When the economy started to show troubling signs, many decided to skip college and join the workforce earlier.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 60 percent of U.S. workers don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but if you have an associate’s degree, a postsecondary non-degree award, or a high school diploma, you can still get a high-paying job.
The BLS provided a list of 80 high-paying occupations that don’t require a college degree. The median annual wages listed include hourly, weekly, annual pay, sales commissions, and production bonuses. Overtime wages are not included in the data.
We also included the expected job openings through 2020 and what kind of work experience or on-the-job training are needed for a particular job.
40. First-line supervisors of correctional officers
40. First-line supervisors of correctional officers
James Cridland via flickr
Median annual wage (May 2010): $55,910
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 16,500
Work experience: 1 to 5 years
Description: Coordinate the investigation of criminal cases, train staff, and oversee other tasks related to police operations.
On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
39. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians
39. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians
k0a1a.net via flickr
Median annual wage (May 2010): $56,040
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 31,800
Work experience: None
Description: Help engineers design and develop computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring devices, navigational equipment, and other electrical and electronic equipment.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
38. Insurance appraisers, auto damage
38. Insurance appraisers, auto damage
BLS
Median annual wage (May 2010): $56,230
Degree required: Postsecondary non-degree award
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 2,700
Work experience: None
Description: Evaluate insurance claims and decide how much payment is sufficient.
On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
37. Loan officers
37. Loan officers
YouTube
Median annual wage (May 2010): $56,490
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 115,200
Work experience: None
Description: Evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of loan applications for people and businesses.
On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
36. Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products
36. Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Median annual wage (May 2010): $56,580
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 91,200
Work experience: None
Description: Buy products for organizations to use or resell.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
35. Subway and streetcar operators
35. Subway and streetcar operators
Flickr/Timothy Krause
Median annual wage (May 2010): $57,200
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 4,500
Work experience: None
Description: Transport passengers.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
34. Gas plant operators
34. Gas plant operators
Helge Hansen / Statoil
Median annual wage (May 2010): $57,200
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 4,500
Work experience: None
Description: Control systems and do round checks to make sure everything is working properly.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
33. Engineering technicians, except drafters
33. Engineering technicians, except drafters
The Library Of Congress via Flickr
Median annual wage (May 2010): $58,020
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 16,800
Work experience: None
Description: Solve technical problems. Some help engineers and scientists do research and development.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
32. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
32. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
Business Insider
Median annual wage (May 2010): $58,030
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 52,700
Work experience: None
Description: Install or repair electrical power systems and telecommunications cables, including fiber optics.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
31. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians
31. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians
Glassdoor
Median annual wage (May 2010): $58,080
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 1,700
Work experience: None
Description: Maintain equipment used in developing, testing, and producing new aircraft and spacecraft.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
30. Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators
30. Claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Median annual wage (May 2010): $58,620
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 79,900
Work experience: None
Description: Evaluate insurance claims.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
29. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
29. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
Dashiell Bennett/Business Insider
Median annual wage (May 2010): $58,680
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 259,700
Work experience: More than 5 years
Description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of construction or extraction workers.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
28. Artists and related workers
28. Artists and related workers
Median annual wage (May 2010): $58,840
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 4,800
Work experience: None
Description: Represents creative occupations with a wide range of characteristics.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
27. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers
27. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers
A-One Transmission/Flickr
Median annual wage (May 2010): $59,150
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 164,900
Work experience: 1 to 5 years
Description: Coordinate mechanic’s activities.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
26. Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers
26. Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers
Marathon Petroleum Corp
Median annual wage (May 2010): $60,040
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 14,400
Work experience: None
Description: Control the operation of petroleum refining or processing units.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
25. Postmasters and mail superintendents
25. Postmasters and mail superintendents
Leo Reynolds via flickr
Median annual wage (May 2010): $60,300
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 4,800
Work experience: 1 to 5 years
Description: Direct and coordinate operational, administrative, management, and supportive services of a U.S. post office.
On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
24. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
24. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
BLS
Median annual wage (May 2010): $60,750
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 234,500
Work experience: More than 5 years
Description: Plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation of farms, ranches, greenhouses, aquacultural operations, nurseries, timber tracts, or other agricultural establishments.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
23. Media and communication equipment workers
23. Media and communication equipment workers
ed and eddie via flcikr
Median annual wage (May 2010): $61,680
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 3,300
Work experience: None
Description: Set up, operate and monitor audio, video and digital equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences.
