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17 High-Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a 4-Year Degree

At an early age, I was taught to study as hard as I could in school so I could get into college, land a high-paying job and retire with a hefty sum in savings.

That was the rule in my family, but some people don’t feel that getting a four-year degree is an option — or if it is, maybe they’re just not cut out that way. In any case, it’s certainly not the only way people land decent jobs or rewarding careers.

According to the Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation committed to increasing the share of Americans with degrees, certificates and other high-quality credentials, only 19.83 percent of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree. Data from the foundation also show that 21.76 percent have some college education but no degree, and 26.37 percent didn’t pursue education beyond high school.

Consider these 17 jobs that don’t require a four-year degree and pay significant salaries or wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Note: Some of these jobs require lengthy on-the-job training and apprenticeships. Search the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook for details.

1. Dental hygienist

  • Median income in 2014: $71,520 annually ($34.38 hourly)
  • Income range (lowest to highest 10 percent): about $49,190 to about $97,390
  • Job growth outlook through 2024: 19 percent (much faster than average)
  • Required level of education: associate’s degree

2. Licensed practical nurse and licensed vocational nurse

  • Median income: $42,490 annually ($20.43 hourly)
  • Income range: $31,640 to $94,720
  • Job growth outlook: 16 percent (much faster than average)
  • Required level of education: post-secondary non degree

3. Web developer

  • Median income: $63,490 annually ($30.52 hourly)
  • Income range: $33,790 to $112,680
  • Job growth outlook: 27 percent (much faster than average)
  • Required level of education: associate’s degree

 4. Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic or installer

  • Median income: $44,630 annually ($21.46 hourly)
  • Income range: $27,630 to $70,820
  • Job growth outlook: 14 percent (much faster than average)
  • Required level of education: postsecondary non-degree award

5. Construction and building inspector

  • Median income: $56,040 annually ($26.94 hourly)
  • Income range: $33,970 to $88,830
  • Job growth outlook: 8 percent (as fast as average)
  • Required level of education: moderate term on-the-job training

6. Industrial machinery mechanic

  • Median income: $47,450 annually ($22.82 hourly)
  • Income range: $30,130 to $72,400
  • Job growth outlook: 16 percent (much faster than average)
  • Required level of education: high school diploma or equivalent

7. Electrician

  • Median income: $51,110 ($24.57 hourly)
  • Income range: $31,170 to $85,590
  • Job growth outlook: 14 percent (much faster than average)
  • Required level of education: apprenticeship

8. Chef or head cook

  • Median income: $41,610 annually ($20.01 hourly)
  • Income range: $23,140 to $73,720
  • Job growth outlook: 9 percent (faster than average)
  • Required level of education: high school diploma or equivalent

 9. Correctional officer or bailiff

  • Median income: $39,700 annually ($19.08 hourly)
  • Income range: $20,630 to $70,970
  • Job growth outlook: 4 percent (slower than average)
  • Required level of education: high school diploma or equivalent
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10. Line installer and repairer

  • Median income: $61,740 annually ($29.68 hourly)
  • Income range: $36,090 to $94,030
  • Job growth outlook: 6 percent (as fast as average)
  • Required level of education: long-term on-the-job training

11. Paralegal and legal assistant

  • Median income: $48,350 annually ($23.24 hourly)
  • Income range: $30,280 to $77,830
  • Job growth outlook: 8 percent (average)
  • Required level of education: associate’s degree

12. Plumber, pipe fitter and steamfitter

  • Median income: $50,660 annually ($24.36 hourly)
  • Income range: $29,470 to $88,160
  • Job growth outlook: 12 percent (faster than average)
  • Required level of education: apprenticeship

13. Insurance sales agent

  • Median income: $47,860 annually ($23.01 hourly)
  • Income range: $25,710 to 119,170
  • Job growth outlook: 9 percent (faster than average)
  • Required level of education: moderate-term on-the-job training

14. Firefighter

  • Median income: $45,970 annually ($22.10 hourly)
  • Income range: $22,130 to $81,450
  • Job growth outlook: 5 percent (as fast as average)
  • Required level of education: long-term on-the-job training

15. Chemical technician

  • Median income: $44,180 annually ($21.24 hourly)
  • Income range: $27,100 to $73,160
  • Job growth outlook: 2 percent (slower than average)
  • Required level of education: moderate-term, on-the-job training

16. Optician, dispensing

  • Median income: $34,280 annually ($16.48 hourly)
  • Income range: $21,510 to $55,160
  • Job growth outlook: 24 percent (much faster than average)
  • Required level of education: long-term on-the-job training

 17. Court reporter

  • Median income: $49,860 annually ($23.97 hourly)
  • Income range: $26,670 to $94,140
  • Job growth outlook: 2 percent (slower than average)
  • Required level of education: postsecondary non-degree award

This post courtesy of Money Talks News and Allison Martin.

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