What Occupations Can Still Pay The Bills Without A College Degree?

By on December 21, 2020

So, you don’t want to go to college? Don’t be ashamed. The glaring truth about college is that it simply isn’t for everyone. Some people can’t be in a classroom, some can’t bear the expense, and some simply don’t want to spend four to six years of their time obtaining a degree. There seems to be a stigma against people who don’t go to college, but believe me when I say there is plenty of viable occupations that don’t require a college degree.

At the end of the day, college isn’t the only route available. You can pursue the trades, start your own business, or obtain certifications to get into the medical field or other industries. Don’t limit yourself! Education is important, don’t mistake me. But that doesn’t mean it’s a requirement for everyone.

Here are some occupations that can still pay the bills, even without a college degree.

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Medical Biller And Coder

Medical billers and coders translate medical paperwork into standardized codes for billing, create invoices, and bill insurance companies. While medical billing and coding are technically separated, they’re often lumped together. The person creating the code usually creates and sends the invoices as well. 

Medical billers and coders can make between $40,000 and $50,000 per year, depending on the job and their level of experience. You can also pursue specializations in coding which can increase your salary and job opportunities. 

Web Developer

If creativity is your strong point, you might want to try becoming a web developer. You don’t necessarily need a degree, or any formal training, to be honest. Many web developers are self-taught and are every bit as talented and able to perform in their jobs as their educated peers.

Web developers design and build websites. With the world becoming more digitalized every year, this is an important function and one that businesses need to stay relevant. The average salary for a web developer is about $73,000 per year!

Refinery Operator

Oil pipelines can be fragile and difficult to maintain and require specially-trained individuals to do so. As a refinery operator, you’ll be responsible for a variety of tasks, including the operation and maintenance of the refinery and pipelines. This job is a hands-on, all-weather position, so it’s great for people who can’t sit indoors all day at a desk.

Refinery operators typically can make around $74,000 per year without a degree of any kind. You’ll need specialized training, of course, but you won’t need a four-year degree!

Elevator Installer

Someone has to ensure that elevators are installed and maintained properly, and that falls to the elevator installers. This position requires hands-on work and specialized post-secondary training, but no college degree. You’ll be responsible for installing and maintaining elevators and escalators to ensure their safe operation.

Elevator installers can typically make about $84,000 per year without a degree. 

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic requires constant supervision, and this important task falls to the air traffic controller. This position usually does require an associate’s degree as a minimum, but that’s still a far cry from a full-fledged bachelor’s degree. Air traffic controllers are some of the highest-paid professionals that don’t have bachelor’s degrees, typically bringing in about $122,000 per year.

Wind Turbine Technician

If you’ve ever seen a wind turbine, you probably wondered how they’re maintained, repaired, and installed. This job falls to the wind turbine technician. You’ll be climbing the monstrous energy systems to install and repair parts and keep things running smoothly. This is a job that isn’t for the faint of heart, as wind turbines can be several hundred feet tall. Typically, a wind turbine technician can make about $52,000 per year, but there are very few positions available. However, the job’s growth projection is about 61% through 2029—higher than most other jobs.

Sound Engineer

If you’ve ever wanted to work in film, television, or music, becoming a sound engineer could be your pathway to that career. Sound engineers are responsible for recording, mixing, and mastering sounds for visual or audio mediums. A good sound engineer can make all the difference in the audio quality of an album or movie.

Sound engineering doesn’t necessarily require a degree, and you can make about $45,000 per year or more, depending on what you’re working on. 


If you’re looking for a way to serve the public, make a decent living, and gain a sense of pride and accomplishment out of your career, becoming a firefighter is the right move. These brave men and women risk their lives to rescue people from burning buildings, put out fires, contain and clean up car accidents, and provide life-saving care as first responders.

Many firefighters are required to double as paramedics, so you’ll need some specific training, but usually no college degree. You can make, on average, about $50,000 per year as a firefighter.

College is an excellent and rewarding endeavor, but it just isn’t for everyone. Each of these career paths offers an opportunity to do something exciting and unique while still making a comfortable living—all without a college degree.

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What Occupations Can Still Pay The Bills Without A College Degree?