11 High Paying Six-Figure Jobs Without a College Degree

While many aspire to go to college after high school, not everyone can, or should, head straight to university. Family issues, a lack of funds, unforeseen responsibilities, or the choice of career path might dissuade someone from attending college. Only 27.5% of the U.S. adult population has a four-year college degree.

Many people who do not attend college earn six-figure incomes and become successful without four-year college degrees. In fact, studies revealing that high school graduates earn an average of $1.2 million over the course of their working life illustrate that opportunities exist for those without degrees to make $100,000 or more each year. Achieving financial success without a college degree requires a lot of determination, risk-taking, and networking, but the opportunities are definitely out there.

List of Six-Figure Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

We’ve compiled the following list of jobs to illustrate some of the most popular careers that offer high income opportunities without a college degree. Keep in mind that just because someone can make $100,000 each year at these jobs does not mean it’s guaranteed. These careers offer the possibility of generating a high income, especially when the careers include a salary, bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, and most importantly, hard work.

We referenced PayScale for information about salaries for the jobs on this list. The salaries vary depending upon the city where you live, your experience in the industry, and a variety of other factors.

Let’s take a look at some six-figure income jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree:

1. Real Estate Broker

woman real estate broker realtor

Although being a real estate agent requires a license, interested applicants only need a high school diploma to apply. Brokers are always on call, often work nights, weekends, and holidays, and may experience long stretches of time without generating income.

Real estate brokers have an estimated annual salary range of $30,144 to $180,434. During the real estate and house flipping boom, many people became licensed real estate agents, making this a very competitive field. If you have dedication, and continually seek out new clients, however, you can make a good living selling real estate.

2. Air Traffic Controller

air traffic controller tower

Air traffic controllers have to take multiple tests, participate in pre-employment medical screenings, submit to background examinations, and take classes.

Air traffic controllers command large salaries, up to $158,966 on average. The job is stressful, however, as air traffic controllers are responsible for maintaining the safety of thousands of people every day.

3. Small Business Owner

woman who owns small business

You can set your own hours, create your own dress code, and write off some of your expenses (i.e. tax deductions for small business owners) when you own your own business.

However, it can take a long time for your new small business to pay off. If you have time, effort, and energy, and if you offer a viable product or service, your risks can pay off with a nice-sized salary for you and your family. We don’t have a salary range for small business owners, but profitable small businesses can expect a six-figure salary if

4. Fire Chief

firefighter uniforms fire suits

Most firefighters have at least a high school diploma, and if they stay with a division or battalion long enough, working through the ranks, they can step into a leadership role with the department.

Fire chiefs have rewarding careers that also include a lot of risk, and a lot of time away from home. Salaries for fire chiefs range from $42,096 to $119,250.

5. Construction Manager

construction managers workers

If you have worked in construction for several years, you may be ready to step up to the role of construction manager. Managers must be on call most of the time in case of any emergencies or delays.

Construction companies frequently promote from within, because managers must have a strong knowledge of the company’s core values and policies. Salaries for construction managers range from $41,562 to $130,845.

6. Plumber

professional plumber sink u-joint

Many plumbers make an excellent income without having a college degree. Plumbers learn the trade through technical schools or apprenticeships. Plumbers are always in high demand, and they are paid well because of that demand.

For example, my mother recently paid a plumber $120 for 5 minutes worth of work, to replace a valve in the kitchen sink. Plumbers’ salaries can soar as high as $103,731 and beyond, depending on specialties and training.

7. Network/IT Manager

it information technology manager

Someone has to keep computers and related equipment working flawlessly, and corporations pay well for experienced IT people. Interested applicants have to keep up with current technology, and have a desire to keep learning as technology changes.

Network managers and IT managers employed by companies have stable, 9 to 5 jobs with good salaries, benefits, and retirement accounts. Salaries for IT managers range between $53,477 and $125,101.

8. Hotel Executive Chef

executive chef cook

Sought-after executive chefs can easily make over $100,000 per year. Executive chefs work long hours, spend a lot of time away from home, and may have high stress levels. However, for someone who loves to cook, working in a hotel kitchen every day can be rewarding.

9. Radiation Therapist

radiation therapist mri machine

Radiation therapists must have a two-year associate’s degree, or a certificate in radiation therapy, but they don’t need a four-year college degree. These therapists use radiation to target cancer cells in patients, and are paid in accordance with the importance and detail-oriented nature of their work. Radiation therapists can earn as much as $116,000 a year.

10. Court Reporter

court reporter typing transcribing

It may not be glamorous or exciting, but if you can transcribe 250 words per minute, and have impeccable attention to detail, there may be a courtroom willing to pay you well for your services.

You may need to take classes in transcription, and pass a background check in order to qualify for a job as a court reporter. Depending upon the city of residence, court reporters can earn between $29,995 and $104,000.

11. Pilot

commercial airline pilot

If you do need glamour or excitement on the job, working as a pilot might be the right choice for you. Pilots have many options, including working for commercial airlines, cargo airlines, and corporations. The average annual salary for a pilot is $110,000, but many experienced pilots make twice that amount. Salaries vary based on ratings, experience, and type of license (e.g. sport pilot license vs commercial or airline transport)

Final Word

Believe it or not, many jobs that pay six figures do not require a four-year college degree. The examples listed here are just a few of the careers to consider in lieu of attending college. Pay varies depending upon experience, training, and physical location, but the average salaries for the jobs listed above are proof that making over $100,000 each year without a college degree is possible.

Have you achieved financial success without a four-year college degree?

To find more jobs that pay over $100k, check out The Ladders and search for listings.

the ladders

  • http://blog.budgetpulse.com/ Craig

    I can see any job revolving more around personality could lead to big money. For example a sales position, or waiter at big time restaurant. If you have the personality to interact with people face to face, you can make money without a degree.

