Employers are always seeking the most talented employees to join their teams, and a college degree isn’t always necessary for every career path. It’s possible to land a job that pays $100K a year without a degree. Skills and experience are more important to some employers, and many companies provide on-the-job training.
To get a job that pays six figures without a degree you need to have a vision for your career and a set of professional skills. There are a variety of learning paths, certifications, and hands-on experience opportunities that can help you hone your skills. In this article, you’ll learn about jobs that pay $100K a year without a degree and what responsibilities you might have in a job that pays $100K with no degree.
Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree and Pay $100K a Year: At a Glance
|Job||Average Salary||Top 10%||Minimum Job Requirements|
|Technology Sales Manager||$161,920||$208,000+||Experience as a sales representative and a high-school diploma|
|Advertising and Promotions Manager||$133,380||$208,000+||Ability to organize promotional campaigns and establish a brand|
|Air Traffic Controller||$129,750||$185,990+||High school diploma, complete Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative, pass a medical evaluation, and 3 years of related experience|
|Software Architect||$127,398||$173,000+||Computer architecture and software development knowledge|
|Software Developer||$120,730||$168,570+||Software development knowledge|
|Construction Manager||$98,890||$163,800+||High school diploma and construction experience|
|Elevator and Escalator Installer||$97,860||$130,940+||High-school diploma, state license, and apprenticeship|
|Police Detective||$83,640||$105,540+||High school diploma, US citizen, and graduate from police academy|
|Dental Hygienist||$77,810||$100,200+||Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene and state license|
|Professional Athlete||$77,300||$208,000+||High school diploma and athletic talent|
|Gambling Manager||$74,970||$136,650+||High-school diploma or GED|
|Fire Inspector||$63,080||$100,730+||High school diploma, state-approved EMT certification, and firefighter experience|
|Court Reporter||$60,380||$103,270+||High school diploma, certificate, and speed-typing test|
|Business Owner||$60,000||$127,000+||High school diploma, finance skills, and organization skills|
|Plumber||$59,880||$99,920+||High school diploma or equivalent, state license, and apprenticeship|
|Real Estate Agent||$48,770||$102,170+||High-school diploma or equivalent, experience with property finances and contracts, and real estate license|
Technology Sales Manager
- Average Salary: $161,920
- 90th Percentile Salary: $208,000+
- Projected Job Growth: 7%
Technology sales managers oversee a team of salespeople who sell technology. As this is a mid to senior-level tech sales job, no degree is needed if you have the right experience. To get into tech sales without a degree, you’ll need to first excel as an entry-level tech salesperson. Next, improve your skills with a tech sales bootcamp or a sales or management certification program.
Advertising and Promotions Manager
- Average Salary: $133,380
- 90th Percentile Salary: $208,000+
- Projected Job Growth: 10%
Advertising and promotions managers plan marketing strategies by reviewing budgets, contracts, campaigns, and content for all ads for their clients they oversee. They constantly research trends and supervise a team of marketing agents to help acquire and retain clients. You can get into advertising without a degree if you have an extensive background in traditional and social media marketing.
Air Traffic Controller
- Average Salary: $129,750
- 90th Percentile Salary: $185,990+
- Projected Job Growth: 1%
Air traffic controllers direct aircraft traffic at airports and communicate with pilots about weather conditions. They need to be able to multitask safely and make important decisions quickly. You can become an air traffic controller without a degree by taking a training course with the Federal Aviation Administration and passing a skill assessment, medical exam, and background check.
- Average Salary: $127,398
- 90th Percentile Salary: $173,000+
- Projected Job Growth: 26%
The primary duty of software architects is to provide high-level software solutions to clients and companies. You can be a software architect with no degree as long as you are knowledgeable about operating systems, software tools, programming languages, and communication networks. To become a software architect without a degree you’ll need to teach yourself how to code.
- Average Salary: $120,730
- 90th Percentile Salary: $168,570+
- Projected Job Growth: 26%
Software developers create software applications and products to meet the demand of web and mobile applications in all industries. While some positions will require a bachelor’s degree, there are plenty of software developer jobs with no degree requirement. To become a software developer with no degree, you’ll need to learn how to code.
