Oftentimes, high-salary jobs can require a four-year degree. However, it can be possible to find a career path that not only suits your salary needs but can offer you a steady job without a four-year degree. Furthermore, you may be able to get started on your career path in a position that can offer you a salary of around $50K per year. In this article is a list of jobs that will pay you an average of $50,000 a year, all without a four-year degree.
Jobs that pay a $50K a year without a degree
The following career paths offer salaries that average right around 50K per year, with many incomes hovering around this average, and you can usually move into these roles without a degree. Additionally, it is important to note that while many of these career paths might offer hourly or weekly rates, the salary benefits amount to over $50,000 when calculated according to a 40-hour workweek.
Even though most of the jobs on this list may not require four-year degrees, some might require specific training, as well as specific certification or up to an associate degree. It can still be worth researching these careers further, though, as the average salaries appear to provide a substantial income.
Retail store manager
Law enforcement officer
Food service manager
Commercial truck driver
1. Property manager
National average salary: $51,903 per year
Primary duties: A property manager is responsible for dealing directly with prospective renters, leasers and tenants. Managers may work for an apartment or condo organization or for individual property owners. Property managers may typically schedule and assess maintenance and repairs, respond to tenant issues, collect rent and may even work with property owners during the eviction process.
Many states may require a property manager to hold a certification, however, you can take and pass a certification exam to obtain licensure. To sit for the exam, you must have a high school diploma or GED, and it can help to have some knowledge of the topics and concepts covered on the exam.
2. Retail store manager
National average salary: $44,437 per year
Primary duties: Retail store managers are responsible for ensuring the efficiency and completion of the daily operations in a retail store. Managers may lead staff and department teams in maintaining the cleanliness and organization of the store, as well as supervising department managers, customer services representatives, cashiers and other staff are performing their duties. They also act in a customer service capacity, ensuring customers are satisfied with the store’s products and service.
In order to become a store manager, you may need to start in an entry-level position within a retail chain first. This role is truly experience-based, and it may help to have some prior retail work history when advancing to a managerial position. In addition to a yearly salary, retail store managers may also earn cash bonuses and commissions.
3. Law enforcement officer
National average dalary: $53,567 per year
Primary duties: Police officers work to protect and uphold the law for all community members. They are the main workers who actively enforce the law by patrolling the community where they are assigned within their jurisdiction. They commonly respond to calls, issue traffic and misdemeanor citations, make arrests and can sometimes be called to testify in court cases.
While becoming a law enforcement officer may not require a bachelor’s degree, candidates on this career path are expected to attend a police academy training program. Depending on the state, county or jurisdiction, these programs can last anywhere from six weeks to six months or more.
4. Title examiner
National average salary: $46, 578 per year
Primary duties: A title examiner provides legal support on property title records and inquiries. These professionals commonly conduct research on insurance and real estate documents, though they may sometimes provide assistance with automobile and other transport crafts if warranted. The focus of their work is to determine legal ownership of possessions and property.
To work as a property title examiner, all you really need to get started is your high school diploma. Essentially, to earn higher salaries as a title examiner, you may be required to receive on-the-job training, as well as build up your years of experience working in the field.
5. Web developer
National average salary: $75,981 per year
Primary duties: Web developers essentially work with online applications to create and design websites. They may utilize online platforms as well as computer coding to create a website’s layout, integrate applications and graphics and build in other components of a website. Typically, web developers may attend a community college program to receive their associate degree in web design or front-end web design. However, there are certification programs available that can be completed in as little as twelve weeks.
6. Fitness manager
National average salary: $49,764 per year
Primary duties: Fitness managers are responsible for managing the gyms and fitness centers they work in by creating exercise plans and programs for members and other clientele. Fitness managers may also supervise fitness classes as well as manage the daily business operations of a fitness center.
Oftentimes, fitness managers may get started on their career paths by gaining experience working as an associate in a fitness center and moving up in their experience level. By gaining skills and demonstrating professionalism and the ability to lead, many fitness associates can advance as fitness managers.
7. Hotel manager
National average salary: $48,961 per year
Primary duties: Hotel managers supervise employees, plan and market the services of the hotel. They may also coordinate and administer hotel services such as scheduling and maintaining accommodation, planning events and keeping records of the daily operations of the hotel. Hotel managers generally get started in the career field by gaining experience working in a hotel or other hospitality environment. Typically, hotel managers have extensive work experience in their field.
