Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The six-figure salaries that don’t require a college degree: As it’s revealed Walmart is paying $400,000 – other roles that net top dollar include driving a truck for $320,000 per year and raking in $105,000 as a fire chief

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College isn’t for everyone, and jobs that pay $100,000 annually are in more abundance than you might think.   

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly a quarter of all jobs do not require a degree, and countless earners in that category easily make six figures.

That’s $60,000 higher that the average income touted by the US Census. Meanwhile, the average four-year stint at college will set you back $146,000, including tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and other expenses.

Combine that with a stubbornly tight labor market and a re-assessment of work following the pandemic, and it’s no wonder Americans are questioning whether they should skip class and get started on the career ladder.

As a result, employers like Walmart are now easing education requirements for some positions, joining firms like Apple, Google, and Bank of America.

As firms continue to put a premium on skills and experience rather than studies, the big box store this month announced it would be offering bigger bonuses and stocks options to some workers, seeing their compensation swell to more than $400,000.

Here DailyMail.com looks at other companies paying non-graduates top dollar… 

Walmart managers can now earn up to $400,000 annually, according to the company – after it announced last week it would be giving $20,000 in stock grants yearly to some senior staffers

A career in construction can command a six-figure salary

So can firefighting, if you're willing to stick with it long enough

Below is a list of more jobs that pay upwards of $100,000 – ranging from construction to civic service – all of which do not require a college degree

Owner-operator driver – $320,000

An owner-operator driver is essentially anyone who owns or leases their own truck – or trucking business – to deliver goods.

All you need is a commercial driver license and a vehicle. 

The job fetches drivers an average of $320,000 per year, according to Indeed.

An owner-operator driver is essentially anyone who owns their own truck - or trucking business - meaning its probably one of the least out-of-reach jobs on this list. Moreover, it is also the most lucrative - with a set of wheels for cargo fetching drivers $320,822 annually

An owner-operator driver is essentially anyone who owns their own truck – or trucking business – meaning its probably one of the least out-of-reach jobs on this list. Moreover, it is also the most lucrative – with a set of wheels for cargo fetching drivers $320,822 annually

The job allows you the freedom of operating under your own authority, securing deals for freight as needed.

Like many other entries, experience is important, but it is not a specific requirement.

Those who elect for such a role may lease out vehicle while they are not on the job themselves. 

The Driver Resource Center – a licensed and DOT registered trucking operator in Niagara Falls, New York – says: ‘Truck driving is a good career for those looking to make a high income without a college degree. 

‘On average first year drivers can earn between $69,000 and $85,000*. 

‘As [they] gain experience [their] income will increase.’

Either way, that’s a nice chunk of change. 

Radiation therapist – $120,000

Radiation therapists – while not doctors – work closely with cancer treatment teams to administer radiation to patients who are suffering from cancer.

The important job entails making sure machines involved work properly, and ensuring that each patient receives the correct doses of radiation.

They also take X-rays and maintain patient records, while providing much-needed bedside manner at a time where it could prove crucial.

Radiation therapists - while not doctors - work closely with cancer treatment teams to administer radiation treatments to patients who are suffering from cancer. Not only is it a rewarding experience, but according to Indeed , it pays an average of $121,427 each year

Radiation therapists – while not doctors – work closely with cancer treatment teams to administer radiation treatments to patients who are suffering from cancer. Not only is it a rewarding experience, but according to Indeed , it pays an average of $121,427 each year

The position is far from entry-level, and requires a great deal of familiarity with the devices involved. 

While an individual may not work in this role as their first job, aspiring therapists can complete an accredited program to become certified – that or finish a two-year associate degree rather than a bachelor’s. 

Not only is it a rewarding experience, but according to Indeed, it pays an average of $121,427 each year.

Fire chief – $105,000

Another rewarding pursuit, chiefs of one of the roughly 30,000 fire departments across the US commonly rake in around $105,287 per year.

Aside from saving lives, these civic servants are tasked with overseeing the daily and more wide-ranging operations of their respective departments, which includes but is not limited to supervising personnel, developing budgets and planning responses. 

They also work with local officials and lawmen to develop fire codes and regulations, which, when faced with an inferno, can be the difference between life and death.

Another rewarding pursuit, chiefs of one of the roughly 30,000 fire departments littered about the US commonly rake in around $105,287 per year, according to Indeed

Another rewarding pursuit, chiefs of one of the roughly 30,000 fire departments littered about the US commonly rake in around $105,287 per year, according to Indeed

While many fire chiefs have a bachelor’s degree in fire science or something similar, extensive service as a firefighter can see you one day assume the position.

