Just because you don’t have a four-year college degree, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fantastic, high-paying job. There is a wide variety of professions 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 fulfilling job and support yourself and your family well. There is talk that these skills will be more valuable than a degree in years ahead. 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.
45. 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 know the airport they work at because their jobs are essential. Therefore, they need to know all the ins and outs of how the planes land and take off. Suppose you have an excellent ability to stay focused for the duration of your work shift and a good sense of direction and attention to detail. In that case, you could potentially be successful as an air traffic controller.
Air traffic controller jobs are in high demand. However, you might go 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 typically the job with the highest median salary you can earn without a Bachelor’s degree. It is a stressful, demanding position at times. Unfortunately, it was almost entirely union busted by President Reagan in the 1980s, so the benefits and worker protections aren’t nearly as strong as they once were. However, it’s still a significant, meaningful job with high pay.
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. It’s a very tinkerer-friendly trade, although it also requires quite a bit of potentially exhausting physical work and can occasionally necessitate going into deep holes underground or working up in rafters and ceilings. You don’t have claustrophobia, right? Furthermore, you like getting dirty, so becoming a boilermaker can be extremely rewarding.
In the early 19th century, a boilermaker was 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. Professionals say that more than 8,800 boilermaker positions will open in the next six years due to high demand. Boilermakers are a heavily unionized industry, and as a result, have excellent pay and benefits. Many boilermaker companies offer high-paying apprenticeships that allow you to learn the job while still earning a great living. Boilermakers is a fascinating historical job that shows great future potential!
A radiation therapist is an excellent position. It is ideal for people who want to work in the medical field without going to school for a decade like doctors. This position involves documenting radiation sessions, checking equipment, and observing patients during their treatments. They help patients struggling with cancer and can provide a great deal of care and comfort to those patients during a challenging time in their lives. Working in oncology is a rewarding job that can be stressful, especially if working in pediatric oncology. A compassionate bedside manner is recommended for radiation therapists.
Radiation therapists are only required to get an associate’s degree to begin working. 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. As the US continues to age, with Boomers now entering their elderly years, the number of cancer patients continues to grow, so there will likely only be an increasing need for radiation therapists over the next several years. If you’d like to make a painful, difficult time for someone much easier through your care, it’s worth looking into becoming a radiation therapist.
42. First-Line Supervisor of Correctional Officers
For those 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. Correction officers can be in a dangerous line of work due to the possibility of prison riots or the need to break up fights between prisoners. It also is a lot of power to have imprisoned people under your control, so only people with the right mindset of rehabilitation and treating prisoners as human beings should enter the field since it is often rife with abusive 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 to work as a correctional officer or supervisor. The median salary for a first-line supervisor of correctional officers is $57,840. By 2022, nearly 20,000 of these jobs are expected to open because of this position’s demand. It is vital to make sure you keep your nose clean, as many correctional officers become embroiled in the types of crime that landed the people under their charge there in the first place.
An elevator repair person works exclusively on installing and fixing electronic transport equipment, mainly focusing on commercial and residential building 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 repair workers tend to specialize in either repair work, maintenance, or installation. Do you live in a large city with many high-rise buildings and apartment buildings? You will likely have an easier time finding an elevator repair person to apprentice with, and there will be more jobs available.
You only need to earn a high school diploma to get this job, making it an attractive prospect for those who enjoy working with their hands who still want to reach substantial wages. The median salary for an elevator repairer is $76,650 due to the technical expertise required and the relatively small number of trained workers. Experts estimate that nearly 8,000 elevator repair worker jobs will be opening up shortly thanks to demand for the repairs needed as buildings age and urban areas continue to grow and expand, meaning more elevators are always being built.
Electrical engineering technicians are skilled workers who are generous with their hands. This job involves designing, building, repairing, and maintaining electrical components, making it a demanding job that requires a unique skill set to succeed. 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. If you already like to tinker, solder, and fix things around the house, you may be an ideal candidate to become an electrical engineering technician.
The electrical engineering technician’s median salary is $57,850 due to the electrical and technical 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 get you placed in a high position. Many electrical field jobs require apprenticeships to advance, so you may want to reach out to the nearest electrical trade union in your area to see what steps they recommend for becoming an electrical engineering technician. Any electrical engineering or electronics courses you can take at vocation or tech school will be a great help towards securing a job or apprenticeship.
