Make $30 an Hour Without a Four-Year Degree


no degreeFor job seekers without a four-year degree, breaking the $25-an-hour barrier can be a challenge. But with more technical certification and associate's degree programs than ever, many well-paying career options are accessible in a broad range of industries.

The following is a list of lucrative careers for those without a four-year degree and their median annual salary according to online salary database That figure is then broken down to an hourly rate by dividing by 2080, the typical number of working hours in a year according to PayScale.

1. Sales director

If you are interested in a career change, but do not want to commit to further education, consider a sales career," says Sharon Reed Abboud, the author of All Moms Work, Short-Term Career Strategies for Long-Range Success. Sales directors oversee sales staff to help meet objectives, plan and implement sales programs and work to maintain budgets, among many other duties. While formal training is not a requirement for this position, sales experience and an outgoing personality are vital, according to Abboud. "Successful sales persons can often have the opportunity to climb the career ladder to increasingly lucrative management positions," she explains.

Average Salary: $91,900/ $44 per hour

Who's Hiring: Sales directors

2. Security administrators, computer network.

"As technology increases its reach, cyber crime is becoming a major concern for companies," says Debra Yergen, author of the "Creating Job Security Resource Guide." Security administrators work to prevent, troubleshoot and repair security breaches while educating network users on cyber safety. Certification or relevant experience is essential to entry to this field, especially in absence of a four-year degree.

Average Salary: $72,000/ $35 per hour

Who's Hiring: Security administrators

3. Elevator installer/repairer

Elevator assembly, installation and maintenance are the main responsibilities of this position. Participating in an apprenticeship program coupled with paid on-the-job training is the standard, and workers must pass a licensing exam. Union membership is typically required by employers, and unions can help to ensure "an excellent salary, benefits and pension," says Marky Stein, author of "Get a Great Job When You Don't Have a Job."

Average Salary: $67,100/ $32 per hour

Who's Hiring: Elevator installers

4. Real estate broker

Usually commission-based, real estate broker's salaries are sensitive to shifts in the economy. Despite the current real estate market, Yergen predicts "resurgence in salary in 2010 with the extension of the housing tax credit." Brokers are tasked with understanding real estate markets, performing transactions and advising buyers on their financing options. Additionally, real estate brokers must pass a written exam and maintain a license.

Average Salary: $65,400/ $31 per hour

Who's Hiring: Real estate brokers

5. Nuclear medicine technologist

Nuclear medicine technologists administer a type of drug called radiopharmaceuticals to patients and create diagnostic images that ultimately determine the presence of a disease," explains Yergen. With an increasingly large middle-aged and elderly population and advances in technology, job growth for nuclear medicine technologists is likely to remain steady. A certificate or an associate's degree is needed and a license is a requirement for many employers and states.

Average Salary: $64,100/ $31 per hour

Who's Hiring: Nuclear medicine technologists

6. Radiation therapist

Administering radiation treatment to cancer patients is the main role of a radiation therapist. "As radiation therapists continue to be a critical part of the medical radiation oncology team, it will translate into an uptick of jobs," predicts Yergen. There is also room for personal advancement in this field, with opportunities that include teaching and research. Training through an associate's degree or certification program is necessary, and a license is required in many states.

Average Salary: $63,500 / $31 per hour

Who's Hiring: Radiation therapists

7. Construction manager

Construction managers oversee the construction of structures, facilities, and systems, and are often on call around the clock. On-the-job construction experience and/or completing a construction management certification program provide entry to this position.

Average Salary: $63,400/ $30 per hour

Who's Hiring: Construction managers

8. Air traffic controller

"As an air traffic controller, your job will be dedicated to keeping the skies safe. It is a very demanding and rewarding occupation." says Abboud." Providing an essential role in aviation, air traffic controllers ensure that planes maintain a safe distance between each other and help to coordinate efficient scheduling.

With most positions employed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), air traffic controllers must complete a FAA-approved education program and pass a pre-employment test.

Average Salary: $63,000/ $30 per hour

Who's Hiring: Air traffic controllers

9. Video game designer

Video game designers create the storyline and structure of a video game and determine the rules of play. They typically need to possess an understanding of software design and computer programming and a degree or certification from a technical school can provide an advantage. Although currently at a point of high popularity, video games tend to go through phases of increased and decreased popularity, cautions Yergen.

