Best Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

About 66% of the population doesn’t have a college degree. Yet, many still go on to have a successful career path. Some jump right into jobs after high school. Then go on to expand their education while working. Others find their dream career path and then move up within the company.

So, ready to make money now, rather than wait another 4 years?

Here are 8 rewarding jobs that don’t require college.

1. Dental Hygienist jobs

Have an interest in cleaning pearly whites and creating perfect smiles?

A dental hygienist works to help maintain the oral health of others. They assist dentists with x-rays and have knowledge of cleaning tools and techniques. Most work in a dentist’s office setting and have great hours with weekends off.

You will need an associate degree to become a licensed dental hygienist. Many begin training after high school and then continue their two-year education by taking classes online.

It’s one of those high-demand high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree. This career gets expected to have a 20% job growth over the next few years.

2. Computer Programmer

Have a knack for writing code for computer programs?

Computer programmers get skilled in languages like Java, C++, and Visual Basic. They also spend a lot of time testing code and staying up to date on emerging program technologies.

Most have a background in computer science with vast coding experience, which can be self-taught. While a bachelor’s degree is not necessary, most do have an associate’s degree. This helps to compete against others in the job market.

Many programmers also have the extra perk of flexible hours. Or getting to work from the comfort of home. Some also go on to expand their role and become web developers.

3. Commercial Pilot

This career is both rewarding and has serious growth potential.

Commercial pilots differ from passenger airline services. They work with cargo flights or can operate a government aircraft. Many also work as flight instructors.

You’ll need a pilot certificate as well as aviation training and experience. Commercial pilots are fluent in English and must pass an FAA written exam.

Expect to have a medical examination before getting to fly. They will look into your medical history. As well as test your eyesight, hearing, and heart health.

Experience is key, as you’ll need 250 hours of flying experience to become certified. This includes flying cross country and operating as a pilot in command.

This is one of the good paying jobs that don’t require a degree but will need extensive training. Start by working with air training corporations in your area. A training school can help you get an edge up on the competition.

4. Postmaster

Got mail? Consider becoming a postmaster if you’re looking for jobs you don’t need college for.

Also called a mail superintendent, this role gets responsible for managing all aspects of a post office. You’ll train employees, handle customer service, and supervise duties.

You’ll also oversee all mail distribution for the post office. This can average at about 2,000 deliveries each day.

This job falls under the government. So expect excellent benefits like retirement and paid vacation. Many people begin as a clerk and get promoted within.

5. Heavy Equipment Operator

Interested in operating cranes, forklifts, or dozers?
These guys don’t need a college degree to get the job done. Yet you will need tons of experience around heavy machinery, including seat time.

You can gain this through an apprenticeship program. Then go on to get any state required licenses.

For jobs that don’t require college (i.e. a forklift operator) consider getting a mentor to gain extra knowledge and experience in your field. You’ll also want to read about what is needed for certification.

Depending on the state you live in, you can also join a union. This provides extra benefits like pension plans. As well as excellent insurance for your whole family.

There are also other construction-related good paying jobs that don’t require college. This includes masons, electricians, and ironworkers. Or you can pursue a career as a wind turbine technician to promote green energy.

6. Executive Assistant

This role supports high-level executives within a business or organization. You could end up assisting a CEO, CFO, or President of the company.

You’ll help manage their communication, travel, calendar, and other daily tasks. It takes a special skill set that involves attention to detail, organization, and critical thinking.

This career calls for experience in the administrative field. With special computer skills and knowledge of programs like Word, Excel, and Outlook.

Most executive assistants have an associate’s degree. Or a combination of certificates and vast administrative experience. Many start as a secretary and work their way up the corporate ladder to executive assistants.

This role also often extends past a typical 9 to 5 workday. As you’ll get expected to communicate with your boss over weekends.


A paralegal helps support an attorney with their workload. The role is heavy in research and reporting. As well as gathering documentation and preparing court cases.

Think of it as all the law-related background work. Without the responsibility of representing any clients in court.

Paralegals need an associate’s degree that includes a two-year paralegal program. Many also complete a certification program to boost their resume.

Interning first will set you apart from the competition. This can get done at law firms, insurance companies, or government agencies.

From here you can go on to become a paralegal in one of the following law fields:

  • Criminal
  • Corporate
  • Immigration
  • Litigation
  • Personal injury
  • Bankruptcy

Or you can become a legal secretary or assistant. It’s a great career that prepares you to become a lawyer if you wish to continue your law education. If so, here are 10 tips to help prepare for law school.

8. Criminal Investigator

An investigator or detective works to collect evidence and interview key witnesses. These are intense yet exciting jobs that don’t require a degree.

Expect lots of action and work around the clock, day and night. You’ll also be in charge of heavy reporting duties and should have a knack for problem-solving.

Investigators either work solo or with a partner. It can also be a dangerous career, and you’ll need to carry a firearm.

You’ll need experience with local law enforcement. Most likely through the police academy and extensive training. Some detectives work towards a degree to increase their annual salary.

Picking the Right Jobs that Don’t Require College

There are many high-paying and highly rewarding jobs that don’t require college. Yet it’s important to pick the right field that can offer you job satisfaction for years to come.

In a competitive market, it helps to build up a network of mentors and professionals in your field. Use these people to alert you of job openings and help train you. Learn more about how networking opens up new career opportunities.

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