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 position’s danger. You will be working with many highly skilled and trained scientists, so a basic understanding of scientific jargon and nomenclature is required so you can communicate clearly with coworkers. Good attention to detail and high accuracy levels are absolute musts since you will continuously monitor critical equipment related to the reactor’s function.
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. You only need a high school diploma for this position. Applicants will receive long on-the-job training courses to ensure preparation. If you are interested in this field, the more science and technology training, the better since it shows you can learn scientific and technological concepts. Both of these are necessary for the position. You also need to be comfortable with a job that can occasionally be incredibly hectic and stressful.
Being a real estate broker is an ideal job for anyone who loves being their own boss and socializing with clients due to the job dynamics. Brokers are tasked with helping people buy and sell homes and properties. You must be detail-oriented, organized, and prepared for brokering deals. Top-notch customer service skills are an absolute must since your client network is typically grown through word of mouth. Design and house staging skills are a huge benefit since many realtors now help elaborately stage homes maximize profits. Attention to detail and knowledge of finance and property law is also helpful.
Real estate brokers are required to take a difficult exam to become licensed due to state laws. They then must work with an established real estate broker to gain experience before working 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. Depending on the region in which you live and the housing market, some realtors can end up specializing in high-value homes or commercial properties and make great livings off of the commissions.
Watching investigative shows on TV makes being a detective look fun and exciting. However, 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 to investigating. It takes a keen mind, and an absolutely iron will be able to deal with the trauma and sadness left behind in the wake of violent crime, so detective is not a job for those who can’t leave work at work or have a squeamish side.
Detectives typically start their careers as police officers and then are promoted due to excellent fieldwork and displays of skill and detective aptitude. They need to have a high school diploma and attend the police academy. While some detectives have degrees in psychology, sociology, or criminology, it is unnecessary to become a successful detective. It typically takes about 5 to 7 years as an officer before becoming eligible for promotion to a detective candidate. The median salary for a detective is $74,000, and an estimated 28,000 jobs are on the horizon due to high demand.
This job involves buying machinery, tools, supplies, and equipment for a business. Furthermore, it is crucial to a company’s function and is ideal for those who like working with numbers. Purchasing agents exist to save companies money. They do so by purchasing as efficiently and cheaply as possible and keeping the right stock levels. In turn, they reduce wasted capital from running out of items and needing high-priced replacements and avoiding money sitting unused on a shelf as overstock. If you enjoy min-maxing in games and trying to be as efficient as possible when you shop, you may have the skills to be a successful purchasing agent.
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. Most moderate-size businesses will eventually need a purchasing agent, and large corporations hire many. As giant mega-corporations like Amazon and Walmart continue to grow, there will always be a need for additional purchase agents.
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. While traditional pilots are heavily regulated and are typically required to have a four-year degree or more in aviation, the rules are considerably looser for crop dusters, helicopter pilots, and others. If the sky is your destination and dream, you can become licensed to fly without an expensive four-year degree and make a good living doing it.
The median salary for a commercial pilot is about $73,000. You’ll be required to have a high school diploma and 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. As the US’s wealth disparity continues to grow, more and more people take private flights, chartered flights, or straight up buying their own aircraft and dedicated pilots. The luxury, personal flight market will likely continue to grow unless the economy drastically changes. Rural areas also have rich agricultural flying opportunities.
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 ensuring they know how to use their devices properly for optimum results. Patience is a definite must in this field since you will constantly be dealing with people struggling to use technology due to low tech literacy or other issues, so being able to calmly and positively communicate is key. A love of helping people learn is a huge bonus.
You’re only required to have a high school diploma for this job. However, having computer knowledge is essential. It helps if you know how to use different operating systems and 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. Many tech schools have associate’s or even shorter certificate programs that train on the major elements of office tech support, so this is an attainable field without a four-year or advanced degree.
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. While many days will be regular workdays, power workers can be called upon to work truly Herculean hours during times of blizzards, floods, severe storms, and more to ensure the power grid keeps running. However, if you feel called to serve the public, it’s a great job.
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 next few years. With climate change-related natural disasters on the rise, power plants are being forced to upgrade and fix equipment to better withstand the storms, so there will likely be no shortage of power distributor jobs anytime in the foreseeable future. Many tech school courses and tracks could help prepare you for a career as a power distributor, including electrical studies.
