No Degree, No Problem: 13 High-Paying Jobs No College Required

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated February 8th, 2024

College is still being pushed in school across the country. But, the reality is there are plenty of skilled trade jobs offering 6-figure salaries with less debt and education needed. From driving a truck to fixing an elevator, there is not shortage of high paying blue collar jobs. Some jobs may require some trade school education or training, but all can be started in a short amount of time and can offer increased earnings with more experience.

Pipe Fitter

pipeline welder at work making their salary

Pipe fitters install, maintain, and repair pipes on large projects typically done in an industrial setting. It is an in demand job that requires some training and can bring over $100,000 annually. No matter where you live, there are trade schools near you that can help you get started in the career or you can try and land an apprenticeship if you prefer.

Dunkin’ Donuts Tractor Trailer Driver

dunkin donuts truck driver
Image Credit: Wikimedia

We already know long-haul truck drivers can earn over $100,000 annually. But I had no idea Dunkin Donuts came in that high. The worker noted, “I drive a tractor-trailer for Dunkin Donuts. Maybe the most sleeper job of all. I can see it on peoples faces when I tell them what I do.”

Another person commented on that thread and noted he was also “making bank” as a truck driver for a regional food distributor.

Corporate Pilot

corporate pilot taking businessmen on trip
Image credit: image_hit / Depositphotos

A corporate pilot will usually work for a company and fly management where they need to go. Many responses included concerns about being away from home too much.

The pilot responded with, “I fly mostly day trips out and back same day. Only overnight a couple nights a month. But that’s the exception. Typical pilot job you are away from home more.”

IBEW Journeyman Lineman

lineman career

This is not a job for everyone, and these guys deserve every penny they make. Helping us keep our lights on and computers running is no easy feat. Lineman are out there when most of us are hunkered down at home through hurricanes and snowstorms.

One person chimed in and shared his salary on the thread. “Exactly I’m IBEW, I made 100k as an apprentice in my 5th year. I topped out about 3 years ago now and haven’t made under $100k. We make $104k on straight 40s plus the benefits are great.”

Doggie Daycare

doggies at a walk at daycare
Image credit:

Surprised? Me too! I know people love their dogs, but clearly, people really love their dogs. One person noted they were doing a daycare out of their home and was grossing over $100K.

Another redditor added, “Omg, i use to work as a teller and this guy owned a doggy daycare business out in WA. Was charging 50$ a dog with space for 50 dogs and he told me he was fully booked for the next 3 months. Plus he charged more to the shuttle the dogs to and fro – sometimes the employees driving the vans would get tips. Which is 75k a month in revenue. If I had the money to buy some land I would totally be doing thing.”

Swimming Pool Designer & Builder

built in pool design
Image credit: Michelle_Raponi / Pixabay

One of the more fun and creative opportunities. There is no shortage of people wanting to add a pool to their home. Redesigns can also be a part of the job. While some pool companies might want a degree, this redditor noted he got his job from a family member who worked for the company.

“I transitioned from being a teacher without any prior sales experience, so they definitely took a chance on me because of the referral. It’s a very unique job that can be stressful at times, but the ceiling is quite high with high performers earning $200k+ after enough time to build up a referral base.”

Casino Dealer

dealer at a casino
Image credit: englishlikeanative / Pixabay

From Atlantic City to Las Vegas, there is no shortage of opportunities for casino dealers. The higher-end casinos can see dealers making upwards of $100K with salaries and tips. What hours they work also affect earnings, with the overnight hours often being the highest.

Construction Manager

construction manager at work
Image credit: Goodluz / Depositphotos

This guy actually stated, “HS Diploma – No degree *” when he stated he was a construction manager. This just drives home the fact there are opportunities to earn a lot of money with no degree.

He added the following when some asked about how he got this job, “When I interviewed for this position 2-1/2 years ago, all they seemed to care about was my customer service experience prior to my construction experience. I would say 80% of my job is customer service and the other 20% is building.”

Oilfield Worker

oil and gas drilling career paths

One worker noted he moved to North Dakota to do oilfield work. This resulted in earnings of six figures in his early 20s.

When others responded with the location and level of difficulty of the work, they responded “I can take as much time off as I like. Many of the jobs out here are on a rotating schedule. You can make 100k out here working 2 weeks on 2 weeks off and have enough money to travel anywhere you like. I’ve been all over the country and out of the country several times.”

Merchant Marine

is marine transportation a good career

This Redditor noted they work as a merchant marine. Their job is to keep the lights on and the engines turning. He added, “I work four weeks on then have four weeks off at home. I am paid $750 per day that I am onboard, which comes out to about $135k/yr. I am a member of Master Mates and Pilots, a mariner’s Union.”

He did make it clear education is not needed, but a certificate program in Maritime is helpful.

Guitar Building

luthier working on a guitar

One burnout musician found he was really good at building guitars. He created a website and now earns over $100K a year building custom guitars for other musicians. Becoming a luthier is a great way to immerse yourself in the music community while making a living.


miners at work
Image credit: Fabio Walser / Wikipedia

These guys, as one Redditor put it, “turn big rocks into small rocks”. There are mines all over the world, and it is not easy work. But the pay can be really good with a few years of experience.

One Redditor offered the following information, “I worked at an underground stop mine in Nevada US when i was 19 i started off making about 7k a month and by the time I left there a couple years later i was making 12k a month. I know a lot of tramp miners that make a ton of money in Alaska as well”

Court Reporter

court reporter at work
Image credit: lisafx / Depositphotos

Court reporters will usually need some kind of certification and testing, but they can earn some pretty good wages. You can work as a freelancer, for a court, or for an agency. One bonus of this job is that it is typically a Mon-Fri with 9-5 hours job. If you work for the government, benefits will also be good.

One Redditor who is a new court reporter added, “I’m also a court reporter. I’m a newbie (1.5 years in) and I’m close to being able to break six figures this year.”

Elevator Mechanic

elevator doors waiting to be fixed by mechanic

This person noted that an elevator mechanic, especially in the union, should easily earn over 6-figures. While it is hard work, there is a lot of opportunity in the industry.

They added, “Currently modernizing (15) elevators across five buildings with two companies. Cutting the roof of the elevator machine room at one and lifting and lowering controllers and hoist machines about 14 stories up. Should be a fun week :)”, when someone asked what a day looks like in his work.

The Surprising Blue-Collar Past of 17 Celebrities

ozzy osbourne was once a blue collar guy
Image credit: s_bukly / Depositphotos

Not every celebrity started out their lives famous. Many had to work at regular jobs just like you and me. Skilled trade jobs were a part of many lives of the rich and famous before they became household names. Check out 17 famous blue collar workers!

Not So Glamorous Business Ideas You Can Start

biohazard removal workers at work

Looking to start a business? These business ideas may not be sexy, but can be very lucrative.

These ideas can have you being a solo entrepreneur or a big business owner. The best part, none require any formal education and with motivation and passion you can be successful pretty quickly.

Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.