10 High-Paying Jobs: High-Paying Require a Four-Year Degree

A college degree is optional to make a good living. Ten well-paying positions without a degree are mentioned below.


  • From 2017 to 2019, companies lowered the minimum degree requirement for 46% of middle-skill occupations.
  • You may require some post-secondary training or education.
  • The typical student spends over $35,000 annually for college.
  • Location affects earning potential.


While obtaining a college degree might help you prepare for high-paying occupations, plenty of well-paying positions are available without one. As businesses compete for employees, several employers have reduced degree requirements and placed more emphasis on applicants’ talents.


Harvard Business Review reports that from 2017 to 2019, corporations lowered the educational requirements for 46% of middle-skill occupations. These positions still call for some post-secondary education, albeit only sometimes a bachelor’s degree.


That’s encouraging for many folks who are worried about college prices. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition, fees, supplies, and living costs for students in the United States in 2018–19 was $27,200 at private nonprofit universities and $13,900 at public institutions. These expenses may continue for years, with many graduates needing to repay student debts.


How much you anticipate making in the workforce depends on various things. Higher compensation may result from your place of residence, professional background, and sector of choice. The occupations below often pay well despite not needing a four-year degree.


High Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Four-Year Degree


Air Traffic Controller


Aircraft are kept safe from other aircraft and threats, thanks to air traffic controllers. These people are employed by airport control towers, especially those near big airports. Others may support pilots while they go by working from safe offices spread out around the nation. The majority of them work for the FAA, a government organization.


Because air traffic controllers are needed around the clock, they may work day, evening, or night shifts as well as on weekends and holidays. You are eligible for this job if you have three years of work experience, a bachelor’s degree, or a combination of education and experience. With a curriculum centered on aviation themes, the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative provides two- or four-year degree pathways. A trainee cannot start at the FAA Academy after turning 31.


Median Salary: $130,420


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 4% projected growth


Commercial Pilot


Commercial pilots fly planes that carry passengers or cargo between locations. Before takeoff, they develop and submit flight plans and inspect the mechanical and fuel systems of the aircraft. They keep an eye on systems and interact with air traffic control while in flight. They must steer the jet to its destination while handling crises and shifting weather.


Commercial pilots get their wings via education, practice, and certification programs at approved flying schools. The FAA governs pilot certification and training. Pilots begin with private pilot licenses as they go through pilot certifications and continue accumulating flying hours, noting different maneuvers and procedures. Pilots must be of a certain age and pass a medical examination.


Median Salary: $130,440


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 13% projected growth


Construction Manager


From cost estimates & work schedules through final inspections, construction managers supervise building projects. They collaborate closely with architects and engineers to ensure the project complies with building standards. They could also oversee subcontractors doing plumbing, electrical, masonry, or construction work. The manager is in charge of making sure the business obtains all relevant licenses and completes any essential building inspections.


Construction expertise of many years is often brought to bear by construction managers. Some people add to their professional expertise by earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in construction management. Some businesses provide on-the-job instruction overseen by an experienced manager.



Median Salary: $97,180


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 11% projected growth


Elevator Installer and Repairer


Elevators need to be installed properly and regularly maintained to convey people securely. Elevator installation and repairers specialize in these mechanical and electronic systems because they need particular training and understanding.


Although training is provided via an apprentice program, repairers and installers must continue their education to keep current with ever-evolving technology. To operate an elevator system, you typically need a license, and you may get professional certificates.


Installers and repairers of elevators are often building equipment contractors. The work is physically tough. You will do your duties in confined spaces, in stifling heat or cold, and at great elevations. Elevator repairers may react to crises even though many jobs occur during regular business hours.


Median Salary: $88,540


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 6% projected growth


IT Manager


These IT specialists assist businesses in setting up and maintaining their computer networks and information systems. They carry out hardware and software installations and act as a resource for troubleshooting and finding answers. IT managers often supervise a team of specialists who carry out maintenance or repairs.


Although many IT managers have computer science degrees, candidates may also possess an associate’s degree, professional certifications, and work experience. The majority of managers have full-time jobs in offices.


Median Salary: $151,150


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 11% projected growth




Funeral directors and morticians consult with families directly to arrange the specifics of the service. They also execute cosmetic procedures on bodies and embalm corpses to prepare them for viewing by family and friends. The funeral director often plans and organizes the funeral service’s specifics, such as securing clergy and pallbearers, setting up the opening and closure of graves for burial, and creating an obituary.


As part of an associate degree program, prospective morticians might study mortuary science or funeral service. Students who work part-time at a funeral home might obtain experience. An apprenticeship is a possible kind of education. Morticians must also complete training and education programs and pass a state licensure test.


Median Salary: $58,170


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 4% projected growth


Nuclear Power Plant Operator


Nuclear power plant operators alter control rods to control how much electricity a nuclear reactor generates. They keep an eye on the cooling systems, turbines, generators, and reactors, gathering information, reporting anomalies, and taking action as necessary. In 2020, around 5,300 nuclear power reactor operators were working, the majority for utilities.


On-the-job technical training is often required for these roles. Operators of nuclear power plants must pass a license test administered by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Operators can employ new monitoring technologies thanks to ongoing training. All staff must undergo background and security checks at many utility businesses, particularly nuclear power facilities.


Median Salary: $89,090


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 14% projected decline


Product Manager


Product managers keep an eye on the creation or development of a certain product. They may work in manufacturing, marketing, software development, or other industries, and employment requirements vary by industry. A few product managers have a business or a closely related degree. Others get the essential expertise by taking on leadership positions at work.


The product manager oversees manufacturing timetables, financial management, and quality control. They need leadership, interpersonal, time management, and problem-solving abilities.


Median Salary: $108,790


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 5% projected growth


Radiation Therapist

Several malignancies and tumors may be treated using radiation. Radiation therapists collaborate with the patient’s medical team to provide this crucial therapy safely and efficiently. The therapists calibrate equipment, maintain track of the patient’s responses, explain treatment programs to patients and their families, and take thorough notes throughout each session. Hospitals employ around 65% of radiation therapists.


Radiation therapists are physically fit and have strong interpersonal and technical abilities. Human anatomy, computer science, and mathematics are studied as part of the training, normally a one-, two-, or four-year curriculum. Most states demand that radiation therapists get national certification and keep their state certification current.


Median Salary: $86,850


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 9% projected growth


Real Estate Agent


Real estate agents assist in bringing together buyers and sellers of real estate, including houses, lots, and commercial structures. Many real estate brokers, their immediate reports, or both are agents. They often control their schedule, yet they could work odd hours to meet with customers. By offering suggestions on home pricing, staging, and advertising, they assist sellers in marketing their properties. They also negotiate the conditions of the sale while showing houses to prospective purchasers.


A state license and passing a test are requirements for real estate agents. Courses that will help you get ready for the state examination are offered by community colleges, real estate firms, and educational service providers. Fair housing regulations, legal descriptions, real estate ethics, mortgage loans, and listing agreements are some subjects covered. Numerous courses take a few months to finish.


Median Salary: $51,220


  • Job Outlook 2020-30: 4% projected growth