Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs With No Degree Required

Many consider a college degree to be a necessary step toward career success, but this path has some serious tradeoffs. In addition to a long time commitment, about 65% of college students today graduate with student loan debt. Before committing to college, it’s important to consider whether college is right for your career goals. To help you figure out your alternate path to success, check out these top five highest paying jobs with no degree required

1. Distribution, Storage, and Transportation Managers

Education Required: High school diploma | Median Salary: $94,560

In this career, your main responsibilities involve the day-to-day management of logistics, distribution, storage, and transportation activities. Specifically, this role supervises the shipping and receiving of goods and also ensures safety regulations and smooth business operations.

To reach this management position, a high school diploma or equivalent is required and five or more years of experience in a related industry. 

Although the $94,560 median salary isn’t available as an entry-level worker, you can spend the time you would’ve spent in college gaining experience in the field.

Once you have the appropriate experience, you’ll have the opportunity to earn more than if you spent that time in college and you won’t have to worry about repaying student debt.


2. Detective and Police Supervisors

Education Required: High school diploma | Median Salary: $91,090

Detective and police supervisors are another high paying occupation with no degree requirements.

In this role, your duties include supervising and training police officers and detectives.

To reach a supervisory level in the police force, you’ll need the equivalent of a high school diploma and less than five years of experience in law enforcement or the military.

Typically, experience is gained through on-the-job training as a police officer. It’s recommended that aspiring police supervisors also gain specialised experience in roles such as SWAT member or investigator in order to get promoted.


3. Commercial Pilots

Education Required: High school diploma | Median Salary: $86,080

If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a pilot but don’t want to go through college, a commercial pilot position is an option for you. Commercial pilots fly aircraft for unscheduled flights, and these flights aren’t affiliated with airlines.

These flights typically travel shorter distances and pilots benefit from being able to stay closer to home.

To become a commercial pilot, you’ll need at least a high school diploma or equivalent, a commercial pilot’s license, and about 250-500 hours of flight experience.


4. Escalator and Elevator Installers and Repairers

Education Required: High school diploma | Median Salary: $84,990

When it comes to the maintenance, installation, and repair of elevators and movable walkways, this occupation does it all.

To get started as an elevator and escalator repairer or installer, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent. From there, most in this profession start a four year apprenticeship to gain the appropriate training in their industry.

Although this is a similar time commitment to college, apprentices are actually paid for their work and training during this time frame.

This career path is attractive for those that would rather be earning money as they learn and wish to have a decent salary once they’re fully trained as a mechanic.


5. Firefighter Supervisors

Education Required: Postsecondary nondegree award | Median Salary: $77,800

Rounding out our list of highest paying jobs without degrees are firefighter supervisors. To get to this position, most start out with professional firefighting experience.

As a firefighter, you don’t need to have a college degree, but many gain some postsecondary education such as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification.

Training is done on-the-job and with less than five years of experience, it’s possible to reach a leadership position. As a firefighter supervisor, you’ll be earning much more than a new college graduate would after four years in school. 

With careers that span a variety of industries, there’s a career path on this list for all interests and skill sets.

Additionally, each career demonstrates that with hard work and experience, it’s possible to get promoted to a high position and earn a high salary without a college degree.


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