You aren’t interested in college, but you are looking for a high paying job that does not require a college degree. The reasons for coming to this decision can be different. Maybe you just aren’t interested in going into debt or you honestly have no idea what you want to do with your life! Personally, I am indifferent about a college education. If you end up using your degree, it can be one of the most valuable investments you ever make. Unfortunately, these days a lot of young people are getting a college degree to impress other people. It is often an expectation to go to college and your family might imply that they will be disappointed if you do not attend.
So, if you are on the fence about going to college this is what I would recommend. If you have the means to go and you have a general idea about what interests you, go for it. If you are simply going to college to party with your friends, you are better off just going to bars even though both are a waste of money! If you are going to college to impress your friends or meet up to the expectations of your family members, you are doing it for the wrong reason!
Remember, the decision to take a break between high school and college does not mean that you will never attend in the future. Most people graduate high school at the age of 18 and they are expected to make a decision that will impact the next 50 years of their life. This is just not realistic! Some people know exactly what they want to do in life from a young age, while it may take other people a lot longer.
Personally, I was clueless about what I wanted to do with my life after high school. I ended up deciding to go to community college to get an associates degree in electrical construction. This was more of a trade certification than a degree, but the job market for this skill was very strong. I was hired a month before graduating to my local power utility at an hourly rate of $27.20 an hour as a 20 year old. If you have the means to invest in some form of college or education, skilled trades are the way to go. You will work hard, but you will be compensated well.
After working for the power utility for a little over two years, I decided I wanted to do something else. I was far more interested in teaching others and learning about personal finance than I was drawing blueprints for power line construction. I ended up quitting that job, earning $31.62 an hour at the time.
Was my college education a waste? Yeah. I spent two years in school only to come out and work for just over two years. Had I taken time to learn about myself and my interests, I likely would have gotten involved with finance, business or education. Nonetheless, it was an important step in the process of my own self discovery.
Anyways, on to the topic of this article. Assuming you have absolutely no interest in pursuing a college education and you don’t want to flip burgers at a fast food restaurant, what options do you have?
1. Postal Service Mail Carrier (Salary: $51,390)
If you are interested in pursing a career in the postal office, law enforcement, air traffic control and other government jobs you will have to take the civil service exam. Most of these public sector jobs do not require any formal education, but applicants with an education will likely take priority. The average salary of a mail carrier was $51,390 in 2011, meaning this has likely increased over the recent years! One perk to working as a mail carrier is that you will stay in excellent shape, as you will likely be walking miles each day!
2. Correctional Officer (Salary: $43,555)
While this is not a glamorous job, it is an essential part of our civilized lives. A correctional officer is responsible for the safety, supervision and security of prisons and prisoners. There are over 400,000 correctional officers serving in prisons all over the United States. This is typically another public sector job, however there are some privately owned prisons out there. Most correctional officers working in the municipal, county or state level have just a high school diploma. If you are interested in working at a federal penitentiary, you will most likely need a college degree. Any correctional officer with a college education will likely start out in a better position at a higher rate of pay. The median salary of a correctional officer in 2012 was $43,555.
3. Transportation Security Officer (Salary: $40,160)
Another high paying public sector is working for the TSA. As a TSA employee, you will be making sure the airways are safe for passengers flying. A lot of the jobs working for the TSA require a college education, but some require just a high school diploma. Applicants with a high school diploma will likely take priority and end up starting at a higher rate of pay. Nonetheless, this could be a great option for someone that has a high school diploma looking to make good money. The average TSA agent made $40,160 in 2016, which is probably close to what this job pays today.
4. Digital Marketing Agency (Salary: $100,000)
Investing Simple is affiliated with Kevin David.
One of the most interesting ways to make money these days is through a digital marketing agency. While this will require you to learn skills above and beyond what you learned in high school, this does not require a college degree. In fact, most marketing courses taught in college are outdated! Digital marketing changes so quickly that by the time something is written in a book, it is likely outdated. With a digital marketing agency, you will be helping small businesses in establishing a presence online and advertising their businesses on sites like Facebook, Google and Instagram. There are a number of courses out there where you can learn about this.
Here is an interview I did with Kevin David. He teaches his students how to run Facebook ads and create a digital marketing agency from scratch!
Most successful marketing agencies are making over $100,000 a year. The typical starting package for a business is $1,000 a month. If you are able to bring on 10 clients, you would be making $120,000 per year.
If you are interested in learning more about digital marketing, Kevin offers a completely free course on Facebook ads. Click here to enroll!
5. Skilled Trade Union (Salary: $54,110)
There are a number of different skilled trades out there, so we are going to lump them all in together. A few examples of skilled trades are electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters, welders and boilermakers. Most of these skilled trades have labor unions and those interested in joining have the option to complete an apprenticeship. Take being an electrician for example. Many high schools now offer trade classes, and those with these certifications will be at an advantage when applying for an apprenticeship. These programs typically consist of three to five years of paid, on the job training combined with classroom instruction. You typically work during the day and attend classes at night. As an apprentice, you will typically make just above minimum wage. The good news is your pay significantly increases after your apprenticeship is over. The average pay for an electrician in 2017 was $54,110! Most skilled trade positions will earn you a salary of over $45,000. Keep in mind, these jobs often come with the benefits associated with being in a labor union. This is something that you might not be considering now, but benefits can be a very important factor to consider.