    • Guest

      But you also need to have the resilience to deal with a*hole customers from time to time. Sad fact is that oftentimes (probably more than not?) staff at big-time restaurants don’t get paid well, because it’s frequented by rich Wall St bankers and skinflint jooooooz like Marky Mark Koobface who either don’t tip well or don’t bother at all.

      At least those people are providing a service. Mark Suckaborg got rich with a scam website that profits off people’s stupidity. There’s another thing that the economy doesn’t affect, or like Einstein said, “there are only two things of which I know there to be no limits: the universe and human ignorance… and I’m not so sure about the universe.”

  • author

    definitely true. sales/marketing and service industries allow people to make a ton of money without a specialized degree. all you need is a great personality

  • renee

    how can i started making the money without a degree. show me how .i hope hear from soon.thank you.

  • Neal

    I like money, in fact I love money. I event keep some money in a jar on top of my fridge. Someday I would love to have more money.

    • Schwamie1

      You’ll be an outstanding Wedding Singer someday!

  • Shannah Hunt

    I would love info on being a private detective. I have always been interested in that. Is this the place to find out how?

    • Cheryl

      …I don’t know but it must be your calling, b/c you sure have the perfect name for it! Shannah Hunt – Private Detective. It’s catchy.

  • Leon Rogina

    You may not need a “degree” for some of these jobs, but that still doesn’t mean you don’t have to serve a 4-year apprenticship (plummber), or have about 10 years experience under your belt plus an apprenticship (construction manager), so there is more here than just going right to work in any of these positions and earning $110K. Maybe no degree, but no free ride either. You gotta pay your dues to get there.

  • kelly


  • http://www.TheEverydayAffiliate.com Devin

    Internet Affiliate Marketing is a great way for anyone to earn six figures without a degree. Just like any job it takes work, but I guarantee that if you put in 8hrs everyday to start you will make six figures in no time at all.

    • chi

      What is considered Internet Affiliate Marketing?

  • http://www.chasingprosperity.com thriftygal

    I would also say hitting it big in the entertainment or professional sports industries can garauntee a 6 figure income. Yes it does require luck and/or talent, but not a degree.

  • http://www.artificialrobot.com Sean

    I think in general hard work and an entrepreneurial drive will get you far in life with or without a degree. If you can teach yourself a skill, and you can convince other people to invest in you then you can probably achieve a lot in many professions aside from the ones listed.

  • Letessha

    I like this information, it is very helpful and informative.

  • http://www.plantingdollars.com Ryan @ Planting Dollars

    I think there’s a reason why real estate broker is #1 on your list. Being a previous Realtor I saw first hand how much money you can make in this field… A lot! However, it takes dedication for at least 10 years to build a huge clientele and book of business. I wonder if after 10 years of consistent blogging you could have the same level of income?

  • Mac

    Well said. With 10 years out of college, I’ve noticed that the people that really move up are also the most outspoken, not the ones with a good education. Kind of annoying, as I’m not the most talkative guy. Also, it’s true that you don’t really need a 4-year degree in the IT field. Many of my coworkers and managers do not have degrees, yet they make very good money and sometimes the company pays for them to get a degree anyway.

  • Elizabeth I

    You may not need a degree in court reporting, but you have to have phenomenal skill set to be one. Not only is typing one of the strengths (the keyboard is totally different) but the court reported must have a phenomenal knowledge of the subject matter at hand. In medical malpractice cases she must be able to spell any procedure or drug mentioned.

    • Erik Folgate

      that’s a very good point. Court Reporters make good money for a reason. It’s not like anyone can just walk and and start doing it. There takes a lot of apprenticeship type training before you can do it on your own.

  • DG

    That is pretty sweet but I think a degree is a good investment in the long run! You just never know which is what this economy has taught me.

  • http://www.thriftyandfrugalliving.com Crystal Hamilton

    For some of these you do have to go to a specialist school, just not get a 4 year degree. I enjoyed the article, but the title is a little misleading.



    • SherryC.

      I’m considering going to school for Ultrasound Technologist. What is the salary? I’m in Houston, Texas.

    • Heather

      Ultrasound technician was in the ad, not the article.

    • Heather

      Ultrasound technician was in the ad, not the article.

  • http://www.neocenturymedia.com IT

    I’m surprised information technology and entrepreneurial enthusiasts aren’t on the list.

    • Guest03

      IT is on the list Titled Network/IT Manager.

  • http://moneycrashers.com MUR005

    This is a stretch: Not true at all.
    You need school for some of those job (may not need a college degree, however).
    I know for sure that you need to go to school to be a court reporter
    to learn how to use that machine. And that school is loads of money.
    Radiation tech – oh yeah, they’re just going to let you radiate a poor patient with cancer when you have no idea what you are doing !!!!!
    There is arduous training involved in these jobs and many, many years of
    uphill climhing (if you don’t have a degree).
    And I think I’ll be traffic controller tomorrow and direct airplanes
    on runways — Come On …..

    • Guest03

      As I am reading these comments it becomes evident that many missed the operative words “without a college degree”. But so that everyone is clear, many of these positions require some kind of training. Of course your not just gonna jump into a plane and pilot the vehicle. Whoever wrote this article probably didn’t feel the need to spell things out as his/her audience was to those with common sense.

  • Mary

    The article is a bit misleading. Perhaps the title should be “Six Figure Income Jobs Without Having a 4-Year Degree.” I used to think about doing court reporting. I probably should have done it. I am the one to take minutes everywhere I go!!! Now everything is being captioned so there’s a lot of work. You CAN NOT become a court reporter without training. You can’t do a lot of those jobs without training.

    I was glad to see my favorites court reporting & fashion design!!!! Ahhhhhh, if I had my life to live over. You don’t need to go to a 4 year college & take fashion merchandising & speech.

    I guess this gives those of us who didn’t get the Bachelor’s hope, huh?

