College is often touted as the way to a brighter economic future. But this is not always the case. Here are the highest paying jobs that do not require a college degree. (Photo: kozmoat98 / Getty Images)

College is often touted as the way to a brighter economic future. But this is not always the case. The cost of teaching, books, lodging and more can be expensive, and it drives many into tens of thousands of dollars in debt. While college degrees certainly earn higher salaries on average, some do relatively little. These are high school principals who pay the least.

On the other hand, there are jobs that require little or no upper secondary education, but pay well. The average annual salary for all US jobs is $ 38,640. There are a handful of jobs that only require a secondary diploma or equivalent education that pays more than double.

24/7 Wall St. evaluated the data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the highest paying jobs you can get without a college degree.

While pay is always an important factor in choosing a job or career field, there are other considerations that need to be taken into account – as if the job is still in demand in the future. Some low-skill skills are already phased out by automation, but by 2026, employment is expected to slow down for just three of the 20 highest-paying jobs you can get without a college degree, according to the BLS. However, only two of the 20 jobs listed here are projected to have employment growth beyond the expected overall US job growth of 7.4% by 2026.

There are many jobs that keep society running – by providing power, security, transportation, and many other valuable services. Such jobs can manage higher salaries without requiring a degree and drawing for many of the jobs on this list.

Although these jobs pay well, they certainly have disadvantages. Many of the careers on this list are in the transport sector, which often requires employees to work long and irregularly. Other jobs on this list can be dangerous, especially those in law enforcement. These are the most dangerous jobs in America.

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Signal and track switches repairers ] (Photo: mvolek / Flickr)

20. Signal and track switches

• Median annual salary: $ 70,490

• Total employment: 7,730

2026): + , 3%

About 5% of US workers commute using transit, according to CityLab estimates. This often means taking the train. Anyone who regularly travels by train knows that traces and bugs often. Signal and track switch repairers are tasked with diagnosing and resolving the problems in these systems and fixing them to keep travelers safe and timely. Most signal repairers make up more than $ 70,000 a year, almost doubling the US median salary of $ 38,640. This job usually only requires a high school diploma and no previous job experience for applicants.

19. Oil pump system operators, refinery operators and gaugers

• Median annual salary: $ 70,860

• Total employment: 38,930


• Employment Growth Projection 2016-2026): + 2.8%

Oil pump system operators, refining operators and meters help set up oil wells and keep them pumping. As part of the generally paying oil and natural gas industry, these workers are well compensated. Most earn over $ 70,000 a year. As renewable energy becomes more common, jobs in the oil and gas industry can dry up. Total employment for pump system operators is only expected to grow by 2.8% by 2026 – well below 7.4% growth projected over all jobs in the same time frame.

18. Electric power plant installers and repairers

• Median annual salary: $ 70,910

• Total employment: 114,800

] • Employment Growth Projection 2016-2026): + 13.9%

Our mains are more important than ever, with power supplies to the mobile phone, TV and computers. The field line's installation field is expected to be one of the fastest growing in the country. It is expected to be 13.9% more installers and repair jobs in 2026 than it was in 2016 – almost twice the expected US growth in the job. As of 2018, there are already over 100,000 installers and repairers.

17. Gas plant operators

• Median annual salary: $ 71,070

• Total employment: 14,620

• Estimates for growth in working life (2016-2026): + 0.0%

Gas plant operators ensure that natural gas plants safely store and distribute gas. Although this job does not require a college or work experience, it can take a long time to get to know all the equipment used in a gas plant so that operators usually need long-term training at work to become skilled. BLS does not project any growth in the profession from 2016 to 2026.

16. Marine engineers

• Median annual salary: $ 71,130

• Total employment: • Total employment: ] 8,740

• Estimates for growth in the workplace (2016-2026): + 6.5%

Although engineering jobs do not require a four-year college education, all engines, boilers and machines run and maintain onboard on a ship a difficult skill to acquire. License tests for engineers usually require several years of maritime experience instead of education. As with many jobs that require considerable expertise, ship engineers are well paid. Most earn more than $ 71,000 annually.

