14 Jobs That Make $70,000+ & Don’t Require a College Degree

There’s this myth where you need a degree to be able to earn a decent income.

Not true at all. Yup, these are good ol’ 9 to 5 jobs and will nab you at least $70,000 per year.


Read on to find out what these jobs are, what they entail and how you can get in on the action.

How did we find these jobs? We didn’t… the Bureau of Labor and Statistics did! You can see their full list of occupational projects and worker characteristics, which includes all types of jobs according to the national employment matrix. We filtered the list to only include those with a median annual wage above $70,000 and no “typical education needed for entry.” Then we sorted it by highest salary first.


This doesn’t mean you can just walk into a place and get a job off the street. Many require you to have years of training but they don’t require a college degree.

Transportation, storage, and distribution managers – $92,460

Yes, this is almost a six-figure salary that doesn’t require you to get a degree. This job requires you to coordinate and plan activities storage of goods, coordinating transportation to make sure it complies with government regulations and company policies. You only need a high school diploma and most will hire you if you have at least 5 years of experience. To get into the field, you may need to work your way up with a company.

Gaming managers – $72,930

A gaming manager works at a casino and is responsible for supervising gaming dealers and tables to ensure everyone is following house rules. They also manage day to day operations such as customer service, cash flow, and security management. You’re only required to have a high school degree and you don’t need a ton of work experience — if you prove yourself and work up the ranks you may be able to succeed.

Postmasters and mail superintendents – $74,840

This job requires you to manage processing incoming and outgoing mail and to direct any managerial or operational services of a bunch of post offices. While you only need a high school diploma, you may need to go through on the job training to get promoted. Meaning, you’ll probably need to start out as a mail clerk before moving up.

Media and communication equipment workers – $79,500

Media and communication workers typically install different media and communication equipment, including testing it and teaching others how to use it. This can be in a residential or commercial setting. You don’t need any sort of degree or diploma to enter the field, but your salary may not be as high as someone who graduated high school or completed a certification. Instead, you can land an internship or an entry level position and work your way up.

First-line supervisors of police and detectives – $87,910

These types of jobs mean you’ll be directly supervising and coordinating activities related to the members of police — coordinating criminal investigations, offering guidance to investigators, training staff and more. Job titles include a police captain or sergeant. You do need a high school diploma or equivalent but there will be some on the job training so you’ll probably need to work your way up to these positions.

Detectives and criminal investigators – $79,970

Detectives and criminal investigators work to collect evidence such as physical items or talking to informants and witnesses. An investigator is a member of a law enforcement agency, whereas a detective can work privately. You’ll need a high school diploma and can get a position within five years, but you’ll need to be trained on the job before that happens.

Transit and railroad police – $70,280

People who work as transit and railway police are tasked with monitoring railroads — cars, stations, and yards — to ensure there is no illegal activity taking place. This includes theft, trespassing and violence. Once you have your high school diploma, you’ll need some training and then work your way up the ladder.

First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers – $71,650

These positions don’t involve you working at a mall per se, but you’ll do similar work. For example, you’ll need to supervise employees and other duties like budgeting and accounting to make sure your department is reaching sales goals. You may also need to help strategize to expand the company. These positions only require a high school diploma or equivalent, but it typically involves you working within the company for some time and working your way up.

Elevator installers and repairers – $79,480

An elevator installer and repairer is just that — someone who assists in installing and repairing elevators. Your only formal educational requirement is to complete high school, but many who want to get into this field will need to get an apprenticeship first.

Nuclear power reactor operators – $93,370

Think Homer Simpson, but you’ll need to be much more alert. You’re required to control nuclear reactors so it’s a pretty demanding job since you’re monitoring reactors and related equipment so everything is working normally. While you only need to finish high school, this job entails a lot of on the job training for a long time before you’re even considered for the position.

Power distributors and dispatchers – $82,510

This position requires you to respond to emergencies like transformer or transmission line failures from electrical grids. You may also need to repair or isolate work areas so that you’re not creating power outages. Even though anyone with a high school diploma can get into this field, you’ll need extensive training — such as starting with an apprenticeship or entry-level position — and moving up in the company.

Power plant operators – $77,180

Power plant operators are similar to nuclear reactor operators except you could be working with other types of fuel such as coal or natural gas. You’ll need to control equipment that generates power and be able to read charts, meters, and gauge to monitor electricity and voltages. Like the previous two jobs, you’ll need lots of on the job training before even being considered for the role.

Commercial pilots – $78,740

Commercial pilots either transport goods or passengers. This can include flying for airlines, charter flights, and pilots involved in rescue operations. You’ll need to go through training — such as getting your pilot’s license — and flying for a certain number hours before being able to work as a commercial pilot.

Transportation inspectors – $72,140

This job means you’re making sure transportation you’re in charge of — whether it’s airplanes, buses, trains or subways — are operating smoothly. You’re also in charge of making sure that all equipment is up to current federal safety rules and regulations. Just like pilots, you’ll need to take on an apprenticeship right out of high school or on the job training to get promoted to be an inspector.

These are just the ones from the list with median salaries above $70,000 a year.

There are plenty of jobs that don’t require a college degree that still make a great living. For example, aircraft cargo handling supervisors require less than five years of experience and earn a median income of $48,150. We simply put the cut off at $70,000 to give you an idea of what was available.

There are loads of great careers for those without college degrees.

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About Sarah Li Cain

Sarah Li Cain is a finance writer, author and holistic money mentor whose work has appeared in places like Credit Karma, Redbook, Stacking Benjamins and Her Money podcast with Jean Chatzky. Her work blends practical tips and mindset strategies so that those trying to change their financial life can see themselves in the starring role. She also integrates physical, spiritual and mental wellness so that money becomes a tool to enhance people’s lives.

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5 years ago

Thanks for not adding web / graphic designers here. Seems to be the go-to profession on these lists 🙂 Though it is possible to earn that (and more) as a self-taught / no-degree designer, I still think you’ll increase of your chances of higher earnings down the road with a degree or advanced training of some kind.

Jim Wang
5 years ago
Reply to  Aaron

Thank the Bureau of Labor and Statistics! 🙂

4 years ago

R.V. manufacturing is a high paying job as well. You can earn more that $100,000.00. It is highly a stressful environment with high standards for physical performance and endurance. Plus you are not likely to make a career out of it as the body only lasts so long in these conditions.

Jerri Alice Ratcliff
3 years ago

Thank you Ms. Li Cain for sharing your world wide supervisory skills and wisdom to us. Greatly appreciated it. Rock on.

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