10 Highest-Paying Jobs That Don't Require A Bachelor's Degree

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Southwest Air pilots
Muffet/FlickrSouthwest Air pilots.


If you think you need a bachelor's degree to have a lucrative career, think again.

Yes, it's true that those with a bachelor's typically earn more than those without one - but it's certainly not always the case.

A new report by the career-guidance website CareerCast found that there are plenty of high-paying jobs - including commercial pilot and registered nurse - that don't require four years of college. They do, however, require specialized training.

"There's no question that college graduates with four-year degrees are very likely to earn almost $1 million more in compensation through the course of their careers," says Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast. "However, for the many people who are unable to earn that degree because of the costs, financial obligations, or other reasons, it's still possible to have a very rewarding, challenging, fulfilling career that pays well.

"These jobs offer great opportunities for those job seekers," he said. "To land one of these jobs, you'll need to compensate with good old-fashioned hard work and some post-high-school training,"
CareerCast evaluated 200 professions across a variety of industries and skill levels to determine the highest-paying jobs that don't require a four-year degree. It gathered data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau, trade-association studies, and other sources.

10.
Verizon-Downtown Manhattan Restoration
AP
Communications Equipment Mechanic

Annual Median Salary: $54,530

Education Required: Postsecondary nondegree award

Many trade schools and junior colleges offer vocational programs designed to teach the skills necessary to become a communications equipment mechanic. The BLS reports that completion of one of these programs typically comes with either official certification or an associate's degree.

> Find a job as a communications equipment mechanic


9.
A mechanic checks the engine of a VFW 61
Getty Images
Aircraft Mechanic

Annual Median Salary: $55,230

Education Required: FAA-accredited Aviation Maintenance Technician School

These schools teach those working to become aircraft mechanics the skills necessary for the job. Passing an FAA exam is a requirement.

> Find a job as an aircraft mechanic


8.
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Getty ImagesRespiratory therapist, left, and a surgeon, right, demonstrate how to resuscitate a patient.
Respiratory Therapist

Annual Median Salary: $55,870

Education Required: Associate's degree and state licensing

Programs for training and certification in respiratory therapy exist throughout the country. Anyone trying to become a respiratory therapist must be certified by the National Board for Respiratory Care.

> Find a job as a respiratory therapist


7.
Increased Security In NYC Continues One Day After Explosions Occurred During Boston Marathon
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Police Officer

Annual Median Salary: $56,980

Education Required: High-school diploma or equivalent and graduation of police academy

Aspiring police officers must pass rigorous physical fitness tests, take extensive training in law enforcement, and graduate from a police academy to serve.

> Find a job as a police officer


6.
Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS)
NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr
Electrical Technician

Annual Median Salary: $57,850

Education Required: Associate's degree

Postsecondary schools offer vocational programs geared toward those learning to be electrical technicians. These programs teach skills like circuitry and computer repair.

> Find a job as an electrical technician


5.
Plaid Flannel Shirt Clothing Store Fashion IMG_7681
stevendepolo/Flickr
Retail Buyer

Annual Median Salary: $60,550

Education Required: High-school diploma

While requirements may vary depending on the hiring company, an entry-level applicant can work as a buyer with a high-school diploma. After gaining experience, one can find advancement opportunities by earning certain certificates, including a Certified Purchasing Professional and Certified Professional Purchasing Manager credential.

> Find a job as a retail buyer


4.
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APA web developer at Google.
Web Developer

Annual Median Salary: $62,500

Education Required: Associate's degree

Training in various web-building disciplines is required for aspiring web developers. This includes HTML, CSS, Javascript, and other coding techniques, as well as some graphic design. Most can be obtained through associate's programs.

> Find a job as a web developer


3.
School Medical Needs
AP
Registered Nurse

Annual Median Salary: $65,470

Education Required: Associate's degree and state nursing license

According to the BLS, nurses can launch their careers either with a bachelor's degree in nursing science, an associate's degree in nursing, or certification from an accredited nursing program. No matter the chosen route one takes, all nurses must receive state-issued licensing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination.

> Find a job as a registered nurse


2.
Cattle Industry in Texas
Getty Images
Farmer-Rancher

Annual Median Salary: $69,300

Education Required: High-school diploma or equivalent

While training to be a farmer is largely gained on the job, the BLS reports that "farm and land management has grown more complex," which has prompted more farmers to pursue bachelor's degrees. The BLS also reports, however, that government programs exist to help aspiring farmers gain training and a foothold in the industry.

> Find a job as a farmer-rancher


1.
Southwest Air pilots
Muffet/Flickr
Commercial Pilot

Annual Median Salary: $73,280

Education Required: High-school diploma or equivalent; commercial pilot's license from the FAA and Airline Transport Pilot certificate

Whereas airline pilots typically need a college degree in addition to their FAA pilot's licensing and ATP certification, commercial pilots - who fly aircraft for reasons such as charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, and aerial photography - can begin their careers with a high-school diploma and the proper licensing and certification.

> Find a job as a pilot
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