10 high-paying jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree

Who says you need a bachelor's degree to have a lucrative career? Here are 10 good-paying jobs that don't require four years of college.

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Jul 7, 2014 1:54PM

A dentist had a sink backed up in his office and he couldn't treat patients w/o having it fixed. He called a plumbler who fixed in about half an hour and gave the bill to the dentist. The dentist looked at the bill and exclaimed "$250 for half hour's work!?!?!? That comes out to $500/hr! Even I don't make that kind of money!!!"


The plumber smiled and answered "Yes, I know! I used to be a dentist!"

Jul 3, 2014 7:45PM
Retail buyer?  Hey, my wife is a retail buyer.  But it doesn't pay,  it' costs every time she goes to the mall and buys retail.
Jul 7, 2014 5:26PM

If 50K is considered high pay these days we have more serious problems.

Jul 3, 2014 11:43PM
Dear MSN, please show me the book/magazine/journal article/bar napkin that says a college degree equals instant high pay.  Good lord, it's not rocket science that the door swings both ways.  I know people who have a college degree who make peanuts and others who are rich but never finished.  The common denominator is that you need to think and outline your career and push yourself professionally.  
Jul 4, 2014 12:31AM
I don't want to brag since I do not have any type of degree, but I work for a company where my pay is more than $38.75 per hour.  When i was younger, I got a lot of on-the-job training and to put me in my field to set me up for my current job.  I am a proven fact that you do not need a degree to get paid a lot.  I was in the right place at the right time and I jumped on it.  It is also nice if you know someone to help you to reach your goals.  Sorry, but it is not Wal-Mart, Target, or McDonalds.
Jul 7, 2014 12:13PM

You know...Once upon a time [60's-70's] the City of New York had some of the finest Vocational High Schools in the nation. Just to mention a few, there were schools like - Aviation High School in Queens. Many of their graduates went to serve our nation's Air Force, others went on to work for Boeing, McDonald Douglas and near by [Long Island] Grumman Corp. Then there was Alfred E. Smith and Samuel Gompers High Schools in the South Bronx, where students were taught everything related to the Automotive and Electronics trades, respectively. Heck, there was even a Food & Maritime High School in Manhattan, where students learned the culinary trade or maritime trade. Many great chefs got their start there, and the others became merchant marines. The best part of vocational schools – because their students looked forward to learn a trade, their drop out rate was low.

So what happened to most if not all NYC Vocational High Schools? Truth be told - the “liberals” decided Vocational High Schools were bad, and that all students, including those NOT at all interested in college, be it for financial or intellect reasons, had to take high school courses designed to prepare them for college.

Results: Drop-out rates INCREASED, and of those who did continue on to college under the city's OPEN ADMISSIONS PROGRAM, many had to take Remedial English and Math courses because – Duh, their reading and math level(s) was NOT up to college level.

Just saying...

Jul 3, 2014 7:06PM
It isn't that you "can" get these jobs without a bachelors degree, it's that with the economy today, employers won't hire you without one. They have the luxury of getting 1000 applications for the janitors position, of which at least 100 of those are people with Masters Degrees who are desperately trying to land anything that pays the rent.

Why settle for some guy who doesn't even have a bachelors, when you can pick from 100 applicants with a masters AND pay them a janitors wage because they'll take anything, it's a win/win for the employer.
Jul 7, 2014 1:06PM
if employers start accepting alternative training/credentials to college degrees, it would solve the runaway tuition costs, incompetence in college curriculum and the generally poor return on investment for students and government issuing students grant money. 

young people need to start thinking about what makes more sense --- pursuing a degree for 4-6 years and accumulating huge debt only to have the jobs in their fields outsourced, or just going from H.S. right into a career that offers paid on-the-job training and room for advancement.  yes you might start out a minimum wage with some jobs, but you are being paid to learn, as opposed to paying to learn 

i support revamping the entire higher education system to emphasize only work-study programs. every student should spend equal time in real-world training and text/theory. They should be paid a wage for the real-world training. This system would graduate confident and skilled graduates ready to hit the ground running on day one. 
Jul 4, 2014 10:21AM
$106,235. As a high school drop out with a GED. Who says Firefighters are just an average income job! Just do what you want to do and work hard, education cant take the place of common sense and hard work!
Jul 14, 2014 10:28AM
Since when is mid $50's a high paying job???   oh yes I forgot its the new economy--- and you wonder why people are mad ???
Jul 6, 2014 11:04AM
This group must not have done very thorough research. I know for a fact that  full time UPS drivers are making in excess of 80 grand a year. I 've been retired from UPS for nearly ten years now and I was making in excess of 60 back then. No degree required !
Jul 10, 2014 12:38PM
Probably want to check your facts. Hospitals are slowly requiring a bachelor of nursing and even giving nurses with associate degrees a time line to obtain the bachelor. ADNs are being phased out.  At least fact check msn, thanks.
Jul 7, 2014 12:31PM
All my husband has is an electrical certificate from community college and a journeyman card, he makes more than all of these jobs as a maintenance mechanic fixing cookers at Campbell's soup.
Jul 3, 2014 6:25PM
With internet degrees gaining credibility, companies need to start investing in education for its prospects-- no more free feeder system, because higher education will soon be too expensive for individuals to participate. It makes more sense anyway--- you can apply your theories from classes to a workplace directly. End the ridiculous unpaid intern system. It is too short and holistic to really enter a company as "experienced."
Jul 7, 2014 10:50AM

Degrees might be helpful, but there needs to be a master plan for going into a career. One important factor is where you attend school and the network that will start you down the career path. Many times relationships developed in higher education endure the rest of your professional life and the importance of these is often undervalued.

In an employment environment many times its not "what you know but who you know" that gets you in front of the right people.

Jul 7, 2014 7:35AM
knock knock.
 who's there?
 diploma who?
  diploma is here to fix the sink. 
Jul 7, 2014 7:57AM
Jul 4, 2014 12:05AM
I'm glad Web developer made this list, it's a great, well-paying career that you can teach yourself with little formal education as long as you have a knack for it.  That said, as a fairly experienced web developer, I have a couple comments on the details:
1.  Associate's degree?  Don't bother.  Save your time and money, teach yourself the fundamental skills with web tutorials, then volunteer your time creating websites for non-profits or small businesses to get real-world experience.  Leverage that experience to get paying jobs.  I've never met an employer that cared about an associate's degree, most say "Require bachelor's or equivalent experience."
2.  Although learning Javascript/HTML/CSS is a great place to start and there are careers that use only those technologies, you should definitely learn the server-side of things too.  Pick up a server-side language and database technology so you can create websites end-to-end.
3.  The median pay may be $65kish, but if you're good, you can earn double that in much of the country.
Jul 14, 2014 10:16AM
To the readers: 95% of these 'columns' are written on short notice without any research or 5 minutes worth of reading other columns. I'm sure you have all figured out there is no quality on these sites. It's like reading a horoscope; it's likely not true, but there is a slight chance that it could be. If you think a $55k annual salary is a high pay, think again. Most of these people rely on their spouses' income or a second job.
Jul 7, 2014 12:43PM
MSN sure does rerun articles.....trying to stay away from any real news that might put their little darling barrack hussein in a bad light I suppose...can't have the masses commenting on that if they can help it....Hey there's lots of juicy celebrity articles for all you liberals to occupy your mind with......don't worry about the real news...your leaders will take care of everything and you need not worry.
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