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Jobs that pay well, no degree required

By Anthony Balderrama,
On average, Air Traffic Controllers earn salaries of $139,314 without a college degree.
On average, Air Traffic Controllers earn salaries of $139,314 without a college degree.
  • Mean income for a college graduate is $58,613 and $31,283 for a high school graduate.
  • An Assembly Supervisor position, which on average pays $66,034, doesn't require college education.
  • A Real Estate Broker's salary is often over $75,000 without a college degree.

( -- Conventional wisdom states that college-educated workers earn higher salaries because their jobs require more education and advanced skills.

In addition, fewer workers have college degrees, so they are harder to find in relation to workers without degrees. Indeed, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, 19% of Americans hold a bachelor's degree, while approximately 31% have a high school diploma.

Census data also shows that the mean income for a college graduate is $58,613, a significant difference from the $31,283 mean income for a high school graduate.

You might reason, then, that to bring home a sizeable paycheck, you need to go to college. Although that's often true, there are exceptions. Many jobs pay workers well because their daily tasks are dangerous, difficult or extremely specialized.

Experience also factors into the equation, because many employers value years of experience more than years of education. These jobs that don't require a degree aren't necessarily easy to perform nor they easy to land.

That's not to say you shouldn't earn a college or graduate degree if you want. However, if college isn't the right option for you or if it's not a plausible option in the short term, consider these 15 professions that don't require a college degree but pay well: An entire career at one company

1. Aides supervisor $63,231*

Aides supervisors supervise home-health aides, which involves setting their work schedules and monitoring their performance to ensure quality care for patients.

2. Air traffic controller $139,314

In order to ensure the safety of all flights, air traffic controllers monitor planes coming to and leaving from an airport so there are no collisions. They also monitor conditions to keep flights free of delays.

3. Assembly supervisor $66,034

In assembling and manufacturing plants, these supervisors oversee the flow of production work. Depending on the industry, assembly workers can produce anything from large mechanical and aviation components to small technology devices.

4. Cable supervisor $76,739

Cable supervisors monitor workers who install, maintain and repair cables. Because these cables can be buried or overhead on telephone poles, the process can be dangerous for workers and difficult to perform.

5. Chemical supervisor $73,955

Chemical supervisors oversee workers who make chemical products, a careful process that involves handling dangerous substances and following strict safety guidelines.

6. Construction equipment operator $53,543

Construction equipment operators are in charge of the large-scale tools and equipment used on construction sites. They are also responsible for inspecting the equipment for safety and performance issues when necessary.

7. Credit and collection supervisor $66,847

Credit and collection workers calculate credit risks and collections information for consumers who apply for loans. Their supervisors monitor their performance and sometimes review client credit history to grant or deny extensions of credit.

8. Data control supervisor $66,554

Data control supervisors oversee the daily operations of data entry workers and are responsible for the completion and accuracy of their work. Get the most from a fall-back job

9. Electrical repairer $58,960

Electrical repairers disassemble and fix problematic electrical equipment and any related components. Depending on the particular job, the equipment can range from small mechanisms to large technological systems.

10. Elevator repair worker $67,538

Elevator repair workers perform routine maintenance on elevators and escalators and also respond to any reported problems.

11. Home care aide supervisor $69,061

Home care aides visit homebound patients in order to assist with daily activities and some rehabilitation exercises. The supervisor ensures that all patients are being taken care of properly by their aides according to legal regulations and quality standards.

12. Illustrator $60,060

Illustrators work in advertisement agencies or as freelancers to design fonts and images for a variety of media, from websites to print campaigns and video.

13. Lead carpenter $73,055

Lead carpenters act as the head for carpentry workers on a specific task in order to keep the project on time and meet quality standards.

14. Payroll supervisor $72,951

Payroll supervisors oversee the process of calculating compensation based on workers' hours, reviewing timecards, distributing pay and adhering to government regulations for payroll.

15. Real estate broker $79,494

Real estate brokers maintain their own real estate businesses that help homebuyers look for houses or condominiums. They research neighborhoods, find available homes and assist buyers through the financial and legal aspects of the purchase process.

*Salary data based on figures from Best gifts for jobseekers

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