Having an undergraduate or graduate education has often been attributed as the way to earn high-paying careers in most fields. But for people looking to find jobs that pay $60K a year without a degree, there is a wide range of options across various sectors.
You can find 5-figure jobs without a degree by following various alternate career paths. This detailed article will take you through what it takes to land the best jobs that don’t require a degree, the necessary alternative education requirements, and the best career options to choose from.
How Common Are $60K Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree?
According to Indeed.com, many jobs pay $60K a year without a degree. While some jobs start out lower and can rise to an annual salary of $60,000, there are many that start at $60K with the potential to increase as your experience and expertise rise.
Some jobs that pay $60K a year without a degree require specialized training or proper licensing. They may also require work experience or a commitment to undergo on-the-job training, internships, and apprenticeship programs to prepare you. The specific education requirements vary across industries.
How to Earn $60K Without a Degree: 3 Alternative Paths to Your Dream Job
If you do not have a college degree and would like to begin a career in an entry-level position with an annual salary of $60,000, you can choose from various career paths. These paths allow you to master the technical aspects of the jobs, learn interpersonal skills, and gain exposure to handling the job with excellence.
In on-the-job training, the new employee observes and learns from experienced workers within the job environment. Some entry-level jobs allow on-the-job training as long as you possess the necessary education requirements, such as a high school diploma. An apprenticeship also provides on-the-job training.
Trade Schools for Specialized Training and Licensing
A trade school helps you gain the particular skills or licensing required to work in a certain field. For example, an avionics technician needs to attend an aviation maintenance technician school to learn about aircraft maintenance, testing, and repairs. Meanwhile, real estate brokers require the completion of a certificate program and license to operate in most states.
Online learning has become a great educational path to learn a set of skills from the convenience of your home and within your schedule. There are many jobs that pay an annual salary of $60,000 that you can prepare for with an online program. For example, an administrative assistant certificate program will teach interpersonal communication skills, business writing skills, and hardware and software knowledge.
Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree and Pay $60K a Year: At a Glance
|Job||Average Salary||Top 10%||Minimum Job Requirements|
|Subway and streetcar operators||$69,440||$86,200+||High school diploma, on-the-job training|
|Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators||$68,130||$103,610+||High school diploma|
|Farmers and ranch managers||$68,090||$130,760+||High school diploma, voluntary certification in agriculture|
|Avionics technicians||$67,840||$100,680+||Federal Aviation Administration technician school, on-the-job training, or training in the military|
|Police officers||$67,290||$113,860+||High school diploma, specialized police academy training|
|Auto insurance appraisers||$65,550||$95,630+||High school diploma, experience in evaluating and estimating damage costs|
|Executive administrative assistants||$63,110||$94,830+
||High school diploma, computer literacy and proficiency|
|Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives||$62,070||$129,200+||High school diploma, strong interpersonal and sales skills|
|Electrical and electronics installers and repairers
||$62,020||$98,010+||High school education, on-the-job specialized training, apprenticeships|
|Real estate brokers||$60,370||$174,120+||High school diploma, pass a licensing exam|
Best Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree and Pay $60K a Year: A Closer Look
Below are the best jobs that don’t require a degree in order to earn $60,000 a year, along with their average salaries, job outlook and a brief description of the job’s responsibilities. The figures are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and reflect the most recent information available.
Subway and Streetcar Operators
- Average Salary: $69,440
- 90th Percentile Salary: $86,200
- Projected Job Growth: 10%
These operators operate elevated suburban or subway trains that lack a separate electric-powered streetcar or locomotives. Education requirements include a high school diploma and new employees will receive moderate on-the-job training.
Claims Adjusters, Examiners, Appraisers, and Investigators
- Average Salary: $65,550
- 90th Percentile Salary: $103,610
- Projected Job Growth: -3%
Claim adjusters investigate, examine, and appraise insurance claims. They primarily work in the field, inspecting properties such as buildings and automobiles on which insurance claims have been made. The education requirements are a high school diploma and certificate program.
