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Top 12 Highest Paying Jobs Without A College Degree in 2019

Most people think that you need to go and get a college degree and order to have a salary in the high five figures.  Not really a surprise, right?  The average income of someone with a high school diploma is about $37,000 a year.  There are high-paying occupations that don’t require any kind of degree.  We’ve searched high and low to find these hidden gems. Here are our favorite top 12 highest paying jobs that you can get without a college degree.

12.  Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators

  • Median Wage:  $65,670
  • Education Requirement:  High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Licensing:  Varies by state
  • Needed Skills:  analytical skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, detail-oriented, and math skills

Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators work with insurance companies. They evaluateclaims and decide how much, if any, the insurance company must pay on the claim. These are the individuals that determine whether a policy covers a filed claim. They make sure claims are not fraudulent, work with third parties to get more information on claims, negotiate settlements, and authorizepayments. Adjusters, examiners, and investigators work for property and casualty, auto, and health insurance companies.

11.  Electrical power-line installers and repairer

  • Median Wage:  $65,880
  • Education Requirement:  High school diploma or equivalent, technical instruction or an apprenticeship preferred, on-the-job training
  • Licensing:  Not required, Optional certification in certain areas offered by some associations
  • Needed Skills:  Mechanical skills, technical skills, troubleshooting skills, color vision, physical stamina, physical strength, and teamwork

Electrical power-line installers and repairershave significant workplace hazards. They are responsible for installing and repairing electrical power systems and telecommunication cables. This means they are regularly working with high-voltage electricity.

10.  Subway and streetcar operators

  • Median Wage:  $68,170
  • Education Requirement:  High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Licensing:  Varies by state
  • Needed Skills:  Observation and control, operation monitoring, active listening, speaking, and monitoring

Essentially, assembly and streetcar operatorsdrive the subway and streetcars. The elevated trains or subways they operate have no separate locomotive or they are electric-powered. The gig requires the collection of passenger fares.  This entails the monitoring of surroundings for potential hazards.  They must keep track of vehicle movements, locations and direct emergency management activities.

9.  Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers

  • Median Wage:  $67,950
  • Education Requirement: High school diploma or equivalent, hands-on experience
  • Licensing:  No licensing required, Accredited Farm Managercertification available
  • Needed Skills:  Analytical skills, critical thinking skills, interpersonal skills, mechanical skills, initiative, physical strength

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managersrun and manage farms. These farms produce crops, dairy products, and livestock. Their duties include overseeing all aspects of crop production and processes, selecting and purchasing supplies and machinery.  The role is responsible for maintaining all day-to-day functions of running a farm. With this career, you may manage a family-owned farm or you may work with a company that has several different agricultural entities.

8.  Gas Plant Operator

  • Median Wage:  $69,030
  • Education Requirement:  High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Licensing:  Some states require occupational licensing
  • Needed Skills:  Operation monitoring, monitoring, operation and control, critical thinking, quality control analysis

Gas plant operatorstend to work with utility companies to distribute and process gas. They do this by controlling compressors to keep the specified pressure on the main pipelines. The regular duties may include inspecting the equipment, monitoring equipment for proper functioning.

7.  Transportation Inspectors

  • Median Wage:  $73,780
  • Education Requirement: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Licensing:  Some states require occupational licensing
  • Needed Skills:  Quality control analysis, problem sensitivity

Transportation inspectorsinspect equipment used to transport people or cargo. This includes inspection of rail transportation as well. They inspect motor vehicles and test materials and solutions. They prepare accident reports and recommend changes and corrective procedures to improve the safety of equipment. This occupation includes car inspectors, safety officers, smog technicians, emissions inspectors, etc.

6.  Commercial Pilot

  • Median Wage:$78,740
  • Education Requirement:High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Licensing: Commercial pilot license required
  • Needed Skills:  Operation and control, operation monitoring, monitoring, critical thinking, and active listening

Commercial pilotsinclude several kinds of pilots, not justcommercial airline pilots. They include cargo pilots, tour pilots, charter pilots, and backcountry pilots. These pilots navigate fixed-wing aircraftor helicopters on nonscheduled air carrier routes. They flythe aircraft, monitorengine operations and functioning, and inspect the aircraft. They are responsible for choosing the optimal route and speed.  This includes communicating with others to coordinate the movement of the aircraft. Although this does not need a college degree, it does require some studying and passing of the FAA Exam to get your commercial pilot’s license.

