7 well-paying jobs that don’t require a degree from a four-year university

If you aren’t a four-year college graduate, does the job market want you? Are well-paying jobs that don’t require a degree out there? You bet they are!

Yes, college has many benefits, and many careers require a four-year or even a graduate degree. But it’s not for everyone, and it’s crazy expensive. In 2019, four years of college tuition – not counting lodging and food – cost between $20,000 and $47,000, depending on whether the student lives in state or out of state, and whether they attend a public or private university, according to Lending Tree. The average student who receives a bachelor’s degree graduates with almost $33,000 in student loan debt.

If you aren’t a four-year college grad, does the job market want you? Are there well-paying jobs that don’t require a degree? You bet there are!

A bachelor’s degree isn’t the only path to a fulfilling job that will provide for yourself and your family. While it is true that, on average, college will mean higher lifetime earnings, some jobs that don’t require a four-year degree pay more than those that do. “For example, workers with associate’s degrees in chemical technology have median earnings of about $75,500, compared to their peers with bachelor’s degrees with a median earnings of about $50,600,” writes NPR journalist Susie An in an article titled, “Pushing Beyond the Idea that College Is Always the Answer” based on an interview with Mikyung Ryu, director of research publications at National Student Clearinghouse.

In fact, many of the industries we work with here at Bradsby Group have career paths in which on-the-job training, technical experience, and certification matter more than academics. Let’s look at a few of the jobs that don’t require a degree from a four-year college, as identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

7 well-paying jobs that don’t require a degree from a four-year college

Power and Renewables Industry:

Powerhouse, substation, relay, electrical and electronics repair. The median wage for electricians and technicians in this field is just over $80,000, with a projected employment growth of four percent over the next six years. Becoming an electrician requires a four-year apprenticeship program that includes paid on-the-job training, or an associate’s degree, and licensing. More information about becoming an electrician can be found here.

Supply chain and procurement:

Transportation, storage, and distribution managers. It generally takes five years of experience to reach manager level in this field. But once there, expect a median wage over $94,000. Growth in this job market is predicted to rise seven percent by 2026.


Elevator installers and repairers.  This one is big. It’s named on all the sites that list top jobs that don’t require a degree, with a projected job market growth of twelve percent by 2026. Median annual income is around $80,000. Knowledge of electronics, hydraulics, and electricity are required, usually including a four-year apprenticeship, like electricians, and ongoing training.

Construction and building inspectors. People filling these roles make sure that buildings are safe and meet or exceed all building codes, regulations, and contract requirements. They generally have a high school diploma plus five years’ experience in construction. They can expect a median income of nearly $60,000 annually. Job outlook is positive, with a growth rate projected at seven percent in the next eight years.

Life sciences:

Nuclear medicine technicians. Nuclear medicine technicians play an essential role in diagnostic tests such as MRIs. In addition, they prepare and administer radioactive drugs to patients for therapeutic purposes. Typical training includes an associate’s degree and certification. The median annual income is about $77,000, with a faster than average job market growth of seven percent.

Oil and gas:

Gas compressor and pumping station operators. Persons in this career use equipment that transmits, compresses, and recovers gases. Annual mean wage is around $60,000. These occupations require a high school diploma and some job-related experience.

Supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers. These supervisors enjoy a mean annual income of $70,500. Projected employment growth over the next six years is a whopping 12.6 percent. Training looks like on-the-job experience, vocational school, or an associate’s degree.

Get started finding your next career opportunity!

These are just a sampling of jobs that don’t require a degree from a four-year school. We’ve chosen these seven to feature here to give you an idea of possibilities that specifically relate to the industries we typically work with as their recruiting partner of choice. Check out our site for current job listings and see if one might be your next career move. Then send us your resume and let’s get started.

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