- Average Salary: $98,890
- 90th Percentile Salary: $163,800+
- Projected Job Growth: 8%
Construction managers make sure construction projects get completed on time and on budget. Becoming a construction manager with no degree is possible for self-employed contractors or those who work for a small business, but those who work at larger firms need an associate or bachelor’s degree. To become a construction manager without a degree, you need several years of work experience and strong project management skills.
Elevator and Escalator Installer
- Average Salary: $97,860
- 90th Percentile Salary: $130,940
- Projected Job Growth: 3%
Elevator and escalator installer is one of the jobs that can pay $100K a year without a degree, though you won’t make that much in your first few years. The primary duties of elevator and escalator installers include installing new elevators and repairing existing elevators. They usually also work on chairlifts, moving walkways, and similar equipment in offices, buildings, and public spaces.
- Average Salary: $83,640
- 90th Percentile Salary: $105,540+
- Projected Job Growth: 3%
A police detective is a type of police officer who collects evidence and solves crimes. They also testify in court cases. Most detectives begin their careers as police officers and work their way up to detective, a job that pays $100K with no degree. You can become a police officer without a degree, but you’ll need to attend a police academy.
- Average Salary: $78,300
- 90th Percentile Salary: $168,200+
- Projected Job Growth: 30%
Web developers create websites and web applications for clients and businesses. You can find a job as a web developer with no degree as long as you have knowledge and technical skills in programming, web design, and user interfaces. You can become a web developer without a degree and earn a high-paying salary as an entrepreneur, freelancer, or software company employee.
- Average Salary: $77,810
- 90th Percentile Salary: $100,200+
- Projected Job Growth: 9%
Dental hygienists work in dental clinics where they clean teeth, check oral health, and take dental x-rays. You can become a dental hygienist with no degree, but most dental hygienists need an associate degree to meet their state’s license requirements.
- Average Salary: $77,300
- 90th Percentile Salary: $208,000+
- Projected Job Growth: 36%
Professional athlete is one of the top jobs that pay $100K a year without a college degree. However, many professional athletes attend college to participate in a college sports program before they turn professional. To become a professional athlete you need to have natural athletic talent in a sport with a professional league.
- Average Salary: $74,970
- 90th Percentile Salary: $136,650+
- Projected Job Growth: 17%
Gambling managers are responsible for managing casino operations. Gambling managers have excellent customer service and managerial skills to look after the staff and customers. They implement house rules and policies in the casino and make sure everyone is playing by the rules. After gaining a few years of work experience, this job can pay six figures without a degree.
- Average Salary: $63,080
- 90th Percentile Salary: $100,730+
- Projected Job Growth: 6%
A fire inspector reviews building plans and inspects buildings to make sure they are up to state and local regulations. They also teach classes and workshops about fire safety. Fire inspectors can make $100K a year without a degree. A fire inspector starts their career as a firefighter with emergency medical technician (EMT) training, then they get on-the-job training to become a fire inspector.
- Average Salary: $60,380
- 90th Percentile Salary: $103,270+
- Projected Job Growth: 1%
One of the best jobs that pay $100K without a degree is a court reporter. These professionals take notes on legal proceedings in court. To land a court reporter job with no degree, you’ll need to take the exam for Registered Professional Reporter certification. This requires good listening skills, the ability to type quickly, and some knowledge of common legal terms.
- Average Salary: $60,000
- 90th Percentile Salary: $127,000+
- Projected Job Growth: N/A
Business owners run businesses of all sizes in any industry. You can start a business without a degree, you just need a good idea and an understanding of local laws and regulations. Business owners may manage teams of workers and sell a physical product, or they may be the sole worker providing a service. To start a business without a degree, reach out to the local office of the US Small Business Administration.
- Average Salary: $59,880
- 90th Percentile Salary: $99,920+
- Projected Job Growth: 2%
Plumber is another one of the $100K jobs without a degree. Plumbers design, install, maintain, and fix plumbing systems in residential and commercial properties. To become a plumber without a degree, you’ll need to complete a four-year apprenticeship through your local union and then take an exam to get your license.