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First-line tutors of non-retail workers (Photo: Thinkstock )

15. First-time tutors for non-retail workers

• Median annual salary: $ 73,390

• Total employment: 247,570

• Employment growth projection (2016-2026 ): + 4.9%

First-time tutors of non-retail workers have one of the most common jobs in the country, with nearly a quarter million Americans in this line of work. Also known as branch managers or sales managers, these people monitor salespeople and work with officials to increase sales figures. These executives are usually expected to have some related work experience.

14. Transport inspectors

• Median annual salary: $ 73,780

• Total employment: 29,990

• Employment growth forecast (2016-2026): + 5.9%

Transport inspectors are responsible for monitoring the goods traveling, either by truck, rail or other means, and ensuring that the loads comply with all local, state and federal laws. Transport inspectors earn an average annual salary of $ 73,780, over $ 35,000 in excess of the median annual salary for all jobs. Career opportunities in this field look stable, with an expected growth of 5.9 per cent in employment expected by 2026.

13. Transit and rail police

• Median annual salary: ] $ 74,030

• Total Employment: 4,470

• Estimates for growth in the working life (2016-2026)): + 6.3%

Transit and The Railway Police is one of several police and law enforcement agencies that pay over $ 70,000 a year without requiring a college degree in most cases. These police forces protect transit equipment as well as transit workers and passengers. This is one of only 13 jobs that do not require a college education where most employees earn over $ 74,000.

12. Gaming managers

• Median annual salary: $ 74,700

• Total Employment: 4.300

• Employment Growth Forecast (2016-2026): + 2.5%

Game Managers, also known as pit bosses, monitor casinos and others areas where legal gaming takes place. These leaders are responsible for ensuring that players and employees follow all casino rules and that all payouts are correct. These employees often work irregular hours, and they have one of the highest hourly wages at any position on average $ 40.99, higher than any other than four other jobs that do not require a college degree.

11. Postmasters and post superintendents

• Median annual salary: $ 75,970

• Total employment: 13,770

• Employment growth forecast (2016-2026): -20.9%

Like other positions with management duties, postmasters and post-superintendents are well compensated. The average annual salary for this job is almost $ 76,000. But with the advent of email and other electronic communications, physical letters are much less common than they used to be. In 2026, the BLS expects that there will be 20.9% fewer postmasters than it was in 2016, one of the largest expected declines in all career fields.

10. First-time counselors for fire-fighting and preventive workers

• Median annual salary: $ 76,330

• Total employment: 65,920

• Employment growth projection (2016- 2026): + 7.2%

Being a firefighter is a dangerous job, and firefighter's first-hand guides coordinate fire-fighting activities, including putting out blazes as quickly and safely as possible. This high voltage position is relatively well paid, as most in this field earn over $ 76,000 per year. Although no university degree is required, applicants are expected to have certifications, job training and experience in the field.

9. Power plant operators

• Median annual salary: $ 79,610

• Total employment: 33,920

• Employment growth ( 2016-2026): + 1.3%

Although power plant operators are not generally required to have a four-year college degree, it is most likely that anyone who is interested in working in this job will have many years of training at work to be competent. Employment growth in the field is expected to grow at a relatively low rate of 1.3% from 2016 to 2026. Although people will continue to need electricity, technological advances will allow for more efficient and automated units that can stifle growth.

8. Lift installers and repairers

• Median annual salary: $ 79.780

• Total employment: 26,830


• Estimates for growth in the labor market (2016-2026): + 12.1%

The American population is growing, but the American land mass is not. The solution is to build several tall buildings to house people and their businesses instead of detached houses. Elevators are needed to ensure that people can get up and down in tall buildings, while repairers are needed to maintain lifts. Elevator jobs are expected to grow 12.1% from 2016 to 2026, which far exceeds the 7.4% forecast growth rate in the overall US work pool.

