Top-Paying Careers With a Few College Courses


Although a college degree is a strong benefit when searching for a job, a number of well-paid careers require either no college courses or at most an associate's degree. Supervisory positions in a variety of industries pay well. Certification programs in health-care fields can lead to well-paying jobs. Apprenticeships in skilled trades can be a wise path to take. For people with the right temperament, sales careers can be very lucrative, often with no educational requirements.

Supervisory Jobs Offer Financial Rewards

  • Supervisory jobs requiring no college degree are well paid in a number of fields. In trades such as painting and assembly work, supervisors' pay is in the $50,000 range. Credit and collections supervision salaries are also in this range, as are payroll and data-control supervisory jobs. Supervising cable installation and maintenance can pay upwards of $60,000. In health care, home-care aide supervisors and medical facility housekeeping managers may receive upwards of $55,000. An added benefit in fields such as collections is that they offer good starting pay to entry-level employees, providing the perfect opportunity to work your way up in a field with strong advancement potential.

Certifications, Associate's Degrees and Apprenticeships

  • Certificate programs, apprenticeships and associate's degrees can open the door to what could be considered golden opportunities. The mean salary for a radiology or x-ray technician with a high-school diploma and a certificate from a one-year certification program is just over $56,000. Dental hygienists on average make $66,000 with a two-year associate's degree. Many community colleges offer these programs. Before embarking on a course of study, do your research both online and by talking with a college adviser. Training in skilled trades can lead to well-paying careers also. A journeyman electrician can expect to make between $45,000 and $60,000 annually. The training is by apprenticeship so it's an earn-as-you-learn opportunity. A lead carpenter may also command wages of over $60,000.

Careers in Sales

  • Sales jobs consistently rank high on lists of best-paying jobs. Account managers, outside-sales reps and sales managers all have the potential to make six figures, often without the need of college-level coursework. However, commission-only jobs also have the potential of paying little to nothing, so it's important to understand the risks and be temperamentally suited for this area of endeavor. Working as a real-estate broker requires a combination of sales and managerial skills as well as industry-specific licensing. Brokers are often paid upwards of $70,000. Sales-agent jobs in real estate and insurance have high income potential as well. Both require licensing.

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  • Photo Credit job image by Andrey Kiselev from office workers image by Tracy Martinez from dental image by JASON WINTER from woman on phone image by Mat Hayward from
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