A four-year degree is becoming less of a requirement to land a solid, high-paying job as more companies are eliminating degree requirements in favor of skills-based hiring to vet candidates.
Between 2017 and 2019, employers reduced the degree requirements for 46% of middle-skill positions and 31% of high-skill positions, according to research from Harvard Business Review and The Burning Glass Institute. Instead, companies are adding more soft-skills requirements in their job postings and testing hard skills through certifications, evaluations and other methods.
This trend isn't specific to certain industries, either: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2020 and 2030, about 60% of all new jobs in the economy will be in occupations that don't require an associate's, bachelor's or graduate degree.
The highest-paid occupations that don't require a bachelor's degree tend to be very specialized, technical roles that include extensive job training, such as an air traffic controller, which offers a median salary of $129,750 per year, or a nuclear power reactor operator, which offers a median salary of $104,260 per year, according to the BLS.
Other six-figure jobs tend to require a high school diploma, an associate's degree or a postsecondary nondegree award, typically given to someone who completes a course in under two years that teaches them specific skills or knowledge needed for a job.
If you are exploring non-traditional career paths that don't require a bachelor's degree, there are several unique high-paying jobs you can consider. Here are three six-figure jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree, according to data from Indeed and the BLS:
According to Indeed: "Radiation therapists work closely with cancer treatment teams to administer radiation treatments to cancer patients. They make sure machines work properly, ensure correct radiation doses, take X-rays and maintain patient records."
National average salary: $126,024 per year
Typical education needed for entry: Associate's degree or certification program
Job outlook: Job openings for radiation therapists are expected to grow 6% over the decade, or about 800 openings per year.
According to Indeed: "Real estate managers are in charge of overseeing the daily operations of a property like an apartment complex or commercial building. They typically manage maintenance teams, ensure rent is paid and fill vacancies. To become a senior real estate manager, you typically need to gain experience in entry-level positions and work your way up."
National average salary: $135,964
Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
Job outlook: Job openings for property, real estate and community association managers are expected to grow 3% over the decade, or about 33,300 openings per year.
According to Indeed: "An owner-operator driver owns their own truck or trucking business. They may lease out their services or trucks to companies or individuals who need to transport goods, or they may operate their business under their own command. Although not a requirement, these individuals often have several years of experience driving for other companies."
National average salary: $240,211
Typical education needed for entry: Postsecondary nondegree award, on-the-job training
Job outlook: Job openings for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are expected to grow 4% over the next decade, or about 259,900 openings per year.
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