Jobs Without College
by Judy Kaplan Baron, Ph.D.
Master Career Counselor

Career Planning expert, Michael Farr, and statistician, Laurence Shatkin, recently published the second edition of their book "The 300 Best Jobs That Don't Require a Four-Year Degree."  Their information is based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Census Bureau.  Top-paying jobs for those without a college degree include positions in sales, education, law enforcement, construction, administration and transportation.  Some are management and supervisory jobs as well.

Below is a list of 20 of the top-paying jobs listed in the book that don't require a college degree, along with the typical annual income.

Air Traffic Controller, $102,030

Storage and Distribution Manager, $66,600

Transportation Manager, $66,600

Police and Detectives Supervisor,  $64,430

Non-Retail Sales Manager,  $59,300

Forest Fire Fighting and Prevention Supervisor,$58,920

Municipal Fire Fighting and Prevention Supervisor,  $58,902

Real Estate Broker,  $58,720

Elevator Installers and Repairer, $58,710

Sales Representative, $58,580

Dental Hygienist, $58,350

Radiation Therapist, $57,700

Nuclear Medicine Technologist, $56,450

Child Support, Missing Persons and Unemployment Insurance Fraud Investigator, $53,900

Criminal Investigators and Special Agent, $53,990

Immigration and Customs Inspector, $53,990

Police Detective, $53,990

Police Identification and Records Officer, $53,990

Commercial Pilot, $53,870

Talent Director, $52,840

Though a 4-year college degree is not a requirement for these positions, some education is generally required along with significant on-the-job training or apprenticeships. For example, Dental Hygienists, Radiation Therapists, Nuclear Medicine Technologists and Commercial Pilots require an associate degree at a vocational or technical school often in conjunction with a certification or license.

Good jobs with high demand and competitive pay

If this is what you're looking for, you might want to consider the careers below. Keep in mind that it's also important to enjoy your career!

Vocational Education Teachers at the post secondary level.  Annual earnings average $40,740.

Registered Nurses, with annual earnings of $52,330.

Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives, with annual earnings of $45,400.

Tractor Trailer/Truck Drivers, with annual earnings of $33,520.

Harlow Unger, author of "But What If I Don't Want to Go to College? A Guide to Success Through Alternative Education" states that there are 50 million jobs (more or less) out there that don't require a bachelor's degree and pay $40,000+ a year.  In addition, while a college degree used to be the primary requirement for those in the baby boom generation, workers are now judged more on their skills than their sheepskins.  His opinion.

If attending a four-year college is not for you, that's fine.  Find a good fit that's a solid choice for you.  However, keep in mind that statistically, there's lots of evidence that college educated people earn more in their lifetimes than their non-college educated counterparts.

Contact Information for Judy Kaplan Baron