Top Paid Jobs Without a Degree

Written by lorenzo von matterhorn
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Top Paid Jobs Without a Degree
Many high paying jobs are available for those without a degree. (students image by dinostock from

As of 2010, the cost of a college degree increases every year. Completing a college course of study that culminates in a diploma can help land a job. However, for some positions, a degree is not essential, and might make the job applicant overqualified. Jobs for people without degrees are available and can offer immediate high payoffs.

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

Many people are expected to retire from this field in the near future, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), leaving an excellent job market for qualified applicants. While becoming experienced as a nuclear power reactor operator will take a few years of on-the-job training, only a high school diploma is required. "Power plant operators control and monitor boilers, turbines, generators, and auxiliary equipment in power-generating plants. They distribute power among generators, regulate the output from several generators, and monitor instruments to maintain voltage and regulate electricity flows from the plant," according to the BLS. Operators can expect to earn a median wage of £22.70 per hour, or £47,222 per year.

Top Paid Jobs Without a Degree
Nuclear power reactor operators only require a high school diploma. (nuclear power station 4 image by Vitezslav Halamka from

Air Traffic Controllers

Over the next decade, the demand for air traffic controllers will remain strong, as many currently in the workforce will begin to retire, according to the BLS. While some air traffic controllers come with an undergraduate degree or prior experience, others have a high school diploma and have completed an air traffic controller training program. This is a high-paced job that can be mentally exhausting. Most air traffic controllers work 40 hours per week, but the shifts may occasionally be at night or on weekends. Controllers earn a median hourly wage of £34.30, which is £71,402 per year.

Top Paid Jobs Without a Degree
Air traffic controllers may earn over six-figure incomes. (air traffic control tower image by Paul Hill from


Job opportunities are consistently good and stable for plumbers. It is a job that cannot be outsourced and is always in demand. Plumbers can be responsible for unclogging drains, but they also may lay and repair other pipes, according to the BLS. This job requires physical strength and stamina. Plumbers work more than 40 hours per week, and are on call for late-night emergencies and weekend work. Typically, they receive on-the-job training as apprentices and need only a high school diploma. Plumbers earn a median hourly wage of £14.40 which is £30,108 per year.

Top Paid Jobs Without a Degree
Plumbers earn over £13 per hour. (water meter replacement,plumber image by Greg Pickens from

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