Jobs That Pay Well and Don’t Require a College Degree

Not every career requires a college degree. In fact, with a number of well-paying jobs, you can start earning money right away with just a high school diploma and some on-the-job training. These are jobs that are always in demand and can lead to a life-long career path.


Plumbers make a great living and after a while, many own their own businesses. To become a plumber in most states, you can get hired on as an apprentice and get paid while you are learning the trade. After a few years (it varies from state to state), you can take an exam to obtain a license.

The field of plumbing has several specialties, including pipefitters, pipelayers, and steamfitters. There is also a track for advancement from apprentice to journeyman to master plumber. Plumbers need good math skills and hand-eye coordination.

Truck Driving

To become a truck driver, you need to be 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED and pass the test for a commercial driver’s license (CDL). You may also need to pass an exam with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). Many companies will hire drivers with no experience and provide training for them.

You will also need to learn applicable laws, safety rules, and basic truck maintenance. If the truck breaks down, the driver is responsible for seeing it gets repaired the right way. Semi-trucks need specialized equipment to be towed without damaging them. Drivers are also required to conduct roadside inspections.

Real Estate Agent

Real estate is always a hot industry, and you can jump right in without a college degree. All you need is a little training and a license. The laws vary from state to state, but all require that you take a course (either online or in-person) and pass an examination. There’s also a background check. You will need to be affiliated with a real estate company or broker for sponsorship.

Once you are licensed, you will be paid on commission. That is, when you sell a house, a portion of the proceeds will come to you. Hours are often flexible, and many real estate brokers eventually own their own agencies.

Many people have long and successful careers in fields that don’t require college degrees. Often, you can learn on the job. Explore the possibilities and see what might be the right fit for you.

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