32. First-Line Supervisor of Construction Trade Workers
Construction has long been a thriving, lucrative field, and there are absolutely no signs of that changing. As a first-line supervisor of construction trade workers, you’ll work on construction sites supervising and coordinating construction employees. This job requires you to be familiar with a construction site’s inner workings. Thus, starting as a construction worker yourself is an ideal way to break into the profession. You will need to understand what the construction workers are doing to manage and evaluate their work, so a general understanding of construction principles is a must.
To break into the industry, it would help if you were comfortable reading blueprints, managing people, and communicating effectively and positively. You should have an eye on resolving conflict well since the construction industry often requires working in hot, irritating conditions that can fray even the gentlest tempers. 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. More than 187,000 jobs are expected to open up in this field with the real estate market booming.
Dental hygienists are essential for helping people keep their teeth clean and healthy. These professionals are responsible for cleaning teeth, taking x-rays, providing preventative dental care, and examining 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 undergo much more training to help dentists with fillings and other more advanced dental procedures. Dental hygienists are the front-line dental workers who spend the most time with dental patients and keep teeth clean and patients well educated about oral health.
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. It is a great position to enter without studying for years to become a dentist. If you have a passion for keeping people healthy and making small talk with those who can’t respond, a dental hygienist could be a great career choice for you. It’s a relatively low-stress work environment, with dental offices typically having ideal 9-5 hours and holidays off. Dental hygienists can be generalized or specialize in pediatric or even special needs dental hygiene.
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 by the terms of their insurance contract. The claims adjuster, therefore, also decides how much money a person will receive. Claims adjusters have a vital role in the insurance industry and can provide a great deal of comfort and relief to people after natural disasters, accidents, and other traumatic events. Good customer service skills and empathy are absolute musts, as is the ability to handle conflict.
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. As climate change increases the frequency of major natural disasters, especially in locations unused to them, claims adjusters will be in ever-higher demand as more and more people are needed to assess and respond to the increasing rate of property damage.
Nuclear medicine technologists are responsible for performing imaging tests on organs, administering radioactive drugs, and explaining patients’ results and procedures. 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. You will work with chemicals like barium for barium swallows and esophageal scanning, as well as many other substances, processes, and procedures. A positive and compassionate bedside manner is a must, as well as an aptitude for accuracy and solid scientific work, and careful note-taking.
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. There are many safety procedures to follow in nuclear medicine due to the hazards of the substances you’re working with, so the ability to focus and carefully follow procedures and routines are all absolute musts. If you enjoy high-tech medical technology and patient care, this could be the ideal career for you.
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. Suppose you thrive on ensuring others are safe and taking in a lot of information at once while staying collected. In that case, you could be a great supervisor of mechanics since it’s a fast-paced environment with, quite literally, a lot of moving parts. Technical aptitude and the ability to positively motivate others are musts!
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. If you’ve always loved cars, tinkering, or taking things apart to see how they work, you would likely thrive as a mechanic, which is the ideal way to break into the field. Successful mechanics are often promoted to first-line supervisors of other mechanics.
27. 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. First-line supervisors use an interesting combination of data analysis and corporate understanding alongside team building and management skills. They need to ensure that the sales staff produce sales and meet the company’s goals. You need to be able to positively motivate workers and provide results as well as understand trends in business. The ability to make and understand sales reports is a must.
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. Many first-line supervisors of sales workers start as salespeople themselves and are promoted from within due to sales success. If there’s an industry, you’re passionate about, entering the field as a salesperson is a great way to break into the career path.
This job, gas plant operator, is similar to several positions on this list involved in energy station production. A gas plant operator controls the storage of natural gas and its distribution within a power generating system. Gas plant operators are tasked with observing temperature, level, flow, and pressure gauges. They must also monitor equipment and record data. Do you enjoy scientific experimentation and observation or always loved lab day in your chemistry classes? That could be a rewarding position for you since careful note-taking and reading of scientific instruments are both musts.
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. However, 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. Natural gas is ubiquitous throughout the US for both electricity generation and heating and powering homes and businesses. We don’t look to be moving away from natural gas anytime soon, so this is likely to be a stable and rewarding career path.
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. With the vast growth in the medicinal cannabis industry, many jobs are opening up to cultivate and farm cannabis plants. With an increasing study of mushrooms for psilocybin therapy, that will likely be a rapidly expanding field soon for farming. Ranching continues to flourish in much of the western United States and would be an excellent choice for those who don’t mind roughing it in rugged terrain.
