Work

7 in-demand jobs paying more than $55,000 a year that you can get without a college degree

Teamwork on construction site working on bridge construction
Drazen Lovric | E+ | Getty Images

Landing a steady, well-paying gig right out of high school can be done, if you know which jobs to go after.

CNBC Make It combed through data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to identify seven occupations that pay more than $55,000 a year, are rapidly hiring workers and do not require a degree.

Each of the jobs on this list will expand their workforce by more than 7 percent, the average rate of job growth in the U.S., and offer salaries thousands of dollars higher than the $35,256 that those with a high school diploma typically earn, according to the BLS. In fact, one of these roles pays double that.

If you're looking to outearn friends and family without an advanced degree, consider one of these seven positions.

Makeup artists

Make-up
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Median annual wage: $59,300
Projected job growth through 2026: 12 percent

The demand for people who can transform performers' face and bodies to resemble any character or time-period, setting or situation is only going to increase, according to the BLS. Those who specialize in doing makeup for the stage or theater command higher wages, but many talented makeup artists have found high paying-gigs by working with a celebrity, like Kim Kardashian-West's personal makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, or through popularizing their work on social media.

Little formal education is required to become a makeup artist, though many do complete a cosmetology program. Any makeup artist who is also a cosmetologist will need to be licensed. Theater degree programs, which typically include courses on stage makeup, can also be another route into the profession.

Pile-driver operators

Autobahn Repair Work As Germany's Infrastructure Skids Into Crisis
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Median annual wage: $57,650
Projected job growth through 2026: 15 percent

These construction workers operate large machines that lay the building blocks for structures commonly built in water such as retaining walls, bridges and piers. The machines are mounted on skids, barges or cranes and used to hammer piles, which are long, heavy beams of concrete, wood or steel, into the ground to provide support. Pile-drivers can also be found working on offshore oil rigs.

A high school diploma is all that is technically required to become a pile-driver operator, though vocational school learning can be helpful in landing a job, according to the BLS. Some learn the trade through an apprenticeship where they learn to maintain and operate the machinery. In 17 states, pile-driver operators need a crane license.

Property, real estate and community association managers

Female Real Estate agent
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Female Real Estate agent

Median annual wage: $58,670
Projected job growth through 2026: 10 percent

When property-owners lack the time or experience to handle day-to-day operations of their homes, apartments, office buildings or industrial sites, they hire these managers, who make sure the property is well-maintained, operates smoothly and retains its resale value. They will meet with prospective renters to tour the property, discuss leasing terms and collect monthly payments from tenants as well manage any repairs or building services, like trash removal or landscaping, that may be necessary.

Many employers prefer candidates with a college degree for commercial management positions and positions dealing with a property's finances, but a high school diploma and several years of related work experience is all that is typically required for onsite property management roles and more entry-level positions in this field. Several states require property, real estate, and community association managers obtain professional credentials or licenses. Depending on the work they do, some managers also must have a real estate license.

Construction and building inspectors

Architect Checking Insulation During House Construction
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Median annual wage: $59,090
Projected job growth through 2026: 10 percent

As their name suggests these workers review construction plans and sites to ensure they meet local and national building codes, zoning regulations and contract specifications. They must keep daily logs, with photographs of inspections, and document their findings as well as issue violation notices or stop-work orders, if a building is non-compliant. Inspectors can specialize in various parts of a construction process or type of construction such as coatings, electrics, elevators, plumbing, homes, public works projects and commercial buildings.

To become a construction inspector, you'll need at least a high school diploma and work experience in related construction trades. Many states and local jurisdictions require some type of license or certification as well.

First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

Teamwork on construction site working on bridge construction
Drazen Lovric | E+ | Getty Images

Median annual wage: $64,070
Projected job growth through 2026: 13 percent

These managers are responsible for coordinating and overseeing the activities or construction or extraction works. They will review and determine construction or project requirements as well as inspect workers' progress, equipment, and the work site itself to ensure safety standards are met as well as the specifications of the current project.

Advancing to a construction or extraction supervisor normally requires at least five years of work experience in a related occupation, according to the BLS. No formal education beyond a high school diploma is required.

Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Telephone Engineer series
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Median annual wage: $69,380
Projected job growth through 2026: 14 percent

These workers install and repair electrical power systems, telecommunications cables and fiber optics. They can be seen stringing power lines between poles or towers, fixing defective transformers, and scaling power line poles to make repairs. Many also lay cable underground, such as with fiber optic lines.

A high school diploma is necessary for all entry-level positions in the field, but most line installers complete technical instruction and long-term on-the-job training or apprenticeships, which can last for up to three years.

Elevator installers and repairers

A repairman working on a controller box for an elevator.
Jeff Greenberg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images
A repairman working on a controller box for an elevator.

Median annual wage: $79,480
Projected job growth through 2026: 12 percent

These workers outearn all other occupations on this list. They install, fix, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways, chairlifts and other lifts. Elevator repairers typically earn a little more as their job requires a greater knowledge of electronics, hydraulics and electricity than do installers, since a large part of maintenance and repair work is troubleshooting, according to the BLS.

Becoming an elevator installer or repairer starts with a four-year apprenticeship program sponsored by a union, industry association or individual contractor. To enter such a program, you'll need a high school diploma. Even after the program, on-going training is required and 35 states, currently, require an installer or repairer to be licensed.

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