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Dawn Rosenberg McKay

The Truth About High Paying Jobs Without a Degree

By February 7, 2013

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Do you want a high paying job but don't want to earn a college degree? You may be able to do it, but it's going to take a lot of effort. Every other year the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a list of the highest paying jobs, based on median annual earnings. Among them you will find some that seem to only require a high school diploma. Don't be fooled. While the highest level of education you need may be a high school diploma, don't think you can just start earning big bucks right after graduation.

With only your high school diploma, no experience and no training, you will be eligible for an entry-level job. This is how you will get the experience you need to get hired for many of the jobs listed among the highest paying ones. Once you secure that first job, it is likely you will need to go through lots of on-the-job training and possibly some classroom instruction. You may even need to pass a licensing or certification exam. Then, when you have done all that, you will probably have to work for several years to gain experience. Be aware that many of the applicants who you will be competing against for those "high paying, no degree required jobs" will in fact have college degrees or will have at least taken some college courses. Ask people who are knowledgeable about the career field you are considering what the "real requirements" are, and, if you truly want to work in that field, decide if you are willing to go all out to make yourself a competitive candidate.

I would be remiss if I didn't remind you to look beyond how much an occupation pays when deciding whether it is right for you. Remember to do your homework, which should include researching the occupation and learning about yourself, in order to decide whether it's a good fit for you.

More: Top 10 Occupations for Which a Degree Is Not Required.

February 24, 2013 at 11:04 pm
(1) Hawaiian Turtle says:

May also be good to think about value you can add in other ways besides your skills and qualifications. One example is being in the right place at the right time for your employer’s business. I just read an interesting and humorous book called ‘Not all wanderers are lost’ (by Ross Radich). He gets to enjoy heaps of international travel in his job inspecting machines before they are exported to Australia (to make sure they will get through quarantine). He has to be ready to travel at short notice and be away from home almost continually – but if that thing suits you and you have no family responsibilities it may be worth looking into that kind of job!

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