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10 of the Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree

traindriver

College isn’t suited for everyone, so it’s a good thing that bachelor’s degrees aren’t a prerequisite for success.

Vocational schools — institutions that teach and provide certification for trades — are well adapted for potential laborers and workers who enjoy working with their hands in the field.

In the 1970s, post-Vietnam War America saw a decline in the popularity of vocational jobs as the prestige of academic degrees rose. Millennials are the most educated generation in history, but many still struggle to find employment out of college — unemployment for young people is at about 14%.

The demand for blue collar jobs, meanwhile, is high. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 3.9 million job opportunities that require vocational training, many of which, surprisingly, pay extremely well:

elevator

Image via BuildColorado

1.) Elevator Installers

Average annual salary: $73,560

Average Hourly Wage: $35.37

10% Annual Top Pay: $105,750

Top Paying State: Massachusetts

Training: Some states require certification or work as an apprentice beforehand.

Other information: Economists predict demand to exceedingly increase by 2020.

underwaterwelder

Image via KMHK

2.) Underwater Welders

Average Annual Salary: $54,750

Average Hourly Wage: $26.32

10% Annual Top Pay: $94,440

Top Paying State: New York

Training: Requires welding and diving certification.

Other information: Some successful underwater welders reportedly make over $300,000.

powerdistribution

3.) Power Distributors and Dispatchers

Average Annual Salary: $78,170

Average Hourly Wage: $37.58

10% Annual Top Pay: $107,880

Top Paying State: Nevada

Training: Certification from vocational school and a license through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) if operating with nuclear reactors.

Other information: There are many career advancement opportunities within this field.

poolboi

Image via TampaPoolService

4.) Technicians of Personalized Pool Routes

Average Annual Salary: $75,000 – $80,000

Average Hourly Wage: $60-120 per pool

Top Paying State: California

Training: Requires knowledge of pool chemicals and owning a business.

Other information: Technicians who work on their own pool route within the Sunbelt areas typically make more as opposed to those working in colder climates.

millright

Image via VTLMI

5.) Millwrights

Average Annual Salary: $51,520

Average Hourly Wage: $24.77

10% Annual Top Pay: $74,540

Top Paying State: Michigan

Training: Most require welding certification and starting out as an apprentice.

Other information: Millwrights working in utilities receive the highest salary, averaging $72,020

Chemiekombinat Bitterfeld, Produktion von Weißtönern

6.) Chemical Plant and System Operators

Average Annual Salary: $61,880

Average Hourly Wage: $27.01

10% Annual Top Pay: $78,380

Top Paying State: Texas

Training: Just a GED or high school diploma is required.

Other information: Within the plastics product manufacturing industry, the average operator makes $66,830.

boilermaker

7.) Boilermakers

Average Annual Salary: $60,170

Average Hourly Wage: $28.93

10% Annual Top Pay: $87,320

Top Paying State: California

Training: Requires starting out with an apprenticeship.

Other information: The average boilermaker within the electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry makes $71,490.

100520-N-8913A-096

8.) Electricians

Average Annual Salary: $54,520

Average Hourly Wage: $26.21

10% Annual Top Pay: $85,590

Top Paying State: Alaska

Training: Becoming licensed is required, and apprenticeships are recommended.

Other information: Electricians within the amusement and recreational industry make an average of $85,190 annually.

traindriver

9.) Locomotive Engineers

Average Annual Salary: $57,000

Average Hourly Wage: $27.41

10% Annual Top Pay: $77,600

Top Paying State: Washington

Training: Requires Federal Railroad Administration certification.

Other information: Within Washington, the average locomotive engineer makes $71,770.

constructman

10.) Construction Managers

Average Annual Salary: $94,590

Average Hourly Wage: $45.47

10% Annual Top Pay: $150,250

Top Paying State: New Jersey

Training: Requires knowledge of construction and certification through the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA).

Other information: This is a job that requires people to work their way up the ranks, unless they have a college degree.

Because many of these unique career opportunities are not on young workers’ radars, those that have chosen to learn these trades are highly sought after. Perhaps for some, it’s time to start researching vocational professions and exchange those pens for tools.

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