3 High Paying Jobs – No Bachelor’s Degree Required

Posted by in Career Advice

With the job market the way it is, and unemployment so high, many people have returned to school for further education to come out more employable in the end. It is a good use of time while unemployed, and can lead to a more profitable job, but it may not be for everyone. On top of that, the cost of education has been on the rise and so it may be out of the reach of many people.


There are, however, some decent high-paying jobs that do not require a four-year degree and can be stepped into with simply an associate degree. An associate degree is a two-year degree and can be acquired at a local community college at about a third of the cost of the in-state tuition fees of a four-year college.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that there are about eighty occupations out there that do not require a bachelor’s degree to acquire, and that have an average annual salary of $50K, with some much higher. Here are just three example of the types of jobs that fall into this category:


Nuclear Technicians: I can imagine many people immediately cringe at the thought of working with something nuclear, and have concerns with the safety of it all. Even so, nuclear power is still one of the leading sources of electricity in the US, and with the nation’s one hundred and four power plants needing a steady flow of manpower, and a projected increase in job openings of over three thousand in this decade alone, it is a position worth considering. This career includes keeping the systems running at the plant, as well as field work testing radiation levels using specialized equipment.  An associate degree in nuclear science or a similar field is all that is needed to step into a position, receive the on-the-job training needed to work in a field with an average salary of $68K.  


Air-Traffic Controllers: Surely we’ve all heard of the buzz in the news over the years, of the controversy and incidents in this field with workers who have been distracted at one point or another. This position requires close and constant observation and concentration, and because of that, can be quite stressful. Because of the high demand of concentration, this position can be quite tiring, which can cause some people without the needed stamina, to step aside and quit the position. If you feel you have what it takes to handle the pressures of this position, can acquire an air traffic management degree and step into a position with an average annual salary of $108K.


Funeral Services: It sounds kind of morbid to some when they think of a job in the funeral services business. This career has positions like service managers, directors, morticians and undertakers. Those who work in this field say their satisfaction comes from helping those who are mourning to smoothly get through the initial steps of losing a loved one. It is a demanding field, at times requiring long hours, late hours, weekend, and being on call most of the time. If you have embalming skills and the ability to relocate, the job prospects are even better. All it takes for this field is a degree in mortuary science and state certification, and you can step into an average annual salary of $54K.


These are just a few of those careers that can be joined without a four-year degree that are worth looking into, and be sure to check out the BLS’ latest edition of Occupational Outlook Quarterly for up-to-date additional jobs and information in this area.


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  • Charles W
    Charles W
    Excellent written article. It really word-wise contained no fluff. It is really gets directly to the information needed to be conveyed. So often I read info that is way to wordy and not to the point of what if implies it wants to tell you. OutStanding.
  • Esron M
    Esron M
    The opportunity in the nuclear field sounds interesting and something that I would definitely consider.Even the Air-Traffic controller position is doable. But I'm one of those guys that doesn't have or only have obtained a G.E.D. I would need some needed information that point in the direction of getting whats needed to secure one those opportunities.
  • Lee S
    Lee S
    Insulting.  You can make higher salaries without a degree in corporate America as do I.
  • RON S
    RON S
    As a Veteran I looked into the Funeral field and was informed by a local (Honolulu) well known Funeral Service firm, that they were recruiting Independent Contractors.Thus, lost interest...as I'm a retired person seeking to supplement my income.  Would feel comfortable in the Funeral environment  
  • Martha A
    Martha A
    Your caption reads "3 High Paying Jobs – No Bachelor’s Degree Required"  and the announcements state that all you need is a degree in the stated specific subjects.Deceiving article
  • Justine Gregg
    Justine Gregg
    This article was very informative, and gave me a different outlook pertaining to these 3 specific job careers.  However, such as myself as stated in the article financing is an an with most people.  When you loose a job with a specific company that you were employed for many years, without a degree,it becomes difficult in the search of a job.  Stating a possible starting pay is difficult to state due to many companies have different pay scales that could vary.  I feel this may be a static pay grade.
  • Karnga David Z
    Karnga David Z
    Thank you for the information. I have the passion to work at a funeral home. I have just come to the US from Africa and came as an Immigrant. How can I get started? Please help me. Hope to hear from you very soon.
  • Yvonne M
    Yvonne M
    Thank you very much
  • Teresa S
    Teresa S
    Hi I thought about the funeral service job and thought I could do this. Thanks
  • Sheri n
    Sheri n
    very helpful information
  • omutia p
    omutia p
  • Martin S
    Martin S
    Good morning!The info was great to know but what about jobs that requires an associate degree in general studies like in human services, while working on a four-year degree in human services.   
  • Barbara S
    Barbara S
    Not worth the time that it took to print it.
  • Adejumobi A
    Adejumobi A
    So expository and interesting. How easy and possible of such opportunity for people not US resident?
  • Arcadia B
    Arcadia B
    Outstanding information.Very helpful.Thank you.
  • Tammie Hatchett
    Tammie Hatchett
    Interested in learning nuclear
  • keith valentine
    keith valentine
    funeral services bunsines i would like to try for that position.
  • Jeffrey McCormack
    Jeffrey McCormack
    Thank you too Bob
  • Bob M
    Bob M
    Jeff, The Nuclear Tech & Funeral services, however for me with an Associates & about 84 credits on the books & I need 36 to get a Bachelor Science in Business Management, most FD's need a business manager to take care of financial & other tasks.This was a very very helpful article. Thanks Jeff.
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