Most people think that to earn a six-figure salary, you need a college degree. But, four-year degree programs are expensive. As of 2021, the national average for federal student debt in the US is $37,113 and degree holders will be paying back debt for around 20 years. Instead of enrolling in a costly four-year program, consider jobs that pay $150K a year without a degree.
This guide will help you find 6-figure jobs without a degree. We will examine how to earn $150K without a degree, how common high-paying careers are, and take a closer look at the best jobs that don’t require a degree.
How Common Are 6-Figure Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree?
Six-figure jobs that don’t require a degree are common but hard to come by. One of the best industries to earn $150K without a degree is the tech industry. Systems managers, for example, earn a median wage of $151,150 per year. Healthcare and construction are other industries where you can earn 6-figure jobs without a degree.
How to Earn $150K Without a Degree: 3 Alternative Paths to Your Dream Job
There are several ways you can earn $150 without a degree. If you want to work in the tech industry, a strong portfolio is essential. For most jobs, you will need a professional resume. No matter what field you want to work in, you will need in-demand skills and knowledge. Below are three of the best paths to take to get jobs that pay $150K a year without a degree.
Enroll In a Coding Bootcamp
Coding bootcamps boost your skills and get you to a higher level of expertise in a short space of time. Bootcamps are an excellent choice for those looking to break into the tech as well as tech professionals who are looking for more senior and lucrative roles. Bootcamp students study remotely and allow you to work closely with a career coach.
Networking is essential if you are looking to start a new career or earn a promotion. Strong networking skills mean more opportunities. Therefore, without a college degree, you can use networking for lucrative job opportunities and promotions on your way to earning a salary of $150K.
Attend Online Courses
Distance learning classes are an ideal way to learn new skills. You can find online courses on a wide range of subjects. Furthermore, most online courses are far cheaper than traditional undergraduate courses. Lower costs, less time, and more concise learning will help you develop the skills required for jobs that pay $150K without a degree.
Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree and Pay $150K a Year: At a Glance
|Job||Average Salary||Top 10%||Minimum Job Requirements|
|Data Scientist Manager||$144,166||$165,000+||Completion of a data science bootcamp, data science certifications|
|Air Traffic Controller||$130,420||$184,780+||Associate’s degree or three years of work experience, Air Traffic Control Tower Operator Certificate|
|Senior Product Manager||$129,873||$171,500+||Experience in product development, technical knowledge, business strategy skills|
|Software Development Manager||$128,543||$162,500+||Extensive knowledge in software development, understanding of project management methodologies, people management skills|
|Senior Engagement Manager||$120,999||$180,000+||Two-year college degree, relevant work experience|
|Senior Front End Web Developer||$115,891||$165,500+||Coding bootcamp certificate, extensive knowledge in programming|
|Software Test Manager||$113,599||$150,000+||Work experience in quality assurance processes, advanced understanding of test planning, leadership skills|
|Applications Development Lead||$108,555||$153,500+||High school diploma or GED, experience in project management, Agile software development, people management|
|Real Estate Broker||$100,514||$150,000+||Real Estate Broker license, certification|
|Chief Executive||$89,977||$177,000+||Leadership skills, strategic planning skills, business strategy skills|
Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree and Pay $150K a Year: A Closer Look
At first glance, most of the 6 figure jobs without a degree from the previous table are IT jobs. The top earners range from $150,000 to $177,000 annual salaries. In the next section, we will describe them and explain how to obtain them.
Data Scientist Manager
- Average Salary: $144,166
- 90th Percentile Salary: $165,000
- Projected Job Growth: 22%
A data scientist manager, also known as a lead data scientist, is responsible for project planning, managing the data science team, and building analytical models. The end goal for data scientist managers is to make business decisions and improve products with the help of data.
To advance to this senior-level role without a degree, you should complete one of the best data science bootcamps to get a job at the entry level and then obtain extensive work experience and certifications to qualify you for advancement.
Air Traffic Controller
- Average Salary: $130,420
- 90th Percentile Salary: $184,780
- Projected Job Growth: 4%
Air traffic controllers control the traffic flow of airplanes in airports. This is done by monitoring land and air traffic with radar and computer tools. Air traffic controllers direct planes to keep them from crashing into each other. You will need to get an Air Traffic Control Tower Operator Certificate to get a job as an air traffic controller.
