Easy Degrees That Pay Well (2023)

Many individuals find that attending a four-year university isn't for them and wish to find a rewarding career without a degree. This goal might feel far but is more attainable than most even realize.

Below we've compiled a comprehensive list of careers that don't require a four-year degree. Many of these careers are high-paying and overlooked by the average person but can bring great satisfaction as a life-long career.

The skills needed to be successful in these careers vary but oftentimes individuals hold many of the necessary skills and just need to fine-tune those abilities. Most of these do require at least a little bit of education but not a full four-year commitment to begin in your field of choice. Those who desire a more flexible schedule while gaining the necessary education will find many programs that are affordable and will work around their needs. Not only are these careers easily attainable and can get you started on your career sooner but these professions offer higher salaries.

You'll feel confident choosing from one of these exemplary professions and beginning your career before anybody else.

The Drive To Go To College From Middle School

Advancement in higher education commences in middle school. The College Board, a non-profit organization, even conducts college information sessions at middle schools to advise on how to improve PSAT and SAT scores before junior year of high school.

Being equipped for college is a fantastic concept, and we should make sure that our children grasp the intricacies of obtaining a college diploma. Is a college degree, however, the only path to success?

Here are careers that can provide you with a handsome amount without a four-year college degree.

Rewarding Careers Without a Four-Year Degree

Air Traffic Controller

Average Annual Salary: $129,750

What does the position do?

An air traffic controller organizes air traffic, guides pilots throughout takeoff and landing, and tracks airplanes as they fly through the airways. They handle communication by handing over control of leaving planes to traffic control centers while accepting the management of incoming flights. Air traffic controllers are known to be in charge of all airport land traffic, especially baggage trucks and system administrators.

Education Required

An associate or bachelor's degree from an Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program is generally required for aspiring air traffic controllers. The coursework that applicants attend in these programs covers topics that are important to aviation. Thirty-six schools in the United States are authorized to offer associate, bachelor's, and master's degree programs. However, because of the high level of competition for these positions, a two- or four-year degree from an AT-CTI institution will prepare you for a future in air traffic.

Radiation Therapists

Average Annual Salary: $82,790

What does this profession do?

A radiation therapist is an essential member of a patient's medical team. Radiation therapists are healthcare experts who specialize in delivering radiation therapies to cancer and other ill patients. If you want to work in this area, you must first complete a degree program and acquire certification.

Radiation therapy schools train you to safely operate radiological devices and evaluate and treat people living with cancer.

These degree programs are all possible courses in these degree programs:

  • Physiology and anatomy
  • Radiation treatment physics
  • Medical terminology
  • Radiologic patient care
  • Fundamentals of cancer radiation biology

You will also acquire knowledge and skills as a trainee in the radiation treatment department of a hospital.

Education Required:

Employers often prefer radiation therapists with an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree in Radiation Therapy. Consider finishing a certificate program in radiation treatment in addition to your degree if you want to increase your chances of getting a good job.

Nuclear Medicine Technologists

Average Annual Salary: $78,760

What does it do?

A nuclear medicine technician is a professionally experienced specialist who conducts nuclear imaging examinations under the direction of a physician. They collaborate with sufferers and utilize imaging equipment under their supervision to assess how radioactive elements react to and engage with a patient's organs and tissues. This profession will get you into the medical sector, but you will also have numerous options for gaining credit in this area.

Education Required

Nuclear medicine technologists are frequently required to have an Associate Degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology. A bachelor's degree is also an option. However, it is not usually needed. Obtaining certification makes you more marketable in this area and makes it simpler to compete with other candidates. Certain states and some businesses assess whether you require a certificate or license in this field.

Web Developers and Digital Designers

Average Annual Salary: $78,300

What does this profession do?

A profession in web design necessitates both creative and technical abilities. Web designers must combine creativity, critical thinking, and technical skills to function successfully in their positions. If they work as freelancers, they must also have business management abilities to recruit and maintain clients. If you are artistic and technical at the same time, you should explore a career in web design.

