Special Report

Highest Paying Jobs You Can Get Without a College Degree

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10. First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers
> Median annual wage: $76,330
> Total employment: 65,920
> Employment growth projection (2016-2026): +7.2%

Being a firefighter is a dangerous job, and firefighters’ first-line supervisors coordinate fire fighting activities, including putting out blazes as quickly and safely as possible. This high-stress position is relatively well paid, as most people in this field earn over $76,000 per year. Though no college degree is required, applicants are expected to have certifications, on-the-job training, and experience in the field.

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9. Power plant operators
> Median annual wage: $79,610
> Total employment: 33,920
> Employment growth projection (2016-2026): +1.3%

Though power plant operators are not generally required to have a four-year college degree, anyone interested to work in this job is most likely expected to have years of training on the job in order to be competent. Employment growth in the field is projected to grow at a relatively slow pace of 1.3% from 2016 to 2026. Though people will continue to need electricity, advancements in technology would allow for more efficient and automated devices may stifle growth.

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8. Elevator installers and repairers
> Median annual wage: $79,780
> Total employment: 26,830
> Employment growth projection (2016-2026): +12.1%

The U.S. population is growing, but the U.S. landmass is not. The solution is to build more tall buildings to house people and their places of business instead of single-family homes. Elevator installers are needed to ensure people can get up and down in tall buildings, while repairers are needed to maintain the elevators. Elevator jobs are projected to grow 12.1% from 2016 to 2026, far surpassing the 7.4% projected growth rate of the overall U.S. labor pool.

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7. Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay
> Median annual wage: $80,200
> Total employment: 22,980
> Employment growth projection (2016-2026): +3.7%

Electrical and electronics repair is one of seven jobs that do not require a four-year college degree but still pays over $80,000 in most cases. This job is of vital importance, as these workers monitor power generating stations to ensure they are running smoothly and fix any issues that arise. This field generally requires some on-the-job training and related work experience.

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6. Detectives and criminal investigators
> Median annual wage: $81,920
> Total employment: 103,450
> Employment growth projection (2016-2026): +4.5%

Though a college education is not typically required for detectives and criminal investigators, they must first train at a police academy and work their way up through the ranks of their department. There are over 100,000 investigators and detectives in the United States, most of whom make more than $80,000 per year.

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