It’s a common misconception that if you don’t hold a bachelor’s or even an associate’s degree, your earnings potential is severely capped. This is simply not the case, as what you’ll see in this article is only a small sample of jobs that yield good pay and provide meaningful work without the need to spend four years in college. For each of the roles we’ve outlined below, we’ve provided average salaries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and We’re also including the expected growth rate for each over the next ten years, which is higher than average almost across the board. Read on if you’d like to learn more about the best areas to look to land your next role!

Warehouse Associate
Average Salary: $15.56/hour
Expected Growth Rate: 7%

Warehouse Associates are responsible for performing a wide array of duties and play a critical role in distributing products across virtually every industry. Within this fast-paced environment, workers take on numerous titles and responsibilities including pickers, sorters, and material handlers. The job often requires the ability to work on your feet and carry loads up to 80 pounds.

Truck Driver
Average Salary: $$76,970/year
Expected Growth Rate: 6%

Transportation is another industry that provides choices when it comes to the type of role and lifestyle that best suits you. Delivery, couriers and “last mile” drivers are normally able to stay close to home and maintain more traditional working hours. Tractor-trailer drivers are responsible for moving goods across the country and might spend weeks or months on the road. This kind of work often requires additional training and the acquisition of a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Average Salary: $$25.56/hour
Expected Growth Rate: 5%

Plumbers are the type of people you might not think about until you absolutely need them ASAP! This role is responsible for installing and repairing systems in homes, factories and businesses, with experienced professionals also taking on planning and development tasks for new structures. Plumbers often find themselves in a different place of work each day, and might also be on call for evening and weekend emergencies.

Medical Device Assemblers
Average Salary: $61,450/year
Expected Growth Rate: 4.6%

The medical device sector of the manufacturing industry has experienced explosive growth and is hiring qualified professionals to keep up with demand. Putting together these life-changing devices requires attention to detail and a special level of quality and accuracy. This role requires the ability to operate cutting tools and other assembly machinery, with some applicants also taking on the role of inspecting parts for quality issues.

Forklift Drivers
Average Salary: $16.20/hour
Expected Growth Rate: 7%

Operating heavy machinery efficiently, and more importantly safely in a busy warehouse environment is a vital job that can often command an hourly salary of up to $20. This position is responsible for preparing and securing products as it moves from place to place and staying aware of any possible hazards. Spending time in this role can give job-holders the option of becoming a Forklift Supervisor or a team supervisor.

Distribution Managers 
Average Salary: $70,763/year
Expected Growth Rate: 5%

One of the highest paying roles on this list, Distribution Managers are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating the transport of materials in accordance with government regulations and organizational policies. They often oversee teams that focus on areas like implementing warehouse safety, supervising and testing products, and integrating logistics with business operations. Many people in this type of position do not hold a college degree, but it does likely require around five years of first-hand experience.

Average Salary: $25.49/hour
Expected Growth Rate: 9%

In another hands-on role, Electricians design and repair all types of systems, including homes, street lighting and even intercom systems. Within the profession, most specialize in either designing, installing or maintaining electric systems, either in commercial settings, like businesses or factories, or residential homes. This trade will require you to attend a technical school or find an apprenticeship program to gain experience and obtain certification.

Sheet Metal Worker
Average Salary: $18.50/hour
Expected Growth Rate: 4%

Sheet Metal Workers live on the more technical side of the construction industry, with higher than average salaries that match their required level of expertise. The day-to-day for this type of tradesperson might involve fabricating and installing fans and air ducts to ensure buildings stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, or working in an industrial mill, welding heavier metals. It’s also an option to work on the service side, with a focus on testing and adjusting existing equipment and systems.

Average Salary: $51,920/year
Expected Growth Rate: 19%

When you picture a mechanic you probably think of an automotive technician; someone whose role consists of inspecting and repairing cars. This type of role is growing in demand incredibly quickly, with the ability to scale up as a Certified Professional Technician after a few years of working at a dealership or repair shop. If you’re interested in this type of work with machinery, you might also consider Industrial Mechanic roles, which average an even higher yearly average salary of $54,920.

HVAC Technician
Average Salary: $24.18/hour
Expected Growth Rate: 5%

HVAC Technicians install, maintain and make necessary repairs to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems of homes, schools, hospitals, office buildings and factories. Because no one in these settings is happy when the heat or A/C goes out, the role often requires technicians to be “on-call” and ready to work if emergencies come up on evenings or weekends. Applicants in this role should have an interest in both the technical and physical aspects of these systems and be comfortable working outside, or occasionally in small or cramped spaces.

Finding an Impactful Career Without a College Degree

Based on this list, it’s clear that it’s not too difficult to find roles that offer a starting salary north of $50,000 a year that don’t require a college degree of any kind. Pursuing training or apprenticeship in any one of these professional areas is an excellent way to set down a lucrative career path.

If you’re currently on the job search, take a moment to check out Movo. We offer roles within the top employers in a number of these frontline industries — all with competitive and stable pay, full benefits, liability coverages and health insurance from the first month, and fitting your schedule needs.

Best of luck on the job search!


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