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Make $100,000+/yr with These No-Degree High Paying Jobs

Unlock Your Potential: High-Earning Careers Without a Degree
Written By: Rick Orford
Reviewed by: Mike Reyes
Last Updated February 20, 2024

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In this article, you’ll learn how to make $100k/yr through:

  1. Diverse Opportunities: It presents a range of high-paying job options that don’t require a college degree, covering fields like IT, digital marketing, and various trades.
  2. Self-Learning and Certification: Many of these roles, such as in SEO, digital marketing, or IT, can be entered through self-learning, online courses, and certifications, rather than traditional college degrees.
  3. Financial Potential: The article emphasizes the potential for earning well over $100,000 annually in these roles, challenging the notion that a lucrative career necessarily requires a college degree.
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Are you looking for high-paying jobs without a degree requirement? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we combine the best jobs you can do to earn well into the six figures without ever stepping foot in a college. Best yet, it doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 60; there’s something here for everyone.

Total undergraduate enrollment decreased 18.1% between 2011-2023.  Undoubtedly, high tuition fees and student loans are at least partially to blame.

Today, folks are looking for high-paying jobs that do not require a college degree and avoid student loans. Below is the list of such jobs which give you the potential to earn even more than a graduate job.

High Paying No Degree Information Technology Jobs

Freelancing in programming can be lucrative; more often than not, these are not college graduates. However, they do spend considerable hours honing their skills. 


SEO can be one of the best, high-paying jobs without a degree. Today, most businesses need to have an online presence. As a result, they need search engine optimization specialists to help them rank on Google or Bing.

You can learn SEO by yourself for free. There are many online blogs teaching search engine optimization. First, I suggest creating a user-friendly WordPress website. Then, try to rank for keywords. You will learn what works and what doesn’t. It’s the best way to train to become an SEO. And after a year, SEOs can easily get $100,000 a year or more!

The Nitty Gritty of SEO

Ideally, focus on off-page and on-page/technical SEO. You can take basic web design, coding, digital marketing, social media, and SEO classes. Also, you can even find online boot camps to jump right in quickly. You can specialize and focus on eCommerce SEO or lead generation SEO verticals, creating a massive impact on a business. And many companies are searching for precisely this top SEO talent as freelancers & full-time employees. Strong SEO candidates are highly paid and can either be self-employed or employed.

Learning a language such as Python can be very useful for SEO. Alternatively, you can also now use AI script generation for this.

If you get a job in an entry-level SEO role, no matter the company, you can grow if you take responsibility in no time. Then, expect other companies to recruit you heavily. Excitingly, average compensation jumps can be $20K every two years. Anyone can do it based on the right career moves, job jumps, or entrepreneurial spirit.

Digital Marketer

Having been in digital marketing for 5+ years, I can honestly say it’s one of those jobs where people don’t need a degree. To be sure, you only need a laptop and a stable internet connection. Most of the jobs available in the market are high paying (I.e. $100,000+ a year), or you can start your side hustle

COVID has only amplified the importance of brands being able to market online. Skilled digital marketers are in high demand currently, 

Coder / Web Developer

coding is one of the best jobs for millennials without a degree

As a web developer, I’ve worked with talented individuals who did not go to college and earned six figures. If you teach yourself how to code and are good at it, you can land jobs easily. Companies will not care if you went to college or not. There is a shortage of qualified web developers, so companies are paying top dollar for them.

Web designer

One high paying job that doesn’t require a college degree is building and designing websites for others online. To get this type of job, all you have to do is take a few online or in-person courses. Or, you can learn through experience, Google, and YouTube. Once you have a portfolio of sites you’ve built yourself, you can easily take on freelance work. A company can even hire you at a high starting salary in the six figures ($100,000+) if you’re good at what you do.

