When you start thinking about how much time you’ll spend in school, the numbers begin to add up pretty quickly. You’ll spend about 5-6 years in elementary school, 3-4 years in middle school, four years in high school, 4-5 in college, and even more if you decide to pursue a postgraduate degree.

Add all that up and you’re spending at least 15 years of your life in school, even more if you decide to go to college

Despite constantly hearing about how you need to graduate college in order to be successful, there are still plenty of jobs out there that don’t require a college degree. Of course, you attending college isn’t going to hurt your chances but you can definitely strike out without obtaining a degree.

Below, we run through some high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree.

Commercial Pilots

If you like being up high, catching the birds-eye view then this profession is for you. Many pilots never attended college, instead opting to join the military instead. That bundle of experience is crucial for flying and there are plenty of jobs that will open up for you.

Besides flying for major airlines, there are also charter flights, aerial tours, corporate flights, and more. Instead of attending college, you’ll need to receive your pilot’s license. Many opt to go to flight school or FAA-certified instructors before applying to jobs.

Air Traffic Control

Sticking with the whole aerial theme we have going, the next job on the list are air traffic controllers, or ATC. Have you ever looked across a runway at an airport and seen the tower standing out? That’s where controllers communicate with pilots and manage the flow of airplane traffic.

The FAA is always looking for new ATC employees and starting salaries are close to six figures. The downside is that it is an incredibly stressful job and you have no say in where you will be stationed. You might be put at some tiny airport in Iowa or a major one like JFK in New York.


Hope you’re not afraid of crawl spaces, because we’re about to head under the house. Instead of going to college, many plumbers head to technical schools or take on apprenticeships to learn their trade. 

Plumbers have been and will always be in high demand and they can make pretty good money because of it. Depending on the type of training and work, some plumbers can make well into six figures. Just know that it’s a pretty labor-intensive and physical job that can wear some people down quickly.

Real Estate

With a booming market, real estate is one of the fastest and most consistent growing job markets in the country. More and more people are looking to rent than ever before, meaning a career in rental property management may be right up your alley. 

While a college degree is not necessary, it would certainly help to have one here. You’ll be wearing plenty of hats, having to learn how to manage people, deal with tenants, and effectively market your business as well. 


Once again, writing is a profession where you could definitely benefit from a college degree, but you do not need one to have immediate success. 

Plenty of writing is built up on experience and lots and lots of practice. The more you write, the better you will become. There are also plenty of training courses and classes on how to become a better writer. This could mean writing books, ghostwriting, copywriting, technical writing, or some combination of everything. It’s a career you can prosper in as a freelancer, making your own work schedule and choosing who you work with. 

Radiation Therapists

You will have to attend higher education for this profession, but it doesn’t have to be a four-year college degree. Radiation therapists work with cancer-related patients and use radiation to target cancer cells in patients’ bodies.

They work in hospitals or cancer treatment centers and will work in conjunction with others in the oncological department. Working in such a field means the job comes with a pretty high stress level, but salaries range pretty close to six figures starting out.

Check out our other articles to get more career-building tips.

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