Special Report

The Highest Paying Jobs You Can Get Without A College Degree

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15. Power plant operators
> Avg. annual wage: $81,890
> Total employment: 32,960
> Projected employment change (2019-2029): -15.0%

Power plant operators earn nearly $82,000 per year on average, one of the highest average wages for jobs that do not typically require a college degree. The job does require long-term on-the-job training.

This is one of several jobs involved in the creation, operation, and maintenance of the country’s power infrastructure systems.

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14. Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay
> Avg. annual wage: $83,150
> Total employment: 23,070
> Projected employment change (2019-2029): -3.5%

Though electrical repairers who work on generating stations and relays do not need a college degree, that does not mean it is an easy job to become qualified for. In order to be considered for this job, a prospective worker typically needs a postsecondary certification, work experience in a related field, and some on-the-job training.

These workers average over $83,000 in wages per year, though most earn over $85,000, with a median of $85,340. This is more than double the median wage for all jobs of just under $42,000.

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13. First-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers
> Avg. annual wage: $83,170
> Total employment: 69,000
> Projected employment change (2019-2029): +6.2%

First-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers ensure that people battling fires and working to stop them from starting or advancing are doing their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. This difficult and dangerous job has an average annual wage of $83,170 and requires certification, on-the-job training, and similar work experience.

The number of firefighting supervisors working in the U.S. is projected to increase by 6.2% from 2019 to 2029, a much higher growth rate than that of the typical job of 3.7%. As climate change pushes temperatures higher, wildfires are increasing in severity, with the number of acres burned trending upwards in recent years.

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12. Gambling managers
> Avg. annual wage: $85,440
> Total employment: 3,240
> Projected employment change (2019-2029): +9.8%

Gambling manager is one of just a dozen jobs in the U.S. that do not require a college degree but still have an average annual wage of over $85,000. Gambling managers plan, direct, and coordinate gaming operations at casinos.

Though a relatively small number of people, 3,240, work in this job, the occupation’s workforce is projected to grow by nearly 10% from 2019 to 2029. This is largely attributed to the predicted growing popularity of gambling establishments as well as states amending their laws to allow more such businesses to operate.

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11. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers
> Avg. annual wage: $86,200
> Total employment: 24,730
> Projected employment change (2019-2029): +6.6%

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers earn an average annual wage of $86,200. Though the job does not require a college degree, it does typically require an apprenticeship with a more experienced worker.

More than 44% of elevator and escalator installers and repairers have no more than a high school diploma, one of the highest shares of any profession.