We all want to make more money. But that doesn’t mean college is for everyone. Between rising student loan costs and the need for more trade skills, you don’t have to study for 4+ years to get a well-paying job. In this article, we’re highlighting 20+ jobs that pay 50k a year without a degree.
Is 50k a Good Entry Level Salary?
You’re here looking for careers that make 50k a year without a degree, but is that enough? Is 50k a good entry level salary? Or are you short-changing yourself? Could you earn even more?
To answer this question, let’s look at the average household earnings and the average salaries per individual in the US.
What is the median household income in the US? Is it more or less than the 50k income we’re aspiring to earn here?
According to the Census Bureau, the median household income in 2020 was $67,521.
This is obviously more than the $50k jobs without a degree that we’re outlining below, but it’s often inflated because there might be two people contributing to the income within each household.
So what about each individual? What does the average individual earn in the US? Is earning $50k better than average?
Related: 20+ High Paying Holiday Jobs
Median Individual Income in the US
Lucky for us, the Census Bureau also reports on the the median individual income in the US as well.
In 2020, the average individual earned $41,535.
So is 50k a good entry level salary?
When you compare a 50k salary to the average income of everyone in the US…Absolutely!
If you find some jobs that pay over $50,000 a year without a degree and land one of them, you’re doing better than most!
How Can I Make 50k a Year?
You want to do it, but you’re left wondering, “How can I make 50k a year without a degree?”
It’s not super easy, but it’s certainly not impossible. There are plenty of jobs that pay 50k a year with a high school diploma.
So what steps do you need to take to earn $50k a year?
- Learn what jobs pay 50k a year or more. ie. Start with the end in mind. Look through the jobs below to see which one you might like to do!
- Do some research around the jobs that you think you’ll like. What skills do you need? How long will it take to get into that career?
- Job shadow. Find someone that has the job you think you’re interested in. Grill them about it. What do they like and not like about it?
- Intern. Do some work in the field you’re interested in without jumping all in with both feet. Do a little side hustle work in that field. See if you actually like it!
- Go through the steps necessary to get qualified and then start applying!
The 50k a year job won’t be handed to you, but each of these jobs are certainly within reach. Want to earn 50k a year without a degree? Then do it. It’s as simple as that!
20 Jobs That Pay 50k A Year Without A Degree
Stuck in a dead-end job? Not earning what you think you’re capable of?
It’s time to search for jobs that pay 50k a year without a degree. Take a look at what’s offered below. You might be surprised!
These jobs span across different industries and fields. It’s important to note that some do require training, certifications, or time in the field. However, none of them require a traditional degree with 4+ years of school.
First up, the entry level jobs that pay $50k a year. These are jobs where you don’t need any experience to get started.
And, most importantly, they are jobs that pay 50k a year with a high school diploma (and that’s it!).
So, if you’re looking for high paying jobs without a degree or experience, these are them. Check these out!
1) Real Estate Broker
Median salary: $25k – $114k
Duties: The broker represents the sellers or buyers of real estate or real property (which is super hot right now!). They tend to work independently but can also work with a company, but the pay is solely commission-based.
Certification: High school diploma and real estate license
How to Get Started: Getting Into Real Estate: 5 Steps to Becoming an Agent
2) Start Your Own Business
Median salary: $0 – infinity
Duties: You could start your own business in any field – from electrical to plumbing to blogging (Derek highly recommends this one! :)), writing, or site building!
The key here is that you wouldn’t just draw a salary like a typical job. You could work as much or as little as you want, and the sky is the limit on income! Want to earn a ton? Then add a ton of value for your customers!
Certification: No certifications needed to work for yourself.
How to Get Started: 10 Steps to Start Your Small Business
Web developers create practical websites, web applications, application databases, and web interfaces.
This in-demand tech job doesn’t require a degree or certification at all. In fact, many web developers are self-taught. As long as you can prove that you know what you’re doing, and can back up your claims with a portfolio, you should be able to get a job paying an average of $75,000 a year easily.
What Jobs Pay The Most Money With The Least Education?
You’re wondering what jobs make at least 50k a year, but you’re also looking to start pretty quickly. What are some other jobs that pay the most money with the least education?
Here’s your list!
4) Claims Adjuster/Investigator
Have you ever been in a car accident or needed to use your homeowners/renters insurance? If this has happened, you’ve most likely worked with a claims adjuster. They review settled claims and determine how much the company pays based on that company’s procedures.
A high school diploma is required and there usually is training on the job due to each company being different. However, you can make around $50,000-$70,000 a year.
How to Get Started: How to Become an Insurance Claims Adjuster
5) Farming/Agriculture Manager
Want to be a leader? Ready to help make a difference in people’s lives? And, want one of those jobs that pay 50k a year without a degree? 😉
Become an agriculture manager.