Relevant certifications – such as the Certified Fire Inspector Equipment Management Specialist (EMS), and Certified Law Enforcement Analysts (CLEA) – can also qualify you, even if you only have a high school diploma or some vocational education. 

Charles Burger – a retired fire chief who held the position in the Great Barrington Fire Department in Massachusetts for more than 10 years – said: ‘When I was a little kid, I chased the fire trucks on my bicycle every single time the whistle blew. 

‘That’s what got me interested in the fire service. I became an intern in the department when I was 16 years old, and a junior firefighter a short time later. I have been here ever since.’

A firefighter at the department for ten years before assuming the position, he adds the job ‘is one of the most mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging jobs you can have, but it is a job where you can make the biggest difference in people’s lives.

‘That can be extremely rewarding,’ he explains. 

Burger said: ‘When you are a firefighter you are not playing a game, it’s always a matter of life and death for us and the community.

‘If you enjoy being part of a team with high stakes while you are doing an extremely challenging job, I don’t think there’s a job that’s anything better or more rewarding.’

Construction manager – $100,000

A distinctly blue-collar trade, construction is still a career path that pays well.

According to Indeed, the annual take-home for those who ascend to the top – to the post of construction manager – is roughly $99,000, with only a high school diploma and construction experience needed.

That said, it will likely take years to gain such experience, in a particularly grueling field.

A distinctly blue-collar trade, construction is still a career path that still pays well. According to Indeed, the annual take-home for those who ascend to the top - to the post of construction manager - is roughly $99,00, with only a high school diploma and experience needed

A distinctly blue-collar trade, construction is still a career path that still pays well. According to Indeed, the annual take-home for those who ascend to the top – to the post of construction manager – is roughly $99,00, with only a high school diploma and experience needed

Often called general contractors or even project managers, managers don’t necessarily need to be part of a union to be paid handsomely.

They are tasked with controlling the quality of any given project’s scope, time, and cost, all to achieve – and maximize – the project owner’s particular vision. 

Typical projects include building public, residential, commercial, and industrial structures, as well as roads and bridges.

Commercial pilot – $134,000

While far from the least stressful on the list, the position of commercial pilot is also a possibility for degree-less job hunters.

All you need is a commercial pilot license and flight training, and the role’s average $134,630 salary could be yours.

That said, applicants will also require nerves of steel, and if chosen, are responsible for the hundreds of souls they carry during each of their air excursions –  which, depending on their length, can be up to five flights a day.

While far from the least stressful on the list, the position of commercial pilot is also a possibility for degree-less job hunters. All you need is a commercial pilot license and flight training, and the role's average $134,630 salary could be yours

While far from the least stressful on the list, the position of commercial pilot is also a possibility for degree-less job hunters. All you need is a commercial pilot license and flight training, and the role’s average $134,630 salary could be yours

Aside from the pilot’s office and countless flight hours, college education is not a necessity.

Airline training programs require that you are at least 16-years-old and have a high school diploma or GED credential.

Moreover, apart from flying the plane, pilots are occasionally asked to carry out additional non-flight duties, such as scheduling, arranging for maintenance, and even loading luggage themselves. 

Commercial pilots are also involved in various unscheduled flight activities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – such as aerial application, charter flights, and aerial tours.

Makeup artist – $134,000

For the more fashionably inclined, a career as a cosmetologist could prove just as lucrative as the less glamorous roles above.

Makeup artists – as they are more commonly called – on average rake in a whopping $134,750, more than four times the US Census’ per capita income of $37,638.

That’s due to the fact that professionals involved in the field are tasked with not only ensuring their subject looks good, but visually transforming people’s appearance via make-up, paint, wigs, and other accessories.

For the more fashionably inclined - and for those looking for something a bit less high-stakes - a career as a cosmetologist could prove just as lucrative. Makeup artists - as they are more commonly called - on average rake in a whopping $134,750, four times the US average

For the more fashionably inclined – and for those looking for something a bit less high-stakes – a career as a cosmetologist could prove just as lucrative. Makeup artists – as they are more commonly called – on average rake in a whopping $134,750, four times the US average

Opportunities, meanwhile, are almost endless – with a slew of fields that command such a service. They include – but are not limited to – entertainment, fashion and cosmetic service, as well as independent hirers.

In the words of Glassdoor, successful makeup artists ‘possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills and have an artistic personality,’ as well as a postsecondary nondegree award.

That only means that applicants passed some sort of formal schooling program, which, depending on which state you live in, lasts a few weeks or months,

Others – like New York – may take up to a year to complete, with the Empire State requiring all aspiring beauticians to take an 1,000-hour approved course to receive the necessary credentials.