Network Administrator

People seeking network and computer systems administrator jobs don’t need a degree. They can expect to earn an annual salary between $83K – $118K a year. All you’ll need to get yourself is a postsecondary certificate, but the one prerequisite is expert-level computer skills. To be sure, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of a computer system, which you can develop on your own through self-study.

Microsoft Certified Professional

Microsoft Certified Professional developers in Dynamics 365 are some of the best-paid in the market. Indeed, they are making an average starting salary of $104,000 a year. According to a recent Nigel Frank report, Microsoft Dynamics ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), professionals can earn more than $125,000 in a year after five years. There is a growing demand for certified developers in this area. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a software group that allows businesses to manage and improve their financial performance. Most of its users prefer it because it allows having all the business processes integrated into one program – available in the Cloud. Its competitive price and highly customizable interface have made it grow in popularity in the last few years.

Recruiters look for professionals who have passed the Microsoft Certification Exams.

Data Scientist

A degree would help ensure you understand things most employers would like. Still, if you want to be a data scientist, there are certifications that you can get from highly reputable websites that will give you a ton of experience that employers demand. 

Once you complete the certification courses (or independent learning), you could easily demonstrate to a future employer that you know what they are looking for based on your experience. There should be a mountain of examples you could show any hiring manager that doubted your abilities just because you didn’t have a college degree.

In all fairness, the Data Scientist’s median income is $95,000 a year. Interestingly, compared to a college education, the data scientist certificate will likely cost less than a semester would in a university.

Content Marketer

Freelance Marketing Consultants can earn well over $100,000 a year, and don’t need a degree. Marketing consultants are responsible for all content and communications that the outside world sees (Think social media, PR, etc.). 

Related Read: 12 High-Income Skills That Will Make You Money

Virtual Bookkeeper

One high paying job that doesn’t require a college degree is Bookkeeping. However, you might take some classes to learn the ins and outs. Bookkeeping will always be in demand, especially for small or medium-sized businesses that need these services.

Also, you can start a Bookkeeping business from home without expertise or previous experience. Virtual Bookkeepers are high paying jobs (I.e., $100,000+ a year) if you can learn and apply strategies to acquire clients.

High Paying No Degree Sales Jobs


Most (if not all) North American real estate boards require just the completion of a real estate trading and licensing course to become a realtor. The real estate course covers various legal and financial aspects of representing clients in home purchases and sales. Realtors usually run their own businesses and operate under a brokerage. Indeed reports several brokerages with realtors earning over six figures, and top real estate brokers earn an average of $167,465 a year. As a result, this makes realtors one of the best high paying no-degree jobs around. But don’t think being a realtor is a license to print money. Realtors also work long hours!


Roofing salespeople usually make $70,000 to $80,000 a year and require no college degree. However, there is on-the-job training, and the median salary differs in each state. I have seen experienced roofing salesmen quickly make $100,000 a year in the first year.

High Paying Jobs With No Degree: Blue Collar & Trades Jobs

Blue-collar trades have been around for a long time, much longer than tech jobs. And we think they (at least most) will continue to be around for decades. Tradespeople are an increasingly important segment of the workforce. And they offer opportunities who those who don’t want to go to college.

Elevator & Escalator Repairmen 

Here are two high-paying jobs that do not require a degree: elevator and escalator installers and repairers. With these high paying jobs, you usually learn through an apprenticeship accessible to anyone with a High School Diploma or GED, says Janni Nilsson from Resumoo. Then, you follow up by obtaining a state license and start collecting an average of $102,650 per year

Petroleum Refinery Operators and Gaugers

Operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating oil flow into pipelines. These jobs come with salaries that often exceed $100,000 a year.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), with the push to renewable energy, the job prospects for refinery operators are waning.

Railroad Worker

One high paying job that does not require a college degree, says Pamela Washington-Turner, is working for the railroad. Railroad workers ensure that both freight and passenger trains are on time and safely. Indeed, they may drive the trains, coordinate the activities of the trains, or operate rail yard switches and signals. Most railroad workers have salaries well over $100,000 yearly, without adding a per diem if they travel with a production gang.