Education Required

To become a web designer, you should be skilled in the intricate details of website development. Most web designers require at least a rudimentary understanding of computer languages. To comprehend a customer's wants and desires, web designers must have excellent communication skills. If you do not possess a college education, you may acquire it primarily by book reading or conducting internet research. While it is possible to pursue web design with a college degree, such as an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer coding or graphic arts, numerous web designers are self-taught. You may improve your abilities by taking subject-specific courses accessible online.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Average Annual Salary: $75,380

What does this profession do?

A diagnostic medical sonographer creates interior pictures of the body using advanced technology. Doctors and other medical professionals use these pictures to establish diagnoses. They employ technology that generates sound waves that produce images of tissue, organs, and blood arteries. Diagnostic medical sonographers can help in a range of locations, including health facilities and medical clinics.

Education Required

A sonography degree can be obtained through a two- or four-year curriculum. Depending on the program, earning a certificate might take anywhere from 12 to 24 months. Many companies are willing to accept any of these educational pathways as long as they are certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Companies may want more expertise if they have a college degree.

Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

Average Annual Salary: $65,550

What does this profession do?

An avionics technician is a member of the aviation industry who works on an aircraft's power system. They are in charge of all electrical wiring and electronics, including traveler amusement, radios, and autopilot. Avionic personnel examine electrical problems on planes and repair any flaws. Their job is crucial to an aircraft's flying. Thus this may be a significant and gratifying profession.

Education Required

Avionics technicians generally pursue degrees in avionics, aviation maintenance management, avionics technology, or computer science. Many technicians obtain an associate degree, but if you want to advance your aircraft technology and maintenance career, you may also seek a bachelor's degree. A degree can provide you with a comparative benefit when looking for jobs.

Fire Inspectors

Average Annual Salary: $63,080

What does this profession do?

A fire inspector is a member of the emergency services community who works with local government organizations to ensure that facilities, clinics, and companies are in good working order. Fire inspectors may work for municipal, county, or rural fire departments and outside enterprises interested in fire safety, such as insurance companies and law firms.

Education Required

Usually, fire inspectors have a high school diploma and, more than likely, a two-year degree or higher. If you are still studying in high school, complete your education as efficiently as possible to help you achieve your goal of being a fire inspector. Look at programs in your region or in areas where you might like to study, as well as online training, to discover one that fits you. If you want an alternate certification, look into programs and training that might assist you in obtaining the required certificate.

Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Average Annual Salary: $61,980

What does this profession do?

MRI technicians are in charge of the medical machines that generate three-dimensional pictures of patients' organs and tissues. They collaborate closely with radiologists, who read the images to detect internal problems in the chest, lungs, brain, spinal cord, joints, and other areas. MRI technologists may be found at hospitals all across the country.

Education Required

An associate degree, certificate, or certification in MRI technology from a community college or trade school is required for MRI technologists. These courses last around two years and incorporate both classroom and hands-on instruction. Anatomy, pathology, patient care, safety, ethics, MRI physics, and MRI methods and tools are among the topics covered. Some specialists can become competent without obtaining an MRI-specific associate degree by first earning a credential in radiology and then making one in MRI.

Respiratory Therapists

Average Annual Salary: $61,830

What does this profession do?

Respiratory therapists help patients who have difficulty in breathing. They may also assist infants who require respiratory treatment as a result of preterm delivery.

Education Required

Respiratory therapists are generally required to have at least an associate's degree. Many businesses prefer candidates with a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT). This degree prepares individuals for positions of leadership in their profession. Professional education is provided both digitally and through conferences. The American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) provides webcasts and continuing education seminars on current subjects.

Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

Average Annual Salary: $61,520

What does this profession do?