These programs lead to a certificate or other award, but not a degree. No other schooling is necessary.

Nuclear power reactor operator – $104,000

Another daunting one, operators of your local nuclear power reactor – a device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction to produce usable power – can also command a lofty paycheck.

They’re responsible for overseeing the flow of energy at one of the country’s 54 operating nuclear power plants, and controlling the equipment necessary to do so.

To accomplish this, operators will monitor and adjust their respective reactors’ control rods to moderate its output of electricity, while also controlling the plant’s cooling systems and safety procedures. 

Another daunting one, operators of your local nuclear power reactor - device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction to produce usable power - can also command a lofty paycheck

Another daunting one, operators of your local nuclear power reactor – device used to initiate and control a fission nuclear chain reaction to produce usable power – can also command a lofty paycheck

They often record data related to their operations and use that information to help guide their decisions, which are often difficult and made in the moment.

Consequently, critical thinking and clear decision-making skills prove paramount for prospective applicants, who – despite the intricacies that go with the position, do not always need a college degree.

Instead, wannabe operators are usually required to have a high school diploma or some form of equivalent certification like a GED – or a vocational degree. 

Research applicable programs to find one that is right for you, of if your local power plant even requires you undergo one.

Since you’re tasked with overseeing extremely hazardous chemicals, it should come as no surprise that the average salary for the role stands at around $104,000.

Senior real estate manager – $140,000 

Most of the country’s self-made millionaires made their bones in real estate – and if you have the stomach for such a field, a fortune could soon await you as well.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: ‘Real estate managers oversee many aspects of residential, commercial, or industrial properties. 

‘They usually work in an office setting but may spend part of their workday on tasks away from the office, such as showing apartments, inspecting the grounds, or meeting with owners.’ 

Most of the country's self-made millionaires made their bones in real estate - and if you have the stomach for such a field, a fortune could soon await you as well. All you need to get started - and to potentially garner a more-than $140,000 salary -is a high school diploma or GED

Most of the country’s self-made millionaires made their bones in real estate – and if you have the stomach for such a field, a fortune could soon await you as well. All you need to get started – and to potentially garner a more-than $140,000 salary -is a high school diploma or GED

All you need to get started – and to potentially garner a more-than $140,000 salary -is a high school diploma, or some sort of equivalent.

Aside from that, applicants will also need a salesperson’s demeanor, as the post is usually dependent on deals and how many you make.

If that strikes your fancy, try applying for your local real estate firm, and have a shot at climbing the company’s ladder. 

Air traffic controller – $127,000 

Another option in the field of aviation, this one, ironically, takes place on the ground.

Enter the role of air traffic controller – the people tasked with guiding pilots, their planes and some 2.7 million daily passengers from takeoff and back to the ground.

Aside from providing a vital public service, this elite group of more than 14,000 are all licensed by the FAA, and each year take home an average of $127,805.

Another option in the field of aviation, this one, ironically, takes place on the ground. Enter the role of air traffic controller - the people tasked with guiding pilots, their planes and 2.7 million daily passengers from takeoff and back to the ground. They make, on average, $127,805

Another option in the field of aviation, this one, ironically, takes place on the ground. Enter the role of air traffic controller – the people tasked with guiding pilots, their planes and 2.7 million daily passengers from takeoff and back to the ground. They make, on average, $127,805

The approximate median annual wage for air traffic control specialists is $127,805. The salaries for entry-level air traffic control specialists increase as they complete each new training phase.

While stressful, it’s a rewarding experience.

Brian Throop, Vice President of Air Traffic Services, said: ‘My time working in Air Traffic has been rewarding and fun! I can’t think of a better public service profession!’

Product manager – $106,000

A product manager simply oversees the development of products of a company – and according to Indeed, they can rake in around $106,680 a year.

That’s well above the US Census’ per capita personal income of $37,638, and like the entries above, you won’t need any form of college degree.

They may devise large, sprawling business strategies, or just babysit third-party clients while overseeing assigned tasks. 

A product manager simply oversees the development of products of a company - and they can rake in around $106,680 a year. That's well above the US Census' per capita income of $37,638, and like the entries above, you won't need any form of college degree

A product manager simply oversees the development of products of a company – and they can rake in around $106,680 a year. That’s well above the US Census’ per capita income of $37,638, and like the entries above, you won’t need any form of college degree 

Product managers also often work with a team of others to develop some sort of product, while championing the product development process and manage the launch of the product’s features.

Prepare yourself to be paired with software engineers and designers, so perhaps familiarize yourself with those fields to gain a better understanding of the tasks you are responsible for.

Several years of experience working in product development and additional training are often perquisites, though those are typically the only requirements for those looking to get involved.

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