Graduating from college is a huge milestone in anyone’s life, and such a qualification can open many doors in terms of employment and career choices. However, it is also a massive investment regarding tuition, accommodation, food, and other expenses which some people can’t afford. But this doesn’t mean the end of your professional dreams. So here’s a look at the best jobs you can get without a college degree.

1. Commercial Pilot

To fly for an airline, you need a bachelor’s degree to get started, but you can overcome this requirement by becoming a commercial pilot. Your job will be to pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or even helicopters. What this means is that your typical day can be to fly a charter flight, rescue operation, firefighting, crop dusting, and aerial photography among others. You just need to graduate from high school and then receive appropriate flight training. A qualified flight instructor will then take you through 35-40 hours of flying time at a minimum. The good news is that there are 14,400 projected job openings until 2022, and the most common annual wage is $73,280.

2. Air Traffic Controller

Another job opportunity in the aviation industry is becoming an air traffic controller. Your job will be to maintain the safety of the skies for traveling by ensuring that planes take off and land safe distances from one another. However, this job requires total concentration because a mistake could cost hundreds of lives. The job can be very stressful, but you will have regular breaks to keep you alert. Since airports operate round the clock, you should be prepared to do shifts at night and on weekends. The most common annual salary is $122,530, and there are 11,400 projected job openings until 2022.

3. Plumber

Whether a building is old or new, it comes with a lot of pipes, which means plenty of opportunities if you become a plumber. To acquire this skill, all you need is vocational training followed by an apprenticeship program, and then you get licensed. At the moment, there are close to 20,000 job listings for plumbers. You can also expect to earn an annual salary of $49,574. Apart from making a decent wage, plumbing is a profession that allows you to set up your own business, become your boss and even employ others.

4. Massage Therapist

Massage therapists are in high demand and the annual salary ranges from $24,380-$51,820. The usual education requirement is a non-degree award after graduating from high school. You just need to complete a formal training program and pass an examination to get a license. The good thing is that just like in plumbing, massage therapy can allow you to start your business. The job has low-stress levels, excellent prospects for career progression and work-life balance.

5. Media and Communication Equipment Worker

The typical salary for a media and communication equipment worker is $70,590 per year. To join this profession, you will just need the general on-the-job training, which won’t take long. Once you become familiar with the equipment you’ll be using; you can start working. The highest wages are reserved for those working with very specialized equipment, including spotlight operators, satellite communications operators, and dimmer board operators among others. At the moment, there are more than 18,000 workers in this profession and but employment prospects are set to diminish by 3.3% by the year 2024.

6. Makeup Artist

The job involves applying makeup to performing artists to represent a particular period, setting as well as the situation in a role. You will also be using cosmetics to improve natural beauty and to create an attractive look that meets the needs of a client. In general, makeup artists enjoy their job, and they report high levels of job satisfaction. It’s a primarily female profession, but there are many males out there who are doing the job. Some makeup artists are paid by the hour while others have a fixed annual salary. Even if you’re paid hourly, you can expect to get generous tips from happy clients. The median annual wage for a makeup artist is $64,450.


With economic uncertainty on the rise, even a college degree doesn’t guarantee employment in many countries. That’s why it’s important to look for alternative careers rather than wishing to join traditional careers such as becoming a doctor. And with hard work and perseverance, you can achieve your dreams while doing something you actually love.