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. Furthermore, through 2022, more than 150,000 farming and ranching jobs are potentially going to be opened. Land costs have made traditional farming out of reach for most. However, there are many farming employment positions on large corporate farms and ranches. Also, there are more niche positions in cottage industries related to farming and ranching. If you’re outdoorsy and love plants or animals, this could be a dream-come-true occupation.
Are you interested in working with planes and other aircraft? You should 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. If you were the kid who always loved airplanes and wanted to know everything about them, this could be a phenomenal career path. If you enjoy science and are good at math, you could flourish in this position and help keep air travelers safe through developing and testing aircraft equipment to ensure it’s up to code.
This position requires you to have a high school diploma. Those who earn an associate’s degree have a better advantage in the job search due to their advanced aerospace technologies knowledge. 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. Having an associate’s degree in engineering, electrical installation, or another mechanically-inclined or engineering field will give you a leg up over the competition by demonstrating your aptitude for mathematics and engineering, both of which are critically important in this high-tech and rewarding position.
Nuclear technicians work in power plants and assist engineers and physicists in their research on nuclear power and nuclear energy production. You’ll work in control rooms and use computers to monitor and operate nuclear reactors in this job. Being a nuclear reactor is a full-time job that can often include working on weekends and holidays. While it may sound stressful or scary at first, nuclear power plants are indeed marvels of modern engineering, and the US has an incredibly strong safety record in its nuclear power plants. They are genuinely at the forefront of delivering safe, clean power to the population.
The median salary for a nuclear technician is $69,060. Atomic reactor operators must have at least an associate’s degree in nuclear science or nuclear-related technology. You’ll also be put through a long on-the-job training course. If you are interested in this field, the more science and technology training, the better since it shows you can learn scientific and technological concepts, both of which will be expected in the position. You also want to be comfortable with a job that will likely be mostly “boring” with occasional bouts of emergency or high-stress work needed in the event of emergencies or storms.
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. Petroleum pump operators often have to work in harsh climates like the arid, cold areas of western North Dakota or off the gulf coast at humid and storm-prone locations. It’s also a quite solitary job, as you may be the only one staffing a pump for some time. However, if you want to contribute to the vital energy sector, it may be a great fit for you.
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. While many are trying to transition the US away from the fossil fuel energy economy, that shift will be a long time coming, and there are still many fossil fuel jobs in the US. If you want to work in some truly diverse outdoor climates and help ensure energy access in the US, becoming a petroleum pump system operator could be an ideal fit for you.
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 in one of the darkest times of their lives. You will be responsible for arranging funerals, working with and comforting grieving families, and holding memorial services. Funeral services directors can bring a great deal of peace and comfort to families in their times of direst need, so a large amount of empathy and compassion is an absolute must in this career path. If you enjoy caring for others but don’t want to work in the medical field, funeral service is another excellent option.
The median salary for a funeral service director is close to $66,800. This job requires you to have an associate’s degree. Furthermore, you should take a few business courses. Professionals estimate that roughly 3,200 additional funeral service director jobs will be opening in the next few years. Unfortunately, with an aging US population, the market for funeral services will continue to grow. Training in psychology, counseling, and other human service fields is a great introduction to the industry. It can make you more competitive, too. Sales also is a component of funeral services, so sales training or experience is a plus.
The median salary for a web developer is $62,500. Because of the rapid growth of the internet, experts predict more than 50,000 web development jobs opening through 2022. You can start as a web developer with just a high school diploma. If you want to advance in your field eventually, consider getting an associate’s degree or other certification. It’s also essential to maintain a portfolio of completed websites to show off your skills to prospective employers or freelance clients. Having additional graphic design skills in addition to knowing the current trendy programming languages will make you extra competitive.
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. Sure, you know the popular image of do-nothing Homer Simpson with this job. However, power plant operators are professional industrious employees responsible for the safe creation and delivery of electric power throughout the US. It’s a great job for those who love science and technology. Furthermore, those with a commitment to public service.
A power plant operator’s median salary 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 need extensive on-the-job training. Power plant operators have a great deal of responsibility, so if you like to goof around or have trouble concentrating, it may not be the job for you. It’s also a job with a lot of “boring” downtime that can require springing to act quickly in an emergency. Do you have the temperament and skills fit for this job? You can make it a well-paying lifetime career.
