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5 High Paying Jobs You Can Get Without a Degree

Attaining a college degree can feel out of reach. The amount of time and the potential cost of a degree can make it feel impossible. Many young adults wonder if a degree is even necessary, or if they can meet their career goals without one. Is it possible to earn a good income without a college degree? The answer is yes.

High-Paying Careers with No College Degree

It is possible to earn a good income without a college degree. Some of the best jobs to consider include:

  1. Executive AssistantUS News and World Reportestimates the average salary of an executive assistant is just over $59,000, and this position is attainable to those with just a high school diploma.
  2. Power Plant OperatorA power plant operator can make almost $80,000 a year, and the main training happens on-the-job. This job field is not expected to grow much in the next few years, but it does pay well.
  3. Elevator Repair Professional—This is another career that earns close to $80,000 a year. These professionals repair elevators, moving stairways, and similar equipment in buildings of all sizes. This program starts as an apprenticeship, so you learn on the job.
  4. Criminal Investigator—Investigators can get a degree in criminal justice, or they can start in the police department (after finishing the relevant academy training) and work their way up. The requirements will vary depending on the agency or municipality where one works. The average pay for this field is just over $80,000 a year.
  5. Distribution Managers—With an average salary of over $94,000, Distribution Managers are one of the highest-earning on this list. These individuals plan for the allocation and shipping of products from warehouses to their final destinations. This requires no degree, but it does require work experience in the field.

In each of these industries, you learn on the job. It can take years to make it to the top. Also, none of them average more than $95,000 a year, which means there is a cap to how much you can make, even in a well-paying job, without a college degree. The good news is that a degree is more achievable than you might think.

“Many people on the cusps of their careers feel that getting a degree is out-of-reach. The cost, time involved, need to move to college and away from family, and other concerns create barriers that feel impossible to overcome. However, universities today are offering more flexible options so students can move past these barriers and earn a degree that can put them on the path toward a high paying career.” – Professor Zach Falcon, Vice President of Hybrid Learning at Unity College

Time-Sensitive Learning Helps Students Manage Time Better

Sometimes, especially when students are working, time becomes a barrier. You don’t have time to take a large number of classes and do well at them. This can prevent you from starting your degree in the first place.

Today, colleges offer degree-earning options for students with a lot on their plates. Shorter terms, for example, allow a student to focus on just one course at a time, so they can better manage their workload while keeping up with their careers. Asynchronous online programs allow students to set their own pace, finishing when they can before moving on to the next program. You even have access to accelerated programs that let you move more quickly toward your degree, earning it in less than the standard four years. In these instances, you could put your career on hold temporarily while getting your degree, knowing you’ll be back at it within a couple of years.

Hybrid Learning—The College Experience with Greater Financial Flexibility

Of course, if you are making the decision to go to college, you may want to have an on-campus college experience. This is one downside to online learning. You no longer get to spend time on campus, interact with students in person and experience college life outside of a virtual context. If finances are your main barrier toward a degree, but you still want that college experience, then a hybrid learning model can work.

Hybrid learning enables students to have a blend of an in-person and online college experience. With eight start dates a year, five-week terms, and the ability to step in and out of the program when needed, students are allowed the flexibility and control to mirror the residential college experience or complete their degree in a shorter timeframe. It’s entirely up to the personal preference of the student!

Hybrid learning is a great option for schools that are not yet set up for fully online degrees or for degree programs that require hands-on lab work and in-classroom time to provide the full experience. Sometimes, individual courses can even be set up as hybrid learning courses with in-classroom days and online days.

Greater Affordability—Make College Financially Attainable

For many students, cost is the biggest barrier to an education. Before you assume that you can’t afford to go to college, make sure you’ve explored all of your options.

First, you should find out what schools are most affordable, without having to go looking for financial aid. After you have explored all your options in that regard, then it’s time to consider your financial aid options. In addition to loans and grants from the government, you may qualify for financial aid through the school. Students who are no longer living at home may find that they qualify for more federal aid because they are no longer dependent on their parents’ income to help with their qualifications.

Also, consider outside financial aid from professional groups you have joined because of your career. Are you part of any associations, unions, or organizations through your job? Find out if they offer scholarships, grants, or other financial aid options, like fellowships. The financial aid department of your chosen school can help you find all of these opportunities.

Next, consider work-based scholarships and helps. If your degree program will help you in your current career, and your employer sees the benefit, you may be eligible for tuition reimbursement or similar aid through your employer.

You can also discuss payment plan options with your school. It’s possible that the school offers some flexibility in how you pay for your education. Outline your financial situation with the financial aid department and see what’s available.

Finally, look to scholarships from outside sources. Use an online scholarship search to see what is available. Often, working adults will find that there are financial aid options available they haven’t thought of that can make their education more reachable.

College Today—Not Just for the Young

Many adults who are already in their careers may feel like it’s “too late” for them to go back to school. They picture the college campus as something filled with 20-somethings fresh out of high school and feel like they would not fit. While there are plenty of younger-aged students on most college campuses, the demographic of the modern college is changing. According to current college data, the average age of part-time students is 27.2 years old. That means there are a large number of non-traditional students on the college campus today.

Among independent students, which are those students who are no longer living at home with their parents, the median age is 29 years. Students who are several years past their high school graduation will find there are many people in their age demographic also going back to school.

Don’t Delay—Your College Education Is More Attainable Than You Thought 

High paying, entry level jobs are out there for someone with no college degree, but the best paying jobs often require one. If you are looking for a good paying career that will bring high intrinsic rewards, then you need to consider getting your college degree.

Unity College is here to help. We offer hybrid learning programs that make your degree more flexible and attainable, as well as financial aid options to make it easier to afford. If you are interested in learning more about the hybrid learning programs offered at Unity College, contact us today.