15 Well Paid Jobs That Do Not Require College Degree or Diploma

There are many high-earning jobs that don’t require a traditional college degree. While you would definitely require a diploma and specialization for high end jobs such as surgeon or lawyer there are also other high paying jobs that might not require you to pass college.

However these jobs often require specialized skills, certifications, or on-the-job training. Here are 10 examples, along with their job descriptions. These jobs offer opportunities for individuals to build successful careers without the traditional college degree path, emphasizing the importance of specialized training, certifications, and hands-on experience in these fields.

Commercial Pilot

Description: Commercial pilots operate aircraft to transport passengers and cargo. They must obtain a commercial pilot’s license, which involves flight training, written exams, and flight hours. Many start as private pilots and work their way up through various licenses and certifications.

Construction Manager

Description: Construction managers oversee construction projects, including planning, budgeting, and supervising personnel. While some have bachelor’s degrees in construction management or related fields, extensive on-the-job experience can also lead to this role.

Executive Assistant

Description: Executive assistants support top-level executives by managing schedules, handling communications, and organizing meetings. Although a college degree can be helpful, many executive assistants gain experience and skills through administrative roles.

Elevator Installer and Repairer

Description: Elevator installers and repairers maintain and install elevators and escalators. They often complete apprenticeships or on-the-job training programs provided by elevator manufacturers or unions.

Commercial Diver

Description: Commercial divers perform underwater tasks like welding, inspection, and repair. They typically undergo specialized training and certification through dive schools or apprenticeships, and some may have degrees in marine-related fields.


Description: Plumbers install and repair plumbing systems. Many plumbers enter the field through apprenticeships, where they receive hands-on training and classroom instruction from experienced plumbers.

Air Traffic Controller

Description: Air traffic controllers manage the safe movement of aircraft in airports and airspace. They usually require extensive training and certification through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or a similar agency.

Construction Equipment Operator

Description: Construction equipment operators operate heavy machinery like bulldozers, excavators, and cranes. They often receive training on the job or through vocational schools and apprenticeships.

Computer Support Specialist

Description: Computer support specialists provide technical assistance to individuals and organizations. While some have degrees or certifications in information technology, others acquire skills through self-study and hands-on experience.

Real Estate Broker

Description: Real estate brokers assist clients in buying, selling, or renting properties. Becoming a broker usually involves completing pre-licensing courses, passing a state exam, and gaining experience as a real estate agent.

Which factors contribute to why some jobs do not require a degree

Several factors contribute to why some jobs do not require a diploma or degree.

Skill-Based Professions

Many jobs prioritize skills and competencies over formal education. Professions like plumbing, electrician work, welding, and carpentry require specific skills that can be learned through apprenticeships, vocational training, or on-the-job experience.

Experience Matters

Some employers value practical experience and a track record of success more than academic credentials. For example, in fields like sales, executive assistance, and real estate, individuals can often start at entry-level positions and work their way up based on their performance.

Certifications and Licensing

Certain professions require certification or licensing to ensure safety and competence. Examples include commercial pilots, air traffic controllers, and commercial divers. These certifications often have rigorous training and examination processes but do not necessarily require a traditional degree.

Changing Industry Needs

Some industries are constantly evolving and require workers to adapt quickly. In technology and IT, for instance, relevant certifications and practical skills may be more valuable to employers than a static degree in a rapidly changing field.


Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners do not hold college degrees. Entrepreneurship relies on creativity, problem-solving, and a willingness to take risks, qualities that are not dependent on formal education.

Demand for Skilled Labor

Skilled trades, such as construction, manufacturing, and automotive repair, often face shortages of qualified workers. As a result, these industries may be more willing to hire and train individuals without degrees.

Diverse Career Paths

There are numerous paths to success, and not all of them involve a traditional college degree. People have different skills, interests, and goals, and they may choose non-degree paths that align with their aspirations.

Cost Considerations

Pursuing a college degree can be expensive, and not everyone has the financial means or desire to take on student debt. Many individuals opt for career paths that allow them to earn while they learn or avoid costly educational expenses.

It’s important to note that while some jobs may not require a degree, ongoing learning and skill development are often essential for career advancement and long-term success in any field. Additionally, individual circumstances and employer preferences can vary widely, so the value of a degree versus alternative paths can depend on specific factors and industries.

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