Are you seeking a job that doesn’t require formal education but will still bring you a rewarding career path? This article will surprise you with exciting career fields that offer jobs that pay $40K a year without a degree.
Keep reading to find out the best jobs that don’t require a degree, their growth outlook, and primary duties that can give you plenty of opportunities to shape your career. Find out how to earn $40K without a degree with the tips below.
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How Common Are $40K Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree?
Jobs in which you can earn an annual salary of $40K are quite common, even if you don’t have a four-year degree or other formal education requirements. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 200 jobs that pay an average starting salary of $40K per year.
Typically, job openings with an annual salary of $40K only require a high school diploma. Other jobs may also require the completion of a certification program, additional training, or work experience. You can explore a range of high-paying jobs without a degree by looking at the job descriptions carefully and focusing on the skills that you have.
How to Earn $40K Without a Degree: 3 Alternative Paths to Your Dream Job
If you want to earn $40K without a degree, there are alternative paths to get your dream job and achieve success. Below are three options to prepare you for jobs that pay $40K a year that don’t require an associate degree or four-year degree program.
Attend a Coding Bootcamp
Coding bootcamps are a great alternative to a traditional college education. Bootcamp programs are designed to provide in-depth knowledge in a career or field to get you job-ready quickly. The programs are typically less than a year in duration and flexible. Most bootcamps have career services dedicated to helping you make an impressive resume and portfolio.
An apprenticeship is a formal training program that develops professional skills through hands-on learning. You can find apprenticeship programs in digital marketing, app development, web development, or game design if you want to earn $40K. You can also find various IT and business apprenticeships offered to individuals without a degree or no prior experience.
Build a Freelancing Career
If you think a traditional career path is not for you, you can pursue a successful career by building a professional portfolio with freelance work. Freelancers with extensive training can start their own consulting business, become an entrepreneur, and earn a lucrative income. They can enjoy flexible schedules doing a passionate job on a daily basis.
Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree and Pay $40K a Year: At a Glance
|Job||Average Salary||Top 10%||Minimum Job Requirements|
|Construction Equipment Operator||$49,100||$86,300+||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Heavy Truck Drivers||$47,130||$69,480+||High school diploma and commercial driver’s license|
|Massage Therapist||$43,620||$79,150+||Postsecondary education with 500 hours of study experience, license or industry certification in some states|
|Accounting Clerk||$42,410||$63,900+||High school diploma or postsecondary education, basic math skills, computer skills for processing spreadsheets|
|Logging Worker||$42,350||$63,990+||High school diploma|
|Travel Agent||$42,350||$73,360+||High school diploma, customer service expertise, excellent communication skills, English proficiency|
|Financial Clerk||$41,520||$62,950+||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Commercial Photographer||$41,280||$86,850+||Postsecondary education or photography courses|
|Dental Assistant||$41,180||$58,390+||Graduation from an accredited program in some states, on-the-job training|
|Fitness Trainer||$40,510||$76,550+||High school diploma, certification for a type of training|
Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree and Pay $40K a Year: A Closer Look
You have ample opportunities if you have relevant skills in a career field that you’re passionate about. If you want to earn an annual salary of $40K, below at the best jobs that don’t require a degree. Our comprehensive list also details the job outlook and job duties for each role.
Construction Equipment Operator
- Average Salary: $49,100
- 90th Percentile Salary: $86,300
- Projected Job Growth: 5%
Construction equipment operators are responsible for handling heavy machinery in construction projects. This type of construction laborer usually controls, uses, and cleans pieces of equipment and machines. Under the supervision of construction managers, they operate machines, such as bulldozers, wheelers, and rollers, to prepare roads and sites for construction.
Heavy Truck Driver
- Average Salary: $47,130
- 90th Percentile Salary: $69,480
- Projected Job Growth: 6%
Heavy truck drivers transport oversized cargo material from one point to another. They follow travel and driving regulations to safely transport heavy loads and hazardous materials. They ensure that their vehicle is in good condition for long drives and the goods intact when they arrive. Unless the driver owns their own business, this job does not require interaction with customers.