They coordinate the operation of farms, ranches, greenhouses, and much more to help them run smoothly and efficiently. While some experience in the field may be required, you only need a high school diploma to become a manager. The current median wage is about $61,000.
How to Get Started: How to Become a Farm Manager in 5 Steps
6) Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
You may know what a sonographer is if you’ve ever been pregnant or knew someone who was. Diagnostic medical sonographers use special imaging equipment on a patient’s body to assess and diagnose various medical conditions. This even includes seeing babies in the womb!
This field does require at least an associate’s degree. But some states also offer trade school options that you can graduate from in 18 months or less. The average sonographer makes around $65,000 a year. Pretty solid pay for not a lot of schooling!!
How to Get Started: How to Become a Sonographer
Calling all creatives! If you’re great at applying makeup for the stage, or love to make someone go from ordinary to scary/gory, you can earn upwards of $100,000 (or more) a year! This will depend on if you work for yourself or with a company, but either option will earn you at least $50,000 annually.
Plus, you’ll be able to work on Broadway sets, movie sets, and even music videos if you’re interested.
How to Get Started: How to Become a Theatrical Make-up Artist
8) Warehouse Manager
If you’re wondering, “How can I make 50k a year without a degree?” and you have experience in warehousing. This might be a great option for you!
If you currently work in a warehouse or have worked in shipping before, you could become a warehouse manager.
Typically, you’ll need to work your way up (or take a promotion at a different job), but it can be done. And, you only need a high school diploma to make around $55,000 a year.
How to Get Started: How to Become a Warehouse Manager
9) Pipe Welder
When you become a pipe welder you’ll perform construction and reparation of piping systems that involve welding equipment. This requires extreme attention to detail and being able to follow safety precautions.
While you don’t need a degree, you will need at least two years of welding experience. This can be through training or even trade school. Some jobs even train you while paying you a small stipend until you’re ready.
The average pipe welder makes around $69,000 a year. Dang, that’s good money!!
How to Get Started: Pipe Welder: What Is It? And How to Become One!
Yes, this is a dirty job. But yes, you can make a lot of money doing it. If you really want one of those 50k a year jobs without degree, this is a great option.
Plumbers don’t just fix toilets. They can install equipment like water heaters, repair water damage, install pipes, and much more. And, you really only need on-the-job training or trade school to make upwards of $70,000. If you want to make more, you can get certifications like a Master Plumber certificate.
How to Get Started: How to Become a Plumber
Low-Stress Jobs That Pay Well Without a Degree
Searching for careers that make 50k a year without a degree, but you don’t want to be in high-stress situations all the time? The jobs below are some great options for you!
11) Funeral Home Manager
Working for a funeral home may seem a bit morbid. But in fact, this job helps bring peace and understanding to families, as well as getting them ready to see their loved ones one last time.
If you’re a caring person and don’t get spooked or weirded out easily, this is the best potential job for you. It also doesn’t hurt that a funeral home manager can make around $70,000 a year.
How to Get Started: How to Become a Funeral Director
12) Dental Hygienist
Teeth don’t freak you out… do they? If you said no, you could do well as a dental hygienist! This job only requires an associate’s degree. And, the median salary is around $77,000 a year, with room to grow as you gain experience!
This is also a great job for anyone looking for a stable career that gives them a bit of flexibility. Many dental hygienists are part-time, work 4 days a week (10-hour shifts), or even help choose their work schedule.
How to Get Started: How to Become a Dental Hygienist
You’re looking for jobs making 50k a year without a degree, and this is certainly one of them!!
If you can pay attention to detail and are good with people, you could be a property manager.
Your main job would revolve around providing customer service to both tenants and potential renters. You may also screen new applicants, process payments, and handle maintenance requests (among other duties).
The average pay for property managers is around $80,000 a year. While you’ll only need a high school diploma, some states do require a real estate license.
Another perk to this job is that you can usually live onsite for a discount or free.
How to Get Started: How to Become a Property Manager
14) First-Line Supervisor
Are you already working in the mechanic field? If so, and you want a bit more responsibility (and pay!), you can become a first-line supervisor.
They will supervise and coordinate activities for mechanics, installers, and repairers on their jobs. The median salary is around $65,000 a year, but some companies pay upwards of about $90,000.
How to Get Started: First Line Supervisor: What Is It? And How to Become One!
15) Radiation Therapist
A radiation therapist is in high demand.
You’ll check equipment, observe patients’ going through treatment, and document sessions. And, you can earn around $80,000 a year with just an associate’s degree.
How to Get Started: 5 Steps to Become a Radiation Therapist
Other Jobs That Pay 50k a Year Without a Degree
Haven’t yet found your list of careers that make 50k a year without a degree? Maybe you’re not looking to lay back in an easy job. Maybe you want something with a little bit more responsibility, or something more dangerous. If you want a job that’s a little different and earns a great paycheck each month, check out the jobs below!
Calling all train-lovers!
