25 high-paying, high-demand jobs that don’t need a college degree

July 14, 2022

College degrees are important for many people, but they’re not for everyone. There’s a stigma in the U.S. that working in “trades,” or blue collar work, is for students who had to settle for less. That’s so far from the truth! 

You can make a great living even without a diploma

Many students discover this after they’ve begun a 4-year university and end up dropping out to pursue opportunities that fit them well without the need for traditional college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, just 62% graduate the 4-year programs in 6 years

Trade jobs require a specialized skill or group of skills that students learn by interning, attending vocational schools, or even from YouTube tutorials. Some skills get replaced by technology (e.g. horseshoe maker) while others simply evolve with technology (e.g. electrician). But once you start exploring options with an open mind, you’ll find countless opportunities that don’t require a college diploma.

So if you’re curious about blue collar careers that can provide a great living, read on!

25 high-paying, high-demand skills-based jobs

Outdoor jobs

  1. Groundskeeper / landscaper
  2. Truck driver
  3. Bus driver
  4. Roofer
  5. Welder
  6. Auto mechanic
  7. Crane operator
  8. Building inspector
  9. Carpenter
  10. Locksmith
  11. Heating & air conditioning mechanic
  12. Diesel engine specialist

Indoor jobs

  1. Chef
  2. Electrician
  3. Plumber
  4. Drywall installer
  5. Website designer
  6. Software developer
  7. Computer network specialist
  8. Civil engineering technician
  9. MRI technician
  10. Dental hygienist
  11. Real estate photographer
  12. Artist
  13. Musician

One thing holds true with each of these career opportunities: a portfolio will track your skills and experience, making you even more valuable!

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