College isn't for everyone. Some people simply can't afford it after a few years of paying tuition, or they discover that they don't exactly "belong" there. But dropping out of college isn't the end of the world, especially since a degree isn't necessarily a requirement in order to succeed financially. In fact, there's a handful of high-paying jobs that don't require a college degree.
Services Sales Representative
Whatever service you're providing, you need someone who can sell it. So good sales representatives should seldom lack for opportunities. The service industries with the most sales rep jobs are computer systems design, wired telecommunications carriers, and management, scientific and technical consulting.
The entry-level education requirement is typically just a high school diploma, but a bachelor's degree can give you a leg up on the competition. The specific skills and knowledge that would help you snag this kind of job depends on the industry. But generally, coursework and an understanding of business, finance and economics, as well as public speaking and communications, can also boost your career prospects.
Small Business Owner
If you have the desire and are able to start your own business, and get through the difficult early stages (and, importantly, you have a valuable product or service to offer the market), this could be a really nice option for you. Being your own boss means that you not only can work without a college degree, but also have a lot additional benefits like setting your own hours, write off many expenses on your taxes, and make as much as you possibly can. The sky’s the limit.
If you like working construction, you don’t have to worry about switching careers to something better. Construction companies often promote from within. If you truly like the work, you could consider sticking it out and working your way up the ranks to management.
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers
Those who have a knack for administration and management jobs can try their hand at being a transport manager. This job entails keeping on tabs on transport policies implemented by the government, as well as planning, directing, and coordinating transportation policies.
As long as you’re up on the latest technology and talented with gadgets, networks, and computers, you can excel in this field. The work involves dealing with wide area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN), and the associated analysis, testing, troubleshooting, and network evaluation.
Hotel Executive Chef
Obviously, you’ll have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You’ll have to deal with impossibly long and grueling hours. But if you have the passion and the talent and can get to the executive level, you can easily make six figures.
The people whose job is to make sure theatrical and performance artists look perfect for the role also bring home big slabs of bacon. As long as the makeup artists are skilled in applying makeup so that performers become the character their script requires, they have a shot at the job.
Computer User Support Specialist
Techies who are not academically inclined don't necessarily have to count themselves out of the sizzling IT job market. Although applicants with college degrees are still preferred, what matters most is that you have the desired skills—no matter how you attained them.
Computer user support specialists, who help coworkers and clients fix their PC and Mac problems from setup to shutdown, can often land jobs without a college degree. Instead, many employers look to hire help-desk technicians, as they're also called, who have certifications proving their skills. For example, prep for the exam with in-person, one-day classes or online courses that can take as little as five hours to complete.
If all of these jobs sound good, but just not glamorous enough for you (and you have perfect eyesight), then you might consider becoming a pilot. However, being a commercial pilot will require on-the-job training where you will learn everything about flying and navigating planes and helicopters, as well as rescue operations and firefighting.
If you’re willing to work hard and dedicate yourself to excellence in your chosen career, then you can easily make six figures without a traditional degree.