Decades ago a four-year college degree was all you needed to secure good high paying jobs. Those who went to college had everything laid out to them after graduation. A fancy diploma, fat paycheck, great career. Life was easy, for those who had the money for education.

But, times have changed. This isn’t how the world works anymore. There are lots of things you can now learn by yourself, outside of the classroom, without having to pay for that expensive college program. Before you seek out your diploma, consider these high-paying jobs that don’t need a college degree.


Average salary: $60,000

Illustrators create sketches, layouts and a variety of digital art material for websites and business. They work with advertisement agencies, solopreneurs, or freelancers in need of design-related services.

Part of being an illustrator involves communicating ideas visually and solving problems when needed. As an illustrator, you also have to be updated with the changing trends in design. To be a sought-after illustrator you have to create a strong portfolio to attract new clients. You have to have certain qualities like the ability to work independently and to stay calm under pressure.

Technical Writer

Average salary : $69,000

Technical writers create text that convey technical information. Their works are often found in journal articles, product description, college admission requirement websites, and frequently asked questions (FAQ) resources.

Like other forms of writing, technical writing is a skill you can learn through training and practice. A good technical writer can transform complex technical information into accessible and easy-to-understand writing.

Junior Data Analyst

Average salary: $52, 000

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Entry-level analyst conducts data searches, market research, and prepare material for analysis so their seniors can handle the more complex work. A data analyst’s job is to figure out how data can help companies make better decisions. The person has to have strong math and analytic skills. He/she should also have the skill to pay attention to details.


Average salary : $59,000

Salesperson work often on commission. The more they sell, the more money they make. If you’re good at selling something, have a good eye on finding your ideal buyer persona, it isn’t difficult to earn well in this profession.

Salespeople need to be able to gain trust easily with their buyers. They need to have strong people skills, verbal prowess, and expertise in their sales subject matter.

Digital Marketer

Average salary: $63, 000

Internet marketing is currently the primary way start-ups and tech companies reach customers. A digital marketer helps them reach their goals through different kinds of strategies including content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and email. A digital marketer can be highly skilled in one or two of these areas.

A digital marketer should have strong creative and analytic skills. Since most of digital media is copy and visual driven, he/she should have skills in writing and design. Digital marketers should also be familiar with commonly used platforms like WordPress and MailChimp.

Executive Secretary or Assistant

Average salary: $54, 000

Responsible for various tasks like customer service, administrative tasks, and other clerical duties, an executive secretary can have a competent salary. No formal education is required to get hired in this position. However, certain skills and qualities like proficiency in computers, good communication skills, and a professional attitude is important.

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Web Developer

Average salary : $62,500

Web developers have a knack or coding and creating websites that appeal to audiences. Although you can go to college to learn web development, more than half of successful web developers today don’t hold a degree. You can learn to program through online courses and books on coding.

The Takeaway

So before you sign up for that pricey degree program, it’s important to do your research. Spend some time to think what you really want to do with your career, where do you want to see yourself 10 or 20 years from now. When you’ve decided which path you’d like to take, you can assess for yourself if you really need that college degree.