Special Report

The Highest Paying Jobs You Can Get Without a College Degree

15. Postmasters and Mail Superintendents
> Median income $80,250
> Typical educational level required: High school diploma or equivalent
> Total workforce: 12,750
> Projected employment change, 2020-2030: -9%

Postmasters and mail superintendents oversee operations at U.S. post offices. These workers earn a median of nearly $80,000 per year, well above the median annual wage of $56,310 for all workers.

Physical mail has steadily been replaced by online correspondence, while other delivery companies such as UPS and FedEx are now providing many of the shipping services. In addition, the USPS is facing a major budget crunch due to significant budget cuts and burdensome legislation. These factors largely explain why the number of postmasters and mail superintendents is projected to drop by 9% from 2020 to 2030.

14. Signal and Track Switch Repairers
> Median income $80,570
> Typical educational level required: High school diploma or equivalent
> Total workforce: 8,090
> Projected employment change, 2020-2030: +5%

Signal and track switch repairers are responsible for testing, maintaining, and repairing the communication equipment and switches needed to keep railroad systems running.

These workers earn a median of over $80,000 per year, one of several transportation-related fields that rank among the highest paying jobs that do not require a college degree. With just over 8,000 total repairers in the U.S., it is one of the less common jobs on this list.

Source: energyy / iStock via Getty Images

13. Power Plant Operators
> Median income $80,850
> Typical educational level required: High school diploma or equivalent
> Total workforce: 28,960
> Projected employment change, 2020-2030: -14%

Most power plant operators earn over $80,000 per year, one of the highest median 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. As many nuclear power plants are being shuttered and jobs automated, the number of such operators is projected to decline sharply over the next decade.

Source: Brianna Mancini / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

12. Subway and Streetcar Operators
> Median income $81,180
> Typical educational level required: High school diploma or equivalent
> Total workforce: 10,310
> Projected employment change, 2020-2030: +5%

Subway and streetcar operators ferry passengers using public transit systems. There are more than 10,000 such workers in the U.S. today, and the workforce is projected to expand relatively slowly over the next decade.

Subway and streetcar operators have a median income of $81,180, making it one of the highest paying jobs that do not require a college degree – though it does typically require on-the-job training.

Source: Aytug Askin / Getty Images

11. Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels
> Median income $81,640
> Typical educational level required: Postsecondary nondegree award
> Total workforce: 33,490
> Projected employment change, 2020-2030: +12%

Captain, mates, and pilots of water vessels oversee operations of ferries, tugboats, and other ships and boats. Though a college degree is not required to captain a ship, these workers do need to earn a license issued by the Coast Guard as a prerequisite for employment.

With so many waterways around the U.S., there are over 33,000 nautical workers in this field – most of whom earn over $81,500 per year.

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