Special Report

The Highest Paying Jobs You Can Get Without a College Degree

President Joe Biden announced on Aug. 24 that the U.S. would forgive up to $10,000 of student loan debt for non-Pell Grant recipients earning less than $125,000 a year. The White House said the move aims to “address the burden of growing college costs,” particularly for families. 

College graduates tend to earn much higher wages than workers with no more than a high school diploma. The median annual wage for workers with a bachelor’s degree was nearly $70,000 in 2021, compared to a median of $42,068 for workers who are high school graduates with no college, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Here are 65 jobs with six-figure salaries.)

Yet most Americans forego college and set out to the workforce. There are dozens of jobs in the U.S. with average annual wages of over $70,000 that do not typically require a college degree as a prerequisite for employment — including a handful that average over $100,000 in wages.

To determine the highest paying jobs that you can get without a college degree, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the data on detailed occupations from the May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program of the BLS. 

We ranked jobs that typically according to the BLS require a high school diploma or equivalent, postsecondary nondegree award, some college but no degree, or no formal educational credential by their median income. We did not consider occupations classified as “miscellaneous” and “all other” by the BLS.

Though the jobs on this list do not require a college degree, prospective workers do generally need some type of certification, related work experience, or on-the-job training from candidates for most of these occupations.

The highest paying jobs that do not require a college degree are so highly paid, in many cases, because they are essential — transporting people, goods, or services; providing power; or helping to keep people safe. Though these jobs are important, they are often stressful and sometimes very dangerous. These are the most dangerous jobs in America.

Click here to see the highest paying jobs you can get without a college degree.

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