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. Obviously, this job requires living in a major city since rural areas and most mid-size towns don’t have subway or streetcar systems. However, if you already live or have always wanted to live in a major city and work in transportation, a subway or streetcar operator position could be an ideal fit for you.
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 in becoming a subway or streetcar operator. Much like bus drivers, you don’t necessarily need any professional licensure but will need a minimum of on-the-job training and a clean personal driving record and criminal record. You most likely have to complete drug and alcohol testing at a regular or random interview for this and most other transportation jobs for the public’s safety. Working with public transit is an excellent choice for the environmentally conscious.
Also known as an ultrasound technician, this job involves operating ultrasound equipment in a medical capacity. 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. People mostly associate this job with pregnancy. However, professionals use ultrasounds to diagnose various medical conditions, including kidney stones and soft tissue disorders. A kind and compassionate bedside manner is a must since you will be working directly and very closely with patients. If you enjoy small talk and the medical field, you could be an excellent medical sonographer.
You need an associate’s degree and on-the-job training 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. Much like nursing or MRI technicians, mid and entry-level medical jobs will continue to see rapid growth due to the aging US population requiring more advanced medical care. Tech school is a great way to start a medical career, with many associate’s degree programs in medical technology operations.
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. To enter the Postal Service, most people start as mail carriers or sorters, which requires taking the Postal Exam 473, which measures your speed, accuracy, and memory, all of which are necessary to handle mail effectively. The Postal Service is unionized, which means excellent benefits and advancement from within. If you have what it takes to ace the exam, the Postal Service can be very rewarding.
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. You need a high school diploma 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. The federal government often challenges the Postal Service with budget cuts to make the Service look inefficient. However, it is, at its core, a public service and one of the greatest common good programs in the United States. If you like to exercise, a good mental challenge, and want to commit yourself to public service, the Postal Service may be a great career path.
Nurses are an invaluable part of the medical world. Registered nurses are in charge of treating patients under a doctor’s supervision. They also provide emotional support to patients and their families. They are the primary contact point and source of care for hospitalized patients. You can choose to specialize in a particular area, including pediatrics, oncology, critical care, neonatology, surgery, geriatrics, and more. As a registered nurse, you will evaluate patients’ needs, administer medications, and work with doctors to coordinate patient care. Well-trained nurses have the pick of virtually any job they want, with the US facing a massive shortfall of nurses. Many hospitals have large sign-on bonuses for nurses.
The median salary for a registered nurse is $65,470. The good news is that more than 1 million registered nurse jobs will open in the next three years. In addition to a high school diploma, you’ll need to get an associate’s degree in nursing. If you want to become an RN, many places do still require a four-year degree. However, there is a nursing shortage throughout the US. Thus, professionals are relaxing those requirements in some areas. You might only need an associate’s level LPN and years of experience. If you enjoy nursing, you can follow education as far as a Ph.D. to become a nurse practitioner.
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 use the equipment properly. This type of job is quite in demand in the film and television industries. Universities and museums also often require media and communication equipment workers to manage the multimedia displays and communication tech used in classrooms and exhibits. School systems may also have dedicated media and communication equipment workers on staff.
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. In and of itself, electrical installation is a growing profession, so gaining training through tech school or an apprenticeship could open an entire field of opportunities to you. If you enjoy working with your hands and have a sharp mind for reading schematics and instructions, you may thrive in electrical installation.
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. Professionals frequently use MRIs to diagnose many different injuries and conditions. These machines are a vital part of a hospital’s diagnostic ability alongside CAT scans and more. With an aging population, the US will see a continuing need for well-trained MRI technicians, especially those with a satisfactory bedside manner who can make patients feel comfortable.
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. Much like nursing, MRI technician jobs are almost always open at most major hospitals and may even have a sign-on bonus for qualified workers. Medical careers are in extremely high demand and will continue to grow in need with an aging US population as more and more Boomers will require more medical care.
A patrol officer is an essential member of the law enforcement community. They work hard to keep citizens safe and get criminals off the streets in addition to everyday duties like writing parking tickets and conducting speed monitoring stations. In addition to being on patrol, an officer will spend time in the office updating records, following up on community leads and requests, and writing reports. This job can be exhausting since you will spend a lot of time on your feet. It is also a high-stress job that requires a lot of training and a particular temperament to avoid becoming a bully or corrupt.
