13 High Paying Jobs Without a Degree or Experience

High Paying Jobs Without a Degree or Experience


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Are you looking for high paying jobs without a degree or experience? Just because you didn’t go to college doesn’t mean you can’t make a lot of money.

Many entry-level jobs pay very well and are actually some of the most essential and fastest growing occupations in today’s world.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are potential careers that come with a median annual wage of nearly $50,000 that workers with high school diplomas should consider.

However, every job on our list has a median annual wage of $68,000 and up to $100,000.

After analyzing data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have compiled a list of the 13 highest paying entry-level jobs that don’t require a college degree or experience.

However, the majority of these jobs will require a high school diploma or equivalent and on-the-job training.

1. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

Median annual wage: $104,040 (May 2020)

Although you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to work as a nuclear power reactor operator, you are required to get licensed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

However, you will typically begin work in a nuclear power plant as an unlicensed operator, where you will gain the knowledge and experience to pass the exam.

As a nuclear power reactor operator, you will operate and monitor reactors, generators, turbines, and cooling systems. You will also record data produced and even respond to abnormalities.

Occupational Summary:

2. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

Median annual wage: $96,390 (May 2020)

As a transportation, storage, and distribution manager, you will oversee the shipping and allocation of merchandise in the most time and cost-effective way, while remaining in accordance with organizational policies and applicable government laws and regulations.

While you only need a high school diploma or equivalent and no on-the-job training to be a transportation, storage, and distribution manager, you typically need a minimum of 5 years of work experience in a related field.

Occupational Summary:

3. Power Distributors and Dispatchers

Median annual wage: $95,100 (May 2020)

Although you only need a high school diploma to work as a power distributor or dispatcher, this is the first job on our list that will require long-term on-the-job training.

As a power distributor or dispatcher, commonly known as systems operators, you will coordinate and control flow of electricity as it travels from generating stations to various substations and users.

This control will involve monitoring and operating current converters, circuit breakers, and voltage transformers over a network of transmission and distribution lines. You will also resolve problems when transformer or transmission lines fail, which may cause power outages across the network.

Occupational Summary:

4. Commercial Pilots

Median annual wage: $93,300 (May 2020)

As a commercial pilot, you will transport goods, charter flights, give aerial tours, among other unscheduled flight activities. You may even have nonflight duties. Some commercial pilots are responsible for scheduling flights, arranging for maintenance of the aircraft, and even loading luggage.

More specifically, agricultural pilots handle chemicals, such as pesticides, and are involved in other agricultural practices other than flying.

While you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to be a commercial pilot, you will be required to get a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Occupational Summary:

  • Education required: High school diploma or equivalent
  • On-the-job training: Pilot’s license from the FAA
  • Total employment: 39,200
  • Employment growth: 11% (2020-2030)
  • Find Jobs: indeed.com/q-Commercial-Pilot-jobs

5. First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives

Median annual wage: $92,970 (2020)

Commonly referred to as patrol sergeants, police sergeants, or police captains, first-line supervisors directly coordinate and supervise activities of members of a police force.

In other words, you will be responsible for ensuring that all cases and procedures are conducted properly and legally.

While you only need a high school diploma to be a police captain, you are required to undergo moderate-term on-the-job training.

Occupational Summary:

  • Education required: High school diploma or equivalent
  • On-the-job training: Moderate-term
  • Total employment: 125,800
  • Employment growth: 7% (2020-2030)
  • Find Jobs: indeed.com/q-Police-Sergeant-jobs

6. Elevator Installers and Repairers

Median annual wage: $88,540 (May 2020)

Although you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to work as a elevator installer or repairer, you will have to work as an apprentice for roughly four years to obtain the knowledge and skills required to work on evevators.

As an elevator installer or repairer, you will assemble, install, maintain, and even replace elevators, escalators, chairlifts, and any other similar equipment.

Maintenance will involve oiling and greasing moving parts, replacing old parts, and adjusting equipment to optimize performance.

