5 High-Paying Careers That Don’t Require a Bachelor’s Degree

You’ve heard of blue-collar and white-collar workers. Blue collar usually refers to people who worked more manual labor type jobs, and white collar refers to people with degrees. But what you may not know about is the new class of workers called “new collar” that fall somewhere in between. New collar workers are people who do not usually have bachelor’s degrees, but also do not typically work in an office or cubicle space. If you’d like to explore a life above minimum wage yet unchained to a desk, you might want to consider one of these new collar jobs.


Nursing is one of the most in-demand professions in the US. It’s also one of the highest-paying jobs you can have without a bachelor’s degree. To become an licensed vocational nurse (LVN), you only need a certificate that can often be completed in a year. Or to become a registered nurse, you just need an Associate’s Degree in nursing. The RN’s pay scale can range widely, depending on location and specialization, but you can expect to earn a median salary of about $70,000 a year.

Driving trucks

Truck drivers might toe the line between blue collar and new collar, depending on how you look at it. But one thing’s for sure — it’s a profession in high demand. The US currently faces a pretty high truck driver shortage, which means higher pay and bigger bonuses. In fact, many start at $80,000 a year and receive a sign-on bonus as part of the package. But truckers who own their own trucks or work for smaller, independent companies can make much more. The best part is that driving a truck requires no formal training, does require a commercial driver’s license.

Diagnostic medical sonography

A diagnostic medical sonographer is also sometimes known as an ultrasound technician. These are the people who take ultrasounds for pregnant women, but that’s not the only thing you can do with the skill. They can also specialize in mammography, abdominal sonography, or cardiovascular sonography, to name a few. The median salary is around $70,000, but can climb up closer to $100,000 with experience. And you usually only need an associate’s degree to do it.

Court reporting

If the courtroom thrills you, you might enjoy becoming a court reporter and transcribing trials and other legal proceedings. But you’re not just tied to the courtroom. Lots of court reporters also do things such as transcribing for closed captioning and work as contractors for various attorneys. Court reporting only requires a certificate from a specialized school that can be completed usually within about two years. The median salary is around $55,000 a year, but that can vary quite a bit, depending on location and job duties. For example, Fort Lauderdale court reporters often make more than those in surrounding communities.

Computer programming

Computers have their own languages — Java, C++, BASIC, etc. And computer programmers are the people who write and analyze that language to develop computer computer applications. Some of them do have bachelor’s degrees, but this is a field where experience and skill trump education every time. The median salary for a computer programmer is above $80,000 and can climb well above that for skilled workers.

With the rising cost of education and many people’s need to enter the workforce sooner, it’s no wonder they’re turning to fields that don’t require degrees. If none of these professions appeal to you, just do a little research. You’ll find plenty of great-paying jobs out there for which you won’t have to dedicate four years to the classroom.