No, you don’t need a college degree to be a locomotive engineer. Actually, all you need is a high school diploma and some on-the-job training. These engineers can drive electric, diesel-electric, or other locomotives to transport both passengers and freight.
You’ll start off making around $44,000 a year, but many companies give annual raises. The average locomotive engineer makes around $70,000 annually.
How to Get Started: Locomotive Engineers: Salary, Career Path, Job Outlook
17) Gas Plant Operator
If you’re okay with a slightly dangerous job, you could try being a gas plant operator. Gas plant operators distribute and process gas for utility companies by controlling compressors. So this is a very hands-on job opportunity. And, the median salary for a gas plant operator is around $80,000!
How to Get Started: How to Become a Gas Plant Operator. And What Do They Do??
“What jobs pay over 50k without a degree and are a little bit dangerous…”
This is most likely one of the most dangerous jobs on the list.
Power lines can be tricky. But, if you’re detailed oriented, don’t have a fear of heights, and like working with your hands, you could make upwards of $75,000 a year.
How to Get Started: Line Installers and Repairers – Bureau of Labor Statistics
19) Nuclear Technician
Did you know that physicists, engineers, and other professionals need technicians to help with nuclear research and production?
If you’ve ever been interested in the field, but don’t want to spend 6+ years in school, this job only requires an associate’s degree. And, the average annual salary is $80,000.
How to Get Started: How to Become a Nuclear Technician in 5 Steps
20) Power Plant Operator
If you’re not a fan of heights or dangerous jobs, try being in the control room instead.
Power plant operators help control, operate, and maintain machines that generate electric power. And, they can actually make a little more than powerline installers, with the average salary being around $78,000-$82,000 a year.
How to Get Started: How to Become a Power Plant Operator
21) Elevator Installer/Repairer
Want one of the cooler jobs making 50k a year without a degree?
I seriously think this is it. I love this one. An elevator installer/repairer.
The trade of assembling, installing, repairing, and maintaining elevators is dying out. But the industry needs more qualified people to help.
This job is expected to grow by 15% in the next few years, and you could make around $90,000 a year if you’re able to learn the skills. Whew! That’s some good cash!!
How to Get Started: How to Become an Elevator Installer and Repairer
Did you know that air traffic controllers only need an associate’s degree in order to do their job?
It’s certainly not a laid-back way to make money, but you can earn quite the hefty paycheck here!
In this field, you’ll monitor and direct the movement of airplanes (or other aircraft). You’ll earn around $100,000 a year (or more!).
And the best part? Many air traffic controllers get other perks like cheap or free flights.
How to Get Started: How to Become an Air Traffic Controller
What Jobs Are The Happiest?
You know what jobs are typically the happiest to have?
- The ones that you simply enjoy doing because they match your skillsets
- And, the ones that are in place to help others (that’s just how we as humans are wired – when we make others feel good, we feel good!)
So as you look at the list of careers that make 50k a year without a degree, which ones resonate with you the most? Which ones sound fun? Which ones would benefit others in a way that would please you?
THOSE are the jobs that will give you the most happiness!
There are a ton of fun jobs out there that pay next to nothing (think ‘night club musician’, ‘professional disc golfer’, ‘artist’), but what about fun jobs that pay well?
What can you have fun doing and get paid well to do it?
This, of course, all depends on what your meaning of “fun” is, but based on the list above, I’d choose:
- Real Estate Broker
- Start Your Own Business (can’t beat working for yourself!)
- Web Developer
- Special Effects/Performance Makeup
- Property Manager
- Elevator Installer/Repairer
And, with a few of the options above, you not only could earn $50k a year without a degree, you could actually earn hundreds of thousands of dollars! It all depends on how hard you want to work it.
Have fun AND make hundreds of thousands of dollars? Sounds like a win to me!
What Job Makes the Most Money With the Least Education?
You’re looking for those jobs that pay 50k a year without a degree, but which ones make the most money?
Ironically, the jobs that make the most money with the least education are nearly the same as the list of a “fun job that pays well”. There are just a few additional ones that I’d add to the list.
- Real Estate Broker
- Start Your Own Business (can’t beat working for yourself!)
- Funeral Service Manager
- Air Traffic Controller
- Web Developer
All the above jobs could earn $50k a year, but in all actuality, MOST could make $100k a year as well (and as we mentioned in the fun jobs above, some could earn way more!).
Want to make more money with a new job? These options are great ones!
Related: Jobs That Pay $60k Without a Degree
Jobs That Pay 50k A Year Without A Degree: Is It Possible?
As you can see, it’s possible to make $50,000 or more a year without a 4-year degree.
You may need to get certifications or a 2-year degree, but that’s is far easier than studying for years and years. And, many jobs that pay 50k a year without a degree can also be obtained just by learning the skills!
What about you? Are you ready to up your game to one of the above careers that pay 50k a year without a degree?
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.