40 Profitable Professions That Don’t Require A Bachelor’s Degree

By Trista
40 Profitable Professions That Don’t Require A Bachelor’s Degree

Just because you don’t have a four-year college degree, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome, high-paying job. There is a wide variety of occupations that are open to people with a high school diploma or an associate’s degree. Many of these jobs have a median salary of around $55,000. These jobs typically involve a lot of on the job training and some certification.

The types of jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree are usually labor-intensive or involved in the medical field due to the pay involved. They also include careers that are in the hospitality and customer service fields. No matter what you are passionate about, you can find a job that is fulfilling and therefore support you and your family well. If you’re looking for a career that you can start very soon without spending years in college, read on. Most of these jobs only require a high school diploma, associate’s degree, apprenticeship, or vocational certification.

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1. Air Traffic Controller

An air traffic controller has a great job that requires them to be alert at all times. They direct and monitor aircraft and make sure that the planes land and take off safely as a result. Air traffic controllers need to be knowledgeable about the airport that they work at because their jobs are important. Therefore, they need to know all the ins and outs of how the planes land and take off.

Air traffic controller jobs are in high demand, and you may be put on a waiting list for training because of that fact. On-the-job training for this position is long and rigorous. The median salary for an air traffic controller is $122,530 as a result. It’s the highest median salary you can earn without a Bachelor’s degree.

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2. Boilermaker

A boilermaker is a tradesperson who works with boiler systems. They also fabricate iron, copper, and steel into giant boilers, which are used to hold hot liquid or gas. This position evolved from the traditional blacksmith trade. This job is therefore ideal for those that enjoy working on plumbing or mechanical repairs.

In the early 19th century, a boilermaker was referred to as a boilersmith. Boilermakers don’t need a degree, but they must work as an apprentice before they become licensed. The median salary for a boilermaker is about $56,560. More than 8,800 boilermaker positions are expected to open in the next six years due to high demand.

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3. Radiation Therapist

A radiation therapist is an excellent position for people who want to work in the medical field without going to school for up to a decade. This position involves documenting radiation sessions, checking equipment, and observing patients during their treatments. They help patients treat their cancer. Working in oncology is a rewarding job that can be stressful at times. A proper bedside manner is recommended for radiation therapists.

Radiation therapists are only required to get an associate’s degree. The median salary for a radiation therapist is $77,560. There are projections of over 8,400 radiation therapist jobs opening in the next few years.

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4. First-Line Supervisor of Correctional Officers

For those who are interested in a job in law enforcement but aren’t looking to join the police academy, you can consider becoming a supervisor of correctional officers. You would be working in a prison setting, thereby managing other officers as well as jail employees.

This position can be stressful but lucrative because of the pressure involved. All that’s required is a brief period of on-the-job training. You won’t need a college degree in order to work as a correctional officer or supervisor. The median salary for a first-line supervisor of correctional officers is $57,840. Through the year 2022, nearly 20,000 of these jobs are expected to open because of the demand for this position.

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5. Elevator Repairer

An elevator repair person works on installing and fixing elevators. Occasionally they work on escalators, chairlifts, and other electronic transport equipment too. A lot of mechanical and hydraulic training is involved in this position, so you would be required to have an apprenticeship to become a licensed elevator repairer. Elevator repairers tend to specialize in either repair work, maintenance, or installation.

You only need to earn a high school diploma to get this job, therefore making it an attractive prospect. The median salary for an elevator repairer is $76,650 due to technical expertise required. Experts estimate that nearly 8,000 elevator repairer jobs will be opening up in the near future thanks to demand for the repairs needed.

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6. Electrical Engineering Technicians

Electrical engineering technicians are skilled workers who are great with their hands. This job involves the design, build, repair, and maintenance of electrical components, therefore making it a difficult job. You will work with various forms of electronics, circuitry, and machinery along with your coworkers. The type of equipment you would be working on includes medical monitoring equipment, navigational equipment, and communications equipment due to the wide range of tools needed for the job.

The median salary for an electrical engineering technician is $57,850 due to the electrical knowledge required. You are required to earn an associate’s degree, and then after you graduate, you can team up with a vocational program that can help to get you placed in a high position.

