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7 High-Paying Jobs You Can Land Without a College Degree

By | Deanna deBara |

For decades, the general school of thought has been that in order to land a secure, high-paying role, you needed a college degree. But things are changing. Many organizations are realizing that a four-year degree is not a prerequisite for talent or success—and that in order to attract top candidates and build the best, most inclusive teams, they need to change the way they think about their degree requirements.

“Companies are recognizing that a college degree is unnecessary to achieve success—at least in most roles,” says career coach Kyle Elliot. “Moreover, there are systemic barriers to accessing and participating in higher education. Removing college degree requirements is an opportunity for companies to fiercely demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

There are a number of challenges discouraging would-be students from pursuing traditional degrees—starting with the hefty price tag. “The four-year-degree bubble is starting to wither,” says career alignment coach Aly Brine, as the costs rise and the return on investment isn’t as obvious.

These changing views and trends have created a job market where there are a variety of high-paying opportunities available—no college degree required. So the question is: What are some of the highest-paying roles that don’t require a traditional college degree? We’ve compiled a list for you—along with advice about how you can get your foot in the door and land one of these coveted roles for yourself.

What’s Considered High Pay? And What Does “No Degree Required” Actually Mean?

First things first, let’s quickly cover how we’re defining “high-paying.” For the purposes of this list, we’re defining a high-paying role as one where the average income potential (according to data from salary and compensation resource Payscale) is above the median household income in the United States—which was $68,703 in 2019. In some cases, the actual salaries for these positions may be even higher, depending on where you live. 

It’s also important to note that hiring requirements are at the discretion of individual employers and hiring managers—so while it’s increasingly possible to land one of the jobs on this list without a college degree, you may run into individual companies in your job search that insist applicants hold a degree in order to be considered for the role.

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