6. Real Estate Agent (Salary: Varies)
If you are a self motivated individual with a large network of friends and family, being a real estate agent might be a great option. You will have to go through a training and licensing process in order to become a real estate agent, and this will likely cost you a few thousand dollars. For some, being a real estate agent has been the best decision they have made. For others, it has been a complete waste of time and money. The main reason for this is because as an agent you work for yourself. You are paid based on commission when you sell or lease a property. If you aren’t working very hard, you won’t be making much of anything. As a beginner getting started with real estate, you should expect to make nothing in your first year. If you make any money at all, be very thankful. The reason why most real estate agents fail is because they have unrealistic expectations of making money out of the gate.
Consider Graham Stephan. He is a real estate agent as well as a real estate investor. Graham is a friend of mine, and he has been very successful when it comes to being a real estate agent. He is just about to turn 30, and he has earned over $3,000,000 working as a real estate agent.
While this result is not typical, this just goes to show you what is possible when you work hard and dedicate yourself to something. Unfortunately, most real estate agents never even manage to recoup the money invested in the training and licensing!
7. Utility Worker (Salary: $56,576)
As a former utility worker, I will tell you that the work is not glamorous but the pay is great. I originally worked as a past due bill collector earning $27.20 an hour or a salary of $56,576 as a 20 year old. Eventually, I moved on to the planning department where I earned $31.62 an hour or a salary of $65,769. The first job I had did not require a college degree, however the second one did. While most utility jobs do not require a college education, it is extremely difficult to get a job without having the educational background. Typically, it is those with an education or those with family members working there that get a job. It is possible to get a job without a college education as a utility worker. A friend of mine was able to get a job at the power utility I worked for, but he had military experience. Even so, it took him over a year of applying for jobs to actually find employment. Find out what your local power utility is and check back often for job postings!
8. Subway Operator (Salary: $62,360)
This job may be referred to as a subway, transit or light rail operator. The job of an operator is to make sure passengers get on and off these transportation vehicles safely. As a subway operator, you may be driving underground in tunnels or above ground. In this day and age, most of the subway trains are operated by computerized equipment, but it is up to the subway operator to monitor this equipment and keep an eye out for any potential hazards. Subway operators will receive on the job training and the educational requirement is typically just a high school diploma. In 2015, the average pay for a subway operator was $62,360! This salary is likely pushing $65,000 today.
9. Casino Slot Attendant (Salary: $69,408)
I live next to a casino. As someone who has little interest in gambling, this is not a problem for me. Many of the people that live in the same building as me work at this casino, and these jobs pay surprisingly well. One of the most common jobs at a casino is a slot attendant. You are in charge of operations on the casino floor. These jobs typically do not require any formal education, but past work experience might be a deciding factor of employment. At the casino I live nearby, the average pay for a slot attendant is $69,408! There is one major drawback to this job however. Most casinos are a 24 hour operation, meaning that this will not be your cushy 9 to 5 job! As a new employee at a casino, you will probably end up getting the graveyard shift. If you don’t mind working at odd times, this could be the perfect job for you!
10. Massage Therapist (Salary: $49,748)
Are you good with your hands? No, literally! Have you been told that you are good at giving massages? Massage therapists are often mobile, as they meet clients at their homes or offices. If you are interested in a job that does not tie you down to a desk, this might be an interesting opportunity. As a massage therapist, you are required to be licensed and to complete a certification process. Massage therapy does not require any kind of formal education. In 2018, the average pay for a massage therapist was $49,748. If you own your business, you can foreseeably charge whatever your customers are willing to pay!
11. Wind Turbine Technician (Salary: $53,880)
If you are afraid of heights, this is not the job for you. You know those massive wind turbines that are popping up all over the country? Well, someone has to climb up to the top to monitor and maintain the equipment. That somebody could be you! Most wind turbine technicians receive on the job training after completing a technical program. This is typically not as involved as a traditional college education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of wind turbine service technicians is projected to grow 96 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Since this is a brand new field, the job market is very strong. As a wind turbine technician, you need to be okay with a lot of travel, heights and confined spaces. The average pay for a wind turbine technician in 2017 was $53,880 per year.
12. Air Traffic Controller (Salary: $122,950)
There are primarily two different ways to become an air traffic controller. The first option is to gain experience through the military. The second option is to complete training through the FAA’s Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program. As an air traffic controller, you will be regulating air traffic as well as keeping track of weather conditions. Air traffic controllers are supervising all of the traffic in and out of the airports. While this job pays extremely well, it is known to be one of the most stressful occupations out there. In 2015, the average salary of an air traffic controller was an astounding $122,950!
In summary, there are a lot of high paying jobs out there that do not require a formal education. What you will find is that a lot of these high paying jobs require a lot of very hard work! Typically, there is a reason why these jobs pay so well. Before you settle for a job working in retail or fast food, consider these jobs mentioned. While it may take longer to find employment, the difference in pay can be staggering. While most of these jobs mentioned do not require a college education, having this qualification could help and even result in a better starting position and pay!
Do you know of any high paying jobs that don’t require a college education? If so, comment below! We will add them to the list.