalent, and it would be beneficial if you took math, shop, and mechanical drawing.

Once you’ve decided this is the career for you, then you’ll embark on a 4-year apprenticeship.

Aluxers, if you’ve ever been stuck in an elevator, you might think this salary is actually too little – because you can understand the value of a working lift!

The job description would include locating problems, switches, brakes, motors, and control systems. You’d need to repair cable motors, elevator doors and control systems. You would be on call 24 / 7.

If you thought the fireman position made you a hero, imagine how you’d be revered if you rescued someone from a trapped elevator!


Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay Electrical and Electronics Repairers – Median Annual Wage: $80,000

Aluxers, future job prospects are dwindling in this industry, as more people turn to solar and other ways of creating power.

In 1931, Thomas Edison apparently said the following to Henry Ford, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy.  What a source of power!  I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

We’re not sure if it’s legit, but we love the sentiment anyway!

This career requires students to have a certificate after high school, and then technical training often done on site. 50% of people working in this field only have their Post-Secondary Certificate. This industry requires level-headed people, those that can problem solve and pay great attention to detail.

Think about how the Chernobyl accident occurred. It was the result of a flawed reactor design that had been operated by inadequately trained personnel. So, you can be damn sure that you may not need a degree, but you’ll need a sh*t load of training.


Detective and Criminal Investigators – Median Annual Wage: $82,000

As we all wait with bated breath for the much-anticipated release of Enola Holmes, starring Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter, you might find this career appealing. And if you’re a massive Henry Cavill fan, be sure to watch our video – 15 Things you didn’t know about Henry Cavill.

Let’s uncover the mystery surrounding the requirements for this top-secret industry.

Firstly, a degree is not always required according to criminaljusticedegreeschools.com, but having one would not go amiss. What you need is experience, which you could gain by starting off as a police officer. From there, you can get promoted to a criminal investigator.

Some responsibilities include:

  • Responding to emergencies
  • Analysing crime scenes
  • Collecting evidence
  • Getting warrants for arrest
  • Testifying in court and writing case reports.

Arthur Conan Doyle created the character of Sherlock Holmes in 1887, and he wrote in his second Holmes novel,  The Sign of the Four, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” And that Aluxers, would be up to you to figure out!


Commercial Pilot – Median Annual Pay: $82,000

Good evening Aluxers, this is your captain speaking and I’d like to confirm that you do not need a college degree to become a commercial pilot.

However, having a degree will open more doors and opportunities, but it’s not a pre-requisite at many flight schools. Regional airlines do not require a degree, but if you’re thinking global, then you would need one. The airline is not interested in exactly what you studied, but they like to see that you can apply discipline and commitment, and the true test for you, would be racking up those flying hours without incident.

While in school, be sure to focus on math and physics, and achieve the best marks you can. These will help you get into a great flight training school.

We’ll now be disembarking to our next high paying job that doesn’t require a degree.


Power Distributors and Dispatchers – Median Annual Wage: $86,000

Much like the powerhouse, substation, and relay electrical and electronics repairers we mentioned earlier, this high paying career path does not require a degree. A high school diploma is all that is needed and then rigorous, long-term on-the-job training and technical instruction.

To become full qualified takes several years of on-site training and even those that have their qualifications are tested regularly to ensure their skills stay up to date.

The role of a power distributor and dispatcher is to control the flow of electricity from the substation to the user. They work with converters, voltage transformers and circuit breakers and respond to any line failures.

Generally, they’re on call 24 / 7 – because power outages tend to happen when you least expect them! Unless of course you live in South Africa, where residents get planned power cuts several times a day called load shedding. Eish


First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives – Median Annual Wage: $89,000

A high school diploma or GED is all you need to head into this lucrative and exciting field. Again, a college degree would be beneficial and would probably give you an advantage, but on paper, a degree is not necessary.

This is an administrative role, so if you thought you’d be out playing cops and robbers, you’d be wrong.

Your role is to overlook the guys that are out on the streets, making the arrests and ensure they follow protocol. It would be quite sh*tty being Derek Chauvin’s supervisor right now. @Leanne – not sure if you think this should stay in or rather be left out.

With new job opportunities on the rise, it’s a viable career to get into and pays a tidy sum.


Nuclear Power Reactor Operators – Median Annual Wage: $94,000

Aluxers, if you’ve got a level head and are a whiz at math and science, then this could pay you a fortune. Owlguru.com surveyed nuclear power reactor operators to see what their qualifications were, and over 50% of employees only had a high school diploma.

An advantage would be an excellent understanding of electricity and math, especially algebra and trigonometry.

There is plenty of room for growth in this industry and with enough training you could work your way up to shift supervisor, trainer, or consultant.

American physician and politician, Michael C Burgess, once said, “Nuclear power will help provide the electricity that our growing economy needs without increasing emissions. This is truly an environmentally responsible source of energy.”


Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers – Median Annual Wage: $95,000

This is a job that will always be in high demand but will yet pay high. There are always products needing transport, storage and distribution and the person in charge could potentially earn $95,000 a year. Not a bad pay for someone who doesn’t have a degree.

Right, so what does the person fulfilling the role need? A high school diploma or equivalent, plus 5 years in a similar industry.

There’s long been the debate over which is better, work experience or work education, and here’s an example of work experience being the better option.

This person would oversee the allocating and shipping of merchandise; cost effectively and efficiently.

So, Aluxers, if you’re waiting for your “It’s Summer Somewhere” merch to arrive, you can thank these guys!


Air Traffic Controller – Median Annual Wage $123,000

Aluxers, there are several ways you can go about becoming an air traffic controller without a degree, and get a competitive salary in an industry that we assure you, will do a swift turnaround after Covid.

According to study.com – getting a degree is one way, but here are other options:

  • You could gain military experience as an air traffic controller.
  • You could complete three years of progressively responsible job experience.

If you opt for either of those options, you will also need to attend FAA’s Air Traffic Control Academy.

This industry has high levels of stress, so you need to be able to work under pressure. Your physical and mental health must be excellent and your communication skills on another level!

We look forward to seeing you when we next land at an international airport!

If the plan is to join an airport, then why not one of the “5 Most Amazing Airports in the World?

Still to come – we’ll reveal a person that was told by his headmaster when he dropped out of school at 15, that he’d end up a millionaire or in jail. Well, he proved both points wrong, and became a billionaire!


Which of these high paying jobs do you think you’d be most suited for? We value your input Aluxers, and to wrap up the article – did you know that Richard Branson dropped out of school at the age of 15?

His headmaster said he’d end up a millionaire or in jail and he proceeded to become a billionaire! Aluxers, anything is possible.