Average Salary: $62,300/ $30 per hour

Who's Hiring: Video game designers

10. MRI technologist

MRI technologists train in programs available through hospitals, colleges and universities to earn a certificate or associate's degree. With more doctor's offices and clinics providing diagnostic services, demand is higher than ever, says Yergen. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), "health care will generate 3 million new wage and salary jobs between 2006 and 2016, more than any other industry."

Average Salary: $61,000/ $29 per hour

Who's Hiring: MRI technologists

Based in Seattle, Thea Nyberg is a freelance writer and editor.

Source: All salary data is from The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with 5-9 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing. Hourly rates are calculated by dividing the yearly salary by $2080.

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I have lived long enough to see alot of changes occur in this country. It sckens me when one is considered an upstanding member of the commmunity according to the amount of money he or she has in their checking account. That is exactly the way alot of poeple of this country are right now. That's fine if that is where your head is but it seems to change alot of people into self-servient, self-centered indigents with this better than thou attitude. There is more to life than money. Be faced with a life threatening Dr. gives you a 90 day to live time schedule to get you affairs in order then you will see what really is important. All you nit-witts out there need to wake up. Do any of you know what really is important in life or not? All that money YOU have you would give every last cent for just one more second of this reality you call life! The sad thing is that us Americans have lost the best values that anybody ever had and that is morality. I'm glad that the check-out time is near. The way this country is going, you engrates deserve to loose your a**s' up to the wa-zoo! Then just maybe you will learn that we as a people need to come together and try to live alittle better by getting along with one another. You all are bickering amongst youselves and you can't see that you are about to NOT have a country to spend your money in. WAKE UP!!!!!!

September 07 2010 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a construction safety, and you are correct, there is no jobs, when I do work I have to go out of town and make 30.00 per hour. As for good money the companies know what the economy is so they try to hire you for 20.00 per hour. And it’s going to get worse.

March 17 2010 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jimbo is right though......

March 17 2010 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

looks like most people on site think the only education you get is college degree. Well I got started mine the first time I sat on my grandfathers knee. guess you could say I went to the school of hard knocks.
I have 5 son in laws. two of them went to college. they are dumber than a rock.
times up got to run.

March 17 2010 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Do your marketing else where this comment section is for comments not this bull. I don't care and most of the others don't either. It is sleazy what your doing

February 13 2010 at 8:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

(1) Contrary to popular belief, the average real estate broker makes less(net after expenses) than the guy who picks up his trash. In some years even the best will make zero net. Only way to survive is to have a spouse with a steady W-2 and a health plan. In my community the total commissions paid in a year means the average agent makes maybe $15,000/year, hardly enough to cover his car expense and MLS and other fees. Maybe each year 10% of agents will boast they are "million dollar" salespersons, generally computes out to making over $40,000/year. If you make any money at all in real estate, (as I have) it is not in brokerage, but in risking your own money to invest wisely in a market you understand.
(2) It is my observation that those sho denounce the "obscene profits" of bi corporations while decrying the losses in their pensions and mutual funds, fail to realize CORPORATIONS "R" US! If you have a pension now or one in the future the money you get is coming from the corporations you and I own, so you better hope there are plenty of profits there and they haven't all been taxed away or the corporations ruined by government regulation. And as for corporations producing nothing but "useless crap", who do you suppose produces the car you drive, the house you live in, the electricity you use, the computers you use, the groceries you eat? And who ultimately produces all the taxes (double taxation of corporation dividends) that finance the government benefits that you feel entitled to?

February 13 2010 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The salary is probably that good after many years of experience. But I rather still have a 4-year degree, lets face it...if you want to be taken seriously in life then go to college.

February 13 2010 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ralph Vitello

In America anything is possible

Thank you for your concern


February 13 2010 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

hey Ray, whatever miranda makes she probably owes all her monthly income in bills... like taking care of her house..
evidently she does not know how to clean her house...

February 13 2010 at 7:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How about starting with $20. an hour .Jobs like plumbers, electricians,retail food,meat cutters,pharmacy tech,If you search hard enough and your not afraid to get your hands dirty .You will find a job

February 13 2010 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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