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7. Nuclear Reactor Operator

Becoming a nuclear reactor operator involves a lot of mechanical and technical work with nuclear reactors as well as operating and monitoring equipment. You will also be required to take meticulous notes and report data frequently due to the danger of the position. 

A nuclear reactor operator should be comfortable in high-pressure and emergencies because those arise on the job. The median salary for a nuclear reactor operator is about $80,000 due to that danger. Just a high school diploma is required for this position. Applicants will receive long on-the-job training courses to ensure that they are prepared.

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8. Real Estate Broker

Being a real estate broker is an ideal job for anyone who loves being their own boss and socializing with clients due to the dynamics of the job. Brokers are tasked with helping people buy and sell homes and properties. You must be detail-oriented, organized, and prepared for brokering deals. 

Real estate brokers are required to take a difficult exam in order to become licensed due to state laws. They then must work with an established real estate broker to gain experience before they can work on their own. The median salary for a real estate broker is $58,350. The real estate market is booming right now. Expect more than 16,000 positions in this field to open up soon because of that fact.

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9. Detective

Watching investigative shows on TV makes being a detective look fun and exciting. But it demands much hard work because of the real-life aspects involved. Criminal investigators team up with law enforcement as well as private citizens to solve crimes. This job is dangerous and requires a reliable individual due to the strenuous commitment of investigating.

Detectives typically start their careers as police officers and then promoted. They need to have a high school diploma and attend the police academy. It takes about 5 to 7 years as an officer before becoming a detective. The median salary for a detective is $74,000, and an estimated 28,000 jobs are on the horizon due to high demand.

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10. Purchasing Agent

This job involves buying machinery, tools, supplies, and equipment for a business. This job is crucial to the function of a company and is ideal for those who like working with numbers. 

You’ll be required to crunch many numbers and hunt down deals when you work as a purchasing agent. Also, you’ll need to maintain a budget and help keep the business running smoothly. In addition to on-the-job training, all you need to become a purchasing agent is a high school diploma. The median salary for a purchasing agent is $58,760, and more than 61,000 jobs will be available in the next several years.

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11. Commercial Pilot

If you love to travel and explore new places and cultures, consider becoming a commercial airline pilot. In this job, you’ll be tasked with flying and navigating airplanes. That includes private jets, air carriers, and helicopters. It differs slightly from being a traditional airline pilot, but this career is still lucrative.

The median salary for a commercial pilot is about $73,000. You’ll be required to have a high school diploma as well as become certified to be a commercial airline pilot. Experts estimate that more than 14,000 commercial airline pilot jobs will open up in the next few years.

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12. Computer Network Support Specialist

If you love working with computers, try becoming a computer network support specialist. Also known as a tech support specialist and an IT consultant, this position involves supporting businesses by keeping their computer systems running smoothly. You’ll also assist employees in the market by making sure they know how to use their devices properly.

For this job, you’re only required to have a high school diploma, but having computer knowledge is essential. It helps if you know how to use the different types of operating systems as well as have experience with programming. The median salary for a computer network support specialist is $59,090, and there are 39,600 jobs in this field expected to open up through 2022.

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13. Power Distributor

A power distributor works in a power plant or technical facility. They distribute, coordinate, and regulate steam or electricity. As you can imagine, this job is intense and stressful because of the high demands it presents. When the power goes out in an area, a power distributor is dispatched to the scene to help get the energy flowing again. 

The median salary for a power distributor is $71,000. You can get this job with a high school diploma with an extended on-the-job training period. Over 3,000 new jobs will be opening up over the course of the next few years.

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14. First-Line Supervisor of Construction Trade Workers

Another field to enter is construction. As a first-line supervisor of construction trade workers, you’ll work on construction sites supervising and coordinating employees. This job requires you to be familiar with the inner workings of a construction site. 

It would help if you were comfortable reading blueprints, managing people, and communicating strongly. This position only requires a high school diploma. Experience working on a construction site is a significant plus. The median salary for a first-line supervisor of construction trade workers is $59,700. With the real estate market booming, more than 187,000 jobs are expected to open up in this field.

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15. Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are essential for helping people keep their teeth clean and healthy. The clean teeth, provide preventative dental care and examine patients at a dentist’s office. Most dental hygienists are required to earn an associate’s degree, which will include any necessary certifications. Dental hygienists are different from dental assistants who have to undergo much more training to work.