  • Liviana

    The title is not misleading. Why should they lie and say everybody in these positions make good money? My cousin went to school to become a plumber and found that he could nowhere with any jobs. He decided to become a respiratory therapist with a Bachelors degree. Unfortunately, finding respiratory therapy jobs takes a long time and the pay is not always very good.. If you go for a six figure job ad you may be rejected no matter what degree you have. Lets not forget that the economy may affect these careers negatively even after wasting time doing the training or college time. Medical is the only reasonable job selection to choose from during a recession because the economy does not affect most jobs, only healthcare can affect certain jobs, like a doctor or surgeon. The economy will not affect any medical career because they have nothing to do with the economy, people die everyday, people get sick everyday… Whoever made the claim that the title misleads like living in a delusional world where lying seems to make them feel better. Encouraging dishonesty would leave many people disappointed when choosing a career off this list because alot of these jobs are not good jobs to choose during a recession.

  • http://www.savings.com/blog/blog.html Amy Saves

    wow, didn’t know plumbers make that amount!! i guess it’s a job that not many people want to do.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/UR4DHHC3P6RRXIUP4LWX54YN7I hu

      I’m sure it often takes many years of scrounging, lots of dirty work and building up a business first. As a friend’s plumber boss put it though, people aren’t too concerned with the size of the bill when their plumbing is going in reverse.

    • Jonquil Heath

      One of my cousins has been a plumber for over 30 years. He’s been earning $100,000+ for the past couple decades. It takes very hard work, willingness to keep up with tech, taking the jobs that other plumbers don’t want, being unafraid to get dirty, and good people skills. He knows what to look in potential employees, and how to train them as apprentices. I’d recommend it as career to anyone physically abled. Also, stonemasonry is another good field.

      • LehleFfEmt

        Stone Masonry is a good field until you get to be 35-40 and need about a dozen surgeries from the physical strain you put your body through. If you have a fall back plan then I say go for it! (Or save save save!)

  • http://www.savings.com/blog/blog.html Amy Saves

    wow, didn’t know plumbers make that amount!! i guess it’s a job that not many people want to do.

  • Charlie

    Building Products sales such as doors and windows and trim etc. are not only recession proof but business soars during a recession. People slow down in buying new houses and building new houses and that is when they fix up or remodel what they already have. Property owners who rent their houses and apartments etc also fall into this category of fixing up and remodeling in hard times. Someone with no college at all can work up to manager within two years and be making over $160K + great benefits. I did!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the writer is absultely right! Question: What College degree did Mr. Edison have and so one could go listing many others. In fact, the greatest Industrial Revolution ever, was accomplished by mostly folk who had no higher education, if my information is correct. America is wasting billions to actually dumbing down many a young person, the more money is poured into public education, and again, if my information is correct. By the way, how much money, if any, did the Federal Government/taxpayer spend in education to ignite so to speak, the Industrial Revolution? I would guess, that most of the ones who created the industrial revolution, were educated either at home or in private schools, of the choise of fathers and mothers! Some historian should be asked to give out this information. I am sure that is is available somewhere!

  • Brent Martin

    Great post! Very informative!

  • http://www.manhattancalumet.com/ Dennis The Menace

    I would like to comment about the value of a college degree. Most persons go about this the wrong way instead of going to college and specializing in some king of tech field or something else and than go out and get a decent job in their field of expertise that pays far more than wallgreens for example you do not have to have a four year degree to get a really good job that is if you go into the right field. Than use the generous benifits package that the company offers and this most likly includes paying for part of your continuing education. Also never count out wallgreens or kmart or really any large company because they may have a job in the field you are in even wallgreens has personal involved in web design or computer science.. Also if you start working in the speciality field before you leave college you will be in the sweet spot compared to your counter parts that are not.

  • http://www.manhattancalumet.com/ Dennis The Menace

    I like the idea of going into a business that has limited liability. That requires little money to start. A business that is not subject to many government regulations. Does not require many special permits or licenses to operate. A business that can be quickly and easily shut down if needed. And a business that has limted contractual liability after its shut down. Requires not a very great deal of knowledge or experience to start or operate.

    • Michael Fournier

      What your asking for does not exists. be realistic there is no free ride

    • WTF

      I have an MBA… can I just get a damn job?

  • Hcw

    Well i make an ez 6 figure income,I worked for a towing company for a year and the owner was a jerk. My old car was giving out so looking for a new/used car i bought my 1st tow truck instead for 20k instead of a toyota for 21,500 i have never looked back.. 11 trucks now 50ac inpound yard.drivers buy there own fuel and get 50% of tow i pay insurace..

    • Unisandman

      how long ago did you start? How does that work…driver buying their own gas. Do they own there own truck? Do the subcontract? I would really like to hear how you did it?

  • Hcw

    Well i make an ez 6 figure income,I worked for a towing company for a year and the owner was a jerk. My old car was giving out so looking for a new/used car i bought my 1st tow truck instead for 20k instead of a toyota for 21,500 i have never looked back.. 11 trucks now 50ac inpound yard.drivers buy there own fuel and get 50% of tow i pay insurace..

  • http://www.moneysavingenthusiast.com/blog.html MoneySavingEnthusiast

    I’ll have to save this on a folder titled, Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went to College.

    • Same person lol

      “in a folder”

  • Icwfaok

    “May need to take classes in transcription” “if you can transcribe 250 words per minute” to be a court reporter? Dude, you have no idea what is involved in being a court reporter. Oh, yeah somebody can type 250 words a minutes without a stenotype machine.
    Call some court reporting schools. You will find out it takes average at least three years to train to be a court reporter. The dropout rate is over 90 percent. And most court reporting schools are private so expect expensive tuition. And then there is the equipment to purchase. Please do your research. No four year degree, maybe you can get learn to type that fast after several years, but most likely will drop out first. Have fun paying the student loans back while you are unemployed.

    Pilot? Without being in the military or going to flight school? Are you kidding? Maybe not a four year degree. Just several years of military training or expensive flight school. Sounds like a piece of cake, flying an airline. Think I will try to get a job at that tomorrow.

