Highest Paying Jobs not Requiring a Degree: Get a High Paying Job without a College Degree

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A Study on High Paying Jobs not Requiring a Degree

While obtaining a degree is always a good thing, there are many high-paying jobs available to those who do not yet have a degree or do not wish to get one.

In an annual study by CityTownInfo.com, various high-paying jobs were analyzed in respect to median income and percentage of employees holding that job, but not a degree. Other factors were included in the study that contributed to the ranking of the jobs on the list. The following are fifteen of highest paying jobs not requiring a degree that were researched for the study.

It is important to note that the following jobs are not the top fifteen in rankings from the study. These jobs appeared in the study ranked from number one through number 234. The reason for the discrepancy is due to the considerations used.

Whereas the study considered numerous factors and did not exclude jobs that presented little hope for job-seekers, this article looks only at three factors. These jobs are among the highest in median salary, have some predicted growth through the year 2016 and have a sizeable portion of non-degreed workers.

Air Traffic Controller

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the largest employer of air traffic controllers. The job consists primarily of helping to coordinate air traffic movement. The focus is on safety and in minimizing delays.

Ranked number one in the study, the median income for air traffic controllers is $117, 240. Though 32 percent of those in this field do have a degree, the majority (68 percent) do not. There is a 12 percent job growth rate predicted for this position.


Nine managerial jobs made the cut for this article. They represent various aspects of management as well as different fields of work. Managers typically oversee reports and other employees. They may hire, fire and set up the employee schedules.

  • Financial Manager $90,970 median income; 40 percent non-degreed; 13 percent predicted growth; ranked number 76.
  • Human Resources (HR) Manager $88,510 median income; 42 percent non-degreed; 12 percent predicted growth; ranked number 66.
  • General Management $85,230 median income; 52% non-degreed; two percent predicted growth; ranked number 36.
  • Purchasing Manager $81,570 median income; 43% non-degreed; three percent predicted growth; ranked number 138.
  • Training Manager $80,250 median income; 42 percent non-degreed; 14 percent predicted growth; ranked number 100.
  • Compensation Manager $74,750 median income; 42 percent non-degreed; 12 percent predicted growth; ranked number 146.
  • Construction Manager $73,700 median income; 71 percent non-degreed; 16 percent predicted growth; ranked number three.
  • Health Services Manager $73,340 median income; 43 percent non-degreed; 16 percent predicted growth; ranked number 127.
  • Transportation Manager $73,080 median income; 75 non-degreed; nine percent predicted growth; ranked number five.

Art Director

Art directors may work in television, film or in other media. They are responsible for set design in relation to the environment and mood when working in television and film. In print media, art directors are responsible for the layout, artwork and photographs.

The median income for art directors is $68,100. The percentage of non-degreed art directors is 42. There is a nine percent predicted growth rate for this job that was ranked 218 in the study.

Dental Hygienist

Working closely with dentists, dental hygienists teach patients good oral hygiene skills and provide some minor dental work for patients such as cleaning teeth.

With 67 percent of those in the field working without a degree, dental hygienists have a median income of $62,800. The predicted growth rate for this job is 30 percent. Dental hygienist jobs were ranked nine in the study.

Fashion Designer

Creating the designs for purses, clothes and accessories is the primary function of a fashion designer.

The median income of a fashion designer is $62,610. Almost half of all fashion designers (45 percent) do not have a degree. There is a five percent predicted growth rate for this job, which came in at number 234 in rankings.

Real Estate Broker

Real estate brokers can sell real estate as well as own a real estate business. They work with customers, title agents, real estate agents and other real estate brokers. A license is required to be a real estate broker.

Real estate brokers have a median income of $60,790 and a predicted growth rate in the industry of 11 percent. Fifty-five percent do not have a degree. This job came in at number 118.

Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered nurses are highly trained medical professionals who work closely with doctors and patients. They make up the largest percentage of workers in the healthcare field, and about 60 percent work in hospitals. While some nurses have a degree, others have a diploma from a nursing program. A license is required.

The median income is $57,280 for registered nurses. There is a predicted growth rate of 23 percent in this field that is made up of 44 percent non-degreed workers. This job was ranked at number 221.


It should be noted that some of the jobs listed, while not requiring a degree, may require some kind of experience or certification prior to an applicant being considered qualified for the position in question.

Some helpful information in regards to that is linked to in the Further Reading section.


The Best Career Opportunities, “College Degree Not Required”. https://www.citytowninfo.com/studies/best-careers-degree-not-required.html

Occupational Outlook Handbook (2010-11 Edition). https://www.bls.gov/OCO/

Further Reading

Earning a Human Resources Certificate Online

Preparing for the PHR and SPHR Exams Online