15 Jobs That Pay Over $75K and Don’t Require a 4-Year Degree

Ditch the diploma and discover 15 paths to a $75K+ paycheck.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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A four-year college degree isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean you need to give up on your dream of a good job and a healthy paycheck.

There are many jobs that pay more than $75,000 and don't require you to earn a college degree. Here are 15 options for those who want to get ahead financially without years of schooling.

All salary figures come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Elevator and escalator installer

Bartek/Adobe elevator installer and repairer

Median pay: $102,420

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 1% (Little or no change)

Elevator and escalator installers and repair technicians are responsible for installing and maintaining elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.

You usually need a high school diploma, experience in an apprenticeship, and a license.

Registered nurse

PhotoPlus+/Adobe nurse standing in hospital

Median pay: $86,070

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 6% (Faster than average)

Registered nurses help care for patients, coordinate treatment, and educate others about health issues.

You can become a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or certification from a nursing program.

Power plant operator

Alfonso Soler/Adobe working at a nuclear power plant

Median pay: $100,890

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: -10% (Decline)

Power plant operators oversee the systems that generate and distribute power to homes and businesses.

You usually need a high school diploma and can get on-the-job training. You will also need a license if you work in a nuclear power plant.

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Professional athlete

goami/Adobe trainer counting time using stopwatch while athlete is doing plank exercise

Median pay: $94,270

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 9% (Much faster than average)

Professional athletes compete in organized sports at different levels and in various types of sports.

No formal education is required, but you do have to show athletic talent in your particular sport to get a job in the field.

Detectives and criminal investigators

mtrlin/Adobe detective processing evidence

Median pay: 74,910

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 3% (As fast as average)

Detectives and criminal investigators are responsible for investigating crimes that may violate federal, state, or local laws.

You can become a detective or criminal investigator after completing requirements at a training academy and getting some on-the-job training.

Web developer

Andrey Popov/Adobe happy woman coding on computer

Median pay: $84,960

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 16% (Much faster than average)

Web developers build and maintain websites and web pages.

Required qualifications for a web developer vary by employer, but you don’t have to have a bachelor’s degree for some positions. In addition, some people work as self-employed developers despite not having a degree.

Commercial pilot

mrkotov/Adobe woman pilot sitting in cockpit flying aeroplane

Median pay: $113,080

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 4% (As fast as average)

Commercial pilots fly planes, helicopters, and other aircraft.

Commercial pilots usually need a bachelor’s degree. You will also need military or commercial flight experience.

Dental hygienist

Antonioguillem/Adobe dentist examining a patient teeth

Median pay: $87,530

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 7% (Faster than average)

Dental hygienists examine patients' teeth, provide preventative care, and look for signs of disease.

A dental hygienist usually needs an associate degree in dental hygiene, and every state requires hygienists to be licensed.

Air traffic controller

Maksim Shmeljov/Adobe professional air traffic controller in the control tower

2022 median pay: $137,380

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 1% (Little or no change)

Air traffic controllers work at airports and coordinate the movement of planes and other aircraft in the area.

You can become an air traffic controller with either an associate degree or bachelor’s degree, as well as on-the-job training.

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Farmers and ranchers

Jacob Lund/Adobe organic farmer harvesting

Median pay: $83,770

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: -5% (Decline)

Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers are responsible for running organizations that produce crops, livestock, and dairy products.

Farmers and ranchers are expected to have at least a high school degree and previous experience in a related field to get a position as a manager.

Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Konstantin divelook/Adobe electrician on a ladder

Median pay: $85,420

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 3% (As fast as average)

Electrical power-line installers and repairers work on the electrical lines needed to get power to homes and businesses.

You usually need a high school diploma and on-the-job training, possibly including an apprenticeship.


pressmaster/Adobe political delegate with papers

Median pay: $ 89,770

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: -7% (Decline)

Postmasters work for the federal government as part of the postal system, coordinating postal operations.

You need at least a high school diploma and can receive on-the-job training for positions in the postal system.

Transportation manager

kimly/Adobe Women warehouse worker using digital tablets

Median pay: $ 111,870

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 8% (Faster than average)

Transportation managers are responsible for planning and coordinating the transportation of shipments.

You can get a position as a transportation manager with a high school diploma and previous work experience in the field.

Sales supervisors

industrieblick/Adobe businessman in the car trade

2023 median pay: $82,850

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: -2% (Decline)

Sales supervisors oversee sales workers. They also handle budgeting and personnel work for sales teams.

You usually need a high school diploma and previous work experience to become a sales supervisor.

Signal and track switch repairer

APchanel/Adobe engineers inspecting railway switches

Median pay: $82,710

Job outlook growth rate, 2022-2032: 1% (Little or no change)

Signal and track switch repairers are responsible for maintaining and repairing equipment used by a railroad system, such as gate crossings, signal equipment, and track switches.

You usually need at least a high school diploma and on-the-job training.

Bottom line

Oleksii/Adobe woman copywriter working freelance

The jobs on this list prove you don’t need a four-year college degree to earn a salary that will allow you to build wealth over time.

So, if you are starting out in your career — or planning to make a big change in your professional life — consider one of the jobs on this list.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.