- Average Salary: $43,620
- 90th Percentile Salary: $79,150
- Projected Job Growth: 32%
Massage therapists are skilled professionals who use their knowledge of muscle and tissue points on the body to soothe and rehabilitate them. They ease muscular tension and relieve clients’ pain in a massage center or in their own office. They are also responsible for maintaining a clean working environment and promoting wellness to clients.
- Average Salary: $42,410
- 90th Percentile Salary: $63,900
- Projected Job Growth: -3%
An accounting clerk is an entry-level position responsible for recording and maintaining a company’s accounting information. They have good attention to detail and enjoy working with numbers. Accounting clerks also require computer literacy to navigate accounting software and the automated processing of financial data.
- Average Salary: $42,350
- 90th Percentile Salary: $63,990
- Projected Job Growth: 7%
Logging workers are responsible for harvesting and maintaining forests and plantations. They perform cutting, moving, and sawing activities. They are familiar with forest regulations, safety practices, and environmental care. They must be physically strong and be prepared to work in hazardous situations because of the nature of their work environment.
- Average Salary: $42,350
- 90th Percentile Salary: $73,360
- Projected Job Growth: 5%
A travel agent is an entry-level job that organizes travel plans for individual clients, business groups, or group holidays. They arrange flight hours, travel itinerary, accommodations, and transportation. A travel agent presents the costs involved with the activity and finalizes the travel plans. They may also share recommendations for dining and activities.
- Average Salary: $41,520
- 90th Percentile Salary: $62,950
- Projected Job Growth: -2%
Financial clerks update and maintain financial records in offices, financial institutions, and other private institutions. They must enter a volume of financial data accurately into financial systems. Generally, financial clerks have good attention to detail in making mathematical calculations. They may also assist customers in credit, bank, insurance, and payroll transactions.
- Average Salary: $41,280
- 90th Percentile Salary: $86,850
- Projected Job Growth: 17%
Commercial photographers take photographs for commercial services to promote or advertise a business or brand. Their photos appear in product reviews, websites, marketing material, business promotions, and even business cards. They have good interpersonal skills and analytical skills that help them figure out client needs and requirements.
- Average Salary: $41,180
- 90th Percentile Salary: $58,390
- Projected Job Growth: 11%
Dental assistants support the work of dentists and dental hygienists in dental care. They prepare the equipment for the dentist to perform procedures and support the dental office by looking after appointments. They may help with administrative work, like adding information to the electronic patients system.
- Average Salary: $40,510
- 90th Percentile Salary: $76,550
- Projected Job Growth: 39%
Fitness trainers help clients reach their health goals through fitness routines. They motivate individuals in training centers or gyms. Generally, fitness instructors are passionate about physical exercises and workouts. You can get a license to train or a certificate in different types of fitness training like strength training.
How to Earn $40K Without a Degree
To earn $40K without a degree, you can enroll in a trade school or vocational program, attend a bootcamp, or complete a certificate program. These education tracks will help you earn the right skills for the above-mentioned jobs.
You can also land a high-paying annual salary without an associate degree or a four-year degree program by developing relevant skills and producing a high-quality portfolio to demonstrate your capabilities.
Jobs That Pay $40K a Year Without a Degree FAQ
Logistics manager, commercial truck driver, transit police officer, computer network specialist, and real estate broker are examples of some of the highest-paying jobs that require little education. The high annual salary of a lucrative career can also depend on factors like the city you work in, your experience level, and the demand.
Firefighters, emergency medical technicians, personal trainers, and air traffic controllers all earn an industry certification or license to land some of the highest-paying job opportunities.
You can get a job without a college degree by creating a skill-based resume showing what you can do for an employer. Highlight accomplishments in your former roles and mention the soft skills such as negotiation skills or analytical skills that helped you achieve them. For some jobs, a strong portfolio will be a key asset in demonstrating your abilities to a potential employer.
A $40k salary is a good salary, but this is dependent on factors like personal circumstances, benefits, and location. This salary will allow you to afford daily necessities easily, and can extend into further areas including leisure activities, holidays, and savings. If your workplace offers a benefits package, this will also allow for more of your salary to remain after living expenses are taken care of.
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