House Flipper / Handyman 

You can buy houses, renovate, and flip them for a hefty profit. While this job doesn’t require a degree, it will need some handyman skills.

As a house flipper, you’ll need to specialize in finding undervalued properties. Depending on the property and the work that needs to be done, you can do a lite or extensive renovation. A complete renovation will get a higher price when we exit the property, but it requires more work and time.

One can learn handyman skills without enrolling in the university and you’ll often hear success stories of college dropouts who have earned $100,000 or more in their first year alone.


A welder joins metal parts using a tool that generates intense heat. A welder can also polish and smooth out metal surfaces they weld together. They can use hand-held equipment or a computer to cut or join metal parts, fix seams, or fill holes in metal.

To become a welder, you’ll need to go to welding school. Your classmates will range from recent high school grads to retired military veterans, and the course can last 4 – 9 months, including hands-on training. It’s not uncommon for their students to make between $100,000 and $200,000 annually directly following program completion. And students who find work on pipeline projects can make as much as $300,000 per year.

Construction Superintendent

If you enjoy projects and not sitting behind a desk all day, the construction superintendent is a rewarding career! A commercial superintendent typically comes through trades and does not always require a college degree. Superintendent jobs for general commercial contractors can easily make $100,000 a year or more.

Due to the 2008 recession, there has been a labor shortage in construction. An entire generation of skilled labor left the industry and never pursued trade school out of fear of the economy back then. Unfortunately, the work remains in high demand with low supply. As a result, this has created a unique opportunity for motivated individuals to learn a trade, move into supervision on the worksite, and progress their careers to become general superintendent.

Detective / Criminal Investigator

America is among the top five countries regarding the highest average salary rate among police officers. You’d be surprised at how much a detective or criminal investigator makes in a year. Indeed, Ben Walker from Ditto Transcripts says you won’t need a degree for this high-paying job. All you’ll need is a high school diploma.

A detective in the US earns between $82,000 and $122,000 per year based on factors such as length of service. Police commissioners annually get over $150,000. Depending on where you live, the difference can be from two or three thousand dollars a year, which is insignificant. The average wage of police officers depends only on their ranks and units.

Detectives can also count on benefits such as early retirement and health insurance for the whole family.

How to become a detective?

To become a detective, one must be at least 21, not older than 35, and have no criminal record. Moreover, all candidates must start as police officers and undergo mandatory training at the academy for up to 12 months. Additional requirements for the candidate include a high school diploma, a driver’s license, and an impeccable reputation. Upon completion of training, the graduate is awarded the rank of a police officer. After graduation, a newly minted police officer starts patrolling the streets.

Interestingly, police ranks are not awarded for merit but according to the results of a challenging test. If the “detective test” is passed successfully, the police officer becomes a detective. The detective can then be promoted to sergeant, who, in turn, can become a captain. Then, you can become an inspector, the chief of police, the assistant commissioner of police, and, finally, the commissioner. A police officer can often retire after 20 – 25 years of service. 

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers work in control towers, route centers, or approach control facilities to direct and provide aircraft clearances for takeoffs and landings. They coordinate air traffic patterns to ensure that aircraft are safe distances apart. Also, air traffic controllers are responsible for keeping airline passengers and flight crews safe. Therefore, they can make changes to flight paths as necessary.

An Air Traffic Controller job requires intensive training but not a degree. This job pays a median of $122,000 annually and is one of the best high-paying jobs requiring no degree.

Final Thoughts about High Paying No Degree Jobs

Thanks for reading this article about high-paying jobs you could do without a degree and earn $100,000+ a year; I appreciate it. If you know someone who might be looking for the best jobs that don’t require a degree, please feel free to share them. And last, if you know of other high-paying jobs that don’t need a degree, please comment below!

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