Occupational therapy assistants deal with individuals who have mental or physical issues. They work with patients daily to help them develop their bodies and brains via various interventions and diversions. An occupational therapy assistant is a healthcare worker that works with an occupational therapist to help sufferers recover and improve their health.

Education Required

You can register in an authorized occupational therapy program if you already have a high school diploma or GED. These programs take around two years and cover the following topics: anatomy, psychology, physiology, and physical and rehabilitative therapy. After completing the curriculum and completing your time in this program, you should graduate with an Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy.


Average Annual Salary: $60,290

What does this profession do?

A draughtsman is a skilled individual who makes precise technical plans or drawings for equipment and structures. They turn the designer's concept into visual representations to demonstrate how the project may appear. Drafters utilize computer-aided design (CAD) software or sketch their technical drawings to translate designs.

Education Required

Consider taking technical studies in high school to assist you in developing your job as a draughtsman. You may acquire experience to become a drafter in a variety of ways. Some schools specialize in drafting and architecture, whereas others concentrate on CAD software, manufacturing mathematics, design basics, and drawing. Earning an associate degree in drafting at a community college or technical institution is another option for acquiring drawing expertise.

Funeral Service Workers

Average Annual Salary: $58,900

What does this profession do?

Funeral directors, often known as morticians, are specialists that help the deceased's family members with all elements of funeral planning. A funeral director's duties include preparing obituary announcements, coordinating with the family, and establishing and adorning each ceremony location.

Education Required

Before becoming a funeral director, you must first finish the necessary coursework and acquire an associate degree. There are 60 funerary science programs from which to pick. The American Board of Funeral Service Education should accredit the curriculum you choose (ABFSE). Professional ethics, microbiology, chemistry, pathology, embalming, mortuary law, anatomy, federal regulations, grief counseling, and funeral service psychology are required.

Computer Support Specialists

Average Annual Salary: $57,910

What does this profession do?

Computer support experts are available with end-users to give technical assistance and support for technical, software, and hardware issues. Connection issues, sluggish performance, inability to access data, and inefficient applications are some of the most typical issues they tackle. Specific tasks include guiding clients through the software installation procedure on their P.C.s.

Education Required

The minimum qualification required for a computer support specialist profession varies depending on the position. Many businesses demand a high school diploma or GED and completion of a computer training program. Others may require a bachelor's degree in information systems, computer science, or a closely similar field.

Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides

Average Annual Salary: $49,180

What does this profession do?

A physical therapy (or therapist) assistant is a healthcare practitioner who provides patient care while working under the supervision of a physical therapist. They are frequently seen operating in various settings, including outpatient facilities, private residences, sports clinics, residential care, and clinics.

Education Required

Before enrolling in a program for becoming a physical therapy assistant, you must have a high school diploma or the worldwide equivalent. You must pass the National Physical Therapy Exam, often referred to as the NPTE, three times a year, for a total of six times. Most schools require students to do several internships in various settings over two years.

There Are Many Opportunities Out There

If it makes you indebted at the end of the tunnel without any light, you don't need a four-year degree. The figures on student loans are dismal, with more than 44.2 million Americans borrowing from students. Imagine what if you didn't get this loan payment would transpire. You may spend that $351 on your own company or self-learning to build the type of work and income you need.

By 2023, industries are expected to require one million skilled craft specialists. Forty-six percent of U.S. companies are having difficulty recruiting because they cannot locate the skills they need in the labor force. The average pay (without overtime, per diem, or incentives) is over $65,000, yet no four-year degree is required. Craft experts take pleasure in their work since they are training the next generation of workers. A common fallacy is that a four-year degree or greater is required for employment.

Going to college isn't required if you want to make six figures in this day and age. Air traffic controllers are not needed to hold a degree, yet they may earn six figures within a few years. Recall that real estate agents and computer programmers do not need extensive qualifications to collaborate in their disciplines, but they can make a lot of money. You can also rely on your abilities to earn a six-figure salary.

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