10 High-Paying Jobs ... No Degree Required


Higher education and higher income often go hand in hand, but a college diploma certainly isn't the only ticket to the gravy train. Just ask Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen. These two college dropouts are now among the wealthiest people in the United States, with an estimated combined net worth of $72 billion.

They have plenty of company. Five of the six richest self-made billionaires on Forbes magazine's list of the nation's wealthiest people didn't finish college.

Exceptional performers or entrepreneurs in nearly any industry can command enormous salaries. The following jobs, however, consistently boast high pay, with nationwide average salaries far above the norm -- and none require a degree.

1. Air Traffic Controller

Average Salary: $105,820

The job: Organizing and controlling the flow of airplanes into and out of an airport.

How to get it: You may not need a college degree, but getting hired as an air traffic controller isn't easy. Candidates need four years of college and/or three years of work experience before undergoing pre-employment testing. Once they make the cut, they must complete the FAA Academy and an additional training program before starting work.

2. Real Estate Broker

Average Salary: $76,930

The job: Helping clients sell their residential property.

How to get it: To obtain a broker's license, candidates need 60 to 90 hours of formal classroom training, and one to three years of real estate sales experience.

3. Transportation Manager

Average Salary: $75,130

The job: Working out the logistics for transportation firms, including mapping out the best routes and estimating demand.

How to get it: Experience driving a truck or working in transportation sales is the most common route to this occupation. Just over half of transportation managers have some college experience, but less than one-quarter completed a bachelor's degree.

4. Non-Retail Sales Supervisor

Average Salary: $73,670

The job: Hiring, training, supervising and scheduling the work of sales workers, including cashiers and customer service representatives.

How to get it: Many supervisors start out on the sales floor and work their way up the organization. Good conversational skills, problem-solving ability and computer literacy are crucial.

5. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

Average Salary: $66,900

The job: Running the machinery at nuclear reactors.

How to get it: Operating a nuclear power reactor requires extensive training by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which includes a mix of classroom work and on-the-job instruction. To obtain a license, candidates must pass an annual practical exam and may be subjected to drug screenings.

6. Gaming Manager

Average Salary: $65,920

The job: Creating game policies and managing the day-to-day responsibilities at a casino.

How to get it: Work experience is the primary requirement. Many gaming managers start out as dealers or other casino floor workers.

7. Power Distributor

Average Salary: $59,510

The job: Controlling the flow of electricity through lines to industrial plants or substations.

How to get it: A high school diploma is usually required, and candidates undergo extensive on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

8. Detective

Average Salary:$58,750

The job: Gathering facts and evidence to help solve crimes.

How to get it: Detectives usually begin as police officers and get promoted to detective after a probationary period that ranges from six months to three years.

9. Elevator Repairer

Average Salary:$58,500

The job: Installing, repairing and maintaining elevators and escalators.

How to get it: Most new repairers apply through the local chapter of the International Union of Elevator Constructors. To qualify for an apprenticeship, candidates must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, pass an aptitude test and be in good physical shape.

10. Ship Engineer

Average Salary:$57,290

The job: Operating and maintaining machinery on a ship, including propulsion engines, generators and pumps.

How to get it: Most water transportation occupations require a license from the U.S. Coast Guard. Applicants must accumulate a certain number of hours at sea and pass a written exam, physical exam, drug screening and National Driver Register Check to be considered.

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Pipe Dreams

The author of this article seems to imply in the " How to get it" part of each top 10 job that a person can just run out and get the job or schooling needed to get to the next level and land these jobs. Nice advice, easily given, but not even close to reality :(

October 01 2009 at 7:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Pipe Dreams's comment
Anne Mourning

Right on! The people writing these things really have no grasp on reality. Employers expect unbelievable things now, treat you suspiciously, almost like a criminal, want you to grovel and be humiliated. 35 years experience, as I have in my profession, does not seem to count for anything now without a degree. And even when you do get into a job, you have to literally walk on egg shells, because employers will fire you over NOTHING!

September 17 2010 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


July 24 2009 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's an employers market and people are sucking to get air in a market where the companies are requiring two or three skills rather than a specialty and then won't hire you because they want one specialty. They are demanding and we can't seem to get them to give an ounce, whether high IQ or vast experience. I think this article is failing to say, be d***** lucky if you get one of them.

July 15 2009 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kacha Milan

I am proud of your advertisement.I am ready to do your job.I am hard work.

April 27 2009 at 2:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I suggest you have an industry HR professional or recruiter review your resume to better align with the employer's mandates specifically. These professionals have insider info that can help your resume make it through automatic resume screeners and as well attract the attention of human readers through relevant phrasing techniques. Also, they might be able to help you get your resume through to the actual recruiter of a job rather than into a database where you are simply assigned a number. I recommend you try an inexpensive service called ResumeGuru (www.resumeguru.us) that comes backed by a money-back guarantee against canned responses and poor workmanship.

April 18 2009 at 5:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Best Job Search Site I have seen till now:


March 19 2009 at 5:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As usual, your "statistics" have no basis in reality. These "jobs" you list mean little if they are all taken.
5 MILLION people drawing unemployment...how many open jobs are there in the fields you list here? Get real.

February 19 2009 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You may be right about Bill Gates but the general tendency is that an employr wants you to be a holder of a bachelor degree as a rule.


February 19 2009 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nwangbo Chidi

I'm seeking for a Good job in Europe,am hard working man,am single not married,i have hand work and i am ready for any good work.

February 09 2009 at 8:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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