The median salary for a dental hygienist is about $70,000. It’s estimated that nearly 120,000 dental hygienist jobs will be opening over the next few years. This is a great position to enter without studying for years to become a dentist.

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16. Claims Adjusters

When you get into an accident, you’ll most likely have to meet with a claims adjuster. A claims adjuster works for an insurance company. They determine whether or not a person claiming a loss due to a personal injury or property damage is owed any compensation. The claims adjuster therefore also decides how much money a person will receive.

Most entry-level claims adjuster positions only require a high school diploma. If you’d like to go for a more senior role, you may be required to take additional courses at a community college or technical school. The median salary for a claims adjuster is $59,960, and there is an expectation of over 80,000 other jobs in this industry.

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17. Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nuclear medicine technologists are responsible for performing imaging tests on organs, administering radioactive drugs, and explaining results and procedures to patients. They need to be physically strong enough to help patients move and get into position on the imaging table. This job involves working primarily with scan tests like the PET scan and SPECT scan.

The median salary for a nuclear medicine technologist is $70,180. This job requires a high school diploma as well as an associate’s degree. If you already have a degree in a related field, you can simply take a 12-month certification course to begin working as a nuclear medicine technologist.

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18. First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics

Another great job for those who like to work with their hands is a first-line supervisor of mechanics. In this position, you will oversee a team of mechanics. You would ensure that they are working safely and efficiently. It’s your job to monitor their workspaces and see that they’re up to code. 

To be a first-line supervisor of mechanics, you should be an effective communicator and work well in high-pressure situations because of the stress involved. You only need a high school diploma and some experience in the mechanic field. It’s therefore similar to an apprenticeship. The median salary for a first-line supervisor of mechanics is $60,250. More than 152,000 jobs are anticipated to open up soon.

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19. First-Line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales Worker

A first-line supervisor of a non-retail sales worker works in middle management. They supervise daily and weekly activities in the office. It’s important that they closely monitor their company’s revenue and sales goals. They also train and promote staff members.

This position is excellent because it has a lot of room for growth without needing a lot of experience. You only need a high school diploma or GED. The median salary for a first-line supervisor of non-retail sales workers is $70,060. More than 50,000 jobs will be opening in the next few years and will require no training prerequisites.

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20. Gas Plant Operators

This job is similar to the duties of several of the positions on this list. A gas plant operator controls the storage of natural gas as well as its distribution. Gas plant operators are tasked with observing temperature, level, flow, and pressure gauges. They must also monitor equipment and record data.

The median salary for a gas plant operator is $61,140. There are projected to be nearly 5,000 job openings in the next five years or so. This job requires only a high school diploma. But having an associate’s degree will give you an advantage over your competition. You can also attend a one or two-year vocational program to learn about working as a gas plant operator.

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21. Farmer, Rancher, or Agricultural Manager

If you love to work outdoors, consider becoming a farmer, rancher, or agricultural manager. You’ll be in charge of operating a farm, greenhouse, ranch, or nursery. There are plenty of farming options to choose from.

The best education for becoming a farmer or rancher is practical, hands-on experience. Working on a farm for several years can teach you how to build a farming business from the ground up. The median salary for a farmer, rancher, or agricultural manager is $69,300. And through 2022, more than 150,000 farming and ranching jobs are potentially going to be opened.

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22. Aerospace Engineering & Operations Technicians

If you’re interested in working with planes and other aircraft, consider becoming an aerospace engineering and operations technician. This job involves being an engineer and working on the creation and testing of new aircraft equipment. It’s an excellent position for those who are detail-oriented and mechanically inclined.

This position requires you to have a high school diploma. Those that earn an associate’s degree have a better advantage in the job search due to their advanced knowledge of aerospace technologies. The median salary for an aerospace engineering and operations technician is $61,000. More than 2,000 new jobs will be popping up through 2022.

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23. Nuclear Technician

Nuclear technicians work in power plants and assist engineers and physicists in their research on nuclear power and nuclear energy production. In this job, you’ll work in control rooms and use computers to monitor and operate nuclear reactors. Being a nuclear reactor is a full-time job that can often include working on weekends and holidays.

The median salary for a nuclear technician is $69,060. Atomic reactors are required to have an associate’s degree in nuclear science or nuclear-related technology. You’ll also be put through a long on-the-job training course.