8. Pipe welder
National average salary: $55,211 per year
Primary duties: Pipe welders repair and build piping systems with electronic or gas-fed welding equipment. They measure, cut and weld metal materials for repairing pipeline systems and starting new projects. Typically, pipe welders may be required to hold a certification from a vocational program, and oftentimes these trade programs can be completed in as little as twelve weeks.
9. Food service manager
National average salary: $47,767 per year
Primary duties: Food service managers are responsible for the daily operations of the hospitality establishment they work for. Managers may work in restaurants, hotels or other foodservice providers and are responsible for directing staff, fulfilling customer requests and generally ensuring the business is maintaining popularity and profitability. Typically, restaurant managers may start in entry-level serving positions and then advance to the role of manager after gaining on-the-job experience.
National average salary: $51,775 per year
Primary duties: An electrician is another type of skilled trade worker who works to inspect, repair and install electrical wiring, lighting, panel circuits and other electrical components. Typically, electricians can be required to possess their high school diploma or equivalent and a certification or license in the trade.
11. Aircraft mechanic
National average salary: $69,680 per year
Primary duties: Aircraft mechanics repair and perform routine and scheduled maintenance on airplanes and helicopters. They may also be responsible for performing aircraft inspections to ensure parts and components adhere to federal aviation standards. Generally, candidates on this career path can complete a certification and training program through the FAA, and there are plenty of options for advancement in this career, including continuing training and development through obtaining an associate degree or higher in the field of aviation maintenance technology.
12. Insurance specialist
National average salary: $55,293 per year
Primary duties: Insurance specialists generally work in the insurance industry and may be employed by an insurance company or work as an independent contractor. They process insurance claims and maintain client records within healthcare settings. They may be insurance billing specialists, medical coders or claims examiners. Typically, all you need to enter this role is your high school diploma, professional skills and work experience.
13. Commercial truck driver
National average salary: $61,639 per year
Primary duties: Commercial truck drivers may typically operate tractor-trailers and other heavy load vehicles to transport cargo, either locally within their state or region, or nationally, driving cross-country routes. Truck drivers are required to possess their Class-A commercial driver’s license, and there are a variety of options to obtain this, both by learning through driving schools or recruiters for companies that reimburse students for training and licensure.
14. Claims adjuster
National average salary: $55,002 per year
Primary duties: Claims adjusters perform inspections on personal injury claims as well as property damage claims to determine the amount of payment insurance companies should reimburse clients for the loss. Generally, adjusters inspect homes, businesses, vehicular damages and injuries sustained in accidental circumstances. To get started in this career field, you must take and pass a certification exam and obtain the appropriate licensing in your state or region. It can help to attend a course or two to learn about the field.
15. Sales representative
National average salary: $65,069 per year
Primary duties: A sales representative sells products and services to a generalized market of customers. Oftentimes, sales reps work with clients to research products and services that fit their needs, find solutions to sales problems and work to ensure the sales process runs smoothly and efficiently. Commonly, sales reps work to bring in new leads through referrals and ad campaigns.
Sales reps commonly start in entry-level positions and advance in their careers through bonus incentives, referral programs and high commission sales.
16. X-ray technologist
National average salary: $58,738 per year
Primary duties: X-ray technicians, or radiologic technologists, use imaging equipment to scan parts of the body. They might work with X-ray machines, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment or CT scanning machines to visualize parts of a patient’s body that may be presenting problems. While it may be required for candidates to obtain an associate degree in the field, many x-ray technologists complete a short certification program that prepares them for taking and passing the national certification exam to obtain their license in X-ray technology.
17. Sanitation supervisor
National average salary: $57,673 per year
Primary duties: Sanitation supervisors oversee all sanitation workers and implement state and federal policies related to clean work environments. Generally, supervisors may perform regular inspections and maintain the budgets and inventory for staff members. Sanitation supervisors may be employed by private companies or through a state- or government-run facility.
Sanitation supervisors may be required to possess a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health or a similar field, although it is possible that starting in an entry-level role and working in the field for three to five years can also be an option for advancing to this role.