  • Lauren

    “The average annual salary for a pilot is $110,000, but many experienced pilots make twice that amount.”

    Coming from a commercial pilot and flight instructor I can say this is utterly absurd. Very few pilots come close to making this much money. MANY make less than minimum wage because they are employed as independent contractors. These pilots do not get benefits, are not entitled to a union, have no job security, and get no unemployment aid from the government when they are let go. Jobs like this are required if you are not independently wealthy to advance your career. To get the jobs that pay well at (maybe 100K at the end of your career before retirement), you do need a 4 year college degree. It should also be noted that many major airlines expect to see degrees on your resume that are not aviation related because if you are smart, you’d have something to fall back on.

    I’m not even going to go into how glamorous of a job it is I am so infuriated by this article.

    Air traffic controllers

    I don’t know where you got this information, but you’ve got some balls claiming it to be true.

    • Guest03

      Sadly, your comment couldn’t be further from the truth, “To get the jobs that pay well at (maybe 100K at the end of your career before retirement), you do need a 4 year college degree”. There are so many right now in college buried, literally drowning in debt. University/College is NOT for everyone. And even if you do get that well paid job, (Fed Loans) have dibs on that. Its very dangerous when one goes around throwing caution to the wind when claiming something is a NEED or is TRUTH. Here’s a fact: not everyone that graduates from University has a job, and not everyone that earns a 6 figure income has a College (4yr.) degree.

    • http://www.facebook.com/harry.bals.79 Harry Bals

      Dear Lauren,

      I started taking flight lessons when I was 13 years old. I desperately wanted to become an international airline pilot flying Boeing 747s to Tokyo. My flight instructor owned his own flight school, and during the course of my training he went out of business no less than 3 times. You are absolutely right in that the airline industry is a very, very tough industry to survive in. Unfortunately, my instructor became an EMT, and I discontinued my lessons. Had I been willing to join the Air Force, I’m sure I would have made an excellent pilot. The fact is, that option went against my moral principles by the time I was old enough to start flying.

      I’m now working in IT in NYC. I never graduated high school, but I got a GED and spent 3 years at a 2 year community college earning a degree in math and science. I was kicked out twice, by my overall bill was very reasonable. I’m 27 years old, and I just landed my first $100,000/year salary. I’m very proud of myself. I typed in my salary into Google and this article popped up. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised by what I’m seeing. I know that there are pilots who are making this kind of money. I’m sure Chelsey Sullenberger is one of them. The point is, it’s not easy and it’s not guaranteed. I think they make that very clear in this article.

      I grew up on the computer. I’ve been using them since I was 12 years old, and I know them inside and out. That is the reason why I’m being paid what I’m being paid. I’ve also had help from people that I’ve known and good managers. Success is not possible without networking, and without real talent and “hard work”.

      I feel your pain. I would rather have been making this salary as a pilot… I really loved to fly, but I didn’t have what it took to take on that lifestyle and career. It is a glamorous job, but so difficult…

      Ariel Giron

    • Av8trix2

      Lauren, you are absolutely correct. I am a commercial pilot who flies private charter part time and a flight instructor part time. I initially wanted to work my way up to the regionals but for a 17k-24k annual salary, I’d rather be a hairdresser.

  • Kyasarin

    I think high school needs to teach kids to broaden their hobbies instead of force core classes and standardized tests upon them. That group of kids who loves video games and can throw a decent computer together should be rewarded with good jobs that they are actually interested in- they could become graphic designers, video game testers, website managers and IT technicians! Kids who are good at chemistry, biology and horticulture should become pharmaceutical technicians, bio engineers, veterinarians, or naturopathic doctors. Athletes should be able to go all the way to the top, whether it’s signing with a national league team or becoming an Olympian! I realize now, at age 21, that nothing I did in high school has helped me get a job or feel successful at all. I sacrificed my hobbies in order to focus on writing essays, analyzing boring novels and cramming for AP Statistics tests. None of that matters in my life at all! I want to be a small business owner- running an eclectic boutique full of exotic clothing and jewelry is my dream- but I just don’t know if there’s a decent market for worldly goods since most people don’t give a crap about other cultures or history. I have available funds, but am unwilling to take the risk of opening a tiny store in the midst of our failing economy.

    • SGT J

      The school system is going to do what the school system is going to do. It’s up to the parents to encourage children to hold on to their dreams and hold to their hobbies.

      Don’t give up on what you want. Press on. There is no time like the present.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jsebean Jonah Sabean

        Then the school system has failed, not only should the parents encourage kids to hold onto their dreams, but the school system should too and empower the students to take the endeavour

    • Zc

      AMEN! I totally agree. During high school I felt the same way. I would try to convince teachers and councelors to let us go on more field trips based on those same subjects and their answer would always be, “There’s not enough funding.” So I am now 26 trying to learn how to follow my dreams and become a business owner (property management company). If only I could have started at 16 who knows where I would be today. But we have to stay positive and continue to work hard and eventually we will reach the top.

  • Roger1

    Wats the best job fer sumone whose not got skoollin past the 6th grad

    • Cody McDaniel

      Let me fix this sir. “What, gentlemen, is the best occupation for an individual with nary a moment of standardized schooling beyond the sixth year.”

      • sick of ‘tools’

        You’re a jack-off

        • Metal_gear

          grow a sense of humor

    • Urperfection

      well at least you found the key board..,ome six figs don’t really know what you know. I’m sure you’ll create something our world can use and this will be laughable later when you tell your story of how you made your millions. Fig it out.

    • tinashay

      Anything in the oilfield…Can you say North Dakota?

      • RealityBetraysUs

        Yes I have read reports where oil industry analysts claim that within a few years the USA will overtake and surpass Saudia Arabia as worlds major gas and oil producer.