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24. Petroleum Pump System Operator

One of the more extreme jobs on this list is the petroleum pump system operator. This job involves controlling and operating oil refining and processing units. You may also be tasked with testing oil in storage tanks, regulating the flow of oil into pipelines, and operating pumping systems. 

The median salary for a petroleum pump system operator is $61,850. More than 15,500 jobs are projected to open through 2022. You only need a high school diploma to work as a petroleum pump system operator, but expect to undergo some on-the-job training.

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25. Funeral Service Director

While this job may seem morbid, it’s a very fulfilling career. It gives you the chance to run your own business and help people. You will be responsible for arranging funerals, working with and comforting grieving families, and holding memorial services.

The median salary for a funeral service director is close to $66,800. This job requires you to have an associate’s degree, and it’s recommended that you take a few business courses. It’s estimated that roughly 3,200 additional funeral service director jobs will be opening in the next few years.

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26. Web Developer

If you like playing with web design and creating websites, you can work as a web developer. You’ll build websites using HTML, Javascript, and CSS. Web developers also build mobile interfaces and update existing sites to meet current web standards.

The median salary for a web developer is $62,500. Because of the rapid growth of the internet, there are expected to be more than 50,000 web development jobs opening through 2022. You can get started as a web developer with just a high school diploma, but if you want to advance in your field eventually, consider getting an associate’s degree or other certification.

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27. Power Plant Operator

Power plant operators are responsible for the control and operation of the machines that generate electric power. With this job, you’ll work in a control room containing the status information on the numerous components required to produce electricity. With this information, power plant operators can control the plant’s voltage and electricity flow.

The median salary for a power plant operator is $66,130 and only requires a high school diploma to get this job. Some employers will require you to complete an associate’s program or attend a trade school. You will also be required to take extensive on-the-job training.

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28. Subway & Streetcar Operator

If you’d like to work in public transportation, you may want to become a subway or streetcar operator. In this position, you move passengers from one place to another by navigating a subway car that runs underground. A subway operator is responsible for keeping passengers safe as well as strictly adhering to traffic signals.

The median salary for a subway and streetcar operator is $62,730. You only need a high school diploma to get this job. Most likely, some degree of on-the-job training is involved to become a subway or streetcar operator.

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29. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Also known as an ultrasound technician, this job involves operating ultrasound equipment. In this job, you’ll use sound waves to take images of internal organs and soft tissue. Diagnostic medical sonographers usually work at clinics and hospitals. This job is most closely associated with pregnancy. But ultrasounds are used to diagnose a wide variety of medical conditions.

An associate’s degree and on-the-job training is required to become a diagnostic medical sonographer. The median salary for a diagnostic medical sonographer is $65,860. With the way the medical field is growing, more than 35,000 jobs will be opening in the next six years.

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30. Postmaster

This position entails planning and managing the behind-the-scenes operations of a post office. You will be in charge of coordinating services and doing administrative work. Postmasters are also responsible for organizing the schedules and duties of postal workers who work for them.

The median salary for a postmaster is $63,050, and more than 5,000 jobs will be opening in the next five years or so. A high school diploma is required to work as a postmaster. An associate’s degree in business, public administration, or communications can help you get a job as a postmaster as well.

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31. Registered Nurse

Nurses are an invaluable part of the medical world. Registered nurses are in charge of treating patients. They also providing emotional support to their families. You can choose to specialize in a particular area, including pediatrics, oncology, critical care, neonatology, and geriatrics. As a registered nurse, you will evaluate patients’ needs, administer medications, and work with doctors.

The median salary for a registered nurse is $65,470. The good news is that more than 1 million registered nurse jobs will be opening in the next three years. In addition to a high school diploma, you’ll need to get an associate’s degree in nursing.

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32. Media and Communication Equipment Worker

If you love the entertainment industry, you may want to consider becoming a media and communication equipment worker. In this job, you will repair, install, and maintain audio and visual systems. You will also be in charge of training clients on how to properly use the equipment. This type of job is quite in demand in the film and television industries. 

The median salary for a medical equipment worker is $79,580. The number of jobs is expected to grow more than eight percent in the next six or seven years. You will only need a high school diploma to become a media and communication equipment worker. It may be a bit easier to break into the industry if you have experience and certification in the electrical installation industry.

