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 millionaires who don’t even have a high school diploma, let alone a college degree.
There are many fulfilling jobs out there for college dropouts that pay well; you just have to do a little bit of digging to find them. So don’t let the absence of an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree hold you back — read on to discover 10 high-paying jobs for college dropouts.
1. Waste Disposal Personnel
You might not think this profession is a high-paying job, but you’d be wrong. The average hourly earnings for waste disposal personnel is $25.30 per hour as of November 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), even though the only requirement for the job is typically a high school diploma.
These professionals collect, treat and dispose of waste materials. They might work in recycling centers, provide remediation services, offer septic pumping or perform other services related to waste removal, as well.
Turn your passion for wine tasting into a fruitful career. A sommelier might work in a restaurant, helping customers pick out a bottle of wine to complement their meal. Or, he or she might organize the restaurant’s wine cellar and help create food and wine pairings.
A college degree is typically not required to become a sommelier. However, by taking an official sommelier course — like one of the examinations offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers — you can increase your chances of getting a job. According to Salary.com, the median annual sommelier salary is $53,733 and typically ranges from $41,308 to $66,139.
3. Bingo Manager
If you have a high school diploma or the equivalent of five years of experience, you could land a lucrative job as a bingo manager — yes, a bingo manager. Salary.com reports that the median annual salary for this profession is an impressive $59,935, but some salaries are as high as $96,019.
A bingo manager does more than just call out “B-7!” during a bingo game. This person oversees the bingo department’s day-to-day activities, ensuring jackpots and payouts are approved and the appropriate forms are completed.
4. Lodging Manager
A lodging manager helps make sure a hotel, motel or other lodging establishment runs smoothly and that its guests are having a good time. Responsibilities typically include inspecting rooms for cleanliness, setting room rates, answering guests’ questions, monitoring staff members and more.
According to the BLS, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum required education for the job. In May 2014, the median annual wage for this profession was $47,680, and the mean annual wage was $57,230.
5. Massage Therapist
Embark on a new career path that promotes wellness and helps clients feel better in their own skin. A massage therapist works in a spa or clinic, evaluating clients and working to manipulate their muscles to treat injuries and tense areas of the body.
Requirements to become a massage therapist vary by state, but enrollment in a postsecondary massage therapy program offering around 500 hours of classroom training and experience is usually a requirement. The most current numbers from the BLS show that the median annual wage for massage therapists was $37,180 in May 2014, and the mean annual wage was $41,790.
6. Insurance Agent
An insurance agent is a sales professional responsible for selling policies to new customers and maintaining existing clients. As an insurance agent, you’ll need to be knowledgeable about the different types of policies sold by the company so you can help customers choose the best option for their needs.
The minimum required education to become an insurance agent is a high school diploma. Insurance agents make a median annual salary of $47,860, but the mean annual wage is an impressive $63,730, according to 2014 BLS figures.
7. Equipment Operator
Construction equipment operators, such as pile-drivers, control heavy machinery to construct buildings, bridges and roads. Most workers are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent, and many are trained on the job.
According to the BLS, the mean and median annual salary for this profession was $48,020 and $43,510, respectively, in May 2014.
8. Claims Adjuster
When a customer submits a claim to an insurance company, the claims adjuster evaluates the situation to decide whether the company should pay the claim and determines the total amount of compensation to be paid. A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the required education to become an entry-level claims adjuster.
As of May 2014, the mean annual wage is $63,500, and the median annual salary is a slightly lower $62,220 for this profession.
9. Real Estate Broker
As a real estate broker, you’ll be licensed to run your own real estate business helping clients buy, sell, purchase and rent residential and commercial properties. Brokers can represent the buyer or seller to get them the best possible deal.
A high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum required education to become a real estate broker, but you’ll need to check with your state for specific licensing requirements. The median salary of a real estate broker is $40,990 per year as of May 2014, according to the BLS. Meanwhile, the mean annual wage is $55,530.
10. Telecom Technician
A telecommunications equipment installer and repairer sets up and maintains devices with internet access, a telephone connection or those carrying a communications signal.
Some type of postsecondary education is typically required to be eligible for work in the field, such as a certificate or diploma from a local community college. But, most employers also provide on-the-job training. A telecom technician earns a mean annual salary of $54,630 and a median annual salary of $55,190.
From GoBankingRates.com: 10 high-paying jobs for college dropouts