    • RealityBetraysUs

      My uncle worked in Las Vegas (he is now deceased) he started as a hod carrier on construction became a construction foreman at the Sands and eventually they also hired him as a security guard on night shift. He only had a sixth grade education.This at a time when you could not get a full time 40 hr wk job in Vegas unless you were a dealer or pit boss. His wife and he owned a small 15 room hotel in Vegas also called the Star motel. She went back to school Las Vegas University, in her 50’s and was taking finance classes on investing Ginnemay Fanny mac or whatever the mortgage industry and banks call it. By the time they both retired they had more money between the both of them than my father had made all his life but my dad had a college degree and worked his way up the corporate ladder to retire as one of 3 vice-presidents in sales and marketing of a major corporation. Do not degrade those with little or no formal education. What is it that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Micheal Dell of Dell computer have in common. None of them finished their formal college education yet they made millions of dollars.

  • Hottoddy

    My name is Amanda. I have no formal education, but make six figures working as an exotic dancer. The key is to keep yourself healthy and invest wisely as the money starts drying up long before your coochie does. I know many woman who could have retired comfortably, but wasted their income on recreational drug use and worthless men. If you are a mother of a daughter who wants to dance for a living, teach her to masturbate properly, This will prevent stds, unwanted pregnancies, and men who want nothing more than a sugar mommy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CWM5RLDQ3ERUIKRQUZ3IYD5UCA Tim

    Computer Consultant – fix computers, remove virii, basic networking. Fix windows annoyances. $45/hr
    Web designer – build websites, set up ecommerce systems, set up adwords advertising. $45/hr
    Photographer – Take portraits for school seniors, weddings, events. $180 day rate and up. Plus profits from print sales.

    At least, these are the rates I charge and I have no degree. If you aren’t a slacker like I am, you can charge a lot more.

    Auto Mechanix – $75 per hour round here. Plus profits on parts resales.

    • Guest

      You are talking about commercial labor rates that customers pay. If that is the case then you have to consider taxes and business overhead in the income equation — these are very substantial costs!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristin-Petersburg/16922074 Kristin Petersburg

    Pilot? Seriously? Most airline pilots make less than $40,000 per year.

    • Lynn

      No they dont. I have a family member that pilots cargo planes and it is over 200,000. Of course this person had to pay their dues with the peon companies before they were qualified to work for the big boys and fly the biggest planes. Cargo hauling pays more than people hauling.

    • Mackan580

      your stupid look it up the net and you will they make alot more than that

    • Jesse

      I lot of airline pilots will start out around 60-70k and work their way up in rank and in pay. However, these are commercial pilots (which requires a 4 year degree). Once you become a captain after several years of flying you can make upwards of 250,000 depending on who you fly for. Cargo pays much more.

  • Brentbps1

    Best money? Prosttute or politician (same thing really).
    …and with those jobs you get a get-out-of-jail-card for about $50

  • Brentbps1

    Best money? Prosttute or politician (same thing really).
    …and with those jobs you get a get-out-of-jail-card for about $50

  • Brinxster

    I operate and maintain a e-commerce site, it’s an ok job, it gets tiring sitting at a computer all day so you really need to be mentally positive for the job because it can be very mentally exhausting and depressing. However the good side is you can learn all of what you need to know on your own, so you don’t need a degree of any kind, so you won’t have a huge amount of debt. It’s good to just build a portfolio of all the websites you built, that’s essentially your resume.

    • ZJ

      Do you sell merchandise from your websites? What programs do you use to build your sites? If you don’t mind me asking. Thanks.

      • Brinxster

        Of course if you have an option to go to college, then by all means go for a Computer Science degree, you’ll be able to get a better paid job, but usually experience can substitute for a degree in many IT jobs.

  • R G A

    I am 6 figure+ with no college. I work in IT, but not windows. I do Unix and a special type, IBM’s AIX Unix. You need to specialize in IT or you face a lot of competition. It does require years of experience, but it does work. You may have to move for the job to increase your pay. I have lived in approx 15 states to gain the $ and time needed to now work from home and go nowhere. Customer service is always a GREAT skill to have as well.

    • T622

      is there anyway you can help me get paid after i get out of school

      • RealityBetraysUs

        no you have it all wrong the only ones who have a right to get paid are the schools, that’s why they make it so easy for you to get the gov. loans. But NO guarantees of a jobs to help you pay it back…

  • Matty Boy

    Im curious about the Plumber topic. I currently have only a high school diploma and my certifications are job specific. Can someone who’s 31 really expect to make a great living like 60k+a year at being a plumber..making over 28k a year like unfortunately I do as a dealership parts manager? Im sure the aprenticeship is a 4 year one.

    • Your comment gave me cancer

      Depends. Plumbers have potential to makes lots. But people forget plumbers aren’t always working, even though they are payed 60 an hour they might only work 3 hours for the day. aditionally they have alot of out of pocket costs like equipment and health insurance.

  • David

    Bill Gates does not have a college degree! He is a Harvard drop out!

    • Davy

      Yep, and that’s why he’s so successful, unconventional, and hadn’t conformed; he thought outside the box while most everyone else just thought how everyone else was taught to think.

    • Your comment gave me cancer

      And Bill Gates is a genius. Most people are not…he had what most people go to college to get a fraction of. He’s an exception, not the rule. There a drug dealers who are rich living lavish care free lives but that dosent mean everyone should be a drug dealer.

  • AT

    Whoever wrote this article is completely out of touch with reallity. Every IT job I’ve looked in to requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Also, Radiation therapist with no degree of any king? I don’t think so. The person writing the article was definitely high on something.

    • Mntnbiker747

      I worked at a large dot-com as part of a team of about 20 sys admins.I was the only one with a degree…a BA in Social Science. I was one of the few with an MCSE. No doubt, if you want a well-paying job in IT get some certs or a related degree to get your foot in the door.