On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
22. Business operations specialists
22. Business operations specialists
wiennat/Flickr
Median annual wage (May 2010): $62,450
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 327,200
Work experience: Less than 1 year
Description: Coordinate the operations of companies, such as training and planning.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
21. Power plant operators
21. Power plant operators
BLS
Median annual wage (May 2010): $63,080
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 14,400
Work experience: None
Description: Control the systems that generate and distribute electric power.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
20. Diagnostic medical sonographers
20. Diagnostic medical sonographers
AP Photo/Saurabh Das
Median annual wage (May 2010): $64,380
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 31,700
Work experience: None
Description: Use special imaging equipment that directs sound waves into a patient’s body to assess and diagnose various medical conditions.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
19. Fashion designers
19. Fashion designers
BLS
Median annual wage (May 2010): $64,530
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 6,700
Work experience: None
Description: Sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they designed.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
18. Registered nurses
18. Registered nurses
ap
Median annual wage (May 2010): $64,690
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 1,207,400
Work experience: None
Description: Provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
17. Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay
17. Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation, and relay
Median annual wage (May 2010): $65,230
Degree required: Postsecondary non-degree award
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 6,900
Work experience: None
Description: Inspect, test, repair, or maintain electrical equipment in generating stations, substations, and in-service relays.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
16 Commercial pilots
16 Commercial pilots
BLS
Median annual wage (May 2010): $67,500
Degree required: Postsecondary non-degree award
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 19,300
Work experience: None
Description: Fly and navigate airplanes or helicopters.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
15. First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers
15. First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers
Median annual wage (May 2010): $68,250
Degree required: Postsecondary non-degree award
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 33,100
Work experience: 1 to 5 years
Description: Coordinate activities of workers engaged in fire fighting and fire prevention and control.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
14. Dental hygienists
14. Dental hygienists
flickr/brucemckay
Median annual wage (May 2010): $68,250
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 104,900
Work experience: None
Description: Clean teeth, examine patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
13. Nuclear medicine technologists
13. Nuclear medicine technologists
BLS
Median annual wage (May 2010): $68,560
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 7,500
Work experience: None
Description: Use a scanner to create images of various areas of a patient’s body. They prepare radioactive drugs and administer them to patients undergoing the scans.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
12. Detectives and criminal investigators
12. Detectives and criminal investigators
The Daily Beast
Median annual wage (May 2010): $68,820
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 30,100
Work experience: 1 to 5 years
Description: Conduct investigations related to suspected violations of Federal, State, or local laws to prevent or solve crimes.
On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
11. First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers
11. First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers
Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
Median annual wage (May 2010): $68,880
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 123,500
Work experience: More than 5 years
Description: Coordinate activities of sales workers other than retail sales workers.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
10. Power distributors and dispatchers
10. Power distributors and dispatchers
Flickr/MICHAEL QUICK of “MICHAELS PHOTOGRAPHY de NEMOURS”
Median annual wage (May 2010): $68,900
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 3,600
Work experience: None
Description: Coordinate, regulate, or distribute electricity or steam.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
9. Elevator installers and repairers
9. Elevator installers and repairers
BLS
Median annual wage (May 2010): $70,910
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 8,200
Work experience: None
Description: Fix, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.
On-the-job training: Apprenticeship
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
8. Nuclear power reactor operators
8. Nuclear power reactor operators
AP
Median annual wage (May 2010): $75,650
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 2,000
Work experience: None
Description: Move control rods, start and stop equipment, monitor and adjust controls, and record data in logs.
On-the-job training: Long-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
7. Administrative services managers
7. Administrative services managers
BLS
Median annual wage (May 2010): $77,890
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 99,800
Work experience: 1 to 5 years
Description: Plan, direct, and coordinate supportive services of an organization.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
6. Radiation therapist
6. Radiation therapist
IndyDina with Mr. Wonderful via flickr
Median annual wage (May 2010): $74,980
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 6,700
Work experience: None
Description: Check equipment, observe patients’ reactions to treatment, and document the session.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
5. First-line supervisors of police and detectives
5. First-line supervisors of police and detectives
Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
Median annual wage (May 2010): $78,260
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through -2020): 38,700
Work experience: 1 to 5 years
Description: Coordinate activities of members of police force.
On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
4. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers
4. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers
Flickr/chefranden
Median annual wage (May 2010): $80,210
Degree required: High school diploma
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 33,700
Work experience: More than 5 years
Description: In charge of operations that range from railroads to shipping facilities. They manage budgets, set policies and standards, and direct procurement.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
3. Construction manager
3. Construction manager
BLS
Median annual wage (May 2010): $83,860
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 120,400
Work experience: More than 5 years
Description: Oversee a construction project from start to finish. They set timelines, prepare contracts, and manage budgets.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
2. General and operations managers
2. General and operations managers
Dan Primack
Median annual wage (May 2010): $94,400
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 410,100
Work experience: 1-5 years
Description: Coordinating an organization’s daily activities, these managers might develop policies, oversee budget activities, or review sales reports.
On-the-job training: None
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
1. Air traffic controllers
1. Air traffic controllers
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Median annual wage (May 2010): $108,040
Degree required: Associate’s degree
Projected job openings (Through 2020): 10,200
Work experience: None
Description: Monitor and direct the movement of aircraft. Median annual wages of air traffic controllers are the highest of any occupation in which workers typically do not need a bachelor’s degree.
On-the-job training: Long-term or on-the-job training

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