8 Six Figure Careers that Don’t Require a College Education

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A four-year degree is an expensive proposition, and more and more individuals are finding that post-college debt looms darkly over the salary they can command when the schooling is over.
8 Six Figure Careers that Don't Require a College EducationFor older adults, a career change is even more frightening if you have to go through college and then start at the bottom; by this time in your life, you’re probably worried about paying off the mortgage, sending your kids to college, or saving for retirement. You don’t need a college degree to bring home some solid bacon and save for the future, though many high-paying jobs do require some type of technical school, certification program, or training. Here’s a look at eight careers that can earn you $100,000 or more a year without a Bachelor’s Degree.

Real Estate Broker or Agent

In the right neighborhood and with the right set of sales and marketing skills, a real estate broker can break six figures year after year. The downside is that not every broker comes in at the top: national annual salaries range from $30,144 to $180,434. The upside is that earning potential is often up to you: brokers who are willing to go the extra mile, work some extra hours, and keep up on real estate education usually do the best. A degree isn’t required, but you do have to pass a licensing test for your state, which might involve attending a certification class.

Construction Foreman

Construction managers can make $100k or more each year, especially when the market is prime for building. Most companies don’t require formal education, but unless you know someone, you have to spend time in the business to gain experience and work your way up.


While electricians that work for corporate entities aren’t breaking the six-figure ceiling everywhere, electricians that work for themselves can make good money. Electricians might learn their trade through technical school or an apprenticeship, and they must be certified with state and local agencies. If you’re able to build a brand around your services and are in high-demand, you can earn $100k or more a year.

Court Reporter

Court reporters earn varied salaries depending on location, with the bigger bucks generally going to those in larger towns and cities. Court reporters must be able to transcribe around 250 words each minute using special court-reporting transcription techniques. The techniques are usually taught through certification programs, and the best way to earn a good income is to market yourself to attorney’s offices for transcription of meetings and depositions.


Like electricians, plumbers make the most money when they work for themselves. They must also be certified and often learn the trade through apprenticeship or technical school.

HVAC Technician

HVAC techs usually go through programs designed specifically for the career. Working for a property management firm or corporate HVAC company usually nets a nice income, but making $100,000 or more a year often requires starting your own company.


You don’t have to be a plumber, electrician, or HVAC technician to start your own company and enjoy high earning potential. Anyone with a bit of business savvy and passion about a product or service can launch a small business. You’re probably not going to see six-figure incomes for a few years, but many small business owners do eventually bring home $100K or more each year.

IT Manager

Technical resources are a requisite for any company today, which is why organizations are willing to pay decent wages for IT staff. Entry-level IT pay ranges from $12 to $25 an hour on average, but if you make it into management functions, you might see a salary of $100,000 per year. While you don’t need a college degree, most companies do want IT leadership with appropriate professional training and certification.

Whether entering the job market after high school or changing industries in mid-life, knowing which jobs offer potential high salaries without the debt and stress of college is important. While you might have to put in some after-work hours in a certification program, the path to the above careers is often easier–and less expensive–than you might think.

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Q: What are some examples of six-figure careers that individuals can pursue?

A: Examples of six-figure careers include roles in software engineering, healthcare, and finance, which offer high earning potential.

Q: How can individuals prepare for a six-figure career in these fields?

A: Individuals can prepare for a six-figure career by pursuing relevant education and certifications, gaining experience, and continuously updating their skills to stay competitive.

Q: What are the advantages of pursuing a six-figure career path?

A: Advantages of pursuing a six-figure career include the potential for higher income, financial stability, and the ability to achieve long-term financial goals more easily.

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