  • frustrated reader

    it’s kindof sad that they put that you can get a job easy as a pilot and link to Sport Pilot License article. Do they not know that a sport pilot license does NOT qualify you to be a pilot for hire? You need your commercial pilot license to make a profit or accept money for flying. That’s the law. Of course, in order to get that you have to have your private pilot license first. Before getting the job at an airline, generally you need private pilot, single engine, multi-engine, instrument, commercial, and jet engine licenses and 1300 hours of flight time. Don’t forget the flight time also means renting aircraft and paying for fuel at a sum of probably 200.00 per hour combined ($100 for fuel, $100 for aircraft). $200 times 1300 hours is how much? About $260,000 ? Don’t forget tuition and school fees. Although, most pilots get the majority of those flight hours after getting their commercial license and working for the school as an instructor for $8.00 or $9.00 pe hour. Add in the highly competitive market, that you have to present yourself spit-polished, and a cut above the rest, interview well with a good resume and good marketing and in most cases, 2 years of college credits as well, and you can start your career with a regional route starting at about $24,000 annually. You will eventually work your way up the ladder if you are focused and good and careful. If you have an accident or make an error, you go down the drain. If you make it up to $48,000 / yr but then change to a different airline, you lose your seniority and start back up at the bottom. However, depending on what was negotiated with your experience, the bottom may be $32,000 with a possibility of making more money each year until you are forced to retire at 65 or when you make a mistake. Most people who go to flight school just end up with debt because it is so much more competitive than they realize and they give up.

    You should still follow your dreams and if that means being a pilot then great!.. but this article is so misleading, it makes it sound like anyone can just send out applications and get hired as one. To the person whose relative was flying cargo planes for 200,000 annually, I’m sure they paid their dues for decades to get there. Most pilot schools charge $54,000 & up for full training with no guarantee of a job. That is not counting living expenses or the additional fees of trying to also get a degree at the same time.

    articles like this are big on claims, but skim over all the nitty gritty roadblocks. And currently, most airlines DO require at least an associates degree in addition to the pilot licenses, flight hours, and experience.

    • ahp99

      Agree with you, there is also the Army route to become a helicopter pilot. But even this is highly competitive and has a high drop out rate. To even be selected you have to have high up recommendations and test high on all written exams, interview with a board of high ranking officers and so on to even get selected to go to the courses. Still there is no guarantee you will make it, you may get dropped if you fail to meet course requirements. I have friends who have gone this route and got out into the civilian world and are doing great. But it does not come with out hard work and putting in your time first before the big bucks are offered to you.

  • Mars R

    So many of these are so misleading…Most of them require training that is the equivalent of schooling, and several of them are careers in which you may make MUCH less than what is listed. Pilot for example. I worked with a girl whose husband was a pilot but they got do in debt from him making so little money they started their own business instead.
    And fashion designer…Sure you can just walk right into a building, buy it, hire workers, buy supplies, and then have those workers make your designs which you can then sell online on your etsy account. Totally easy. I hope the “author” doesn’t get paid for writing misleading articles, cause I can do that too.

  • Mars R

    And chef! Good luck finding a fancy restaurant that can stay in business long enough to hire you if you don’t live in NY, LA, or a major city. Even grocery stores want you to have a culinary degree and Red Robin isn’t going to pay you big money to heat up frozen patties and arrange them on a plate. I feel sorry for the people thinking about school who read this and decided to throw the dice and become a pilot, fashion designer, or chef within a few months and no schooling.

    • Jeremy

      He didn’t say no schooling. He said these jobs don’t require a “college degree”. Too many people associate higher education or school with “college” and “degree”. I’ve been through college, technical school, and flight school. I can tell you right now that flight school has far more educational value than your typical four year college degree. Technical school was also very useful since that got me hired as a systems technician for Mercedes-Benz, and yes, you can certainly make six figures in that job as well, no “college degree” required.

  • Guest5

    I agree not all high paying jobs/income require a college degree. I’m self-employed and only finish high school. I clean 2nd homes/ small office part-time. The pay may not be high paying (for a small business) but it is pretty good. And I mostly set my own hours and control over the business whether I want to expand to earn more or keep it simple (for less stress and peace of mind). My cousin who take on huge student loans to get a degree is now out of work even though she works in the gov’t (talking about job security). Cleaning business on the other hand may not be glamorous but it survives the recession (I was surprised) and it’s low overhead. I highly recommend anyone to learn a trade/skill then be an entrepreneur, and learn how to manage money/finances. Wealthiest people in the world are entrepreneurs.

  • duckster

    The thing now a days with adults that don’t have a college degree is that there trying to get a good 6 figure job, but the thing employers are looking at now is to see if you have good credit. How stupid is that. Of course your credit is going to be bad because your looking for a job and can’t afford anything. Unemployment don’t cut it anymore and only last for a period of time. Working for an agency doesn’t work either because after 30 days they get rid of you. I was a factory worker for over 20 years and I can’t find anyone who is hiring anyone over the age of 50. We are the hard workers who should be able to go to work and show the younger generation how to operate equipment ext..

    • Jimmy swanQ

      The problem with your logic, regarding older workers in the workplace teaching the younger generation, is that technology has advanced exponentially since you’ve been employed….the truth is, hiring you would require more training than hiring a young, fresh worker. A younger, competent employee’s ability to learn has been proven to be greater than that of an older, competent employee. This also sets you back, in regards to potential employment.

      As I see it, the real problem is companies should worry less about saving money and more about providing opportunities for their senior employees futures. Retirement, benefits, etc.

      • highcountryauto .

        you are so wrong. I’m an automotive tech, and yes the old school techs that don’t want to continue learning are lost, but the college grades are worse, the schools do not teach them right, but they think they know everything, so they are worthless. technology is making fields a not stop learning process, but the tech schools are telling grads that in two or three years, you know everything, and can set your own salary. auto techs are in high shortage, because nobody wants to pay them what they’re worth. I have 60k in tools and another thousand a year to keep my scanner and programmer updated. if I didn’t love to do, what I do I would have got out of it a long time ago. we are in a world of hurt. population is exploding, while technology is replacing jobs. just wait till automated cars catch on. there goes millions of taxi cab, and truck driver jobs. you cannot expand population and kill jobs, and expect a good outcome.

