5 Jobs That Pay 80k+ Per Year Without a College Degree

We all know that going to college increases the chance that you will eventually have a high-paying career. But attending college is an investment. It costs both time and money, and it isn’t necessarily the best path for everyone. In any case, there are still people out there who have great, high-paying jobs who didn’t have to attend college. Let’s check them out with commentary from a recent AskReddit.


(Photo Credit: Keith Cooper/Flickr)

Supply Chain Manager$81,000/year

Supply Chain Managers typically report high job satisfaction, according to the PayScale Research Center. Their main tasks are to optimize inventory and supply chain activities. This position can earn up to $123,000 per year on the high end. Not too bad for someone that doesn’t have student loans to repay.

Reddit user awards-giver notes that his girlfriend works in supply chain management. Because she doesn’t have a college degree, OP reports that she had to work her way up and had to be “far too dedicated” to her job. She’s now making around $90,000 per year, but OP notes that if/when she decides to get a new job, she’s going to face the problem of not having a degree and getting paid less than she makes now.

Information Security Architect$114,000/year

Those in the tech industry know that this job, while it may not require a college degree, requires plenty of experience and certifications. In this case, OP reports that he is earning $110,000 this year. His certifications include A+, Net+, and Security+, which he notes are actually not that impressive. His day-to-day work as an Information Security Architect involves vetting the security of vendor products, enterprise processes, solutions, and configuring firewalls for regulatory compliance. Basically, if you have the hands-on experience and the know-how, this job could be an easy win for someone without a college degree. 

Systems Administrator – $83,000/year

The typical median salary for this position is around $59,000, but depending on the depth of your experience, you could be earning on the high end, which is over $80,000. Although this job doesn’t necessarily require a college degree, it requires a lot of hands-on experience as System Admins are tasked with the huge responsibility of ensuring all of the technology at their company is up and running without issues. System Administrators are also usually in high demand.

Quality Assurance Inspector$81,000/year

OP started working at a union job instead of going the classic college route. He tells Reddit that he started as a painter, then switched to parts and manufacturing before moving up to inspecting and quality assurance.

As a Quality Assurance Inspector, your main job role is identify defects and deviations from products. The salary for this position can range from $25,000 on the low end to $81,000 on the high end.

Chemical Process Operator$86,000/year

OP LunacyRod tells Reddit he works as a Chemical Process Operator and runs hazmat and wastewater treatment: “I learn fast and I love to work.” The main job role of a CPO is to monitor and maintain chemical equipment and package and transfer chemicals safely. Pay averages $58,000 per year but workers in this job role can earn up to $86,000 with additional experience.

Tell Us What You Think!

Is there a high paying career that doesn’t require a college degree that we missed? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!