Senior Product Manager
- Average Salary: $129,873
- 90th Percentile Salary: $171,500
- Projected Job Growth: 10%
A senior product manager is in charge of the development of products, from concept to production. They have many supervisory responsibilities such as marketing coordination, product strategy development, and sales. Seeking a PM career without experience or degree is difficult but not impossible.
Companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google don’t require product managers to have a computer science degree. However, you must have sufficient technical knowledge, business strategy skills, and product development skills.
Software Development Manager
- Average Salary: $128,543
- 90th Percentile Salary: $162,500
- Projected Job Growth: 22%
A software development manager is an individual who manages software developers. Today, software developers don’t need four-year degrees when seeking employment. But to transition to a software development manager role you need extensive knowledge in software development, an understanding of Agile project management, and people management skills.
Senior Engagement Manager
- Average Salary: $120,999
- 90th Percentile Salary: $180,000
- Projected Job Growth: 7%
A senior engagement manager builds and nurtures positive client relationships on behalf of the company. They are responsible for increasing the company’s business growth, retaining high-quality clients, and meeting business goals.
To become an engagement manager you don’t need a four-year degree, but you do need at least a two-year college degree, such as an associate degree, alongside relevant work experience.
Senior Front End Web Developer
- Average Salary: $116,962
- 90th Percentile Salary: $178,500
- Projected Job Growth: 13%
Software Test Manager
- Average Salary: $113,599
- 90th Percentile Salary: $150,000
- Projected Job Growth: 22%*
A software test manager is in charge of a team of software testers. They work with other engineers to ensure that the test resources are properly planned and executed. Software test managers are considered senior-level DevOps positions.
You do not need a degree if you have work experience in quality assurance processes and an advanced understanding of test planning. You also need to have good leadership skills to effectively coordinate and deal with your team and manage all the work they do.
Applications Development Lead
- Average Salary: $108,555
- 90th Percentile Salary: $153,500
- Projected Job Growth: 22%*
An applications development lead or applications development manager supervises a team of application developers. Other duties include communicating with peers at the managerial level, dealing with clients, and working with directors. The job blends tech skills and managerial skills.
You need a high school diploma or a GED to become an applications development lead. An additional level of education such as an associate’s degree may also be required. Experience in project management, Agile software development, and people management is essential.
*This statistic is grouped with Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Real Estate Broker
- Average Salary: $100,514
- 90th Percentile Salary: $150,000
- Projected Job Growth: 4%
A real estate broker is a licensed professional who helps clients sell or buy property. They earn a percentage in commission when they sell a property. A real estate agent is licensed to sell property whereas a real estate broker can also own their own real estate firm.
Real estate brokers are required to get certified and obtain a real estate license through licensing exams. It takes four to six months to get a license in person. Alternatively, an online licensing course takes up to eight weeks.
Chief Executive Officer
- Average Salary: $89,977
- 90th Percentile Salary: $177,000
- Projected Job Growth: 8%
A chief executive officer, or CEO, is in charge of an organization or company. They are responsible for making big decisions. Therefore, the CEO will dictate the success or failure of the organization they run.
You don’t need a degree to become a CEO, but you must gradually work your way up in a company and hone your leadership, strategic planning, and business strategy skills. Tech giants like Google, Tesla, and Apple no longer require a degree. These companies also offer amazing benefits and perks for their employees.
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How to Earn $150K Without a Degree
The best way to earn $150K without a degree is by enrolling in a coding bootcamp, taking online courses, or networking. To change your career path and earn a high salary you must acquire and master the necessary skills. Furthermore, soft skills and a professional resume will be important when you are competing with advanced degree holders.
Jobs That Pay $150K a Year Without a Degree FAQ
No, you can easily work in IT without a degree. Coding bootcamps, online courses, and online tutorials are excellent resources to learn coding and basic IT terminology. These skills will help you get an entry-level IT job without a degree. However, you must be willing to work hard and enjoy solving problems.
The easiest way to get a creative job without a degree is by doing freelance work. Ample work experience will allow you to get a creative job without the need for a four-year degree program. Graphic designers, voiceover artists, or video editors can earn a high annual salary working as freelancers.
There are numerous jobs for creative people who love to draw. For example, animators, fashion designers, makeup artists, graphic designers, technical illustrators, industrial designers, and interior designers are ideal jobs for artists to get.
One type of high-paying job is an anesthesiologist. Anesthesiologists earn a median salary of $271,440. This career path requires attending medical school among other advanced degree requirements. Other jobs with a high annual wage include surgeons, gynecologists, and orthodontists.
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