5.  Media & Communication Equipment Worker

  • Median Wage:  $79,580
  • Education Requirement: High school diploma or equivalent, technical instruction or an apprenticeship preferred, on-the-job training
  • Licensing:  Some states require occupational licensing
  • Needed Skills:  Monitoring, critical thinking, reading comprehension, operation monitoring

Media and communication equipment workers work with audio and video equipment. This equipment is usedfor concerts, sporting events, meetings and conventions, news conferences, presentations, etc. These individuals are responsible for setting up and operating the equipment including microphones, speakers, video screens, actors, the cleaning equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound mixing boards, and so on. Duties may include taking the status of equipment, maintaining equipment, and maintaining records. Specific positions include video technicians, master control operators, audio technicians, stagehands, media technicians, and audiovisual specialists.

4.  Elevator Installer & Repairer

  • Median Wage:  $79,780
  • Education Requirement:  High school diploma or equivalent,  apprenticeship required
  • Licensing:  Varies by state
  • Needed Skills:  Mechanical skills, troubleshooting skills, physical stamina, physical strength, and detail-oriented

Elevator installers and repairersinstall and repair elevators. They also work on escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts. This career requires reading and interpreting blueprints and troubleshooting malfunctions and breaks, motors, switches, and control systems. You must be able to work with electrical wiring and assemble and dismantle elevator and escalator units. Another part of their job is to perform preventative maintenance and inspections for compliance with safety regulations and building codes.

3.  Detectives and Criminal Investigators

  • Median Wage:  $79,970
  • Education Requirement:  High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Licensing:  Some states require occupational licensing
  • Needed Skills:  Active listening, speaking, complex problem-solving, social perceptiveness, and critical thinking

Detectives and criminal investigatorsare responsible for investigating alleged or suspected crimes. They must determine whether there is enough evidence to recommend prosecution. These individuals prepare investigation and incident reports and examine records and other data related to the suspected crime.  Police detectives, special agents, FBI agents, narcotics detectives, and criminal investigators are part of this career group.

2.  Power Plant Operators, Distributors & Dispatchers

  • Median Wage:  $83,020
  • Education Requirement:  High school diploma or equivalent, college or vocational school degree preferred
  • Licensing:  Varies depending upon your position and by state
  • Needed Skills:  Concentration skills, mechanical skills, problem-solving skills, dexterity, and detail-oriented

Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchersare in charge of the different systems used to make and distribute electrical power. These systems make use of all, natural gas, or nuclear power. They monitorvoltage and electricity flows by reading charts, meters, and gauges. They are essentiallyresponsible for electricity getting from power stations to end-users. It is common to have longer, rotating shifts (8- or 12- hours) with these positions.

1.  Transportation, Storage, & Distribution Managers

  • Median Wage:  $94,730
  • Education Requirement: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Licensing:  Some states require occupational licensing
  • Needed Skills:  Problem sensitivity, reading comprehension, deductive reasoning, written comprehension and expression, monitoring, critical thinking, active listening

Transportation, storage, and distribution managersare important members of any organization. They plan, direct, or coordinate transportation, storage, and distribution operations within an organization. They may oversee employees, direct operations, and monitor activities to ensure compliance.

Make a Plan

While you don’t need a college degree for these careers, you may need some sort of technical college certification or relevant experience in the field.  With that in mind, it’s unlikely that you are going to jump into one of these careers and start raking in the dough. The first thing you need to do is make a plan and take the necessary steps to get there. This may mean getting additional certifications or an apprenticeship. You may want to also apply to positions that can get you the necessary skills to prepare for one of these careers in the future. Having a plan in place will help you move forward and keep your career from stagnating.

While these might not be the the typical Side Hustle idea list we often reference, it’s always a good idea to be informed of other non-traditional careers out there.

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