While job opportunities for non-degree holding professionals may seem scarce, there are still industries that provide a path to employment and great career growth for those who have never had the college experience. Even better, some of these industries offer the highest paying jobs that do not require a college degree.
Job search engine site Adzuna has gathered data on hundreds of thousands of job listings over the past year to find which careers offer the highest average wage even if the employee does not have a degree.
10 Highest Paid Jobs You Don’t Need a Degree to Pursue
1. Equities Trader:
Average Pay:$70,579 per year for Junior Trader to $141,788 per year for Quantitative Trader. (source: Indeed.com, 2018)
To have a career in trading stocks and shares, a college degree is not necessary as long as you’re a good salesman and have a deep attraction for understanding the ups and downs of the stock market. You will also need the necessary Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) approval when working in this industry.
2. Mining Construction:
Average Pay: Salaries range from an average of $44,831 to$134,356 a year. (source: payscale.com)
Mining construction can be hard work that takes up months of your life at a time and much of the industry is based overseas, so be sure that you have a lifestyle that allows for flexibility in work hours and location. When entering the industry, it may be valuable to have a specialized license that allows you to operate machinery like bulldozers, or to have building experience in other fields.
3. Commodities Trader:
Average Pay: $89,131 (source: glassdoor.com)
While there are many traders who join the industry straight out of school, a love for math and numbers can help you excel in this career field with or without a degree. Like most industries, you do need a few qualifications and those include being approved by FCA and CISI.
4. Offshore Oil Rig Equipment Operators:
Average Pay:$60,900 (source: work.chron.com)
Working on an oil rig can require long, tough and dangerous work so be sure that you’re willing to put in the work and time needed to excel in this industry. Typical jobs in this field include equipment maintenance, rig operations, drilling operations and rig administration.
5. Nuclear Energy Worker:
Average Pay: $84,00 (source: payscale.com)
While many people at the highest level in the nuclear industry have college degrees, there are still some jobs that don’t require academic qualifications. However, many of these jobs are still highly skilled and the National Skill Academy Nuclear offers courses to help qualify people for various positions.
6. Air Traffic Controller:
Average Pay:$124,540 (source: bls.gov)
The National Air Traffic Services offers courses for people looking to get into the traffic control industry. The course can take a minimum of five months or up to 11 months depending on what areas you specialize in.
7. HR Manager:
Average Pay:$88,097–$112,752 (source: salary.com)
HR managers are one of the most useful employees to a company as they ensure office operations run smoothly and everyone within the company is happy. To get ahead in this industry you will need qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
8. Hazardous-Waste Manager:
Average Pay:$46,171 per year for Environmental Specialist to $84,082 per year for Environmental Health and Safety Officer. (source: Indeed.com)
Hazardous-waste managers help to get rid of the nasty byproducts that are generated everywhere from hospitals to petroleum refineries. Due to the danger associated with workers who dispose these hazardous byproducts, jobs in this sector are often well paid.
9. Military Security:
Average Pay:$73,961 (source: bizfluent.com)
To be a military security, the key experience you need is a military background as employers value the threat intelligence, organizational and logistical experience gained in the armed forces.
Average Pay: $45,925 in United States
With the rise of the internet and the open platform for just about anyone to put blogger or writer behind their name, it’s easier for anyone with a good story and the ability to write to break into the industry.
-Editor’s Note: This story has been updated since it’s original publish date of June 23, 2015.