Despite rising high school graduation rates, the number of students getting college degrees in the U.S. has dropped. Why the decrease in college enrollment?
One reason could be the ballooning costs of attending university. In the face of expensive tuition fees and potential debt, students may seek other opportunities outside of education. While workers with an associate's or bachelor's degree do earn more on average, there are some relatively high-paying careers out there for people without a college degree.
Career research site CareerTrends found the 50 highest-paying jobs that don't require a college degree. Using 2015 data from O*NET, an occupation database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, the team identified the required education level for workers in various occupations. We then used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the jobs with the highest salaries that don't typically require an associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree. Salaries in this list reflect national averages.
To identify the expected prior education for each job, O*NET regularly surveys each occupation's worker population and asks respondents to note the level of education they believe is required for the job. The prior education listed on each slide corresponds to the most common response from job survey respondents. If a job has multiple education listings it is because there were roughly equal amounts of respondents who gave that answer.
The average salary for jobs on this list is around $62,000. However, the top-paying job boasts a six-figure salary on average. Most of these occupations require high school education and range from sales and management positions to more creative jobs like makeup artists and painters.
*Note: Some of these jobs may require a specific trade degree, certificate or licensing program in addition to the education level listed on each slide.