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25 Easy Jobs That Make a Lot of Money With Little Work Without College

By Emma Diehl · December 05, 2022 · 7 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

25 Easy Jobs That Make a Lot of Money With Little Work Without College

Attending a four-year university isn’t for everyone, for financial or personal reasons. That doesn’t mean a high-paying job should be out of reach. There are plenty of jobs that make a lot of money without a college degree. We’re not talking about brain surgery or rocket science — too hard. Just normal jobs that pay well and may even be fun or cool. Is that too much to ask?

Here’s your answer: 25 jobs that make a lot of money for regular people.

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Why It’s Difficult To Know About Easy Jobs Without a Degree

The key to finding jobs that make a lot of money but don’t carry the burden of student loan debt is looking at growing industries with high demand. These roles may require some technical certifications or on-the-job apprenticeships. Still, they offer competitive pay, coming close to or exceeding the annual expected salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree.

Don’t miss this roundup of even more high-paying jobs that don’t require college.

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Pros and Cons of Easy Jobs Without a Degree

There are benefits and drawbacks to some jobs that make a lot of money without a college education.

Benefits of Easy Jobs Without a Degree

•   Beginning a career with little or no student debt

•   Entering the workforce earlier in life, with the potential to start saving sooner

•   Job security for roles that are in high demand

•   Less work-related stress

Drawbacks of Easy Jobs Without a Degree

•   Joining a high-paying trade or industry can be more physically demanding

•   Some roles require an apprenticeship or years of experience before you can earn a high salary. Entry-level salaries may be modest.

•   Lack of degree may stunt your earnings over your entire career in certain jobs

•   Jobs may be paid hourly, not salaried, which can impact earning potential

•   Less likely to accommodate work-at-home situations

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Who Are Easy Jobs Without a Degree For?

High earning jobs that don’t require a degree can be a good fit for many individuals, including those who:

•   Don’t traditionally excel in an academic environment

•   Don’t want to take on student debt

•   Are eager to enter the workforce

•   Have interest in a trade or technical job

25 Easy Jobs That Make a Lot of Money With Little Work Without College

Many jobs that don’t require a degree are minimum wage or low paying. However, there is a sweet spot where high-paying jobs and those that don’t expect a degree overlap. While some of the following call for certification or training, it’s unlikely to cost as much as a traditional four-year degree.

Salary figures represent the national median, and the job growth outlook is for 2021 to 2031.

1. Power Plant Operator, Distributor, and Dispatcher

Description: Control and manage the electrical power systems of a plant.

Salary: $94,790

Job Growth: -15%

Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

2. Commercial Pilot

Description: Fly commercial airplanes and other aircraft.

Salary: $134,630

Job Growth: 6%

Requirements: Flight school

3. Elevator Installer and Repairer

Description: Install, repair, and maintain elevators and escalators.

Salary: $97,860

Job Growth: 3%

Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

4. Makeup Artist, Theatrical and Performance

Description: Onset makeup application in the entertainment industry.

Salary: $124,380

Job Growth: 6%

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Requirements: On-the-job training or beauty school certifications

5. Fire Inspector and Supervisor

Description: Inspect buildings to ensure they meet local, state, and federal standards.

Salary: $63,080

Job Growth: 6%

Requirements: Experience as a firefighter; high school diploma or equivalent

6. Aircraft Mechanic

Description: Work on plane equipment, including maintenance and repair. While pilots tend to be extroverted high achievers, aircraft mechanic is a solid job for introverts.

Salary: $65,550 per year

Job Growth: 6%

Requirements: On-the-job military training or certification from an FAA-approved technician’s school

7. HVAC Technician

Description: Install, repair, and maintain HVAC systems in residential and commercial properties.

Salary: $48,630

Job Growth: 5%

Requirements: Technical school and/or an apprenticeship

8. Plumber

Description: Install and repair plumbing systems in homes, factories, or businesses. Plumber roles may include on-call emergency hours.

Salary: $59,880

Job Growth: 2%

Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

9. Drafter

Description: Digitize and convert architecture and engineering drawings using software.

Salary: $60,290

Job Growth: -3%

Requirements: Associate’s degree or technical certification

10. Sales Rep, Wholesale and Manufacturing

Description: Sell goods, at wholesale, to businesses and organizations.

