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ECONOMY

The 10 highest paying jobs where you don’t need a degree in the US in 2023

In a tight labor market, those without a college degree may have an easier time finding a gig with better pay and conditions. Here are ten jobs for this group to consider.

Update:
In a tight labor market, those without a college degree may have an easier time finding a gig with better pay and conditions. Here are ten jobs for this gro
ELIZABETH FRANTZREUTERS

It’s worth noting that more than 80 million workers in the US labor force do not hold a college degree. Among them, the majority have either completed some college courses or hold an associate degree (36.2 million), followed by those who only have a high school diploma (35.2 million). There are also around nine million workers who lack a high school diploma or a GED. As expected, workers with higher education levels, as a group, tend to experience lower levels of unemployment.

Unemployment rate by educational attainment

  • No high school diploma or GED: 5.3 percent 
  • High school diploma or GED: 3.8 percet 
  • Some college or associates degree: 2.9 percent 
  • Bachelors or higher: 1.8 percent 

Source: BLS October Employment Situation 

The decline of the trades

The trades are a viable alternative to college but reduced technical training schools, apprenticeships, and pathways to these professions have become prevalent. But labor in the trades is in high demand, with Constructive Dive reporting that around half a million construction workers are missing in the US. The lack of availability of labor leads to delays in construction, which can lead to the project having a higher cost than a developer or public entity foresees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes data that allows one to identify the highest-paying jobs by educational attainment each year. It is evident from these lists that trade jobs are among the highest-paying careers available for those who do not hold a college degree. In fact, in some instances, these jobs pay more than the ones offered to college graduates.

For those without a high school diploma, the list ranks athletes and artists as the highest-paid professionals. For those in other fields, the next ten jobs with the highest salaries and that are seeing employment growth are:

  1. Hoise and winch operators: $40,000 to $59,999 | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  2. Rotary drill operators, oil and gas: $40,000 to $59,999 | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  3. Tank car, truck, and ship loaders: $40,000 to $59,999 | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  4. Derrick operators, oil and gas: $40,000 to $59,999 | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  5. Drywall and ceiling tile installers: $40,000 to $59,999 | 1,000 and 4,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  6. Service unir operators, oil and gas: $40,000 to $59,999 | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  7. Plasterers and stucco masons: $40,000 to $59,999 | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  8. Farm labor contractors: $40,000 to $59,999 | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  9. Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles: $40,000 to $59,999 | 1,000 and 4,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  10. Tile and stone setters: $40,000 to $59,999 | 1,000 and 4,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 

For those with a high school diploma, the list looks a bit different:

  1. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers: $80,000 or more | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  2. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers: $80,000 or more | 10,000 and 49,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  3. First-line supervisors of police and detectives: $80,000 or more | 1,000 and 4,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  4. Subway and streetcar operators: $80,000 or more | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  5. Detectives and criminal investigators: $80,000 or more | 1,000 and 4,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  6. Electrical power-line installers and repairers: $80,000 or more | 1,000 and 4,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032
  7. Signal and track switch repairers: $80,000 or more | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  8. Gambling managers: $80,000 or more | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  9. Transportation inspectors: $60,000-$79,999 | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  10. Locomotive engineers: $60,000-$79,999 | 0 and 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 

A high school diploma or a GED can double a worker’s earnings if they can secure one of the jobs on that list.

For those with some college or an associate degree, the list looks like this:

  1. Air traffic controllers: $80,000 or more | 0 to 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  2. Radiation therapists: $80,000 or more | 0 to 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  3. Dental hygienists: $80,000 or more | 10,000 to 49,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  4. Diagnostic medical sonographers: $80,000 or more | 10,000 to 49,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  5. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists: $80,000 or more | 1,000 to 4,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032
  6. Nuclear medicine technologists: $80,000 or more | 0 to 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  7. Avionics technicians: $60,000 to $79,999 | 0 to 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  8. Computer user support specialists: $40,000 to $59,999 | 10,000 to 49,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  9. Tutors: $30,000 to $39,999 | 5,000 to 9,999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 
  10. Teaching assistants, except postsecondary: $30,000 to $39,999 | 0 to 999 jobs to be created between 2022 and 2032 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 

When considering your career path, it’s crucial to take into account the future of your chosen profession. If you’re looking for a field with a growing job market, it’s important to choose an expanding industry with more opportunities. On the other hand, if you pick a profession that’s expected to rapidly decline in the coming decades, your job prospects may be limited.

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