Earning $75,000/year without a degree


Earn a good salary without a degree


Breaking news: You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to have a well paying career.

Some people find it surprising that a bachelor's degree isn’t the only path to a well paying career. The rise of tuition and unwillingness to take on large student loans is leading many to seek out positions that don’t require a bachelor’s degree level education.

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Research shows that some associate’s degrees and certificate programs can launch graduates into high paying jobs, without the burden of high debt that can come with a bachelor’s degree program. College Measures has come through with wage data for graduates within select states. They nicely detail that high income is attainable without a degree.

Their reporting lists at least eight states data on programs that offer certificates, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs. In Florida for example, six of the 16 programs with the highest paid graduates are from associate degree and apprenticeship programs offered by community and technical schools.

Here is the list of positions and median earnings:

  • Physician Assistant: $112,200
  • Elevator Construction / Mechanic: $106,900
  • Electrical and Communications Engineering Technician: $91,700
  • Millwright (installing and repairing machinery): $82,500
  • Heavy Equipment Operation: $81,000
  • Fire Prevention and Safety Technician: $76,400

Note that most physician's assistants in the state of Florida hold master’s degrees, but Florida is home to at-minimum one associates degree program tied to the field. Obtaining this position without a degree in most states is not possible. 

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Without a degree

The reporting done by the folks at College Measures proves out a key point for job seeking students: what you study truly matters. Regardless of whether you have a degree or are without a degree there is risk associated with any education that trains for a specific role. If and when the labour market shifts or when open positions in that particular field are scarce, the demand for your skills will be less valuable. 

Another key point to take into consideration is that these programs may not be easy to enter. Most of the programs associated with the above positions are in high demand and for good reason. These positions and the work it takes to obtain these roles isn’t for a candidate that could not obtain a bachelor's degree - it is for individuals that simply want to choose another path. 

A bachelor’s degree is not the only option and College Measures does a nice job of reporting on the alternatives. To find more high paying  jobs like those above head over to our search page and start applying.