Salary: $62,890

Job Growth: 4%

Requirements: Depends on the industry. Technical sales roles may require certification beyond a high school diploma.

11. Physical Therapist Assistant

Description: PT assistants work alongside physical therapists in a medical setting to help patients regain mobility.

Salary: $49,180

Job Growth: 24%

Requirements: Associate’s degree, licensing, or certification

12. Radiation Therapist

Description: Administer radiation to patients in a hospital setting.

Salary: $82,790

Job Growth: 6%

Requirements: Associate’s degree

13. MRI Technician

Job Description: Operate the MRI machine to examine patients, and interpret scans.

Salary: $61,980

Job Growth: 6%

Requirements: Associate’s degree

14. Programmer

Description: Write and test code for a variety of programs and software across industries and verticals. Programming is considered a popular job choice for antisocial people.

Salary: $93,000

Job Growth: -10%

Requirements: Historically, roles have required a Bachelor’s degree. Recently, employers are considering candidates with certifications or bootcamp training.

15. Postal Service Workers

Description: Process, collect, and deliver mail to homes and businesses.

Salary: $51,730

Job Growth: -6%

Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

16. Claims Adjuster, Appraiser, Examiner, and Investigator

Description: Examine and appraise insurance claims, from automotive to residential or commercial building damage.

Salary: $64,710

Job Growth: -6%

Requirements: For most entry-level roles, a high school diploma or equivalent is required. In some industries, such as auto damage appraisal, a certification may be required.

17. Construction and Building Inspector

Description: Inspect residential and commercial buildings to ensure they adhere to local codes and specifications.

Salary: $61,640

Job Growth: -4%

Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

18. Court Reporter and Simultaneous Captioner

Description: Create exact transcripts of exchanges, including courtroom proceedings, or live captioning on television.

Salary: $60,380

Job Growth: 1%

Requirements: Training or certification

19. Sound Engineering Technician

Description: Maintain sound systems for live performances, broadcasts, and other programming.

Salary: $48,790

Job Growth: 10%

Requirements: Varies but often includes technical certification

20. Police Detective

Description: Gather facts and investigate crimes. Some police departments are currently offering generous signing bonuses.

Salary: $66,020

Job Growth: 3%

Requirements: Police Academy completion and on-the-job training

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21. Electrician

Description: Repair, install, and maintain electrical systems.

Salary: $60,040

Job Growth: 7%

Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

22. Brick Mason

Description: Use concrete, stone, or brick to build structures.

Salary: $48,040

Job Growth: -2%

Requirements: Trade school or apprenticeship

23. Insurance Sales Agent

Description: Sell insurance, including home, life, and automotive. This is an excellent work-from-home job for retirees.

Salary: $49,840

Job Growth: 6%

Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

24. Medical Sonographer

Job Description: Operate sonography or other specialty equipment in a medical setting to create digital imaging of patients.

Salary: $75,380

Job Growth: 10%

Requirements: Associate’s degree

25. Information Security Analyst

Description: Create and maintain security for a business’s computer networking systems.

Salary: $102,600

Job Growth: 35%

Requirements: Some employers may require a Bachelor’s degree, but other roles call for on-the-job training or IT certifications instead.

The Takeaway

There’s a potential to earn a high salary in many jobs that don’t require a college degree. However, it may require some research and certifications beyond a high school diploma. Some jobs that pay well, don’t require a degree, and may even be enjoyable range from the medical field and construction to computers and insurance. If you know someone who’s a brick mason or a sonographer, take them out for coffee to get the inside scoop. You might even offer to shadow them at work to find out what their industry is really like.

No matter your salary, it’s important to pay attention to your spending and saving. SoFi Insights is a budget tracker that gathers all your finance info in a single money tracker app. Look at spending patterns, set financial goals, and monitor your credit score for free.

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FAQ

What is the easiest job that pays the most?

One of the easiest jobs that pays the most is working as a makeup artist on film, television, and live theater. However, the role requires experience to reach the highest income levels.

What is the easiest job to get without a degree?

Depending on the industry, it can be relatively easy to get a job in sales with little to no prior experience. However, the role may include on-the-job training to get you up to speed.

What jobs pay a lot but are easy?

There are many jobs in the healthcare space that don’t require manual labor but pay well. This includes roles such as radiation or MRI technician.


Photo credit: iStock/damircudic

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