5 Jobs that Pay Over $50 K a Year Without a Degree
By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer
Maybe you graduated from high school and didn’t have a chance to go to college or university. You’re looking around you and lots of those people who went on to higher education are now making pretty good money. Does your lack of a formal degree really leave you frozen out of higher paying positions?
Not if you’re willing to do some legwork and put your nose to the grindstone. There are more than a few occupations you could go after. Usually you have to learn a trade or study for some other credential, but not always.
Five $50K+ Careers To Consider
You may have been thinking that higher paying jobs only go to those who have a post-secondary diploma or university degree. In fact, just over half of Canadians between the ages of 25 and 65 have this type of education. Which means that a big chunk of our workforce doesn’t.
Here are just a few of the careers that can pay over $50k a year without college or university:
Mechanic, Electrician, Plumber and 200 Other Trades
According to the careersintrades.ca website, skilled trades in a few leading sectors account for more than 25% of the total Canadian labour market:
- Manufacturing Sector: employs over 2.3 million
- Construction Sector: employs approximately 775,000
- Automotive Repair and Service Sector: employs over 250,000
- Mining Sector and Petroleum Sector: employ approximately 500,000
For many of the skilled trades you’ll need to undergo an apprenticeship. This is a two to five year period in which you are paid to learn the ropes and earn your certification under the guiding hand of trained tradespeople.
There is an expected shortage of skilled tradespeople over the next decade as older workers retire in large numbers. Why not check out this option now?
Do you love the idea of having unlimited earnings potential? Are you the kind of person that doesn’t shy away from closing a sale with people or organizations?
If so then commissioned sales might be a career path to explore. The great thing about this field is that you end up earning what you’re able to produce. You get paid a percentage of every sale you make, so the more you sell, the more money you make.
Jobs of this kind are found in just about every industry and sector you can think of. Real estate, automobiles, retail, computers...this barely scratches the surface of your opportunities.
One downside is that you have to keep meeting sales targets set by your manager. This can lead to high pressure and the temptation to push beyond ethical boundaries. On the other hand, if you can learn how to put yourself in the shoes of your customers, you can develop a reputation for being a helpful problem solver who earns his or her keep by consistently providing useful solutions.
Artist/Musician/Writer and Other Creative Pursuits
You play a mean guitar. Or you dance like an angel. Possibly you have the ability to create graphics, or written material, that others find interesting.
You might well be an artist in the making. That being the case, you have something to offer employers in a wide range of industries and sectors.
In the case of graphics, advertising agencies and marketing firms need people who can produce attractive images, be they hand drawn or computer generated. Meanwhile fashion houses need talented designers.
Writers can make a decent living doing technical writing, journalism, or Web columns for established sites. And musicians can do work for advertising agencies when a song or tune is needed in commercials, when they aren’t performing for live audiences at clubs and bars.
Being self-employed begins with an idea you have, and moves forward with the energy you devote to making things happen.
Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics), Simon Cowell (founder of American Idol), Walt Disney (Disney World), Bill Gates (Microsoft): all of these hugely successful entrepreneurs made their fortunes without a post secondary degree.
Between 12% to 18% of the Canadian workforce, based on how the economy is doing, makes its living through employment independence. You can join this group by becoming an entrepreneur who starts a business or not for profit, being a consultant who sells their expertise, or working as a “jobber” who represents a variety of products or services that other people have developed.
Truck or Taxi Driver
If you’re a trucker, the magic of an open roadway sends a shiver down your spine. Shifting gears and making turns that a typical car driver would be terrified of give you an adrenaline burst.
As a cabbie, you take pride in knowing local routes and being able to deliver your passengers safely and on time.
In either case your ability to drive is what sets you apart from others. No need to get an advanced degree here, though you’ll have to get an appropriate commercial license. Usually the more time you spend on the road, the higher your pay.
Open Yourself Up To Higher Paying Careers That Don’t Require Advanced Degrees
Every time you call a plumber, hail a cab, listen to a musical group that moves you, or buy something from a commissioned salesperson, it’s possible you’re dealing with a person who doesn’t have an advanced education degree.
This should tell you that the world of employment is broad and flexible. You too can earn a decent living without college or university. Work on an assembly line in a manufacturing plant. Control a trench digging vehicle. Artistically design a new clothing line or poster.
There are all sorts of jobs that pay $50k or more where you needn’t have an advanced degree. Take a look at your options and you too may be able to earn a wage beyond what you’d imagined.