Occupational Summary:

  • Education required: High school diploma or equivalent
  • On-the-job training: Apprenticeship
  • Total employment: 24,800
  • Employment growth: 6% (2020-2030)
  • Find Jobs: indeed.com/q-Elevator-Repair-jobs

7. Detectives and Criminal Investigators

Median annual wage: $86,940 (May 2020)

These types of law enforcement officers assist other law enforcement and even private citizens in collecting evidence and gathering facts in regards to criminal investigations.

This will involve everything from conducting interviews and examining records to observing activities of suspects and participating in arrests and even raids.

While you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to work as a detective or criminal investigator, you will have to receive moderate-term on-the-job training. You may even be required to do some college coursework.

Occupational Summary:

8. Power Plant Operators

Median annual wage: $84,650 (May 2020)

Although you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to work as a power plant operator, it’s one of the few high paying jobs without a degree or experience that will require long-term on-the-job training.

As a power plant operator, you will maintain and control the machinery used to generate electricity. Doing so, you will distribute this power among generators and regulate their output.

You will monitor instruments to control and maintain electricity and voltage flows from the plant to reach fluctuating consumer demands throughout the entire day.

Occupational Summary:

  • Education required: High school diploma or equivalent
  • On-the-job training: Long-term
  • Total employment: 33,600
  • Employment growth: -14% (2020-2030)
  • Find Jobs: indeed.com/q-Power-Plant-Operator-jobs

9. First-Line Supervisors of Firefighting and Prevention Workers

Median annual wage: $78,870 (May 2020)

As a firefighting supervisor, you will manage and direct efforts of works engaged in firefighting and the prevention and control of fire.

While you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to work as a first-line supervisor of firefighting and prevention workers, you will be required to receive a postsecondary nondegree award.

Occupational Summary:

10. Postmasters and Mail Superintendents

Median annual wage: $78,060 (May 2020)

As a mail superintendent, you will be the planner behind operational, administrative, management, and support services of the United States post office.

You will also coordinate activities of employees engaged in postal and related work within the office.

While you only need a high school diploma to work as a postmaster, you will be required to undergo moderate-term on-the-job training.

Occupational Summary:

  • Education required: High school diploma or equivalent
  • On-the-job training: Moderate-term
  • Total employment: 13,200
  • Employment growth: -8% (2020-2030)
  • Find Jobs: indeed.com/q-Postmaster-jobs

11. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

Median annual wage: $75,030 (2020)

Although you don’t need prior work experience and only a high school diploma or equivalent to work as an electrical power-line installer or repairer, you will undergo long-term on-the-job training.

As an electrical power-line installer or repairer, you will install or repair electrical power systems and telecommunications cables, including fiber optics. The work environment is very dangerous and physically demanding.

Occupational Summary:

12. Media and Communication Equipment Workers

Median annual wage: $70,980 (May 2020)

As a media and communication equipment worker, which is in high demand in the film and movie industry, you will install, maintain, and repair audio and visual systems and equipment in both businesses and homes. You will also teach customers how to use the systems and equipment properly.

While landing a job as a media and communication equipment worker only requires a high school diploma, individuals with experience in electrical installation and repair or those who are certified in a related field may find it easier to get hired.

You will also undergo variable on-the-job training as a media and communication equipment worker.

Occupational Summary:

13. Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators

Median annual wage: $68,270 (May 2020)

As a claims adjuster, you will be responsible for inspecting property damage or even personal injury claims to determine how much their insurance company should pay for the loss. This may include a home, business, or vehicle.

Doing so, you will interview the claimant and witnesses, inspect the damage, and do additional research, such as examining police reports.

While you only need a high school diploma to work as a claims adjuster, you will start out working on small claims under the supervision of a more experienced adjuster. As you gain necessary knowledge and experience, you will be assigned larger and more complex adjustment claims.

Occupational Summary:

Additional High Paying Jobs Without a Degree or Experience:

Final Thoughts on High Paying Jobs Without a Degree or Experience

As demonstrated above, graduating from college or having past work experience isn’t always essential to earning a decent living.

In fact, high paying jobs that don’t require a degree are often the most important and fastest growing occupations in today’s competitive and ever-expanding economy.

However, some of the jobs on our list are very dangerous, such as electrical power-line installers and elevator repairers.

On the other hand, jobs that aren’t nearly as dangerous, such as transportation, storage, and distribution managers, are typically unpredictable and highly stressful.

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