Students having graduated from college throeing their caps

Earn High without a College Degree

A major crossroad that senior high school students face before graduation is the choice to go to college or to go straight to the workforce. Most students fear that job openings are exclusive to degree holders, and not without reason. Fortunately for them, having the right skills, mindset, and willingness to learn can supplant the need for a degree. Here are some top-paying jobs that non-degree holders can nail:

Truck Driver

Truck driving is essential to the supply chain of any country. The United States, in particular, had 1.8 million trailer truck drivers in 2017. The median salary for this profession that year was $44,500, with Alaskan drivers earning the highest nationwide at $56,250.

A high school diploma or equivalent usually suffices. Accredited truck driving schools may or may not offer a program that can qualify a trainee for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in addition to their training course. A CDL is required for truck drivers to operate across states.

Insurance Sales Agent

Unique job openings for insurance sales agents average 57,100 per month, and if that seems low, it’s because the salary and benefits are top-notch. Insurance sales agents typically earn $23.17 per hour or $48,200 per year and top agents can eventually partner or found their own companies.

Most states require licenses for insurance sales agents. Training is usually conducted on the job regardless of their qualifications. Additional courses in public speaking, business, finance, or economics can help.

Computer Support Specialist

A computer support specialist is an example of a new collar worker or a person who does not need to go through traditional schooling to qualify for their job. Soft and technical skills required for the job are picked up in the course of doing it.

Median wages for computer support specialists in 2017 rose as high as $49,500 per year and $23.81 per hour. Demand for the job is rising yearly due to the increased use of digital devices. Some positions might require an associate degree, which can be earned while on the job in some companies.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technician Testing a cream based product

Earning $14.87 an hour or $30,900 per year, pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers. Pharmacies and drug stores are their leading employers, though some hospitals and private clinics hire a fair number of pharmacy technicians.

To become a pharmacist, students need a two or four-year undergraduate degree, a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, then a license. Pharmacy technicians only require a high school diploma or equivalent and a passing score at their company’s exam. Aspiring pharmacy technicians also learn most technical aspects of their work through on the job training.

Tool-and-die Maker

Trained on the job or through apprenticeship programs in high school, tool-and-die makers are crucial for the manufacturing process. They construct tools and dies that form metal and other raw materials, measuring devices, and fixtures that hold materials into place.

Tie-and-die makers are one of the higher paying manufacturing employees. The Occupational Outlook Handbook states that the median pay for the profession was $44,110 in 2017.

Students with no prior job experience might have a difficult time getting any of these jobs at first. Personal training available at community colleges and reputable online colleges can grant internationally-recognized degrees to people who can complete their curriculum. Most states also have job and training programs for qualified young people.