The 25 Highest Paying Jobs That Don't Require a College Degree

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The path to financial security doesn't have to come with a diploma. Getty Images
1 Gas Compressor
Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators
Median annual income:
$62,810
Median hourly wage: $30.20
Top paying states for this occupation: Arizona ($71,190), California ($71,110), Ohio ($69,610)
Top states for this occupation: Pennsylvania, North Dakota, West Virginia
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2 Gas Compressor
Gas compressors and gas pumping station operators, usually found in gas and nuclear plants, often monitor consumption rates, temperatures and pressures; maintain adequate levels; and address repairs as needed. Common job titles for this occupation are Compressor Operator, Gas Plant Operator and Pipeline Operator. While no formal education is required for this occupation, on-the-job training is often required. Getty Images
3 Artist
Artists and related workers
Median annual income:
$63,540
Median hourly wage: $30.55
Top paying states for this occupation: Washington, DC ($91,540), Georgia ($85,270), Maryland ($84,640)
Top states for this occupation: Washington, DC, California, Maryland
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4 Artist
The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies artists and related workers as anyone working primarily in a creative field like acting, entertainment, crafts, painting, music, graphic arts, etc. Washington, DC has the highest concentration of artists because of employment from the federal government, which use artists in museums, exhibitions and public relations. Getty Images
5 Extraction Worker
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
Median annual income:
$64,070
Median hourly wage: $30.80
Top paying states for this occupation: Alaska ($99,690), New York ($84,930), Illinois ($82,160)
Top states for this occupation: Texas, California, Florida
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6 Extraction Worker
Primarily in construction and extraction sites, first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers manage, supervise and troubleshoot workers at contracted sites of operations. They are often the middle person between a construction company contracted on a project and the workers they manage. Frequent titles for this occupation include Construction Foreman, Construction Superintendent, Field Supervisor, Foreman, etc. While no formal education is required for this occupation, years of on-the-job experience as a construction worker is usually required before advancement. Getty Images
7 Mechanic
First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers and repairers
Median annual income:
$64,780
Median hourly wage: $31.15
Top paying states for this occupation: Alaska ($87,240), Washington, DC ($79,770), New York ($78,150)
Top states for this occupation: California, Texas, Florida
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8 Mechanic Supervisor
First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers and repairers are often tasked with managing the facilities and maintenance of a building, like an office building or a hospital. They ensure that the building stays running from a technical perspective. They often have a team of technicians under them to maintain repairs on a building, regularly having to keep track of schedules, budgets and quality of equipment. No formal education is required for this occupation, but typically a person is promoted to this position after years of service as a lower-level worker. Getty Images
9 Claim Adjuster
Claims adjusters, examiners and investigators
Median annual income:
$62,900
Median hourly wage: $31.20
Top paying states for this occupation: Connecticut ($75,160), Alaska ($75,080), Colorado ($74,260)
Top states for this occupation: California, Texas, Florida
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10 Claim Adjuster
Tasked with investigating and settling outstanding financial claims, people in this occupation often work in insurance, health and credit card fields. If claims go into litigation, claim adjusters often work with legal counsel in order to settle the claim, or provide testimony to the status of the claim. Connecticut is the top paying state for this occupation because of the high number of credit card and health insurance companies headquartered in the state. Getty Images
11 Subway Operator
Subway and streetcar operators
Median annual income:
$66,420
Median hourly wage: $31.93
Top paying states for this occupation: New York ($72,250), California ($69,870), Maryland ($66,910)
Top states for this occupation: New York, California, Maryland
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12 Subway Operator
Subway and streetcar operators do more than just drive the train. They also handle fares, manage track switches, handle communications and even have specific positions dedicated to bell and horn operations (how cool is that?). It should be no surprise that New York, California and Maryland are the top states for this profession, considering each of them has some of the country’s largest public transportation systems. Getty Images
13 Refinery operators
Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators and gaugers
Median annual income:
$67,770
Median hourly wage: $32.58
Top paying states for this occupation: Alaska ($84,730), California ($77,660), Hawaii ($77,620)
Top states for this occupation: Texas, Louisiana, California
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