      • http://www.twitter.com/maryjanesdance SassyHolly

        Not true. My first job in an admin type job, aka a “real” job – age 23, and was horribly trained by the youngest people in the office. Now, the oldest? They saved me. And I thank God for the experience I accumulated from the oldest woman in the office. She took me under her wing and saved me.

  • TehPwnr

    or a job like underwater welder, dangerous yea, but big bucks

    • http://www.twitter.com/maryjanesdance SassyHolly

      ah nice, very unique…

  • ahp999

    There is also contracting overseas, to get into most of these fields you usually need a back ground in the military for at least 4 years. Jobs vary from security, intel, tech jobs, mechanics, EMTs, pilots to administrative jobs and the list goes on. Most jobs pay 80k to 200k or more… This is what I go into after I left the Army. The 8 years or served has definitely paid off into getting these high paying jobs overseas with only high school diploma. There is also work on off shore oil rigs that pay 100k plus a year which requires certain training certificates with a high school diploma. These jobs are not for every one, they may require living in hostile areas and living in less than ideal conditions for months at a time.

    • Rob Levy

      You just prove the govt pays ways too much. Thanks for that.

  • Jonathan Lemus

    When was this published?

  • Bob

    Um, you need degrees for half of the jobs you mention.

    • maus

      Exactly. That dude is a liar!

      • http://www.twitter.com/maryjanesdance SassyHolly

        Are you hallucinating? No. You do not. It’s called CERTIFICATIONS. And solid background WORK HISTORY. REFERENCES. etc. He never said you can just HOP into these positions, jesus christ. You guys are so freaking weird. Go take a xanax

  • worstadvice ever

    ummmmmmmm are u stupid or is this entire site full of bullshit

  • highcountryauto .

    if pilots make 110k a year, then why all the news stories about them making less than 50k. this is a lie. the author should have just said, you have to work for congress to get 6 figure salary without a degree.

  • Rob Levy

    Wow.. I make no money, and I have no future! This is awesome!

    • John Schmidt

      Plz don’t b a smarta.

  • dan

    There is no way a valve was replaced in your mother’s sink for $120.00 in 5 minutes. To begin with did your mother bring the house to the plumber or did he drive there? Was the part free?

    • Cath Nzrio

      You got my vote for favorite comment.

    • Jill Rodgers

      I wouldn’t consider driving to the house to be work though.

  • Alexa

    He did say without 4 year degree. Even if u had to get a 4 year degree it would be worth it.

  • Noah

    dear author i trusted you and i failed you

  • http://negativetopositivenetworth.com/ Michael Mota @ negativetoposit

    Whether people agree with what this article has to say or not the bottom line is that yes there is jobs out there that do not require a college degree that affords the ability to earn 6 figures. Correctional Officer, state trooper and entrepreneur are just a few off the top of my head.

    • Notonlybeentherebutstillam

      Not true, Corrections Officers are not a high end job neither is a Deputy Sheriff, State Police are paid a lot better but I doubt many get even close to a 6 figure salary..

      • keith

        You have no clue what you are talking about in New Jersey police officers in Bergen county earn a median yearly income of $125,000 a year and there are plenty of correction officers that make 6 figures in New Jersey so don’t open your mouth when you don’t have a clue it just makes you sound ignorant.
        Also firemen in N.J. make 75k in most big cities after only 5 years.
        So do some research before you make a comment.

        • Jill Rodgers

          Show your proof that correctional officers make that much or YOU just sound stupid. I know where I live it is around 50,000 a year so I doubt it is doubled to where there are correctional officers making 6 figures.

  • Manxxkatt

    LOL….If you aren’t going to count a Radiation Therapist’s associate degree as “school”, then why not name all the other occupations that don’t require “school”, like Nursing, Radiology Technology, Aircraft Mechanics, etc. Many of the Radiation Therapists are Radiology Technologists who elect to go through the third year of training to become a radiation therapist.

    • Rafael T

      “Let’s take a look at some six-figure income jobs that don’t require a FOUR-YEAR college degree:”

      Reading comprehension, it’s great.

  • Rafael T

    They forgot to mention mariner

  • michael145

    IT managers? I’m pretty sure they have college degrees. I’ve worked in many companies and have never met an IT manager who didn’t have a college degree.

    • http://www.twitter.com/maryjanesdance SassyHolly

      Not true. As long as you work your way up from the bottom, you can have even a GED and maybe some college experience, but as long as you have several IT certifications and a great background check and some office experience under your belt as well, you work your way up. So…he is correct.

      • michael145

        Are these companies you’re referring to out in the woods? Lol. I’ve never worked at a company where the IT manager didn’t have a college degree. Maybe in some really rural areas where they can’t attract the same talent because of the isolation factor or the weather elements IT managers don’t have college degrees, but I’m pretty sure if you work in a major city or near a major big city the IT manager is going to have a college degree, unless his father owns the company or something.

        • BeKindToOthers

          I am 43, have no college degree. I’ve worked for Electronic Arts, then Google and now Oracle as an I.T. Manager. I’ve worked around others with no degree at all three places. A degree is not required.

    • John Schmidt

      I don’t have one. Been managing since 1988. I hire experience, not paper. Paper is political.

    • Ashley Johnson

      My husband didn’t have one when he started out. He’s now making up to 90k in atlanta as a Data Center systems engineer, but he finished his associates for that.

  • Ricky

    Commercial pilot salary is absurdly high. Who wishes to pay a bus driver on the air the salary of $110,000? Everyone can learn to be a pilot, whether a girl, boy, or grandma. CEO of Blackwater got his pilot license when he was less than 15, admit that. Maybe airlines corps are earning too much so they have to find something to spend their money on.

