In the past, you may have heard you needed a degree for a high-paying career. But welcome to a world where a college degree is no longer the golden ticket to a well-paying job. In 2023, at least 23 jobs will pay you a cool $50,000 per year or more — no degree required. Some of the wealthiest people in the world, including Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft Corp. Co-Founder Bill Gates, are actually college dropouts who went on to become highly successful entrepreneurs.
Jobs that pay $50K a year without a degree
Getting a good job without a degree is like making a soufflé — it takes some serious effort and skill, but with the right ingredients and a bit of practice, you can whip up something truly impressive. It’s totally possible to land a great job without a degree, but it doesn’t automatically happen. You’ll have to put in hard work, develop the necessary skills, and show employers you’re worth hiring. But with a bit of perseverance and determination, you can rise to the top and achieve your career goals.
Without further ado, take a look at how you can make $50,000 per year without a degree!
1. Warehouse manager
A warehouse manager oversees the process of receiving and shipping products for numerous businesses. You’ll be responsible for managing employees, handling inventory, and operating equipment.
In most cases, you don’t need any certifications to become a warehouse manager. But if you have qualifications, they can certainly be helpful. You can learn more about the industry by taking a professional course in distribution and warehousing.
Experience needed: High school diploma or general education development (GED) and two years of warehouse experience
2. Police officer
As a police officer, you’ll enforce laws and keep the public safe. Police officers are responsible for responding to complaints and calls reported to the police department. Police also take on the responsibility of detaining those who break the law. You’ll be in charge of making sure people follow traffic laws, and filing detailed reports in cases where people don’t abide by the rules of the road.
Experience needed: High school diploma or GED and completion of police academy training
3. Property manager
When it comes to managing property, there are a lot of responsibilities. Your main job is to provide customer service to tenants and potential renters. You’ll also be expected to oversee the moving inspections, process payments, screen new applicants, and coordinate maintenance requests and repairs.
Experience needed: A high school diploma or GED, and most states require you to pass your state’s real estate licensing exam
4. Pipe welder
As a pipe welder, your job is centered around the construction and preparation of piping systems that involve welding equipment. You’ll be responsible for measuring, cutting, and welding materials for repairs as well as working on new projects. You’ll need to have extreme attention to detail and understand how to follow safety precautions. If you’re wondering how you can get your foot in the door and become a pipe welder, YouTube is a great resource.
Experience needed: High school diploma or GED, two years of welding experience; some companies require pipe welders to have a certification in welding
Becoming a pilot means you’ll learn how to fly airplanes, helicopters, and many other forms of aircraft. You’ll be transporting people or cargo to various locations depending on your area of expertise.
You can make a significant salary by being a private pilot or working for a commercial airline, the latter of which requires additional certifications and training. You need flying experience to complete the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.
Experience needed: Private pilot certificate, Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), commercial pilot certificate, certificated flight instructor (CFI), multiengine rating, and Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.
6. Claims adjuster
As an adjuster, you’ll be inspecting claims regarding property damage and personal injury. You’ll be responsible for determining how much money the insurance company should pay to cover the losses.
As a claims adjuster, you’ll interview clients who are filing claims as well as witnesses who need to make statements. You can also expect to be in charge of inspecting the property and looking at police reports.
All you need to get started is to pass your state’s licensing exam. You can take courses online to study for your adjuster exam.
Experience needed: Pass the insurance adjuster exam
7. Flight attendant
If you’re a jet setter, you can take to the sky and become a flight attendant. Flight attendants are responsible for keeping airplane passengers safe and comfortable. You’ll provide food, offer drinks, report suspicious activity, inspect safety equipment, and explain safety procedures to passengers. You can work privately or alongside commercial airlines.
Experience needed: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency and flight attendant certificate course.
8. Construction Superintendent
As a construction superintendent, you are the overseer of construction and renovation projects for nearby buildings. You maintain top-tier quality control at construction sites and work with subcontractors in the process. You also must schedule deadlines and allocate your budget appropriately.