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. You will learn about patrol protocol, firearms, first aid techniques, and legal codes in the police academy. You will also be required to pass a strenuous physical exam. Many police forces are now requiring additional psychological testing as well in an attempt to avoid ongoing incidents of police brutality. Ensure your reasons for entering the police profession are noble and beneficial for the community and not wanting control or power.
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 runs smoothly because of the wild, unpredictable gambling nature. 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. Gaming management is a unique combination of business management and customer service, so experience or training in either area will give you a leg up over the competition.
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. While these jobs aren’t typical in all areas, if you live in a region with a lot of commercial gaming, your odds are likely much higher. Areas like Las Vegas have the most gaming manager jobs but don’t forget about Florida retirement gaming communities and places like Atlantic City, New Jersey. Many Native American reservations in the Midwest also have commercial gaming operations that need management.
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. If you thrive on a bit of controlled chaos and don’t mind running errands, an executive assistant position may be a phenomenal fit for you. Attention to detail and the ability to multitask are musts since you will be running your boss’ day-to-day life on a busy professional schedule.
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, but the experience will then be at a premium. 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 new technology and business practice changes. The ability to show competence in new software is always an asset. That goes double for a commitment to being flexible and doing whatever is required to keep your boss’ day-to-day operations running smoothly. It doesn’t matter if you are grabbing dry cleaning or scheduling important meetings.
Transportation inspectors are responsible for inspecting goods and equipment before commercial drivers start on a long trip. They look at luggage, cargo, and various items before rail, freight, or other voyage types. Safety and security are a top priority for a transportation inspector. They are typically the final safety stop before a trip begins. Transportation inspectors evaluate how safely the load is secured. They also evaluate if the weight offers optimal, safe distribution, and more. They are the last eyes on a cargo shipment before it ends on America’s highways, railways, or airways. An eye for detail is a must.
You may also have to inspect semi-trucks to ensure that they align 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. Many transportation inspectors start as commercial drivers, so getting your commercial driving license from a tech school could be a great entry point into the relatively lucrative and rapidly growing field of commercial transportation. The US faces a long-haul driver shortage, and many jobs associated with long-haul are sitting open, including inspectors.
A sales representative primarily sells goods and services to various businesses, organizations, and government agencies instead of directly. They work heavily in marketing and can sell items from possibly any industry. Some sales representatives sell medical equipment, while others offer food and soft drinks. A sales representative must be good at communication, have a charming personality, and travel a lot. If you like fast-paced environments that are continually changing, you would likely thrive as a sales representative. Some sales representatives work in training and merchandising as well, training new employees and setting floor displays.
The median salary for a sales representative is $56,970. Experts predict about 76,400 jobs 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 get a leg up on your competition by taking a few business or marketing courses. Communications courses at tech school would also likely be beneficial for becoming a sales representative. Regular retail sales experience is also valuable. Many people receive promotions from retail sales jobs to sales representatives within their chains. Find an industry you’re passionate about and dive into it.
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, which can be a dangerous job. However, it’s also an incredibly important and underappreciated job that keeps the entire country running. Anyone who has ever listened to Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman will understand how hard-line installers work to keep everyone’s power running smoothly and safely.
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. Electrical power-line installer jobs are always available due to the risky nature and skills required. If you aren’t afraid of heights and want a career with a sense of purpose and responsibility, becoming an electrical power line installer might be the perfect career path for you.
A sound engineering technician is a vital part of the audio industry due to the high demand for their services. Sound engineers 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. Basically, any event or item of entertainment that includes sound requires at least one sound engineer. Every movie and television show you’ve ever watched, as well as any live music or sports event you’ve attended, has featured the work of at least one sound engineer.
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. While you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to successfully work as an engineering technician, you can also study to get one if you end up enjoying the field. Many colleges around the US offer four-year sound and audio engineering programs.
Service delivery analysts work in any industry that involves delivering a product or service directly to a client, be it another business or an individual customer. Anytime there is a service being rendered, a service delivery analyst is vital to determining the quality of the service. They also determine how the render’s efficiency as well as identifying any room for improvement. They are the ultimate gurus of customer service analysis and service delivery improvement. Typically, you only need strong computer skills and a good willingness to learn new software and skills to become a new service delivery analyst.