18. Internal wholesaler
National average salary: $55,373 per year
Primary duties: Internal wholesalers are responsible for receiving and communicating information regarding mutual funds, annuity contracts and other types of security funds. Internal wholesalers review data pertaining to new and existing securities and implement ways to market this data to the external sales staff who educates and deals with the public.
Generally, no degree is required to get started in this career, however, wholesalers typically start as associates or administrative assistants in these insurance or financial firms. Then, wholesalers may work their way up, and can be required to complete a certification exam to obtain appropriate licensure.
19. Train conductor
National average salary: $40,398 per year
Primary duties: Train conductors, or railroad conductors, work aboard passenger trains and freight engines to coordinate and lead train crews in the operation of the locomotive. Conductors are typically not required to be licensed, and this position can be started with gaining experience within a train company. While training programs are available, becoming a train conductor is possible through experience and on-the-job training.
20. Firefighter EMT
National average salary: $44,383 per year
Primary duties: Firefighter EMTs are the first responders to medical and fire emergencies, such as house fires and vehicular accidents. Most firefighters possess an emergency medical technician certification, and candidates that start a career in this field generally complete a training and certification program specific to this service trade. No additional degrees are required.
21. Realtor associate
National average salary: $68,281 per year
Primary duties: Realtor associates guide sellers and buyers through negotiations and contractual processes of buying and selling commercial and residential properties. Typically, realtor associates may begin their careers by working as an assistant to a realtor, either through a private company or contractor, and through experience can obtain their license through on-the-job training and taking a realtor examination.
22. Land surveyor
National average salary: $67,577 per year
Primary duties: Land surveyors work with sophisticated field equipment such as high-order GPS, aerial and terrestrial scanners and theodolites to identify and document the boundary lines of properties. They may also utilize auto-CAD software to map, plan and draft measurements. You can usually start this career path by obtaining an entry-level role or apprenticeship, and you may even work with a company that can support your state certification exam for licensing.
National average salary: $50,862 per year
Primary duties: Plumbers are skilled trades workers who are licensed to install and repair piping that supplies water and natural gas. Plumbers also often aid clients in the installation and repair of water fixtures and appliances like toilets, sinks and faucets, washing machines, water heaters and dishwashers. Plumbers are required to have completed high school, a training and apprenticeship program and state licensure.
24. Commercial pilot
National average salary: $43,482 per year
Primary duties: Commercial pilots may generally fly and navigate airplanes, though some pilots do fly helicopters. Commercial pilots may typically be employed by airlines, though some pilots can earn a living working for private- and public-sector companies. Some roles commercial pilots may work in include flying charter flights, rescue operations, crop dusting and aerial photography. Pilots are required to obtain a pilot’s license through the Federal Aviation Administration and must have at least 250 flight hours to work in the position.
25. Dental hygienist
National average salary: $78,148 per year
Primary duties: Dental hygienists work under the supervision of a general dentist or their assistant to examine and assess a patient’s oral health. They may commonly perform routine procedures like cleanings, routine check-ups and fluoride treatments. Commonly, dental hygienists are required to complete an associate program or specialized training program for dental hygiene and obtain their certification.
Tips for finding a job that pays $50K a year without a degree
While these roles may not require you to hold a four-year degree, additional education and training may be required. Here are some tips for finding a job that pays $50K a year without a four-year degree:
Obtain a certification. Completing a certification allows you to gain additional skills in a field and can be included on your resume as a demonstration of your qualifications. Some certification courses have a project component which can also be included on your resume in a projects section as a further demonstration of the skills you gained. Use Indeed Certifications to find certifications and hosting organizations to help you advance in your career.
Learn a trade. Trade schools can prepare you for a new career without requiring you to obtain a college degree. The time it takes to learn a trade can vary from one to five years. Common trades include welding, electrical, plumbing, cosmetology, HVAC and piloting.
Seek promotion opportunities. Finding a job that pays $50K a year does not always require you to change industries. If you’ve gained experience at your current company, consider having a professional development conversation with your manager and ask for a promotion. In this conversation focus on communicating your desire to continue to be challenged, gain additional responsibilities and apply your experience to an advanced role instead of an increase in salary as your main motivator.
Tailor your resume for the role. Make sure that your resume is positioned for the role you’re seeking. This can include adding a professional summary, incorporating keywords in the form of required and preferred skills and adding a certifications and personal projects section.