7. Electric and electronic repairers, power plants, transformer station and relay

• Median annual salary: $ 80,200

• Total employment: 22,980

Employment Growth Forecast (2016-2026): + 3.7%

Electrical and electronics repair is one of seven jobs that does not require a four-year college degree but still pays over $ 80,000 in those Most cases. This job is of crucial importance as these workers monitor power generation stations to ensure that they run smoothly and solve any problems that arise. This field usually requires some workplace training and related work experience.

6. Detectives and criminal investigators

• Median annual salary: $ 81,920

• Total employment: 103,450

• Estimates for growth in the labor market (2016-2026): + 4.5%

Although a college education is usually not necessary for detectives and criminal investigators, they must first train at a police academy and work their way through departmental rankings. There are over 100,000 investigators and detectives in the United States, most of whom produce more than $ 80,000 per year.

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Commercial pilots (Photo: MatusDuda / Getty Images) [19659014] 5. Commercial Pilots

• Median Annual Salary: $ 82,240

• Total Employment: 37,870

• Employment Growth Forecast (2016-2026): + 3.8%

Flying an aircraft requires expertise and experience. Commercial pilots must be certified before they can take to the skis. Most commercial pilots make up over $ 82,000 a year, but some earn much more. The position's average (as opposed to median) annual salary is $ 96,530 – the second highest average between all jobs that do not require a college education.

4. Power Distributors and Dispatchers

• Median Annual Salary: $ 86,410

• Total Employment: 11,620


• Estimates for growth in working life (2016-2026)): -2.5%

Power distributors coordinate and regulate the energy generated from power or steam sources. Running the country is an important job, and these workers are well compensated and most draw over $ 86,000 a year. As power plants and units become more efficient, automated and advanced, the number of distributors and dispatchers needed to control and regulate power distribution is likely to shrink. BLS designs the total power supplies and dispatchers will reduce 2.5% by 2026 from 2016.

3. First-time supervisors of the police and detectives

• Median annual salary: $ 89,030 [19659007] • Total Employment: 116,660

• Employment Growth Projection (2016-2026): + 6.6%

First-time supervisors of police and detectives are known as sergeants or captains in police. Like the detectives they monitor, these police authorities do not need a college degree, but they must complete police training and gain experience in solving crimes at work. Most of these guides account for over $ 89,000 annually, well over double the median salary for all jobs.

2. Nuclear reactor operators

• Median annual salary: $ 94,350

• Total employment: 6,280

• Employment growth forecast ( 2016-2026)): -10.2%

Nuclear reactor operators are not required to have advanced physics or engineering degrees – or any degree for that matter. However, they are required to obtain certification that they are competent. Most of this career earns over $ 94,000 a year, but jobs are becoming less common. About half of Americans counteract nuclear use in the US, and about 10% of reactor operator jobs that existed in 2016 are expected to be gone by 2026. Facebook Posts

Transport, Storage and Distribution Managers (Photo: kupicoo / Getty Images)

1. Transport, storage and distribution managers

• Median annual salary: $ 94,730

• Total employment: 124,810

• Employment growth 2016-2026): + 6.7%

Of all the jobs one can reasonably expect to receive without a college degree, transportation, storage and distribution managers are generally best paid. These managers, who are often employed by trucking companies, make sure that the employer's goods are shipped and stored in the fastest, cheapest and most efficient way. The median annual salary for this job is $ 94,730, compared to $ 38,640 median salary for all jobs. Nearly 125,000 Americans work in this field, and the BLS is working at a growth rate of 6.7% from 2016 to 2026 in this field, almost in line with expected growth for all jobs of 7.4%.


To identify the highest paying jobs that do not require a college degree, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the annual median wage estimate for all occupational statistics survey conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. Wage data is from May 2018 survey. The typical education needed to get into the 20 occupations listed – high school diploma or equivalent, no formal education staff, postsecondary non-degree award, and a little college but no degree – came from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics & # 39 ; The Employment Projections program. Full-time and part-time professions are considered across all forms of work, including federal, state and local governments, as well as all private entities. The Employment Projections program includes self-employed people. OES excludes self-employed persons.

24/7 Wall Street is a US TODAY content partner offering financial news and comments. The content is produced independently of the United States today.


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