Real Estate Agent
- Average Salary: $48,770
- 90th Percentile Salary: $102,170
- Projected Job Growth: 5%
Real estate agents handle the sale of real estate properties. They have excellent sales skills and maintain good relationships with clients. Additionally, they are familiar with property contracts, property and land regulations, as well as the local area. You can do real estate without a degree. To become a real estate agent without a degree, all you need to do is pass the licensing exam and have excellent soft skills.
How Common Are Six-Figure Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree?
There are many high-paying job opportunities available that pay $100K a year without a degree. Some of these jobs are real estate agent, risk manager, and sales consultant. For most common high-paying jobs without a degree, you’ll need many years of work experience until you reach a level where you make six figures.
For some jobs that pay 100k a year without a degree, you still need advanced training. Bootcamps offer programs for those seeking these specialized career paths. As a result, you will be able to build an impressive portfolio with hands-on project experience to get you your dream job without a college degree.
How to Earn $100K Without a Degree: 3 Alternative Paths
A four-year university isn’t the only way to earn a job with a median salary of $100K. There are alternative paths you can take to careers that pay well without a degree. Below are some of the best alternative methods to get a higher annual salary.
Freelance work and consulting gigs pay well and usually have fewer requirements than salaried jobs. Search for job opportunities that match your exact expertise, and don’t worry about the education requirements. An impressive resume and cover letter that shows off your motivation and qualifications can take the focus off a missing bachelor’s degree.
If a job has entry-level education requirements, you might be able to meet those requirements by attending a bootcamp. During your bootcamp program, you’ll build a professional portfolio demonstrating your new skills. Building an impressive portfolio is one way to get a high-paying job without a degree.
As a new freelancer, you may be wondering what the best-paying freelance jobs are and where to find them. You can build a portfolio and demonstrate your skills on freelance websites. You can start a six-figure job by finding your niche and taking up gigs that help you reach your career goals.
Consulting allows you to earn money while also providing professional advice to businesses and clients. Having consulting experience will help you develop your skillset and take your career to the next level. Your consulting career can take you in many directions depending on your goals and interests.
The goal of bootcamps is to offer a focused learning experience in in-demand fields and help students gain industry-relevant expertise. Bootcamp graduates get hands-on experience and technical skills for a successful career. Plenty of web developer jobs are open to job seekers who have a certificate from a coding bootcamp but no degree.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
What Is the Highest-Paying Job Without a Degree?
Technology sales manager is the highest paying job without a degree. Many of the highest paying jobs without a degree are tech jobs, such as software architect, software developer, and web developer. To learn the coding skills you need for these positions, you can teach yourself how to code or join a coding bootcamp.
For the non-tech jobs that pay $100K a year without a degree, you need a mix of experience and management skills. In these roles, the entry-level positions don’t make six figures. However, after five to 10 years on the job and a certificate or certification program to hone your skills, you’ll be eligible for one of the jobs that pay $100K with no degree.
Jobs That Pay $100K a Year Without a Degree FAQ
All of the jobs that pay $100K without a degree require experience and skill. There is no easy job that pays $100K without a degree. However, the easiest job on our list is probably technology sales manager. It’s a relatively low-stress sales role that only requires some technical knowledge. If you are a naturally gifted salesperson, this is an easy job that pays well without a degree.
How do you find traveling jobs that require no skills or degree?
To find traveling jobs that require no skills or degree, search for jobs where you have to visit clients or business locations. Jobs like real estate agent, professional athlete, and technology sales manager are all traveling jobs that don’t require a degree. You can also work as a remote freelance web developer or software architect and work from anywhere in the country or world.
What hospital jobs require no degree?
There are only a few hospital jobs that require no degree because most hospital staff need at least a bachelor’s degree and a state license to work with patients. However, you can work on the cleaning staff, maintenance staff, or reception team without a degree.
What jobs pay $20 an hour without a degree?
All of the jobs on our list of jobs that pay $100K a year without a degree pay more than $20 an hour. Some other jobs that pay $20 an hour without a degree that didn’t make our list are solar installer, truck driver, and delivery driver. Some visual and musical artists can also make $20 an hour without a degree.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.