Experience needed: High school diploma or GED, five years of experience in the construction industry, and completion of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30 certification.
Although it’s not the most glamorous job, you can make some serious cash as a plumber. Plumbers install equipment, repair water damage, tend to gas leaks, and fix broken pipes, among many other tasks. You’ll need to know how to install plumbing fixtures like bathtubs and toilets as well as appliances like dishwashers.
You can enroll in an apprenticeship to learn the skills you need from companies like Roto-Rooter, or you can attend a local trade school.
Experience needed: High school diploma or GED and completion of an apprenticeship or training at a local trade school; some states require proof of licensing
10. Insurance agent
Insurance agents sell different types of insurance. They help their clients feel protected when life happens and they need support. As an agent, you can either work for insurance companies, refer clients to independent brokers, or become an independent broker. You can also choose between home, auto, life, or health insurance.
If you’re looking for on-the-spot training, you can sign up for State Farm’s training program.
Experience needed: Complete the pre-licensing course and pass the state exam
11. Commercial truck driver
Love to drive? Then you might consider commercial truck driving. You’ll be responsible for operating tractor-trailers and many other types of large vehicles you’ll use to transport goods to various locations. Some jobs are local gigs where you make deliveries to nearby businesses. Other jobs require you to travel long distances. Truck driving can offer you a flexible schedule with either part-time or full-time work available.
Check out TransForce to find out more about truck driving.
Experience needed: Must be at least 21 years old, have a valid commercial license, and receive a road test certificate — particularly a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Electricians install electrical systems in homes and businesses. You’ll be responsible for rewiring equipment, inspecting electrical service panels, checking fuse boxes for safety issues, and identifying sources of power outages. You can work as an employee for a company or find work as an independent contractor. Indeed can help you find work right away.
Experience needed: High school diploma or GED, completion of an electrician apprenticeship, and proof of passing the state electrician exam
13. Food service manager
As a food service manager, your job is to oversee the daily operations of a restaurant. You are responsible for making sure customers are satisfied, and if they’re not, you must handle any issues or complaints that arise. You’ll learn how to order inventory, hire employees, and train the new hires as well as manage budgets and take care of payroll.
Experience needed: High school diploma or GED and two years of work experience in the food service industry.
Although it’s no easy task, becoming a firefighter can be extremely rewarding. As a firefighter, you’re responsible for putting out fires, finding missing people, and rescuing victims that are trapped inside burning buildings. You’ll also find yourself involved in other emergency situations, all of which are centered around helping the public. It’s important that you’re comfortable driving vehicles because you’ll be responsible for operating fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.
Firefighters have physically and mentally demanding jobs. They also work long shifts that can last up to 24 hours each. You’ll be expected to work at least 10 days out of the month.
Experience needed: Pass a written exam, psychological and physical evaluations, and graduate from the fire academy; some departments may require an emergency medical technician (EMT) certification
15. Real estate agent
If you love helping people and you have great customer service skills, becoming a real estate agent might be perfect for you. Helping people find their new homes is both exciting and rewarding. The hours are flexible, and you can often set your own schedule. You’ll be showing potential buyers properties for sale while simultaneously helping other customers sell their properties.
Experience needed: Complete the appropriate pre-licensing education for your state, and pass your state’s real estate license examination
16. Personal trainer
If you have a love for fitness and want to help people transform their lives, personal training is the way to go. It’s an industry that offers more flexibility than ever before. You can either work virtually or in person with clients at a nearby gym.
As a trainer, you will be putting together workouts and writing nutrition programs for your clients as a way of helping them both look and feel their best. It’s important to be a great listener and know how to personalize a fitness plan that meets your client’s needs. You can expand your clientele through continuing education certificates through organizations like the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM).
Experience needed: Personal training certification from an accredited organization like NASM
17. Solar sales rep
Solar sales are a great way to help the environment while generating an income stream. Your job is to help sell solar energy systems. You’ll be assisting clients, writing reports, and developing sales strategies.
For this gig, it’s important you have good communication skills. Prior customer service or sales experience will give you a leg up, too.
