High-Paying Jobs You Can Land Without a College Degree

In today‘s economy, landing a high-paying job often requires specialized skills, credentials, or higher education. However, there are still many well-compensated roles out there for those without college degrees. This article explores 25 jobs paying $20 or more per hour that you can obtain with just a high school diploma or equivalent.

1. Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants provide organizational and clerical support to managers and executives. They handle duties like scheduling meetings, managing files, preparing reports, and coordinating travel. With strong software, verbal, and written skills, administrative assistants can earn $20-30 per hour, especially those with specialized administrative certifications.

2. Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers record day-to-day financial transactions for businesses and organizations. Using accounting software, they track invoices, expenses, payroll, and other financial data. Bookkeepers generally need some formal training or on-the-job experience with basic accounting principles. Still, no college degree is required. Full-charge bookkeepers can make $22-35 per hour.

3. claims Adjuster

Claims adjusters help insurance companies determine compensation for policyholders who‘ve experienced losses. They review claims, assess damages, negotiate settlements, and authorize payments. While an associate‘s degree can be beneficial, high school graduates can still find adjuster roles with training. Income ranges from $20-28 per hour.

4. Commercial Driver

Commercial drivers transport goods over long distances by truck, bus, or rail. While a high school diploma is the minimum requirement, specialized licenses are mandatory, like a Commercial Driver‘s License (CDL). Drivers can choose what they haul, from construction materials and hazardous chemicals to livestock or liquids. Average pay starts around $20 per hour but can reach $30+ with experience.

5. Computer Technician

Computer technicians provide technical assistance, support, and advice to organizations and individuals on software, hardware, and network issues. While many have associate‘s degrees in fields like information technology, high school grads can still qualify for roles like in-store technicians at electronics retailers. Average pay is $23 per hour.

6. Construction Manager

Construction managers oversee building and infrastructure projects, coordinating labor, materials, budgets, schedules, and compliance. While many hold bachelor‘s degrees in construction management, it‘s also possible to advance to manager roles through experience as a skilled tradesperson. Construction managers earn $30-60 per hour on average.

7. Court Reporter

Court reporters create verbatim transcriptions of legal proceedings, speeches, congressional sessions, or closed-captioning for television. While associate‘s degrees help, court reporters mainly require certification, which involves specialized training in shorthand notation and transcription. Pay averages between $20-40 per hour, sometimes more with overtime and niche specialization.

8. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

Diagnostic medical sonographers operate ultrasound equipment to produce images used to assess and diagnose health issues. Sonographers usually complete one-year certificate programs with clinical training. With increased demand for sonography services and specializations like echocardiography, sonographers can command $25-35+ per hour.

9. Distribution Manager

Distribution managers coordinate warehousing and logistics operations, including inventory control, reporting, shipping, and staff oversight. While some distribution managers have bachelor‘s degrees, high school graduates can advance into these roles through experience working in warehouses or material handling. Pay averages $30-65 per hour.

10. Electrician

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical infrastructure and systems in homes, businesses, and other properties. Electricians complete apprenticeship programs spanning 3-5 years with paid on-the-job training. Certified master electricians with their own businesses can make $40 per hour or more.

11. Elevator Installer and Repairer

Elevator installers assemble, install, and service elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts. Most complete apprenticeship programs then become licensed journey workers. They can then join repair companies or elevator construction contractors. With increasing urbanization and infrastructure needs, high-rise elevator specialists can make $35-85 per hour.

12. Funeral Director

Funeral directors help grieving families make arrangements to transport, prepare, and host memorial services for lost loved ones. While an associate‘s degree can be useful, many employers provide on-site training combined with professional certifications. Given the sensitive nature of their work, strong interpersonal aptitude is a must. Pay ranges from $21-31 per hour on average.

13. Infantry Member

Infantry members are ground combat soldiers specializing in weapons, reconnaissance, and battle strategy. Infantry roles are extremely demanding physically and mentally. Still, these roles provide stable employment and opportunities to develop leadership capabilities from a young age with just a high school diploma. Income starts around $20 per hour.