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33. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist

A magnetic resonance imaging technologist is a valuable part of the medical industry. They’re responsible for taking images inside the human body with a magnetic field and radio waves. A magnetic resonance imaging technologist helps patients get inside an MRI machine. They then guide them through the scan process.

The median salary for a magnetic resonance imaging technologist is $65,360. Over 11,000 jobs will be available in the next six years. A magnetic resonance imaging technologist needs to have at least an associate’s degree to get a job. Once you become certified, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years.

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34. Patrol Officer

A patrol officer is an essential member of the community. They work hard to keep citizens safe and get criminals off the streets. In addition to being on patrol, an officer will spend time in the office updating records, following leads, and writing reports. This job can be exhausting since you will spend a lot of time on your feet.

The median salary for a patrol officer is $61,050. Many jobs are continuing to open up every year. Most cities require only a high school diploma before you can enter the police academy. In the police academy, you will learn about patrol protocol, firearms, first aid techniques, and legal codes. You will also be required to pass a strenuous physical exam.

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35. Gaming Manager

If you enjoy the fast-paced world of a casino, you can become a gaming manager. This position puts you in charge of the inner workings of a casino. You will monitor the floor and ensure that the business is running smoothly because of the wild nature of gmabling. The gaming manager works to create a fun, memorable experience for casino visitors. They must have excellent customer service skills and a fun, charming personality.

The median salary for a gaming manager is $65,220. The job only requires you to earn a high school diploma. It doesn’t hurt to take a few courses in business administration as well.

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36. Executive Assistant 

Most CEOs would agree that their business would not run as smoothly if they didn’t have help from their trusty executive assistant. Executive assistants manage their boss’ calendar, provide high-level administrative support for executives, coordinate meetings, and take notes during sessions. Executive assistants need to be prepared for anything.

The median salary for an executive assistant is $57,410, and these jobs are competitive. You most likely can get a job as an administrative assistant with just a high school diploma. It would give you the advantage of getting a degree or certification in business administration. Getting new certifications every few years can help you stay up to date with changes in new technology and business practices. 

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37. Transportation Inspector 

Transportation inspectors are responsible for inspecting goods and equipment before a long trip. They look at luggage, cargo, and other things being transported before a rail, freight, or another type of voyage. Safety and security are a top priority for a transportation inspector. They are typically the final safety stop before a trip begins. 

You may also have to inspect semi-trucks to make sure that they are in line with safety codes and regulations. The median salary for a transportation inspector is $63,680 and only requires a high school diploma. You may also need to have some on the job training or take courses in automotive engineering.


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38. Sales Representative

A sales representative primarily sells goods and services, various businesses, organizations, and government agencies instead of to consumers directly. They work heavily in marketing and can sell items from possibly any industry. Some sales representatives sell medical equipment, while others sell food and soft drinks. A sales representative must be good at communication, have a charming personality, and be prepared to travel a lot.

The median salary for a sales representative is $56,970, and about 76,400 jobs are expected to open up between now and 2026. This position requires no formal education, just a high school diploma. It’s advantageous to have experience in sales. You can also get a leg up on your competition by taking a few business or marketing courses.

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39. Electrical Power Line Installer

Being an electrical power line installer is an active job that can occasionally be dangerous. With this job, you will be in charge of installing and repairing electrical power systems as well as fiber optics and telecommunication cables. Electrical power line installers work with high-voltage electricity, and at great heights, so this can be a dangerous job. 

The median salary for an electrical power line installer is $63,350, and nearly 50,000 of these jobs will be available by 2026. You will need to have a high school diploma and take a rigorous on the job training course. It’s also common to go through an apprenticeship before being hired.

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40. Sound Engineering Technician

A sound engineering technician is a vital part of the audio industry due to demands for their services. They are in charge of setting up audio equipment and operating audio equipment during an event or live performance. Sound engineering technicians can work in movies, theater, sports games, concerts, and more.

The median salary for a sound engineering technician is $55,810 and about 1,100 of these jobs will be available in the next few years due to demands. Many sound engineering technicians learn the trade on the job, but it’s beneficial to get an associate’s degree in sound engineering. Consider doing an internship to get your foot in the door.