  • jamie faulkner


  • jamie faulkner

    this is so not right


    I know a Cessna Pilot that makes seven figures flying blow for Columbia Airways !

  • http://www.ryanthechristian.com/ ryanmercer

    Nearly all of these require classroom training, maybe not degrees but considerable training (on your own dime) for certain.

  • RogerDoge

    I was a Support Escalation Engineer with Microsoft and I know exactly what you’re talking about. It was supposed to be my dream job and instead they just kept jerking me around. I was laid off twice. The first time, I returned to work when they offered a similar position. The second time, I told them to give my job to the next Indian H1B1 applicant because they obviously had no interest in keeping me. At 30 years old and with a family to support, I need stability in my life. Good pay means nothing if you’re unemployed for a few months out of every year.

    • RealityBetraysUs

      As Wayne Newton says “Welcome to my world, won’t you come on in?”

  • John

    Ok so I was looking into maybe switching careers and ran across this absurd post. I work for one of the largest fire departments in Florida. First off I don’t know what Fire Chief does not require a 4 year degree but maybe that’s the 42k a year position. Any Fire Chief of a respectable large department is going to require a degree and about 20 years of service before being able to be considered for a Chief level position. Further, you MUST have a high school diploma to be a firefighter. Next time you write an article you should actually do some real research instead of just using Google. Or better yet, fix your mothers sink for her instead of having her pay a plumber 120$ to fix something any grown man should be able to do.

    • mark

      Okay, so plumbers and most companies by trade like electricians and mechanics all charge around 60 an hr. And they all have two hr minimums plus parts and restocking fees. Second, fireman at any caliber must constantly go through training and yes they require certifications. Most fireman start out as volunteers unless they have a degree in fire safty/prevention/technology. And as for an airline pilot. They have to be licensed through the faa and state where they wish to work. However. They do earn ridiculous paychecks. And one of my buddies here in Dallas earns 140,000 a yr. Salaried as an IT project mngr. He works with oracle software, a very large company. He has a degree. But, that degree has nothing to do with his job description. Plus, benefits out he wazoo and his company takes care of him realy well. He was recruited from ingersol rand where he did the same it work. There are rich people all ober the world who went to college or droped out. They worked a good and busted out on theyre own.If yoir a doctor Or a lawyer You have a degree of speciality that demands a degree. And a liscense. But, in most other cases, if you can do the job well, you can perform well and handle the job duties. Than a degree is an expensive piece of paper most use as a qaulifying factor or a fall plan.

    • Logan

      My uncle is fire chief for a small town and is 31 years old and makes 77k a year and doesn’t have a college degree. He is also a share holder in stocks, runs a heating and air conditioning business along with my family, and rents out two houses every month. He makes well over 100k a year without ever going to college.

  • Joseph7368

    If you are searching for extra profit from 50 bucks to 300 bucks daily for freelancing from your house for several hours a day then try this…

  • Ountruer

    < ?????? +dilbert +*********…..


  • Andis1931

    < ?????? +dilbert +*********…..


  • DrN00b

    HA HA HA HA!!! Network/IT Manager

    • John Schmidt

      30k in MT, network engineer, exchange admin, voip engineer & admin, web developer, media print developer all for 30k. Hahahahahaha

      • John

        That is really below the mean average in the U.S. Not sure what companies you’ll work for but that doesn’t sound right.

    • Ashley Johnson

      My husband is a Data center engineer he makes 90k here in Atlanta with only an associate.

    • Ashley Johnson

      My husband makes 90k with just an associates degree as a Data Systems Engineer in Atlanta

  • http://www.indiobailbonds.com/ Indio John

    I am always amazed how brokers earn in millions.It’s simple for any business man should be smart enough to be successful.

  • cheeze.wiz

    I work in disaster relief.. I have a degree but you don’t need one… I have broke six figures each year easy… If you want money be willing to work more than normal.

    • Aaron

      Can you please give me more information about the work you do and how I might be able to pursue a career in that area?

      • cheeze.wiz

        Search for different disaster recovery contractors and compare them. See which one best fits you. The only real requirement is be willing to travel… A lot for long periods of time. That’s the hard part…that and you work very long hours

      • http://www.gosulife.com Victor

        Hey there Aaron! I might not work in disaster relief, but I am a 6-figure earner. I’d be more than happy to jump on a Skype call and share my somewhat simple story with you! Have a good one

    • Arrow Quing

      But you do need a lot of experience to actually get on board, right?

      • cheeze.wiz


      • cheeze.wiz

        The reality is they teach you everything… But I’m pulling 90 to 102 hour work weeks every week. I’ve had seven days off so far this year… Thees only reason I have a bf is we met at work and address both equally fucked up so we love our jobs and each other. In my experience people who make the most money address usually doing jobs that require tons of dedication and sacrifice… It’s really up to you

  • Yaygen Mills

    I know someone else said it but… It does say Jobs that don’t require a 4 year degree (AKA Bacholars) so in sight this does include… no degree,GED,High School Diploma, AA Certificates and 2 -year Associates Degree. So in all these job positions sound about right.
    Do some research its amazing what you find on the web.

    From a School Student to You.

  • http://www.gosulife.com Victor

    Super interesting article, thanks for sharing! I found it whilst surfing the web to see if there was anyone else who’s done what I have (earn a 6-figure USD salary without going to college). And apparently there are tons of people! Anyone of you guys/girls who would like to start a closed FB group or something to help each other out?

  • Mike Melenich

    Not quite 6 figures but Nondestructive Testing level I Technicians make about $65,927 per year and level II technicians make about $95,137. NDT Technicians do inspections on the vital infrastructure of our country; from Bridges and railways to oil/gas pipeline, brake pads, landing gear and plane wings. Our daily safety is dependent on these technicians.