Farmers and Ranch Managers
- Average Salary: $68,090
- 90th Percentile Salary: $130,760
- Projected Job Growth: 0%
Agricultural managers work outdoors and in the office to supervise laborers that take care of livestock or work on the farms. This job is physically demanding and requires continuous decision-making to ensure the ranch or farm runs smoothly. There are no college education requirements for this career path, but an apprenticeship is recommended.
- Average Salary: $67,840
- 90th Percentile Salary: $100,680
- Projected Job Growth: 11%
Avionics technicians are part-time or full-time workers who inspect, install repair, or test avionics such as missile control, radio, radar or navigation systems in space vehicles or aircraft. They are required to complete a specialized training program before employment can begin.
- Average Salary: $67,290
- 90th Percentile Salary: $113,860
- Projected Job Growth: 7%
Police officers respond to emergencies to help protect lives and property in adherence of the laws of local and state governments. They do not require a college degree but must partake in a formal training program before beginning duty. Their annual salary can be higher than $60,000, even upwards of $100,000, due to overtime and union contracts.
Auto Insurance Appraisers
- Average Salary: $65,550
- 90th Percentile Salary: $95,630
- Projected Job Growth: -3%
An auto insurance appraiser works for an insurance company to assess vehicles for auto damage and determine the repair cost for the insurance claim settlement. They also offer recommendations and seek agreements with repair costs from an auto repair shop. The average growth rate of this career is grouped on BLS with other claims adjusters, examiners, appraisers, and investigators.
Executive Administrative Assistants
- Average Salary: $63,110
- 90th Percentile Salary: $94,830
- Projected Job Growth: -7%
Executive administrative assistants perform organizational and clerical tasks. They work in office settings in various industries such as healthcare, government agencies, and both private and public companies. Many entry-level roles require computer and software skills such as Microsoft Office, coupled with excellent customer service skills.
Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives
- Average Salary: $62,070
- 90th Percentile Salary: $129,200
- Projected Job Growth: 5%
Manufacturing and wholesale sales reps sell merchandise and products created in a manufacturing plant to government agencies, businesses, and other organizations for wholesalers and manufacturing firms. Their work involves lots of traveling and meetings. Depending on experience and commission structures, their annual salary can range drastically.
Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers
- Average Salary: $62,020
- 90th Percentile Salary: $98,010
- Projected Job Growth: 2%
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers are tasked with installing and repairing various electrical equipment in residential and commercial premises. They typically work full time in factories or shops and must be able to lift heavy equipment, run inspections and tests, and disassemble and reassemble various equipment and their components.
Real Estate Brokers
- Average Salary: $60,370
- 90th Percentile Salary: $174,120
- Projected Job Growth: 4%
Real estate brokers can be self-employed or work for companies that help clients identify, buy, or sell properties. Real estate agents become licensed through real estate courses. Pursuing further specialized licensing will qualify real estate agents to become real estate brokers. This lucrative career path requires a high school diploma or GED, a real estate license, and a broker’s license.
How to Earn $60K Without a Degree
You can get a job that pays an annual salary of $60K by receiving specialized training from an approved institution, earning a certification, completing online training, or undergoing on-the-job training with at least a high school diploma. You should also work on developing relevant soft skills, such as interpersonal skills, computer literacy, or negotiation skills.
Jobs That Pay $60K a Year Without a Degree FAQ
Some of the jobs you can get with an annual salary of $60k that don’t require an associate degree or four-year degree include executive assistants, respiratory therapist, avionics technicians, radiation therapists, air traffic controllers, power plant operators, and ranch managers.
For most high-paying jobs without a degree, you need at least a high school diploma, specialized training in a community college, or some years of job experience in an apprenticeship position. You may also be required to earn certifications for an entry-level job in certain industries such as aviation.
High school graduates can gain the skills required to land jobs with an annual salary of $60K through practical experience as an intern, or by volunteering in the local community in a variety of settings. They can also complete online training or certification programs to increase their marketable soft skills. By taking the steps, students can gain an edge in the job market.
Some essential things worth considering when choosing among the highest-paying jobs are job growth opportunities, the number of jobs available, whether the skills learned on the job are transferable, formal education requirements, flexibility, and alignment with your future career path.
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.