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High Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

Whoever said that high-paying jobs are only for those with college degrees have obviously not done much research. There are actually several high-paying jobs that only require an associate degree, a certain amount of experience, or the right training and skills. Here are ten examples:

Web Developer

Web developers design, maintain, and build website and software applications. They also perform updates for the websites that they run. In 2018, web developers made a median annual salary of $69,430, with the highest-paid making as much as $124,480 in the same year. Thus, making it one of the high paying jobs that do not require a college degree.

Some web developers have Bachelor’s degrees in computer or tech programs. However, several employers place a higher regard towards practical technical knowledge and experience gained from independent courses and workshops. Common skills include Programming languages like Python, Java, C++, Ruby, HTML, and SQL.

Technical Writer

Technical writers are usually field experts or consultants. If you are particularly good and well-versed at something, you might be requested to write extensively about it. Technical writing has the aim of turning complex pieces of information into straightforward and easy-to-understand write-ups.Those may include charts, diagrams, and illustrations.

Although some technical writers have degrees in Journalism or English, this is not always required. Many instances, an associate degree in technical writing, along with extensive experience in a specific field that they need to produce write-ups about.

Technical writers made a median annual salary of $71,850 in 2018, with the highest-paid raking in as much as $114,930 that same year.

Physical Therapist Assitant

More and more of these professionals are demanded in physical therapy clinics as there are more and more patients in need of the service. Physical therapy assistants help physical therapists by assisting patients and setting up therapy equipment. They also maintain the cleanliness of therapy rooms and paraphernalia, and document patient’s progress. In 2018, Physical Therapist Assistants made a median annual salary of $58,040, with the highest earners making as much as $79,810 in that year. This is one of the best high paying jobs that only require an associate’s degree in a physical therapy assistant education program.

low salary workers moving up

Massage Therapist

Massage therapists conduct massage therapy, make patient assessments, and refer patients to other medical professionals if needed. They are usually found in rehab centers, physicians’ clinics, hospitals, travel accommodations, and spas.

Massage therapy education programs only require applicants to have a high school diploma or any equivalent. Massage therapists have one of those high-paying jobs that don’t require a college education. They had a median annual salary of $41,420 in 2018, with the highest earners receiving up to $78,280 that year.

Computer Systems Administrator

Computer systems administrators oversee the computer systems’ needs of an organization. They take care of and install network hardware as well as software. They also maintain these networks and do regular systems upgrades to ensure smooth and optimum performance.

Typically, computer systems admins only need associate degrees in computer or tech programs. In 2018, they made a median annual salary of $82,050, while top earners raked in as much as a whopping $120,730 in that same year. 

Licensed Practical Nurse

Those in the medical field are usually adequately compensated. However, most medical professions require college degrees or even higher levels of education. Nevertheless, if you want to enter into this lucrative and fulfilling field without a college degree, you can still do so through the LPN or LVN route. It’s one of those high paying jobs that don’t require you to spend too much on school because of college fees.

All you will need is to complete an LPN program that is offered by many institutions, even some high schools, and hospitals. After taking the NCLEX-PN and some basic training, you are good to go. LPNs had a median annual salary of $46,240 in 2018, with top earners receiving as much as $62,160 in that same year.

Cost Estimator

Cost estimators had a median annual income of $60,040 in 2018. The highest-paid ones earned as much as $107,940 in that same year. While some cost estimator jobs may require a Bachelor’s degree, some positions open up for those with extensive experience in the field of construction. If you have been working in construction for several years now and would want to advance to a higher position, you can look for cost estimator job openings to level up your career and your salary grade.

Cost estimators are mainly responsible for computing the costs of materials for specific projects. These projects are usually related to construction. However, they can also have something to do with manufacturing, transportation, or even energy production and distribution.

employee receiving salary

Software Developer

Software developers develop, test, and implement new software programs that an organization requires. They do this in order to maintain or improve its operations and services. They also analyze existing software and make recommendations for improvement, as well as implement needed upgrades.

Software development is one of the highest-paying jobs that do not really require a college diploma. Although some employers prefer applicants that finished a Bachelor’s degree, more and more are looking into expertise and knowledge more than the degree itself. That is because software development skills such as programming are easily learned through other sources. Outside of universities and colleges, such courses are available through accredited online academies.

Database Administrator

DBAs oversee a company’s database. This includes installing and upgrading server software, making backup and recovery for unforeseen situations concerning databases. It also involves making sure that everything is efficient and consistent, and doing regular systems evaluations and recommendations for improvement.

Several companies may require applicants to have a college degree, but these high-paying jobs which can rake in an average of $90,780 up to a whopping $138,320. They usually only require that the applicant be computer and tech-savvy, well-versed in database languages like SQL, and have vendor-specific certification (which does not require you to present a college diploma to avail).

Interpreter and Translator

If you still want one of these high-paying jobs but feel like you are neither the techy or medical type, you might still stand a chance if you are fluent in two or more languages. Interpreters and translators convert written or oral material from one language to another while maintaining accuracy of thought. They serve as a medium between two or more parties that do not speak the same language.

Interpreters and Translators made a median salary of $49,930 in 2018, with the best-paid earning as much as $90,610 that year.

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About The Author

Vanessa R.

Vanessa R.

Vanessa has been a freelance writer for eight years, providing content independently and through various online platforms. Having worn many hats—a former student journalist, a registered nurse, an aspiring mom-blogger, plus six years of pharmaceutical sales experience under her belt, she adopts a broad range of approaches to tackling different subjects in personal and professional development. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her two rowdy boys around the house.