The median salary for a Service Delivery Analyst is $56,433. There looks to be tremendous growth for new positions since every industry can benefit from analyzing how well they deliver their services or items to customers. What CEO isn’t always looking for ways to improve their service and maximize profit and competitiveness in their industry? If you enjoy learning how to maximize a system and continually improve things in your day-to-day life, you may be uniquely qualified for this position. While some business training certainly won’t hurt, many employers are simply looking for a few years of experience in a related field.
If you’ve always enjoyed tinkering and making things with your hand, becoming a Tool-and-Die Maker might be a great fit for you. Tool-and-Die Makers are specialized machinists who use machine-controlled tools to produce complex tools. In turn, experts use these tools for other manufacturing processes. Basically, you use advanced technology to create parts for other advanced technologies. Tool-and-Die makers usually work for the private industry and are often employed by universities to make their science laboratories equipment. Some Tool-and-Die makers even end up making specialized parts that go into space aboard scientific rockets!
Generally, tool-and-die makers only need an associate’s degree in a manufacturing skill in addition to extensive on-the-job training with the specific machinery they’ll be working with. There are also many apprenticeship programs for Tool-and-Die making within different industries. Depending on how complex the machinery and input required, some Tool-and-Die Maker positions require a general understanding of Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) imagery and function. Tool-and-Die Makers are one of the highest-paid manufacturing positions, with a median income of $45,750. The field has fantastic room for growth as more manufacturing processes continue to be automated, which requires the specialized parts Tool-and-Die Makers produce.
While becoming a pharmacist is an incredibly rigorous process that requires as many as eight years of school and demanding licensing exams, becoming a pharmacy technician is, thankfully, considerably easier. While some pharmacy technicians have a four-year degree, it is not necessarily a requirement for employment at most major pharmacies. Pharmacy technicians most often work in pharmacies, assisting pharmacists with dispensing medications. Others work in nursing homes or private medical practices where they also assist pharmacists. They work directly with customers or patients and need excellent customer service and communication skills. Attention to detail and accuracy are also absolute musts since life-saving medications are involved.
Many vocation and technical skills offer two-year or shorter pharmacy technician programs, and some pharmacies provide extensive on-the-job training for new pharmacy technicians. As with many significant medical positions, the pharmacy technician position sees explosive growth due to the rapidly aging US population and the increased demand for prescription medications. While the median pay is one of the lowest on the list at $33,950, the sky-high demand will likely lead to higher wages as pharmacies begin to compete to retain top-notch pharmacy technicians. If you like customer service but want to move to a step above retail sales, becoming a pharmacy technician could be a well-paying fit for you.
It should come as no surprise to see another medical job on this list since so many require a surprisingly obtainable and far more affordable associate’s, or two-year degree, instead of a bachelor’s four-year degree. Respiratory therapists help patients with every element of the respiratory system. These professionals usually work in hospitals to help those hospitalized with respiratory system conditions or after surgeries that impact the respiratory system. They often help patients regain lung capacity and strength and provide a lot of comfort and care for those dealing with emphysema, lung cancer, and many more serious conditions.
In most states and hospital systems, you only need an associate’s degree to become a practicing respiratory therapist. You will need to pass an examination conducted by The National Board of Respiratory Care to become a respiratory therapist. However, your associate’s degree or vocational program will help you work towards passing that licensure examination. Respiratory therapists have a relatively high median income of $61,300. That will likely only go higher as demand soars as part of the general shortage of healthcare workers amidst the growing demand for healthcare services. As with nursing and other specialties, respiratory therapy is very likely to see immense growth.
An underappreciated element of the medical field is the immense amount of work that maintains the extensive, sensitive records that medical care provides. The wizards managing all of that data are medical records technicians who specialize in organizing, storing, and protecting a healthcare network’s patients’ confidential health data. If you’ve ever had to ask for health records to be released to either yourself or another health care provider, you likely spoke to a medical records technician. Those who are comfortable with computers and have an excellent eye for accuracy and attention to detail would be ideal fits for this fast-paced, high-tech profession.
Becoming a medical records technician typically requires a two-year associate’s degree and then passing some certification exams that indicate proficiency in medical abbreviations, coding language, and more. The median pay is somewhat lower than direct patient care providing medical fields at $37,887. However, like all of the other medical careers we’ve discussed, it shows promising signs of continued growth. As more and more older Americans require more medical care, there will be correspondingly large increases in the amount of medical records data that must be organized and maintained. Hospitals continue to transition to exclusively digital record-keeping, which will necessitate more trained medical records technicians.