14. Inspector and Tester

Inspectors examine materials, products, equipment, structures and infrastructure for quality, safety, and compliance with regulations and specifications. There are diverse specializations from welding inspectors to produce graders. Most inspection roles involve on-the-job training and can provide stable, relatively high-paying jobs starting at $25 per hour for entry-level.

15. Line Installer and Repairer

Line workers install and maintain the power grid and telecommunications infrastructure above and below ground. They complete apprenticeship programs learning to work with high voltage systems. Linemen need to handle physically demanding work in hazardous conditions at great heights. But their specialized skills lead to pay ranging from $25 to 40+ per hour

16. LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

Licensed Practical Nurses provide basic medical care under the direction of registered nurses and doctors. While earning their license, LPN students complete coursework in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and more, as well as supervised clinical work. LPNs can find stable roles in settings ranging from hospitals to schools to assisted living facilities, earning $18-$28 per hour.

17. Massage Therapist

Massage therapists manipulate muscle and connective tissues to enhance clients‘ health and wellbeing. While massage therapists can boost their earning potential with degree programs, required professional certification includes just 500 hours of specialized training. Licensed massage therapists can make $25-60 per hour with experience and location.

18. Master Barber

Master barbers specialize in cutting, styling, coloring, and chemically treating hair. They complete state-mandated barbering programs combining classroom instruction with hands-on practice. Licenses must also be renewed periodically with continuing education. Master barbers can earn at least $20 per hour, with top New York City barbers charging as much as $200 per haircut.

19. Medical Claims Examiner

Medical claims examiners evaluate health insurance claims for accuracy and completeness while also assessing charges and coverage eligibility. With medical billing and coding training, examiners authorize payment or deny claims according to company guidelines. Senior examiners can advance into management roles. Average pay is $21-27 per hour.

20. Power Plant Operator

Power plant operators work in facilities generating electric power from coal, natural gas, nuclear materials, or renewable sources like wind and solar. Operators monitor equipment and make adjustments to distribute smooth, uninterrupted power. The work is complex, safety-critical, and recession-proof. Base pay starts around $25 per hour but can exceed $50 with experience.

21. Radiologic Technologist

Radiologic technologists produce medical images, like x-rays or MRIs, to help physicians diagnose and treat injuries and illness. Certificate programs take 1-2 years to complete with coursework and supervised clinical hours. With specializations like MRI certification, radiologic techs can earn $24-37 per hour on average.

22. Railroad Conductor

Railroad conductors coordinate the transport of freight and passengers by rail. It‘s a physically demanding job requiring extensive training on safety procedures, signaling, troubleshooting, and hazard avoidance. Conductors can advance to engineering roles. While they may spend days away, standard pay is around $25 per hour.

23. Real Estate Appraiser

Real estate appraisers determine fair market property values to facilitate sales, financing, and taxation. While bachelor‘s degrees are common, apprentices can become licensed once they complete required appraisal coursework and experience. Entry-level appraisers can earn $20-40 per hour while senior appraisers make $50-100 for complex commercial property appraisals.

24. Water Plant or System Operator

Water plant and system operators control equipment treating water for human use and disposal. Responsibilities range from adjusting chemical levels to repairing parts to taking samples for safety testing. Operators earn increasingly higher pay as they advance their licenses and take on manager roles. Average pay exceeds $25 per hour.

25. Wind Turbine Technician

Wind turbine techs install, inspect, maintain and repair wind turbines. Employers generally prefer candidates with technical school degrees specializing in fields like turbine technology or electronics. However, some provide on-the-job paid training for high school graduates. Wind energy is one America‘s fastest growing sectors, with turbine techs making $25-35 per hour.

In today‘s economy, traditional wisdom says high-paying jobs require advanced degrees and specialized qualifications. However, as this list demonstrates, there remain many occupations paying over $20 per hour achievable right out of high school. These jobs feature opportunities for solid incomes along with long-term advancement. Research options thoroughly, continue developing relevant skills, and keep an eye out for openings within growing or infrastructure-related fields. You might just land a great position without ever needing to set foot on a college campus.

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