In today’s job market, a college degree seems like an essential requirement for securing a high-paying job. However, there are still many well-paying careers out there that don’t require a 4-year degree. In this blog post, we will explore Jobs that Pay $40 an Hour Without a Degree.
Why Look for Jobs Without a Degree?
There are several reasons why you may want to consider jobs that don’t require a college education:
- Avoid student debt – The average student loan debt for a bachelor’s degree is over $30,000. Skipping the degree avoids this financial burden.
- Start earning sooner – By entering the workforce right out of high school, you can get a head start on saving for retirement and other goals.
- Learn on the job – Many of these careers provide extensive on-the-job training to build your skills and get you up to speed.
- A wider range of options – No single path is right for everyone. Looking beyond degrees opens up more potential jobs.
In-Demand Jobs that Pay $40 an Hour Without a Degree
Here are some of the top options to consider if you want to earn a $40 per hour wage without a college degree.
Median Salary: $56,180 Hourly Wage: $27.02
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power systems and equipment. Most train through a 4-5 year apprenticeship program instead of college. Once licensed, they can earn $40 per hour or more. This job is projected to grow 8% from 2020-2030.
Median Salary: $56,330 Hourly Wage: $27.08
Plumbers install and repair water systems, drainage systems and plumbing fixtures. A 4-5 year apprenticeship is typically required to become a licensed plumber. Experienced plumbers can make $40-$50 per hour. Job growth is projected at 5% through 2030.
3. Construction Manager
Median Salary: $97,180 Hourly Wage: $46.75
Construction managers plan and coordinate construction projects. While some have a college degree, many are promoted after years of experience working in construction trades. The top 10% of construction managers earn over $40 per hour.
4. Elevator Installer
Median Salary: $89,740 Hourly Wage: $43.14
Elevator installers and repairers go through a 4-year apprenticeship program to learn the trade. Once certified, they can make well over $40 per hour. Due to ongoing building construction, their job outlook is projected to grow by 7% from 2020-2030.
5. Commercial Driver
Median Salary: $47,130 Hourly Wage: $22.69
Commercial truck drivers can earn $40 per hour or more once they gain experience. A commercial driver’s license (CDL) and on-the-job training is required. The need for drivers is growing, with over 400,000 job openings projected by 2030.
6. HVAC Technician
Median Salary: $51,420 Hourly Wage: $24.73
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics usually complete apprenticeships. Experienced technicians can make $35-$45 per hour. HVAC jobs are projected to grow by 4% over the next decade.
7. Claims Adjuster
Median Salary: $63,680 Hourly Wage: $30.61
Claims adjusters help insurance companies assess insurance claims. While having a bachelor’s degree, many get training on the job. Senior claims adjusters typically earn over $40 per hour.
8. Railway Worker
Median Salary: $63,140 Hourly Wage: $30.35
Railway occupations like track laying workers and signal operators require on-the-job training. Their median wages are over $30 per hour, with top earners making closer to $40. Railway job growth is projected at 5% through 2030.
9. Power Plant Operator
Median Salary: $83,020 Hourly Wage: $39.91
Power plant operators control plant equipment that generates electricity. Most have a high school diploma along with extensive technical training. Their job outlook is projected to grow 7% over the next decade.
10. Wind Turbine Technician
Median Salary: $56,230 Hourly Wage: $27.04
Wind turbine techs install, maintain, and repair wind turbines. On-the-job training is provided, and experienced techs can make over $40 per hour. This rapidly growing field is projected to increase by 68% through 2030.
How to Land These Lucrative Jobs Without a Degree
If one of these careers appeals to you, here are some tips to get started without a college degree:
- Complete a vocational training or apprenticeship program in your chosen field.
- Obtain any required certifications or licenses.
- Bulk up your resume with in-demand technical skills for the job.
- Be willing to start in an entry-level position and work your way up.
- Highlight your work ethic, problem-solving, and communication abilities.
- Apply to openings at utility companies, construction firms, transportation companies, and staffing agencies.
Weighing Your Options
Before committing to a career path without a degree, make sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully. While these jobs provide great earning potential without college, you likely have fewer opportunities for advancement to higher-level management roles compared to graduates. Lack of a degree can also make it tougher to switch fields later in your career.
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However, skipping the degree path also has benefits – avoiding debt, starting your earnings sooner, and sidestepping education costs. For many, this is an ideal way to begin a lucrative career without the time and financial commitment of four years in college.
There are certainly promising opportunities available in today’s job market if you’re willing to learn specialized skills and work your way up the ladder. If you want to bypass the traditional bachelor’s degree, look into one of these well-paying roles that offer $40 per hour or more.