Highest-paying jobs without a degree or experience

Do you know you can land one of the highest-paying jobs without a degree or experience? In many cases, your level of education correlates with your level of financial success in life. The statement might hold some truth, but it is not entirely true. Even without a degree, financial success is still possible.

According to a review by Intelligent.com, most college graduates over 25 do not end up working in their field of study. Why? a lack of clearly defined career objectives. In place of college education, professionalism requires skills and background knowledge. So even if you don’t have a degree, you can land a high-paying job if you have learned skills and expertise in a particular field that doesn’t require one.

Therefore, if you’re looking to earn a high salary without a bachelor’s degree or much experience, there are plenty of options. Take a look at these 11 highest-paying jobs without a college degree or even much experience, and see if any of them might be your dream job.

11 highest-paying jobs without a degree or experience

These outlined jobs can still provide you with a substantial income. In most cases, a high school education may be necessary. Some jobs may necessitate a certificate, license, or some other form of job training, but not wholly a degree!

  1. Makeup artist

The minimum requirement for a makeup artist is a high school diploma or a cosmetology certification. You’ll need to be creative, have good interpersonal and communication skills, and, most importantly, you’ll need to learn how to stay calm under pressure because makeup artistry can have a lot of pressure.

You can take in-person or online classes to learn more about makeup and expand your knowledge. The constant makeup styles and trends contribute to the profession’s high pay. 

You can work as a professional makeup artist and style public figures and celebrities. You can also look for events like fashion shows, weddings, social gatherings, beauty parlors, magazines, and advertising agencies that frequently hire makeup artists. 

As a makeup artist, you can earn anywhere from $30 to $95 per hour. This could net you between $62,000 and $197,500 if you work 40-hour weeks. As of 2022, the annual salary of a makeup artist ranges from $37,591 to $49,140.

  1. Theatrical and performance

Another highest-paying job without a degree or experience is as a performer (acting, dancing, singing, etc.). The profession requires a postsecondary certificate. 

You’ll need confidence, performance skills, creativity, and open-mindedness. As a performer, you can earn around $10 to $41 an hour, which equates to $20,800 to $85,280. The average pay for performers in the United States is about $37,357.

  1. Property or real estate agent

Real estate is one of the most rewarding professions. Anyone over 18 can become a real estate agent. Real estate has been around for a long time and isn’t going anywhere soon, making it a safe and excellent profession to invest in. 

You’ll require a real estate license that expects you to take a prelicensing education. Prelicensing education can be completed online or in person.

Additionally, you will need to pass a real estate exam, which will cost you money. Application and fingerprinting fees are also extra costs that you’ll incur. As of November 28, 2022, the average annual salary for an entry-level real estate agent in the United States is $61,999. 

Some of the skills you’ll need include problem-solving skills, honesty, integrity, and good communication skills, among others. As a beginner, you can earn $21 to $27 per hour, which equates to $43,680 to $56,160 per year.

  1. Flight attendance

As of 2022, the average salary for a flight attendant is $81,907 per year. You will need a high school diploma. Some skills required are excellent interpersonal and communication skills, friendliness, and cultural awareness. 

Being able to communicate effectively in foreign languages is a bonus. There is a high demand for flight attendants, with an estimated 18,100 openings annually.

  1. Freelance writing

When the pandemic struck, people used their lockdown time to be creative and, in the process, created websites that required continuous content creation. This increased and continues to increase the demand for freelance writers. 

If you’re looking for another high-paying job without a degree or experience, freelancing is a great profession. The leading freelancer platform, Upwork, states that the average amount a writer charges ranges from $18 to $150 per hour or $37,440 to $312,000 annually. 

You only need good writing skills. You can use the available online writing tools to make your content even better.

  1. Plumbers

Plumbers create a blueprint to plot the locations of pipes and fixtures in a structure. The strategy necessitates pure skill and, as a result, cashing in a good check. As of 2022, the average salary for a plumber is $59,880. 

The profession necessitates practical training. You’ll need a high school diploma and a four- or five-year apprenticeship program. Extra skills like problem-solving, safety, interpersonal, and physical communication skills are necessary. The government highly regulates plumbing. You’ll therefore need licensing. The licensing requirements will differ by state. 

However, in most cases, you will need to finish an apprenticeship program and have received at least four years of training from a licensed plumber. In addition, you must pass your state’s plumbing licensing exam.

  1. Athletes and sports competitors

We have all seen and Googled the annual salaries of sports stars like Christian Ronaldo and LeBron James, and it’s a lot. However, they did begin somewhere.

You can also try your luck at sports. Athletes’ and sports competitors’ salaries are $53,526 on average. You’ll need to have athletic ability, extensive knowledge about your sport, be physically fit, be disciplined, and have critical thinking skills. Absolutely no formal education is required!

  1. Insurance sales agency

You don’t need a degree or experience to become an insurance sales agent. A high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate can be enough. 

However, you have to know a lot about what you’re selling and be able to explain it to your potential customers. Other skills include knowledge of various insurance products, detail-oriented, and having a cheerful or happy disposition. 

You will need an insurance license from your state to work as an insurance agent. Each state’s licensing requirements might be different. However, you’re required to take a course and pass your state’s insurance licensing exam. The estimated average salary for an insurance sales agent is $69,100.

  1. Firefighters

The average salary for a firefighter is $62,679 in the USA as of 2022. To become a firefighter, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED certificate. 

You must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. You need problem-solving, adaptability, physical fitness, drive, pressure-handling, and other additional skills.

  1. Sales representative

The success of any company is heavily dependent on its sales team. Salespeople turn potential customers into buyers of a company’s goods or services. That is a sales representative’s most important role in a company. 

Jobs for sales representatives are always available, and the demand is expected to rise. You should be able to work well under pressure, be organized, communicate effectively with others, conduct research, and so on. 

A sales representative earns an annual salary of $55,006 on average. A high school diploma is the minimum education requirement for a sales representative.

  1. Electrician

As of 2022, the average salary for an electrician is $53,273. As an electrician, you’ll need to be able to solve problems, manage your time effectively, be technically competent, and be honest. 

You’ll need a high school diploma or a GED. Additionally, you will need an electrician’s license. Licensure will differ between states. Some states may require your contractor’s license alone. 

However, you are required to take an exam that tests your understanding of the National Electrical Code and local and state codes.


You don’t need a degree to be financially successful. There are many available professions that you can venture into without a degree. However, you’ll need a minimum high school diploma or a GED. You’ll also need practical training. For athletes and sports competitors, you don’t even need any formal education. 

Whether you are looking for a career change or simply considering your options, the jobs outlined are the 11 highest-paying jobs that will not require you to have a college degree or prior experience. 

Many professions will also require you to have a license. Make sure you know how to get a license and the process involved.

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