Careers

The 20 highest-paying jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree

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Not every high-paying job requires a high level of education. An associate's degree or high school diploma alone can, in some cases, set you up to make $68,000 to over $100,000 a year.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNBC has compiled a list of the top-paying professions where a bachelor's degree is not necessary.

Check out these 20 careers:

20. Gaming manager

Gaming managers plan and coordinate gaming operations at casinos. This job requires a high school diploma and offers a salary of about $68,380.

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Holger Leue | Getty Images

19. Diagnostic medical sonographer

A medical sonographer uses special imaging equipment to take medical images or conduct tests, which help physicians assess medical conditions. The profession requires an associate's degree and pays approximately $69,000.

18. Media and communication equipment worker

These professionals ensure that the audio and visual systems for TV, radio and other media run smoothly. The job requires a high school diploma or equivalent and pays about $70,590.

17. Postmaster and mail superintendent

Postmasters plan and coordinate administrative and operational services of a U.S. post office. This job requires a high school diploma or equivalent and pays about $70,640.

16. Transportation inspector

These professionals make sure that equipment in trains, airplanes and other vehicles is safe and up to code. The job requires a high school diploma or equivalent and pays approximately $70,820.

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15. Funeral service manager

These professionals help families plan and carry out the various aspects of a funeral. The job requires an associate's degree and pays approximately $70,890.

14. Power plant operator

Control power operators run and monitor fuel equipment in various industries such as coal, nuclear fuel, or natural gas. A high school diploma or equivalent is required and the job pays about $71,940.


13. First-line supervisor of non-retail sales

This type of supervisor works in non-retail industries like insurance, telemarketing and real estate, often managing budgets and personnel.

The job requires a high school diploma or equivalent and pays approximately $72,300.

12. Dental hygienist

Smile! Dental hygienists make about $72,330. They help dentists examine and clean teeth and provide other preventive dental care. The job requires an associate's degree.

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11. Nuclear medicine technologist

This highly-specialized health care worker prepares and administers radio-pharmaceuticals as well as other medications and uses special equipment to take medical images. The job requires an associate's degree and pays about $73,360.

10. Commercial pilot

Pilots of commercial airlines have to pass several exams, clock hundreds, if not thousands, of hours in the air, and get industry certification. But technically, they don't need a bachelor's degree, only a high school diploma, in addition to the specialized certification and education in aviation. Pilots make about $76,150.

9. Detective and criminal investigator

These professionals investigate suspected crimes, working on the local, state or federal level. The job typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent and pays about $77,210.

8. Radiation therapist

Radiation therapists operate machines called linear accelerators, which deliver radiation therapy. An associate's degree is required and the position pays approximately $80,220.

7. Nuclear technician

These technicians use specialized instruments to monitor radiation levels, typically in nuclear energy production or to assist physicists and engineers. An associate's degree is required and the position pays approximately $80,260.


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6. Power distributor and dispatcher

Power distributors and dispatchers coordinate and regulate systems that generate electricity or steam. While there is extensive job training, the job doesn't require a bachelor's degree. The job requires a high school diploma or equivalent and pays about $80,840.

5. Elevator installer and repairer

Elevators need installing and fixing, which is where these specialists come in. The job requires a high school diploma along with training and pays approximately $80,870.

4. First-line supervisor of police and detectives

First-line supervisors offer guidance to investigators and police and and ensures that procedures are adhered to. The job requires a high school diploma or equivalent and pays approximately $82,090.

3. Transportation, storage, and distribution manager

These managers work to direct or coordinate transportation, storage and distribution activities in accordance with organizational policies and government laws. The job requires a high school degree or the equivalent and pays about $86,630.

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2. Nuclear power reactor operator

These professionals control and operate nuclear power reactors. A high school diploma is required and the job pays approximately $88,560.


1. Air traffic controller

Air traffic controllers coordinate and direct the movement of air traffic. An associate's degree is required for this job, which pays approximately $122,950.

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Interested in making over $100,000? Check out these 25 surprising jobs.