10 high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree

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10 high-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree
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A traditional college education is often perceived as the best path to financial success, considering the fact that the typical college graduate earns about two-thirds more than the average worker with only a high school diploma.

Read more: 9 ways to pay for college without student loans

But it’s also an expensive path.

With student loan debt now reaching more than $1 trillion — and counting — loans for education have become the second-largest source of consumer debt in the United States. According to Kiplinger, among the nearly 70% of 2014 college grads who borrowed money to pay for school, the average amount of debt owed was $28,950.

Read more: 11 ways to find a college scholarship

So here’s the good news: getting buried in student loan debt is not the only way to get into a successful and high-paying career.

Kiplinger analyzed 784 occupations and found 10 of the best high-paying jobs in expanding fields that don’t require a college degree.

10 best jobs that don’t require a college degree

1. Commercial pilot

Total number of jobs: 41,382
Job growth, 2005-2015: 3.1% (All jobs: 5.3%)

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 13.6% (All jobs: 11.0%)

Median annual salary: $75,183 (All jobs: $43,430)

Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent

2. Electrical power-line installer

Total number of jobs: 120,059
Job growth, 2005-2015: 11.4%

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 12.7%

Median annual salary: $66,279

Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent

3. Service sales representative

Total number of jobs: 951,019
Job growth, 2005-2015: 2.6%

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 15.5%

Median annual salary: $51,971

Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent

4. Plumber

Total number of jobs: 455,459
Job growth, 2005-2015: 0.3%

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 16.7%

Median annual salary: $51,228

Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent

5. Aircraft assembler

Total number of jobs: 40,582
Job growth, 2005-2015: 26.9%

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 15.8%

Median annual salary: $49,762

Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent

6. Industrial machinery mechanic

Total number of jobs: 336,616
Job growth, 2005-2015: 9.9%

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 19.0%

Median annual salary: $49,150

Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent

Read more: 10 best jobs of the future

7. Machine tool programmer

Total number of jobs: 25,737
Job growth, 2005-2015: 12.4%

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 24.2%

Median annual salary: $49,013

Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent

8. Computer user support specialist

Total number of jobs: 654,008
Job growth, 2005-2015: 18.0%

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 19.2%

Median annual salary: $48,437

Typical education: Some college

9. Mechanical insulator

Total number of jobs: 32,039
Job growth, 2005-2015: 13.5%

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 32.6%

Median annual salary: $47,807

Typical education: High school diploma or equivalent

10. Surgical technologist

Total number of jobs: 104,199
Job growth, 2005-2015: 25.7%

Projected job growth, 2015-2025: 22.7%

Median annual salary: $45,750

Typical education: Postsecondary non-degree award

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Alex Thomas Sadler About the author:
Alex is the former Managing Editor of Clark.com.
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