“It’s part of the highs and lows of looking at job ads: “Wow, look at that pay range—that’d be great! Oh, but they require a bachelor’s degree. Next.”
Look, college isn’t for everyone. The good news is that employers know this, and there are in-demand industries and jobs—especially in the red-hot tech sector—where the right combination of experience, aptitude and willingness to learn on the job can make that degree requirement fade away.
Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale, Monster came up with the following list of 10 high-paying jobs that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree.
What you’ll do: Developers are responsible for the visual style as well as the technical substance of sites. There are web developers with degrees, including associate degrees, but the experience-based nature of the role and the industry demand mean a degree is a nice-to-have, not a must.
What it pays: $64,970 per year
Find all web developer jobs on Monster.
What you’ll do: Programmers can work on their own, essentially as a freelancer, or as part of an organization’s team, writing code for mobile apps, desktops or proprietary equipment. As with the web developer role, the emphasis on experience and the demand from employers means your lack of a four-year degree won’t be a deal-breaker.
What it pays: $79,530 per year
Find all programmer jobs on Monster.
What you’ll do: These workers design or rethink an organization’s information systems and procedures, with a major focus on overall efficiency and profitability. Computer systems analysts with a bachelor’s degree—including from outside of IT-specific fields—are often sought, but a degree isn’t a must for entry-level roles.
What it pays: $85,800 per year
Find all systems analyst jobs on Monster.
What you’ll do: Network engineers develop, set up and maintain the networks that keep everybody’s devices—and therefore everybody themselves—communicating effectively. They typically deal with physical hardware rather than software. Many employers call for a bachelor’s degree for this role, but entry-level spots can be found without this requirement.
What it pays: $69,718 per year
Find all network engineer jobs on Monster.
Computer support specialist
What you’ll do: Can you be the calm, patient voice giving excellent fix-it advice that goes beyond, “Did you reboot yet?” Computer support specialists can work with co-workers or external customers, by phone or in person, depending on the role. The primary emphasis here is on soft skills and customer service, followed by technical knowledge and experience that can be earned without a degree.
What it pays: $51,470 per year
Find all computer support specialist jobs on Monster.
What you’ll do: Use the power of the internet to promote products and services in a way that makes the best use of everyone’s time and effort, including yours. Digital marketing emphasizes soft skills and communication in dealing with clients but also hard skills like gathering and sorting through online analytics data. Much like traditional marketing positions, a college degree is a benefit, but not a pure necessity.
What it pays: $49,501 per year
Find all digital marketer jobs on Monster.
What you’ll do: Aerospace technicians operate and maintain the equipment used in the production of aircraft and spacecraft. Although there’s a mechanical/physical aspect to this role, as with many fields these days, the work is increasingly computer-based. Vocational training or an associate degree is a common route here.
What it pays: $66,180 per year
Find all aerospace technician jobs on Monster.
What you’ll do: Cybersecurity is about as in-demand as a job can get these days, with every organization—public and private—looking to demonstrate its trustworthiness and security with data and secrets. This is yet another area where a degree is preferred, but where your experience can still get you on a recruiter’s radar.
What it pays: $90,120 per year
Find all cybersecurity analyst jobs on Monster.
What you’ll do: Some graphic designers still do their artwork by hand, but the field is increasingly computer-driven. In a corporate setting, this role can involve design and production of advertisements, corporate reports, brochures and magazines. Employers often seek candidates with a degree, but experience and a creative portfolio can win you the right audience.
What it pays: $46,900 per year
Find all graphic designer jobs on Monster.
What you’ll do: Telecom technicians install, maintain and repair communication infrastructure, including old-school telephone lines and the modems and other equipment used by customers. There’s a big mechanical aspect to it, as well as plenty of tech. Some high-school education is usually required, but on-the-job training is often offered.
What it pays: $54,570 per year
Find all telecommunications technician jobs on Monster.”
References: 10 high-paying tech jobs you can get without a college degree, 2018. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/high-paying-tech-jobs-no-degree-0217. Accessed June 12, 2018.