Experience needed: One year of sales experience
18. Cable installation tech
If you have excellent attention to detail and you are a good problem solver, you might nail it as a cable tech. You can expect your responsibilities to include the installation, repair, and maintenance of all things cable-related. This job also includes feeding cable lines, laying cable, and setting up equipment in homes and businesses.
While employers often look for people with experience in the field, some companies, like CUI Cable Services, will train you on the spot.
Experience needed: Complete a telecommunications program and an apprenticeship program
19. Travel agent
Love to travel? Have great customer service skills? Being a travel agent might be the job for you!
As a travel agent, you’ll be responsible for helping people book trips. You’ll also work with families, individuals, and businesses to book flights, schedule hotel stays, plan transportation, book activities, find dining reservations, and so much more. As a travel agent, you’ll plan other people’s trips based on their needs, wants, and desires.
Some companies will hire you with no experience and train you in the duties of the job. Other jobs will require you to know everything before you’re hired, but there are courses you can take through The Travel Institute to expand your knowledge, which will ultimately help you make more money.
Experience needed: High school diploma or GED, one year of sales experience, and one year of customer service experience
20. Loan officer
As a loan officer, you’ll work for a bank or independent lender to help people apply for loans. You’ll be checking credit, filling out applications, and working one on one with clients to assist them with the financial help they need.
Experience needed: Register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS), complete 20 hours of pre-licensing education courses approved by the NMLS, and pass the NMLS mortgage licensing exam
21. Software Developer
Software developers can make a lot of money without having a degree. A software developer is someone who designs, develops, and tests software. This career path can be beneficial to those who are technically minded but do not have the financial means or time to obtain a college degree.
Software developers typically have strong analytical and creative problem-solving skills, as they must be able to rapidly develop solutions for technical challenges.
22. Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists are among the most well-paying and in-demand healthcare professionals who do not require a college degree for their careers. Many employers and professional organizations provide classes, webinars, and seminars to help new practitioners learn the skills required for success in this growing field.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) provides resources such as information about registration requirements, continuing education opportunities, and more so that dental hygienists can stay up to date on industry trends.
Experience needed: Certification from the state or local board of dental examiners after completing an approved educational program in most states
Chefs are skilled culinary professionals who create delicious and visually appealing dishes for restaurants, hotels, and other food-service establishments. While some chefs have a culinary arts degree, it’s possible to become a successful chef without one. Many of the world’s top chefs, including Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck, didn’t attend culinary school.
Chefs need a wide range of skills, including creativity, culinary expertise and knowledge of food safety, nutrition, and sanitation. They should also have excellent organizational skills to ensure that all food is prepared correctly, on time, and up to high standards. Chefs also need the ability to multitask and handle pressure in the kitchen. Communication skills are essential for coordinating activities in the kitchen with other staff members as well as for dealing with customers. Chefs must be detail-oriented in order to consistently create quality dishes that meet customer expectations.
Experience needed: Experience in a culinary role is usually required. Many chefs start their careers as line cooks, kitchen assistants, or apprentices in restaurants, hotels, or catering companies.
Skills that pay the bills
There you have it! 23 high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree. From coding to cooking, there are plenty of opportunities out there for those willing to work hard and learn new skills. Whether you’re a natural-born salesperson, a creative genius, or a master of all things analytical, there’s a job out there for you. Remember, a degree can be a valuable asset, but it’s not the only path to success. So go out there and land that dream job — and don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way!
What are the most common jobs that pay $50k a year?
Common jobs that pay $50K include software developers, accountants, nurses, web developers, and project managers.
How can I find jobs that pay $50k a year?
You can start your job search by looking through job postings on websites such as Indeed.com or LinkedIn. Additionally, you can contact staffing agencies that specialize in placing workers in high-paying positions.
How can I increase my chances of getting a job that pays $50k a year?
To increase your chances of getting a job that pays $50K or more, you should focus on developing your skills and experience in the field, attending networking events to connect with potential employers, and researching employers that offer salaries in this range.