High Paying Jobs Without a Degree

Make Big Bucks With Just a High School Diploma

Although people with bachelor's degrees usually earn more money than those with only high school or equivalency diplomas, going to college isn't an option for everyone. It doesn't mean you won't be able to have a well-paying career—not if you choose your occupation wisely. You can get these 10 high paying jobs without a degree. You may need experience for advanced positions, and some employers may require some college credits.

Sources: CareerOneStopHighest-Paying Careers 2017; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,  Occupational Outlook Handbook; Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor,  O*NET Online.

01
Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

Nuclear Operator
Monty Rakusen / Cultura / Getty Images

Nuclear power reactor operators control the flow of electricity from nuclear power plants. This is a licensed occupation that requires on-the-job and technical training in addition to a high school diploma. To become licensed, you will have to pass a written exam.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $93,370

Median Hourly Wages (2017): $44.89

Number of People Employed (2016): 7,000

Projected Job Change (2016-2026): -10 percent (decline)

Projected Job Decrease (2016-2026):  700 fewer jobs

02
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

Businessman working in car
Allstair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Transportation managers are responsible for transportation-related activities within a company. Some are managers of firms that only provide transportation services. Storage and distribution managers direct firms' distribution and storage operations or manage companies that provide these services.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $92,460

Median Hourly Wages (2017): $44.45

Number of People Employed (2016): 115,500

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 7 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 7,800

03
First Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives

A police officer doing paperwork in an office
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First line supervisors of police and detectives oversee the work of their law enforcement colleagues. Working in job titles such as chief, captain, sergeant, and lieutenant, they coordinate investigations, keep records, train staff, and evaluate their subordinates' performance. While one usually doesn't need more than a high school diploma to become a police officer—typically the entry-level job in this field—some employers will only promote those who have taken some college courses or earned a degree to supervisory positions.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $87,910

Median Hourly Wages (2017): $42.26

Number of People Employed (2016): 104,700

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 7 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 6,900

04
Power Distributors and Dispatchers

Power Plant Worker
Monty Rakusen / Cultura / Getty Images

Power distributors and dispatchers control the flow of electricity from power plants to sub-stations, and ultimately to consumers. After earning a high school diploma, one receives on-the-job and technical training.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $82,510

Median Hourly Wages (2017): $39.67

Number of People Employed (2016): 11,600

Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 3 percent decline

Projected Job Decrease (2016-2026): 300 fewer jobs

05
Detectives and Criminal Investigators

Crime Scene
tillsonburg / E+ / Getty Images

Detectives and criminal investigators decide whether there are reasons to believe individuals have violated state, local, or federal laws. They usually begin their careers as police officers which requires, at the minimum, a high school diploma. Some municipalities will only hire those who have earned a college degree or have at least taken some courses, and many do require a degree or coursework for promotion to detective or investigator.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $79,970

Median Hourly Wages (2017): $38.45

Number of People Employed (2016): 110,900

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 5 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 5,000

06
Elevator Mechanics

Elevator mechanic
Sean Boggs / E+ / Getty Images

In addition to installing, repairing or maintaining elevators, elevator mechanics also work on escalators, chairlifts, dumbwaiters, moving walkways, and similar equipment. They are sometimes called elevator installers, repairers, or constructors. Training, after graduation from high school, usually consists of completing a four-year apprenticeship which may be sponsored by a union or contractor.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $79,480

Median Hourly Wages (2017): $38.21

Number of People Employed (2016): 22,100

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 12 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 2,700

07
Commercial Pilots

pilot-2.jpg
Bannister / Blend Images / Getty Images

Commercial pilots fly aircraft for companies that offer charter flights, rescue operations, and aerial photography.  To become a commercial pilot, you will need a Commercial Pilot's License and have at least a high school diploma.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $78,740

Number of People Employed (2016): 40.800

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 4 percent (slower than the average for all occupations)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 1,600

08
Power Plant Operators

Power Plant Operator
Monty Rakusen / Cultura / Getty Images

Power plant operators control and maintain equipment that is used to generate electricity. While a high school diploma is a minimum requirement for this occupation, many employers prefer job candidates who have attended college or vocational school. Once hired, expect to undergo formal technical training and on-the-job training.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $77,180

Median Hourly Wages (2017): $37.10

Number of People Employed (2016): 36,100

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 1 percent (little or no change)

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 500

09
Postmasters and Mail Superintendents

Postmaster or mail superintendent writing on clipboard in hangar
Martin Barraud / Getty Images

Postmasters and mail superintendents manage the operations of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) facilities and the personnel involved in processing and delivering the mail. They typically begin their careers in the USPS as mail carriers and clerks and may move up within this independent federal agency. The USPS offers career development programs for employees who want to advance in their careers.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $74,840

Median Hourly Wages (2017): $35.98

Number of People Employed (2016): 14,200

Projected Job Change (2016-2026): 31 percent decline

Projected Job Decrease (2016-2026): 3,000 fewer jobs

10
Gaming Manager

Close-Up Of Illuminated Slot Machine
Tomasz Zajda / EyeEm / Getty Images

Gaming managers oversee the operations in a casino. Job titles include casino manager, table games manager, slot manager, and table games shift manager. They may move up to a supervisory position after spending time working in a casino.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $72,930

Median Hourly Wages (2017): $35.06

Number of People Employed (2016): 4,500

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 3 percent

Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 100